Some 80 years ago the utter madness emanating from the Berlin Reichskanslerei had the world comfortably numb, due to its endless outpour and extremity – rendering the surrounding countries more or less insensitive, until the evil regime directed its anger, aggression and weapons toward us.
The constant madness currently pouring out of The White House seems to have much of the same effect. Certainly we’re outraged, but the scope of President Trump’s apparent craziness is challenging our ability to absorb it all, such as the VOICE (Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement office) initiative, introduced in the President’s address to the Congress last Tuesday, aimed at serving Americans falling victim to crimes committed by immigrants:
We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests. – President Trump
Covered by the media, sure, but didn’t really make its way to the public’s attention, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the endless stream of crazy moves. So the initiative passed more or less under the radar, drowning in a wave of political madness.
We’ve seen public indignation over families being split due to deportations (a measure held in high regard by some historic characters, too), leaving children orphaned on U.S. soil.
In Norway we pride ourselves with this passage from Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland’s poem Dare not to sleep, which is something of a favourite in Norwegian discourse:
You oughn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget
Clearly convinced that recital equals endorsement, yet, unlike U.S. authorities, we don’t restrict ourselves to deporting carefully selected adults, but up to three generations of entire families, based on an untruth once told by one of the grandparents, decades ago – rendering Donald Trump quite the amateur, in terms of inhumane treatment of immigrants.
Certainly it did stir a bit of commotion, for a day or two. Thing is, however, that injustice is carried out throughout an entire west scared shitless by the unfounded fear that Muslims – among others – harbour animosity against it.
We have, in short, developed into paranoid societies only too prepared to embrace any strongman willing to quench that fear by any means. Granted means we do not necessarily condone, but means just the same, leaving us insensitive to the scale of our own indecency (if not for that of our «enemies»).
So hey: Dare not to sleep!
Because, you know, we do. Americans and non-Americans alike.
Top photo: U.S. President Donald Trump. Official White house portrait.
Seeing as I very rarely get a chance to take pride in my citizenship, I am happy to announce that today one felt an immediate urge to declare one’s nationality out loud, for a minute or two – until it dawned on me that our government is a coalition leaning to the right, including a Minister of Immigration and Integration from the far-right Progress Party, championing and enforcing Europe’s strictest immigration, refugee and asylum regime, which has, believe it or not, resounded quite well with a large portion of the Norwegian electorate.
Inspired by Donald Trump’s «success» Europe’s far-right parties stand to experience landslide victories in this year’s upcoming elections, including my own country, leaving yours truly very cautious, despite our own Minister of Foreign Affairs’ promising statement. On the contrary I fear the coming of an international nationalist movement, contradictory as it may sound, not unlike the one seen in the early stages of the 20th century.
Be that as it may, I am grateful for Mr. Brende’s public statement, offering a glimmer of hope, however small, even though I fear we’re not about to see him tweet #WelcomeToNorway any time soon.
Top photo: Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende (Conservatives). Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr
It’s a move reminiscent of Breitbart News, which infamously had a «black crime» section.
On day six of Donald Trump’s administration, the president signed two immigration-related executive orders, officially moving forward on some of the key promises of his campaign: deporting undocumented immigrants, building a wall between the US and Mexico, and placing extra scrutiny on immigrants from Muslim countries.