Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg’s conduct during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony yesterday agitated quite a few, clearly demonstrating her contempt, not only by abstaining from applauding a number of statements, but by clapping – and smiling – in a demonstratively condescending way. Yours truly not exempt:
The fact that Norway’s government has the nerve to show up at the #NobelPeacePrize2017 award ceremony … Then again if they hadn’t … Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, eh, @erna_solberg?
Needless to say there’s been a lot of debate in the wake of the whole thing. The PM herself, and those sharing her view on nuclear weapons, keep trying to explain that applauding attitudes she does not share would be dishonest, and who am I to contradict that? Hell, I even agree.
Nevertheless the incident turned out to be a blatant show of the official Norway’s distaste for Nobel laureate ICAN, which surely cannot possibly have been the Nobel committee’s intention.
Better then to stay away, leaving the Norwegian parliament’s opposition, sharing ICAN’s views, to represent the official Norway.
That could have brought some dignity to the mockery we were forced to witness.
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.
Modern-day warfare brought about Internet attacks just as damaging for a country’s readiness, integrity, economy and infrastructure as last century’s threat of conventional and nuclear warfare, which, of course, is why every nation should be prepared and on high alert, with state-of-the art equipment to counter the attacks we see unfold on a daily basis.
Not about to commend our politicians for their ability to build an effective digital border defence I do appreciate their resolution to improve it – which, in all honesty, is long overdue.
I applaud Norway’s NOK 2.2 billion defence budget rise, even if we’re far from reaching NATO’s two percent of GDP goal – an aim that ought to be within reach, considering our country’s affluence. Thing is, though, that while vital parts of our defence are granted a substantial financial boost, an equally vital part of it, the Home Guard (i.e. the National Guard for American readers), carrying most of the responsibility for our territorial defence, as well as local naval defence, is subject to further troop reductions.
As a matter of fact the current Armed Forces long-term plan indicates that the Naval Home Guard, with its approximately 200 larger vessels and approximately 130 speed vessels, is to be disbanded altogether within a couple of years, whereas the overall National Guard has been reduced from 80,000+ troops at the time I myself was dismissed*, some thirteen years ago, to approximately 45,000 troops today – and counting.
With standing forces increasingly involved in international operations the Home Guard remains the only real defence actually on Norwgian soil, which only goes to show that conventional attacks or invasions are considered less probable, much like the pre WW2 attitude, resulting in very low defence spendings – and the rest, as they say, is history (foreigners without in-depth knowledge of Norwegian history may be grateful to learn that Nazi Germany occupied the country between 9 April 1940 and 8 May 1945, though).
Certainly cyber warfare is a very real threat, materialising on a daily basis, which needs to be met with all available measures.
It does not, however, entail the removal of a conventional, equally dangerous threat, especially in times of an intensified level of international conflict, not least with respect to our closest northern neighbour, Russia.
*Both as a result of the disbandment of my unit, 02503 Santhanshaugen HV-område (company) and the mere fact that I had reached the maximum conscription age (44 in Norway).
Top photograph: Norwegian Home guard soldiers partaking in a squad leader course. Photographer: Julie Hjermstad/Norwegian Armed Forces.
FUN FACT: Recent Norwegian discourse reveals a widespread misconception that even the remotest village deserves every single advantage found, not only in cities, but in the capital itself, while the capital, on the other hand, is worthy of total annihilation.
I’m looking forward to that. Knock yourselves out.
This is, by the way, where I live:
How wrong they all are is fairly self-evident, so shan’t try to elaborate, except to ask what they think the point in having a capital may possibly be.
Also (for Norwegian readers):
Hva skal Senterpartiet gjøre når alle flytter fra byen til landet Og landet blir til byen?
FUN FACT: Despite the fact that no more than approximately 3.3 percent of the greater Oslo population — approx 50,000 out of approx 1,500,000 inhabitants — are employed in governmental agencies (you would expect a lot more from a capital, no?), Norwegian politicians keep moving same agencies to other parts of the country.
This blogger, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if we’re left with no capital at all.
CNN’s fairly restrictive on-air profanity policy should be well-known by now (remember Madonna’s recent D.C. appearance?). Foreign languages, on the other hand, may prove to be a bit of a challenge. This F-16 pilot’s «Helvete!» translates to «Bloody hell!».
IDK, just felt strangely good to hear Norwegian cussing in international news.
You will, I hope, agree that we live in dangerous times threatening to throw international politics and diplomacy off-balance – and an America already in apparent disarray.
Amid American and European nationalist advances Norway’s PM Erna Solberg yesterday made a case for what she labelled a «positive» and «healthy» brand of nationalism.
To clarify, then, Ms. Solberg, nationalism never brought about a «positive» or «healthy» development. Attributing positive values to an otherwise utterly negative ideology will contribute to nothing else than a continued legitimisation of nationalism – and all that it entails.
Nothing good ever came out of it.
We eagerly await a retraction.
P.S. I have noticed, upon sharing this blog post in social media, that some confuse nationalism and patriotism, and have to admit that while in everyday life nationalism indeed does include moderate expressions of homeland affection, in politics it never does. With a blog post focused on the political aspects of nationalism, there really isn’t much room for confusion, though.
Photo: Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives). Photographer: Tomas Moss – http://www.icu.no.