I have just finished reading a terrifying document. It’s called 2083: A European declaration of Independence.
It’s full of advice for the budding Christian martyr. Handy tips on how to build bombs and make poisons on how to use video games to hone your shooting skills.
I came across it on a far right website.
At 1511 pages long it’s a work of extreme prejudice – against Muslims predominantly.
Ultimately, the author wants a Muslim-free Europe.
The author’s name is Andrew Berwick. He datelines the document London 2011. He spent 3 years of his life writing it and clearly believes, with a passion, every single word.
The Norwegian media claim this document is written by Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect behind the brutal attacks in Norway.
At the end of the book are pictures of Breivik himself, dressed as a blond haired and blue eyed hero of the Knights Templar.
Christian crusaders, the book suggests, have returned and are alive, well and living in London.
His last diary entry is dated 22 July 2011. There seems to be little doubt that Berwick is Breivik.
I have covered extremists of all hues for a decade now. What worries me about this document is the parallels that exist between this and another document found in a Manchester, United kingdom flat in 2005.
That document was dubbed the ‘al-Qaeda military manual’. It has a similar theme to the 2083 document – An infidel-free Middle East Handy tips on bomb making, etc.
Two sides of the same coin.
Whether both documents prove to be fake or rather, authentic catalogues of destruction, the very fact they are out there is a chilling thought.
Anyone with access to an internet connection can download these guides.
When read with the right mindset someone could – and in the case of Norway, has – create havoc on innocents whose only crime it is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Now, it seems like I might be trying to advocate against free speech. I’m not. Free speech is an absolute for me.
No. What worries me is the how freely this information has come to be available in our information age.
The author of 2083 document claims to have 7000 “friends” on the social networking site Facebook, all of who can get a copy of the manifesto.
Clearly for some of those 7000, it will be interesting to read. Even for me as a journalist, although I found the author’s take on events skewed and in places wrong, ultimately I couldn’t stop reading it.
But for others, the messages behind the ‘al-Qaeda military manual’ and ‘2083’ are a call to arms.
On that path, as we have seen in Norway, tragedy lies.
The challenge for us who believe that violence – religious or otherwise – can never be justified, is how we stop lone figures and small cells from attacking us without destroying the very freedoms we care for.
Should these documents be somehow wiped from the web, or should they be allowed to exist? Not easy questions.
Do our governments have a solution?
And while we are on the subject, should I even be writing about the documents?
Yes, is answer to that one. As I said earlier, free speech is an absolute. And so is social cohesion. Which is just ‘political speak’ for “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Evil will always exist in the world, but we are not born that way. Norway has shown us where years of prejudice can lead.
I write that last line knowing full well that I sound like some sort of budding Miss World…