Let me speak!
2011 is completing its cycle in a few days. There have been many great ruptures in this cycle which will affect many people’s lives over a longer period of time and might change the political environment in Norway for many years to come. The saddest event which will leave the deepest scars is the terrorist attack on the government, and the massacre at the Labor Party youths ‘summer camp on the 22nd of July by a right-wing extremist. He killed 77 innocent people and injured many more. This is the bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of Norway after the Second World War. Therefore, the 22nd of July will go down in Norwegian history as a milestone, because this day will always remind us that the struggle against racism and intolerance is a continuous struggle and we cannot afford to lose more lives in the name of nationalism or religion.
Internationally, the Norwegian government seems to have actively involved itself in the “regime change” politics and has been central in the bombing of Libya and the bloody overthrow of Libya’s president Muammer Gaddafi. It seems like the world leaders have not learned from the history of colonisation and occupation of other nations, either by military forces or by the economic exploitation.
We are witnessing the horrors of massive military interventions in many parts of the world. The presence of US and NATO military forces in Afghanistan is now destabilising Pakistan where millions of people have lost their livelihood and are thrown into poverty. People who are being deprived their basic needs and dignities often feel that they have nothing to lose by joining extremist organizations. It is important to remember that the “Arab Spring” is not only a revolt against the Arab despots; it is also a political struggle against foreign interventions and exploitation.
The violent destabilisation of many countries in the world is creating a huge number of refugees and displaced people. Who is responsible for their rehabilitation? On the 29th of January 2011 we could read in Dagbladet (Norwegian newspaper) that a family from Bosnia was threatened with deputation, regardless of their seven years old child who was born and brought up in Norway. In December 2011 we saw again a brutal deputation of a Palestinian refugee who has been peacefully demonstrating for the rights of “undocumented” asylum seekers in Norway. The Norwegian government should make a humane choice and give the “undocumented” asylum seekers, among them many women and children, amnesty and put an end to their insecure existence.
In 2011 we had communal elections. During the elections, all political parties tried to focus on their immigration policies to win the public opinion. The extreme right groups have usually related immigration to criminality and the oppression of women. Prior to the 22nd of July the public debates about integration of ethnic minorities therefore revolved around the usual issues such as hijab, forced marriages, genital mutilation, religion, welfare benefits and lack of Norwegian language skills. After the 22nd of July, however, the focus was shifted towards Norway as a multicultural society. The prominent experts analysed the challenges of diversity versus egalitarianism in the media, and these discussions will probably continue in the future. Norway has been given a chance to re-evaluate its cultural diversity and create conditions for peaceful coexistence within the country. It is a complex issue and we will always have a variety of opinions, which is positive for a flourishing democracy. However, it is important that the minority communities are given equal opportunities and equal rights so that they can make Norway their home. For the young generations who are born and brought up in Norway, this is their home and they are pushing forward in all spheres of life; making their presence visible in politics as well as in the economic and cultural spheres. This is what will make Norway a real multicultural nation. We hope more people will engage in the struggle for equality and human rights in 2012.
We wish all our readers a hopeful new year!