The French Election

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It’s a beautiful day to be Norwegian. I wonder if the people of France feel the same way about being French. One of the headlines in a Norwegian newspaper today: “Many hold their noses and vote against Le Pen”. Another one states that this election is “a crossroad for Europe”. How does the media of your country present the French election? I wish I knew french well enough to read what they say about it themselves.

A Norwegian’s view on the US election

I have thought about this post for a long time. I have tried to find the right words, but I am still shocked; still watching with eyes wide open. Tomorrow evening (or night for us Norwegians) either Hillary or Trump will become one of the most powerful people in the world. The President of the United States. Except the united part.

The Norwegian media has covered the election, and many Norwegians have followed it from the start. I wonder what it is like to be an American right now. What it is like to be in what seems like utter chaos to an outsider. It looks like neither of the candidates is suitable for the job, and one of them should never have been a candidate in the first place.

In 2012 only roughly 55% of voters voted. I hope more people will vote this year. The outcome of the election will affect not only Americans, but the rest of the world too. It would be naive to think otherwise. Even I, far away as I am, will feel the ripple effects. A lot of non-Americans wish they could vote. Me included.

So this final paragraph goes out to you. Dear US citizens, your vote is your voice. Please speak up. The rest of the world wants to, but cannot. Tomorrow you will sit down in front of your TV’s and hope that a person with an opinion completely different from your own, does not become president. And know that, even though it will be 3 am in Norway, I will be watching with you.

A Norwegian’s view on 9/11

I am a Norwegian, and was very young when it happened. So I, unlike others who remember where they were and what they did, have only been told what my reaction was like. I said to my older sister when she was scared of plains crashing into buildings: “Why are you scared? We can just duck.” The innocence of age.

The effects of 9/11 came quickly – surveillance, immigration vs deportation and ongoing wars. Suddenly the word “enemy” had a face. There was confusion. Anger. Grief. It was an attack on beautiful New York. It was  an attack on one of our most loved values – our freedom. Our freedom. Everyone’s freedom.

I was not there. I cannot remember what it was like to lose the two most dominant buildings of New York. New York’s pride. However, I have been here since. I have watched as hope has been rebuilt, and the city has been reclaimed. Freedom is everywhere in New York. I wish it could have been everywhere in the world.

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A Nationwide Grief

In my previous post I wrote about taking a step back from all of the terrible happenings in the world. This post is about when we need to stay put, when we need to remember. Today is the 22 of July, and it is five years ago since a terrorist killed 77 people because of their political views.

Ask a Norwegian, any Norwegian, about 22 of July she will be able to tell you exactly what she did that day. Exactly what happened in the moment when she first heard the news. 22 of July is Norway’s 9/11. I remember I was scrolling through Facebook. I thought it was some kind of sick joke, a bomb could not possibly have gone off in Oslo. No way. Not here, not in peaceful little Norway.

But a bomb did go off. And a man, whom I will not name, (because I hate how everyone knows his but none of the victims’) made his way from the site and to an island where a large group of politically active youths had gathered. He marched through their camp, like a soilder, and killed 69 of them, injuring 66. I cannot put into words the shock Norway was in. Cars pulled over all over the country because the drivers had to focus on the radio. A nation gathered in front of the TV, a nation shook their heads no. No.

Two days later we took to the streets. Some pain is too great to handle alone.

He was ruled sane. I find it astounding, the amount of damage one single human being can cause. The way we manage to justify the most gruesome acts. Horrible things happen every day, but we do not understand until it happens to us. Five years ago today, Norway understood. We will never forget. We will tell their stories. We will say their names. Now, and for as long as the people left behind live, we will feel a nationwide grief.

A Norwegian’s view on Brexit

I had to wait with this post; to take it all in. I never really believed they would go through with it. However, Brexit is a fact; dividing the UK as effectively as it seperates it from the EU. Some believe that they’ll finally be free, while others feel like they have just been robbed of their future. The end of the UK’s membership in the EU promises change.

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The main reason outsiders are against Brexit is the worry of an unstable Europe. Everyone is stressed out about today’s amount of refugees, the terrorist attacks that seem to happen more and more often, and the increased support for right wing populism worldwide. We know something has to be done, but can’t find a solution. We’re scared that while we ponder this, new terrible events will take place.

On the 22 of July, 2011, the far-right terrorist Anders B. Breivik killed 77 people for their political views. He placed a bomb in the government district of Oslo, and then went to a summer camp for politically active youth and started shooting. Before we knew who he was, there was a lot of finger pointing. No one expected it to be an ethnical Norwegian. One who looked like us. Talked like us. One of us. Inception isn’t just a movie; dangerous ideas are spreading, and the idea that it is us against them is the most poisonous of them.

The cold is seeping in, and we are closing our borders in an attempt to keep it out – forgetting that sticking together keeps us warm. Tension is rising and we’re eyeing each other with suspicion, making mistakes humanity should know not to by now. Brexit is marking change, and while we wait for the outcome, hoping for the best – we need to keep our eyes open.