On July 22, a crazed loner named Anders Behring Breivik set off a massive explosion that rocked central Oslo, taking eight lives, and then, in an action which proved the explosion to be a mere diversionary tactic, gunned down sixty-nine people, mostly teenagers, in cold blood, on an isolated island, Utøya, an hour or so west of that city. It was the darkest day in Norwegian history since World War II, and it set off a wave of nationwide mourning like nothing the country, or most Western countries in modern times, had ever seen.
It also had profound political repercussions. For while the explosion in Oslo had initially been assumed by all and sundry to be the work of Islamic terrorists, it turned out that the perpetrator was a young man fiercely opposed to the Islamization of Europe. It was clear why he singled out that particular island for attack. It is owned by the Workers' Youth League, the junior division of the Norwegian Labor Party, which at the time of the massacre was holding its annual summer youth camp. Amid more ordinary camp-like activities, the aspiring Labor Party politicians were spending their days on the island delivering political speeches to one another, listening to speeches by Labor Party leaders, being propagandized by Labor Party functionaries about the glories of socialism, and, generally, being groomed for power in the Norwegian government in years to come.