Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends his translation of an opinion piece about one of the admirers of Lenin and Che who played a prominent role at the recent commemoration ceremony on the island of Utøya.
The translator includes this note:
This op-ed was published a couple of days ago. It’s about the official first anniversary commemoration event on Utøya, and the Swedish musician who was invited to perform at the service. Wikipedia has some background info on Mikael Wiehe, the musician in question.
It is no secret that the AUF to a certain extent is a Marxist organization that has previously given their wholehearted support to various dictators and terrorist organizations. However, one would expect that they had re-evaluated their views on autocratic regimes and the use of terrorist tactics as a means to achieve political goals in the wake of the mass shooting on Utøya.
Unfortunately it seems that no such lessons have been learnt.
The translated op-ed from Dagbladet:
Glorifier of violence on Utøya
By Einar Kristian Steffenak
Lecturer and political commentator
Is it really appropriate to invite such a museum custodian and friend of dictatorships to be the main guest at the official one year commemoration event of the July 22 tragedy?
Many of us felt profound sympathy for the AUF members when we followed the televised commemoration from Utøya one year after the fascistic mass murderer went on a rampage there. Great speeches were delivered; great songs, great turnout and a moving speech delivered by Eskild Pedersen in which he also included those who were murdered at Government Square in Oslo. However, and unfortunately, I am left with a rather bitter aftertaste.
And this is due to the choice of the principal musician to perform on Utøya, an excellent artist, but also an old friend of communist dictatorships from the ‘70s, Mikael Wiehe. He still is by the way, but I wasn’t aware that the AUF share his views and I would rather prefer to believe that it isn’t so. Let’s take a look at the past and let’s shed light on some things that young people in Norway know very little about, and which has been underreported and neglected by the schools.
In the wake of the July 22 tragedy few TV reports made a stronger impression on me than the young leading member of AUF who was talking about the sheer hell on Utøya. Hanging on the wall behind him was a large picture of the violent communist Che Guevara. The picture was Alberto Cordes’ iconic “Guerilla Heroico” from 1960, a false romanticizing of a man who sent gays to labour camps to correct their “inclinations”. He was responsible for hundreds of executions after the revolution in 1959. He was an ideologically rigid communist representing a rigid repressive dictatorship. How do such people become heroes, and why is a picture of such a person hanging on a wall as a role model in an AUF office in 2011?
And then there’s Mikael Wiehe. In an op-ed on May 3, 2007 in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter he wrote:
“In the last 40 years Cuba is the country in the region that has done most to safeguard human rights.”
This is pretty hard-core stuff, and it gets even worse: On his album Ta det tilbaka (“Take It Back”) from 2010, he is rightly critical of the financial industry’s greed and its complicity to the financial crisis in 2008. He writes:
«Hater du dom jävlarna, som köper upp och lägger ner. Vill du skära dom i bitar och slå inn dom i paket? Drömmer du om hovuden som ligger i en korg? Vill du sätta upp en galge på närmaste stora torg?»
[“Do you hate the bastards that buy up and shut down? Do you want to cut them into pieces and beat them into parcels? Do you dream of the heads lying in the basket? Do you want to erect gallows in the nearest big square?”]
What is this? It’s good old fashioned Leninist hatred. It’s like reading the justification given by Beria, the chief of the NKVD (later the KGB) to Stalin — which the latter agreed to — to the killing of Polish leaders, including those murdered in the Katyn massacre in 1940. Should Wiehe be allowed to write this? Of course he should. Should he be allowed to sing it? Yes, definitely. But is it really appropriate to invite such a museum custodian and friend of dictatorships as the main guest to the official one year commemoration event of the July 22 tragedy?
On the same day, at about the exact same time that Wiehe sang on Utøya, one of the leading political dissidents in Cuba lost his life. His name was Oswaldo Payá. He was killed in a traffic accident. His daughter has hinted that the regime was responsible for his death. This was of course beyond the control of the AUF and the other attendees on the island, but one thing that definitely wasn’t beyond their control was inviting someone who praises that regime.
They should refrain from doing so again. What they could do is to publicly support the proposal to give Payá next year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Vaclav Havel has previously nominated him for this prize. Payá was awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2002.
Maybe the AUF should reconsider their views on dictatorial-ideological grime when they are ready to do some introspective contemplation. If not, then all the talk about the so-called ‘July 22 generation’ being sentinels of democracy and openness will take on a rather hollow sound. We shall never be naïve, exhorted Stoltenberg, but that means that we need to be informed. Norwegian youths — and many others for that matter — know discouragingly little about the savagery of communist dictatorships. They are fortunately better informed about the evil of the fascists and the Nazis, despite the fact that the piles of innocent corpses murdered by communist regimes are at least four times as high.
Why is this so? There are many reasons for it. Many of those in leading figures in this country prefer silence. One only needs to look at the textbooks of our unity school to see how underreported and neglected these topics are.