Anders Behring Breivik on trial: A roundup of global opinion

A roundup of opinions on the Anders Behring Breivik trial and the attention it has received from Norway and around the globe.

6. The New York Times

First the Nightmare, Then the News

Karl Ove Knausgaard

“On Thursday evening, I went to a neighbor’s house to watch the news. It was Anders Behring Breivik I wanted to see.

‘What I don’t understand,’ Bo said, ‘is why the whole case has to be taken up again in the minutest detail. He has admitted he did it — couldn’t they just pass sentence?’ It’s a good question. The murders were politically motivated. Why give him a platform? The endless reports, what do they lead to except numbness, a kind of horror-struck paralysis?

An opinion poll published before the court case showed that two out of three Norwegians felt the media coverage was too extensive. I was among them. And yet I was drawn to the screen to see him, the perpetrator of the crime. Why? Not out of pity with the victims and the bereaved. More out of curiosity — who is this monster?

What he perhaps dimly realizes as he lies in the cell is what will happen when the trial shifts from him and his picture of the world, this rigorously maintained fiction, to the 77 victims. One by one, an account will be given of their deaths. The dead bodies he left scattered on the street, around the forest and the rocks, in the water and on the shore, the weight of all these bodies, and not just bodies but also the names — the naming of which will bring memories back to loved ones of laughter, voices and shouts, joy and sorrow, but first and foremost of hope now lost — when this weight makes its impact, nothing of what Breivik has said will be of any importance.”

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