A recent 18-page essay by respected French journalist and author Richard Millet has caused a major stir within the country’s literary community. For a hint as to why, look no further than the work’s title, “Literary Elegy for Anders Breivik”, reports France 24.
Millet penned the essay after delving into Breivik’s 1,500 page online manuscript, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence”, in which the self-styled Norwegian “crusader” detailed the reasons that led him to kill 77 people in Norway’s capital, Oslo, and the nearby island of Utoya on July 22 of last year .
To some, Millet’s review of Breivik’s manifesto smacks less of criticism than sympathy, if not outright admiration.
“Breivik is among the disenchanted who become lone, grey wolves. There is something grey about Breivik. Because of this, he could have been a writer,” Millet wrote.
Millet goes on to describe Breivik as “a desperate and despairing sign of how Europe has underestimated the ravages of multiculturalism. He is also a sign of how spirituality has been beaten down for monetary profit.... Naively, Breivik, far from incarnating evil, has become a sacrificial instrument for all the evil that is eating away at our societies”.
From Millet’s point of view, literature, immigration, the dictatorship of money, and Breivik’s massacre are all interconnected.
The literary critic elaborates by expressing his regret that Europe has, over time, “renounced asserting its Christian roots” and that it “refuses to consider the Muslim call to prayer as sounding the death knell of Christianity, and therefore the end of our nations”.
“Amid such decadence, Breivik is without doubt what Norway deserves, and what awaits all societies that continue to blind themselves in order to better deny themselves, in particular France and England,” Millet wrote.
Millet’s essay, which was published on August 24, triggered an outpouring of condemnation in the days that followed. Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun labeled the piece a “useless and disgusting provocation”, while French journalist and literary critic Sylvain Bourmeau described Millet as “dispicable” and his prose as “contemptible”.
Read more of this report from France 24.