Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Intolerance In Norway Looks Familiar

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/26/2011 1 comment
I avoided watching most of the news coverage over the weekend of the mass bombing and shooting spree that took place in Norway on Friday. Even though it happened in a country where we usually don't hear about any violence, when the story broke it seemed like another tragic account of hate and mass murder that unfortunately dominates world news. Finally, yesterday I began to watch the news stories and read some of the published reports about Anders Breivik and the carnage he left behind (death toll is currently at 76). By Monday, the narrative began to focus on why this maniac did what he did. From what I understand, he wanted to lead a violent revolution against multiculturalism, more specifically Muslim integration, in Europe. A New York Times article sums up the tension that had been building in Norway concerning immigration:
Norway has recently tightened its liberal immigration and asylum rules in the midst of a longstanding debate about assimilation and multiculturalism. Despite Norway’s oil wealth and low unemployment, there has been a growing concern over the increasing size of the Muslim population... But the Muslim population is growing, and Islam is now the country’s second-largest religion. The impact of an increasing, and increasingly visible, Muslim population in a relatively monoethnic, liberal and egalitarian Norway has led to a surge in popularity for the anti-immigration Progress Party, now the second-largest party in Parliament. And it appears to have been one of the triggers to the massacre carried out here on Norway’s white elite. The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, claims he was compelled to act by the failure of mainstream politicians — including those in the Progress Party — to stem the Islamic tide.
The article goes on to state that Norway’s immigrant population nearly tripled between 1995 and 2010. And I've seen a few news reports of Norwegians interviewed who don't like that so many Muslims have moved into their country of just under five million people.

This all reminded me of a documentary I saw last October during a special screening at Levine Museum of the New South. The film is titled Welcome to Shelbyville and depicts a small Tennessee town that historically was mostly populated by whites and blacks, but in recent years had seen an influx of Latinos and Somali refugees. Because of their Muslim faith, the Somalis are met with increased resistance from the townspeople. Some locals say they feel threatened by them ("they're going to start blowing up in Shelbyville next"), blame them for the overcrowding of schools, and say they bring down property values. Some of the allegations are even published in the local newspaper.

Welcome to Shelbyville reminds us how race, religion, and cultural differences can divide people before they even attempt to get to know or understand each other. What happened in Norway reminds us how far some will go with intolerance and hate. Fortunately, the Shelbyville film shows people in the town making progress--though it is a work in progress. You should watch the 60-minute documentary, directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder along with the BeCause Foundation and Active Voice. After you do, think about your own views on immigrants, who have become our neighbors in Charlotte and throughout the South. You might be able to catch the film airing again soon as part of PBS' Independent Lens series. It's also available on DVD. You can view the trailer below.

For more details, visit www.shelbyvillemultimedia.org.

1 comment :

  1. hey you dumfuck nigger, why the fuck should norway open its borders to sub human pakis, africans and arabs so that they can dismantle a white first world society?


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