White is not a colour

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On the 22nd of July 2011 the right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo and on Utøya in Norway – one of the scarcest populated and wealthiest countries in the world. He believed himself to be defending Norwegian culture from multiculturalism.

In 2013 the Norwegian people voted in an alliance of the conservative party and the Progress Party which is the same anti-immigration party where the terrrorist previously was a member. Two years later the xenophobia and excessively negative framing of the refugee crisis and immigration debate is getting harsher, and the hateful ideology in the Norwegian social media and amongst people is getting alarmingly closer to the ideology of a terrorist we once had difficulty understanding was one of our own people. In a country that was blessed to find oil resources and consequently reached the highest standard of living in the world, words like “empathy” and “kindness” have for the recent years become terms of abuse. People who plead compassion for refugees are being accused of being “tyrants of goodness” by ministers of the government.

The increasing number of Norwegians who insist on defending our culture from multiculturalism and claim that the Norwegian culture and its religion is superior to those of another skin colour or religion, are leading us into the coldhearted, suffocating culture of fear and hatred of the terrorist who is spending a lifetime sentence in a Norwegian prison.

Tine Poppe is a freelance photographer based in Oslo. Her work has achieved international awards several times and has been exhibited in the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, International Photography Awards IPA Best in Show Exhibition and the Lucie Awards Exhibition at the Climate Change Summit COP21 in Paris, showing the world’s best environmental photography.