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No wish for revenge
Mgr. Rolandas Makrickas (apostolic nunciature) about the Breivik trial
The trial against the rightist extremist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people last summer in a crazy terrorist attack in Norway, is taking place in Oslo. Broadcast live on TV, the trial opened on April 16th with the reading of the names of the 77 victims. On April 17th, leave to speak was given to the terrorist, who – as mentioned by his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, before the hearing – read a long statement: “I have accomplished the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack ever committed in Europe since the Second World War”. Chiara Biagioni, for SIR Europe, called mgr. Rolandas Makrickas, charge d’affaires of the apostolic nunciature for the Nordic countries, in Stockholm.
How do the Scandinavian countries feel about the Breivik trial?
“This trial is reopening an extremely painful wound associated with a tragedy that was the fruit of human folly. It’s a bit early to say anything today: we will have to wait for the conclusions, but for the people here it’s clear that this trial will never bring the victims back to life. And this is the greatest loss, the greatest pain. The country is trying to understand what can make someone act like that. This trial will help understand, if there is anything to understand at all, the motive of such a cruel and unthinkable gesture”.
From what we see, we are impressed at the unflappable attitude of this person, who does not regret and does not mind what he did at all. How do you feel about him?
“Yes, this is the mystery of the evil we are seeing in someone’s face. For everyone, for the victims’ relatives and friends, and for the people here, this is the most painful thing, the thing that is most difficult to understand because there is no repentance. There’s just a statement of his truths that are based on inhuman arguments”.
The trial is broadcast live on the European websites as well. Do you understand why such media coverage? Don’t you think there is a risk of emulation?
“Such a wide media coverage of a trial is part of the culture of the Scandinavian and Nordic countries: that is, transparency in the fair things as well as in the horrible things the country experiences. It’s natural to personally watch the hearings of a trial. A live broadcast of a trial is nothing new or odd here. There is of course a risk for freedom, which in this case entitles and enables the strangest people to express themselves and present the most senseless opinions and views. So this trial will show how this person was driven by terrible ideas, by giving him a chance to speak”.
The massacre happened one year ago. Is the wound healing at all?
“The events are still too recent to forget them and heal this deep pain. The tragedy happen less than one year ago. However, the Government has been very firm in insisting that the time has come to recover and move on, and that such horrible things should not decrease or affect a whole country’s wish to remain open and democratic. A deeper reflection will probably be made after the end of this trial. What can be clearly seen is that the wound is still open and still very raw in the people here. What I can very clearly and openly feel is that, despite such raw pain, the Norwegians are seeking justice and want to understand the reasons behind this great evil, but they do not wish for revenge on the murderer”.
The religious leaders acted very sensibly. How important was that?
“Yes, after this tragic event, all the religious confessions in Oslo immediately responded with prayers and solidarity, both Christians and Muslims, everyone censored such violent gesture”.
It is the first time an extremist deed has a Christian background.
“The rationale of this gesture, as presented by the terrorist himself, cannot by any means be regarded as a religious gesture, and he said himself that he has no personal relations with God and that for him Christianity is not a religious fact, but a merely cultural fact. In his thought, we can see the expression of a culture of death, in which human life is worthless but can be manipulated and destroyed. It is this culture of death that is scary, in the deeds he committed. And this tragedy happened in a country that is economically and democratically well developed, and this goes to show that development and wealth do not directly result in a fuller humanity if it is not driven by the principles of love and justice”.