Skip to main content

Just a surveyor's symbol.
The truly stomach-turning aspect of the stunning terrorist attacks in Norway yesterday surely had to be the shooting spree that was initially reported—in English language outlets, anyway—to be at a "summer camp."

I had heard through the grapevine that the "camp" had a very distinct political affiliation, but it didn't really register with me, perhaps because we don't really have any cultural analog in the United States to what this "camp" was all about. But I picked up on something on Twitter this morning that changed the nature of the story dramatically, at least for me:

@gusbbaker Gus Baker
BBC needs to stop referring to 'summer camp'- Utoya was political crime and it diminishes the young Labour members deliberately targeted

See, the "camp" event is really more akin to a political retreat and training, it seems. It's an annual event of Norway's "Worker's Youth League,"  (in Norwegian, the Arbeidaranes Ungdomsfylking, or AUF), which is itself essentially the youth arm of the country's ruling Labour Party. And by "youth arm," I really mean something like a "farm team," to use a sports analogy.

And we're in need of analogies here, because we don't really have anything like this here in the United States, which also makes it difficult to appreciate the scale of the potential losses. Eighty or more lives taken translates anywhere, of course. Eighty or more young people, all the more. But it's more than that. It's 80 or more of the country's most politically engaged young people, self-selected from the ranks of a single political party. In a country of just 4.9 million, that's an enormous loss. Strictly by the numbers, the ratio to the population of the United States suggests it'd be like the wiping out of over 5,000 activists from, say, OFA or DFA. Or, I guess, every single person attending this year's Netroots Nation. Twice.

Only even there the comparison is inadequate. As committed as the activists of OFA or DFA (or pick your favorite group here) are, neither organization has the relationship to the Democratic Party that the AUF did. A quick glance at and a few clicks through the names of the previous AUF leaders illustrates pretty clearly that it's a pretty direct pipeline into national elected office in Norway. And Utoya was where they gathered:

But it was the prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, who spent childhood holidays on the island as a young Labour party member, who summed up the grief of a nation: "Utoya is my childhood paradise that yesterday was transformed into Hell."

Taking out 80+ of the people committed enough to go to the AUF's Utoya summer retreat? That's like sending a Terminator back in time to take out a future Parliamentary leadership.

The crime was unspeakably heinous to begin with. And telling Americans that the killer targeted a "summer camp," it was no doubt imagined, would only make it sound worse.

It did. But it didn't really describe the magnitude of the loss for Norway. Nor did it convey the calculated sickness—and the very, very intensely political nature—of what the gunman undertook to do.

Originally posted to David Waldman on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 02:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Yes We Can Pragmatists and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

kos, skybluewater, Julia Grey, Angie in WA State, Joe Bob, Mimikatz, vicki, keestone, Bill in Portland Maine, Ray Radlein, copymark, mwm341, alyosha, teacherken, deben, glitterscale, Geenius at Wrok, Gooserock, NYmom, BigOkie, emal, greenbird, Emerson, Sherri in TX, LynChi, donna in evanston, billlaurelMD, Goobergunch, Mnemosyne, Pompatus, FyodorFish, Matilda, niemann, dweb8231, mrfleas, rasbobbo, opinionated, CatM, TheMomCat, bronte17, Zinman, missLotus, lorell, cskendrick, DaleA, Aquarius40, itskevin, jted, antirove, Brit, revsue, edrie, dejavu, Getreal1246, psnyder, mwk, missliberties, Lawrence, BMarshall, downandout, QuoVadis, On The Bus, Steven Payne, houyhnhnm, liberte, RebeccaG, Timbuk3, Sophie Amrain, Oaktown Girl, ybruti, sarvanan17, poemworld, lyvwyr101, valadon, slapshoe, Maggie Pax, hissyspit, Julie Gulden, historys mysteries, 3goldens, Progressive Witness, Ckntfld, Unit Zero, Philoguy, terrypinder, Dobber, cfk, Pam from Calif, Dem Beans, Kayakbiker, Phil S 33, minidriver, The Raven, power model, Floja Roja, sodalis, coolbreeze, Circle, Shaking the Tree, LodinLepp, Pluto, murasaki, Land of Enchantment, hatdog, Oye Sancho, Jim P, begone, Mother Mags, esquimaux, Hirodog, tarheelblue, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Pinko Elephant, 417els, BeadLady, Ky DEM, Kimball Cross, Yellow Canary, mooshter, Prognosticator, kestrel9000, tbetz, kck, eglantine, Tanya, bleeding heart, sceptical observer, Pilgrim X, profh, Friend of the court, Elasg, AllanTBG, andrewj54, Grannus, NonnyO, BentLiberal, Thinking Fella, One Pissed Off Liberal, pgm 01, bluicebank, Cronesense, ninkasi23, Dartagnan, The Reverend and Doctor Omed, Msinformed, DvCM, Mary Mike, operculum, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, davehouck, Strabo, theChild, Back In Blue, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, gchaucer2, NorthlandLiberal, madgranny, skod, Empower Ink, msblucow, Rusty5329, rogerdaddy, Involuntary Exile, Bjorn in MN, bythesea, elwior, FG, CDH in Brooklyn, mikeconwell, beltane, catly, Tam in CA, Gemina13, sam storm, LarryNM, Parthenia, DixieDishrag, punkdavid, DavidW, jlms qkw, statsone, squarewheel, Louisiana 1976, Rhysling, bluemoonfever, smellybeast, DontTaseMeBro, emboyo, lostinamerica, radmul, eltee, FinchJ, LeftyEngineer, CamillesDad1, virginwoolf, followyourbliss, worldly1, elziax, MKSinSA, asym, borndem, oxfdblue, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, IreGyre, mikeplugh, stevenwag, Knarfc, Flyswatterbanjo, astral66, porchdog1961, ruscle, Just Bob, smileycreek, RhymesWithUrple, p gorden lippy, roadbear, eXtina, gramofsam1, politik, kjoftherock, CS in AZ, biggiefries, klompendanser, Radical def, RJP9999, hepshiba, pixxer, ItsSimpleSimon, Mariken, Egalitare, rja, stevenaxelrod, Its a New Day, Quantumlogic, Onomastic, Colorado is the Shiznit, Hill Jill, the mom in the middle, msazdem, jm214, anyname, cooper888, TerryDarc, La Gitane, FarWestGirl, LibHoosier, mawazo, marleycat, bobsc, Shes a Riot, BarackStarObama, RfrancisR, JayFromPA, Joe Hill PDX, stargaze, Safina, Druggy Bear, randomfacts, blue aardvark, jolux, Book of Hearts, too many people, RLMiller, StratCat, thejoshuablog, lol chikinburd, aerie star, Mentatmark, ChiTownDenny, MyMy, longtalldrink, Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom, ridemybike, stormicats, Talking Union, Romo2Austin, Inkberries, DeadHead, We Won, ahumbleopinion, David54, S F Hippie, Annie Oakley, Joieau, Trotskyrepublican, Ginger1, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, Th0rn, belinda ridgewood, supercereal, progressivebadger, Laiane, BusyinCA, BigBuck, jeannew, monkeybox, AuntieRa, George3, evergreen2, mumtaznepal

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site