“Generation Utoya” Why? Toronto Hot Docs

You may remember that horrific day in July of 2011 when Anders Breivik killed 69 people, most of them young adults, at a summer camp on the tiny Norwegian island of Utoya which is 25 kilometres west of Oslo. He also planted a bomb in a governmental building in Oslo that killed 8. The killings and bombings were a shock but also the fact that such an event could occur in Norway. While we are somewhat accustomed to deranged killers in The United States, Norway is a country where such things aren’t supposed to happen. So again you are asking why.

Utoya survivor Ina

Breivik wrote a rambling manifesto before the killing posting his upcoming mission expressing his hatred for liberals allowing the Muslimification of Norway. The young adults were members of the AUF (Norwegian Workers Youth League). Although Breivik admitted to the killings he never agreed they were criminal acts.

The documentary also causes one to wonder why the mass killings occurred in Nova Scotia last April. Why?

Can we blame it on insanity? Or hatred? On extremism? Or is it a lethal combination of all three. As for Breivik perhaps that deserves a documentary itself. But this documentary deals with the survivors of the Utoya killings.

The common denominator of the survivors was terror and disbelief.

One of the 4 women featured suffers from anxiety and panic attacks with PTSD. You can be assured she isn’t the only victim of mental distress. She feels guilt for having survived. All are fearful of extremism.

One woman becomes deputy mayor of Oslo and another Ina, becomes the leader of the AUF both becoming political activists trying to change a damaged world. Was their foray into politics spurred by Utoya? Ina says we must speak out against intolerance and xenophobia. She also makes an interesting comment about how freedom of speech can be dangerous. Even seemingly rock-solid Ina suffers from panic attacks.

One would have thought this may have been a wake-up call for Norwegians that even in Norway extremism can take hold and in fact anti-Muslim sentiment has only grown in Norway. You may share my view that it demeans the death of so many innocent people.

And you think it can’t happen in Canada? Well it already has as the killings in Nova Scotia and at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal not to mention the van attack in Toronto illustrate. As recent events in Washington show extremism is thriving in the United States. Is extremism a historical imperative? It has been around for centuries and Utoya is but an example.

The film is available virtually and tickets can be purchased at the Hot Docs website https://hotdocs.ca/p/hot-docs-festival

The film is 99 minutes and in Norwegian with English subtitles. You can see between April 29-May 9 and once you start streaming you have 48 hours to watch. Hot Docs films are only available in Canada.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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