Saturday, July 23, 2011

knee jerk - the removal of freedom and civil liberty - Utøya island

Having visited Norway several times, I find it a refreshing experience.

One of the things that struck me when I visited Oslo, was the relaxed and untroubled nature of the locals.

The openness and integration of the parliament into the main areas of Oslo seemed unusual, compared to the segregation and visible police guard (in numbers), of say London.

Knee Jerk reactions are inevitable, however that does not necessarily mean that these reactions make it into law, or are allowed to alter that relaxed atmosphere irrevocably.

To the politicians of Norway and the Mothers and Fathers of those victims of Utøya island, an important thing in the coming months might seem to 'prevent this happening again'.

To the people of Norway, do not allow this tragedy to be used as an excuse for clamping down on civil liberties. The loss of personal freedoms as a result of this outrage would be, some might feel, a greater loss.

There is a whole industry around 'security', from the people that manufacture the CCTV, to the smartcard industry, to the record check bureaus, to the paid security services that could be deployed by mandate.

That very industry will be working, and lobbying hard, over the coming months to have a greater role in the lives of ordinary Norwegians.

The hardest question that anyone can ask is...
Could this really have been prevented?
The answer, which nobody with a financial interest in the security industry would actually say out loud is "Probably not".

It will take a long time for the healing process in Norway to be complete. I hope that Oslo and Bergen retain their excellent reputation as great places to enjoy a city break.

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