Christmas Issue 2011
Continued Unrest Anders Breivik Declared Insane In Syria Steven Freeman
nders Breivik, who was responsible for the Norway massacre in July this year, has been declared insane by Norwegian psychiatrists. Psychiatrists believe that Breivik was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he killed 77 people and injured 151 in a massacre that shook the world. Breivik admitted killing and injuring the many victims but declared that the attacks were necessary. An online manifesto expresses Breivik’s views, and he comments that he was protecting Europe from the Muslim Invasion, which was being allowed by the cultural Marxists of the Norwegian Labour Party. Psychiatrists, quoted “Breivik was in his own delusional universe where all his thoughts and acts are guided by his delusions". The psychiatrists’ judgement that Breivik was mentally insane could
vents in Syria continue to raise concerns in some parts of the international scene. A popular uprising started in March at the same time as the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. Unlike the uprisings there however, the regime was swift to crack down, using force on the rallies. So far, over 1,600 people have been killed, and another 10,000 have fled to Turkey. There are broad similarities between the Syrian and other Arab Spring uprisings. Syria has been ruled for over 40 years by the Assad family, with “emergency law” being in place for even longer. Extrajudicial killing, torture and imprisonment have been widespread, with only a very limited and highly criticised version of democracy being allowed. The demands of the opposition leaders have been very clear and direct. They want Assad to step down, free and open elections and an end to the police state that has seen many hundreds killed or imprisoned for political reasons. So far, little has been granted by the leadership. Despite revoking the “emergency” law that was in place, over 1,300 of the 1,600 killed by the security forces were killed after that announcement. A further 10,000 have been arrested. There are good reasons why the Assad family have held on to power for so long. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, they have been far more willing to use violent force against the protestors and unlike Libya, there has been little international support, especially from the Arab League (the Arab-wide regional organisation), for the opposition.
This is changing, however. Despite the violence of the crackdowns, the resistance to the Assad regime remains strong and vocal. As well as this, internal politics within the region has meant that Syria, previously a major player in the League, has started to lose influence. States like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, that have managed to avoid large scale protest, are keen that further protests don’t spread. Representatives of the opposition leaders have been invited to the Arab League buildings to help coordinate their efforts, in the hopes that the sooner the revolution is shut down, the less likely it is to spread. The reason they have chosen to support the opposition as opposed to Assad is that he has long been a thorn in the side of these other states. Syria has
mean that Breivik will no longer be tried in the normal criminal justice system. The report will be reviewed by the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine, and if declared valid, changes will be made to the trial which is due to begin in April next year. If this is the case, Breivik could avoid a lengthy jail sentence in a state prison and instead be held in a psychiatric care facility. As Norway is still getting over the devastation caused by Anders Breivik, Norwegian officials have said that Breivik will be detained either way, and it is just criminal proceedings that will differ. Nevertheless, as this news is released, many Norwegian citizens who witnessed at firsthand such devastation and terror will most likely not sympathise with the psychiatrists opinions.
strong links with Iran, a regime that makes states like Saudi Arabia nervous due to their links with the U.S. By ensuring that Assad falls, they hope that they can engage the good will of the new regime in the hopes that Iran will be weakened. People continue to die however, and it is sad to see that many of the new regimes that have arisen from the Arab Spring continue to exert overt force, and make little moves towards a more democratic society. Syria is likely to fall. However, it must be remembered that none of the states that have fallen were particularly pleasant. It can only be hoped that whatever eventually arises in the region manages to be democratic and open. Too many lives have been lost.
Egypt Holds First Free Election Weird and Wonderful: Zombies Infest Mexico City O Steven Freeman
ver 10,000 people donned their best zombie gear and took to the streets in Mexico City in an attempt to break the world
record for zombie walking. Men, women and children from all walks of life got into the spirit from dressing in dirty rags to costumes that
would make Hollywood jealous to take part in this bizarre event. The current official world record stands at 4,093 people, who gathered at Asbury Park in 2010 to walk the streets as Zombies. A group in Brisbane recently laid claim to having a zombie walk with around 8,000 participants last month, but this amount has not yet been verified by Guinness World Records. The event in Mexico, which has topped this number, is just a sign of things to come as Zombies are becoming incredibly more fashionable, with ample movies, books and merchandise all relating to these ghoulish beings. Some cultural commentators have tried to liken this Zombie behaviour to social and political reasoning, such as the way it reflects the economic austerity, but most participants have reported they do it simply for fun.
n the 28th of November Egyptians voted for the first time since the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. The elections mark a milestone in Egyptian history, as for the first time in over 30 years Egyptians were able to vote without fear of intimidation from Mubarak’s men. The elections had a high turnout, and in many instances, it has been reported that there were long queues present outside polling stations throughout most of the day, the longest stretching an impressive 3km. The polls opened late due to administrative problems, but officials later extended the closing hours until midnight to compensate for this. However, amongst the liberated feeling in Egypt on the day, the rioting in
Tahrir Square in Cairo continued as some still believed that Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and his council should step down, for Egypt would not truly be free until this happens. However, after nine days of rioting and protest and with over 2000 injured and 41 killed, the elections went ahead as scheduled. Shortly after the polls opened there was an explosion in a gas pipeline between Jordan and Israel, but no particular group has claimed responsibility for the attack and it is not yet known whether the attack was related to the discontent in Egypt. The future for Egypt is far from certain, but it could be seen that the direction of such a broken country is towards recovery.
Published on Dec 2, 2011
This is the December 2011/12 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.