Every now and then, the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik comes up with new ideas to get the press talk about him. Last year he filed a complaint, claiming that he was being tortured by the Norwegian authorities in jail. Now he is changing his name to something quite unexpected.
For those who need a little reminder, Breivik is the guy who made a bomb explode in the city centre of Oslo on the 22nd of July 2011, and then went on an island to kill teenagers gathered on Utøya island for a summer camp of Norway’s Labour Party Youth Organisation. In total 77 people died and 319 were wounded. This is the deadliest attack on Norwegian soil since World War II, needless to say it was a trauma for the whole country. See here for more information on the attacks.
For many non-Scandinavians like me as a French, but also Russians, Americans and certainly other people on this planet, the Norwegian police officers who found him literally shooting at kids while listening to music did not shoot him on the spot, but actually arrested him and brought him to justice. That thing democracies do.
Alleged torture in Norwegian prison
He also survived the whole trial, although the brother of a victim did try to hit him in the head with his shoe. And he was put in jail, for the maximum time anyone in Norway is allowed to be in jail: 21 years. It did not sound much in the face of what this man had done, so he is in jail for 21 years, with a possibility for a renewal of his time as long as he is considered a threat for society.
The thing is what Breivik likes most is media attention. He wants to spread his Nazi message, but the mean jail is not letting him access the internet, though giving him access to a computer, newspapers and television. But he doesn’t want to read them, he wants to be in them. So he finds all sorts of way to do that. In 2015 he applied to be a student at the University of Oslo to study Political Science, and was accepted.
In 2016, he got really creative and filed a complaint based on the alleged violations of his human rights. He accused the Norwegian state of inhumane and degrading treatment, and torture. Now all these allegations were based on “solid” proof:
- The use of plastic cups and paper plates
- Having to eat microwaved meals, such as those made by Norwegian firm Fjordland*
- Cold coffee
- Being denied the right to meet fellow Nazi friends and marry one
- Being prevented from publishing two books, The Breivik Diaries and The Nordic State
- He had begun to love a reality TV show, Paradise Hotel: “clear evidence of serious brain damage caused by isolation”
Despite the terrible circumstances, there is some humour in this. Unless he really believes that eating ready made meals is worse than waterboarding, and then there is just a lot of stupidity and disrespect. Some might say “bring him to a prison where his rights are actually violated”. But one might also see that whatever he has done he stays Norwegian, believing that he has right and can claim whatever he wants if unhappy with the service. Just to get some insight in how “bad” Norwegian prisons are, here is a short video on Norwegian prisons by Micheal Moore.
And here a less tabloid version of Norwegian prisons.
Changing his name to “idiot”
No in 2017, he still could not publish his book, so he decided to change his name in the Norwegian registry, from Anders Behring Breivik to Fjotolf Hansen.
Note that in Norwegian, “Fjott” means “idiot”. Free joke. Very hard not to write about it for Norwegians around, and for people to comment on it. On “baby names” forums online, Norwegians see this name as a bad choice nowadays as it makes your kid an easy target for mobbing. Nothing to worry about here, as he is already in jail, and is more the mobbing than mobbed type.
Fjotolf is also a traditional and old Norwegian name. Breivik had a lot of choices in old Norwegian male names but he chose this one. Strange, to say the least. Hansen is one of the most common names in Scandinavia. The other strange thing is that this man is probably never getting out of jail, so I don’t see him using that brand new name a lot. But that’s just me.
Now the bets are open. In 2018 he will come with something new. What will be his next move? Maybe he will ask for plastic surgery because he feel like his nose is too big and the Norwegian state owes him a self-confidence in his own body. He has lots of time on his hands, all the news in the world, and no way to influence his audience. Life is tough in Norwegian prisons. I know. He will sue all the papers and television channels of Norway for still calling him Anders Behring Breivik and not Fjotolf Hansen.