Oslo Car Fires Highlight Threat to Norway's Future
Taken together, two seemingly unrelated news stories from Norway paint a grim picture of that city’s future.
First, you need to know that Oslo is a sprawling, low-lying city, more of a small-scale Los Angeles than a small-scale New York. Out on its eastern flank is a large valley called Groruddalen which, a few years ago, was a sleepy mishmash of industry and suburban apartment blocks. It is now quickly becoming an urban center all its own. It is said that if current trends continue, Groruddalen will, within a couple of decades, dwarf downtown Oslo itself as a population center.
One not-so-little detail: the reason for Groruddalen’s rapid growth is that it is a destination for new Muslim immigrants. Groruddalen is, in short, a Muslim enclave in the making.
This is a first for Oslo. Other cities in Europe already have Muslim enclaves -- neighborhoods that are “no-go” areas for non-Muslims and that Muslim leaders consider autonomous or semi-autonomous territories, subject to sharia law and to the dictates of local imams. In these areas, young men terrorize police officers or firefighters or ambulance workers who dare to cross into their territory. Sharia dress codes are strictly enforced. And cars are set on fire.
Until recently, by the strictest definition, Oslo hasn’t really had a Muslim enclave. Yes, it has neighborhoods -- Grønland, Tøyen -- that are heavily Muslim. There are parts of these neighborhoods where you wouldn’t want to venture at night, or perhaps even in the day. And even in broad daylight, on a crowded major artery, a gay couple, say, would be well advised not to walk hand-in-hand. But until recently, as I say, Oslo hasn’t had anything you could unequivocally call a “no-go” area.
In the last couple of years, however, it’s been clear that Groruddalen is fast approaching that status. The rise in Muslim population in the valley has been accompanied by a variety of challenging developments, including gang wars and a rise in rapes and other violent crimes. The newspapers increasingly report on donnybrooks involving dozens of Muslim gang members; these often take place at or near the subway station in Ellingsrudåsen, a neighborhood in Groruddalen.
Yet another grim indication that the day of reckoning is near appeared in the July 11 issue of VG. The night before, it was reported, something had happened that is unprecedented in Oslo: eleven cars had been set on fire in Ellingsrudåsen. All of them had been destroyed, and three others had sustained fire damage. The same night, another fire in the same area destroyed a car and Moped.
You’ve read about the large-scale torching of cars in the suburbs of Paris -- crimes that the authorities seem powerless to stop, crimes that are the very symbol of the chaos into which the City of Light, among many other civilized metropolises, is sinking? Well, this is how it starts.
This brings us to the other news story I mentioned at the top. Before I get around to it, let me point out that only a few days ago it was reported that police departments in cities across Norway are being strained to the breaking point by the need to deal with people who go out on the town and get bombed on Friday and Saturday nights. “Weekend drunks require all police,” read the headline in Aftenposten. Part of the reason for this is Norwegian drinking habits. Norwegians are a highly disciplined people, but on the weekend, as if to let out all the suppressed emotion, many of them imbibe too much and get extremely rowdy.
But the larger part of the reason for this helplessness on the part of the police is that Norway, although a rich nation, has chosen not to spend much of its wealth on law and order. Talk to Norwegian politicians, professors, and journalists and you’ll soon discover that there’s a lingering sixties-ish view of the police as fascist pigs. Norway wastes millions of kroner ever year on “development aid” that ends up largely in the pockets of corrupt African dictators; it pours millions more into the pockets of non-Western immigrants who have become masters at exploiting the welfare system; for heaven’s sake, the Norwegian government even funds anarchists. It’s not entirely misguided for a Norwegian citizen to feel that his tax money is going less to fight the crime that threatens his home, his self, and his business than to support criminals
Even so, it was a surprise to read on July 11 -- the same day that the newspapers reported the car fires -- that out of 430 new graduates of the Norwegian Police University College, only fourteen have been offered jobs on a police force anywhere in the country. Fourteen!
Now, you can’t blame this on the economy. Norway is a rich country (which is to say that the government is rich, not the people), and it’s almost the only place in the Western world whose job market hasn’t been decimated by the economic slump of the last few years. No, this situation is the product of state budgetary priorities that are sheer lunacy. A police union spokesman complained that this shamefully low hiring figure represents a total betrayal of promises made by Minister of Justice Knut Storberget. And Roy Vega of document.no notes that Norwegian police strength has declined steadily in recent years to the point where there are now barely over 1.5 officers per 1000 inhabitants. Next door in Sweden, 3500 new positions in the police force have been added in the last five years, bringing the number up to 2.2 (which is approximately the minimum number recommended by the UN).
A few months ago, when I called the Oslo police and asked them to send over a couple of cops for what I considered an important matter, I was told that they wouldn’t be able to dispatch anybody for several days; when I attempted to explain the urgency of the situation, the policewoman on the phone was apologetic but explained that their resources were paper-thin: at the moment, in the whole of Oslo, she volunteered, there was only a single patrol car cruising the streets.
So here’s what we’ve got: a huge part of the national capital that is actively severing itself from the larger community and social order -- and a national government that, instead of responding to this aggression with assertive policing, has chosen to steadily cut down on the strength of its police. All I can say is that if you were a government official and you wanted the Islamists to take control of large swaths of the country, this is exactly how you’d go about letting it happen.
Not that I consider Norwegian leaders to be guilty of treason, of consciously aiding and abetting the forces of sharia. No, they’re just unwitting allies -- useful idiots. They’re socialist fools who believe that a low-level police presence is the sign of an advanced, peaceful society -- and all of whom, not coincidentally, live in parts of Oslo that are a long way from Groruddalen.