Tuesday, January 8, 2013


There is a debate about culture going on up here these days. Our Prime Minister chose Hadia Tajik of Pakistani descent as Minister of culture. I personally think she'll do as good a job as the previous Ministers of culture, but there are also those who firmly believe the opposite.

The world is so full of hate and disgusting inhumane behaviour these days it's depressing. When did we all so completely conform into this type of negative hateful culture? It is scaring the living daylight out of me. I don't think you can pinpoint one single country or any specific single area of the world, I think i's universal and it isn't healthy for anyone.

Culture is important to most people. Culture is a way of defining who we are. Some people feel very strongly for theirs. Culture is usually a good thing, but it isn't all good.

 The culture of cutting off part of a girl's clitoris and sewing up her vagina is not a positive, or healthy culture. That doesn't mean that the culture of an entire nation is bad, just that this particular one is. Most people around the world agree on this. The culture that nurtures young male athletes into thinking they are so above others they can "do what they like, when they like it" culture is another example of culture gone bad. We've all read about the poor young woman who was drugged and gangraped in Ohio. The culture that enables men to gang up on a woman and abuse her to death, like they did in India is yet another example. The culture that enables others to spread hate and provoke someone of committing suicide because they don't look "the right way", or because they're gay. The list goes on and none of it is good.

A journalist who writes for the tabloid, Nina Witosze, wrote her thoughts around Norwegian culture and about the culture debate going on in an article today. She immigrated from Poland in the 80s and at first had issues with finding any Norwegian culture at all. She spent some years dedicated to finding it out. It resulted in 10 things that frustrated and provoked her. She  then wrote that these provocative things is why Norway is "the best place in the world". 

I don't think Norway is the best place in the world to live, by far. That is just a point of view and also beside the point. I was fascinated by her 10 provoking and annoying straits about Norwegians. I translated her list: 


1) A strong, priestly, evangelistic tradition with the idea of goodness on the flag. «I want to die believing that the others are good.» (The Norwegian author)Bjørnson sang. 
2) A disappointingly little romantic view of the world, based on pragmatism and a rock-steady belief on sensibilitiy. 
3) A great trust in the government, quite unbelievable for a skeptic Polak or an Italian.
4) A genuine egalitarian drive which often leads to glorification of unapatizing medeocrity. 
5) An obbsession of telling the truth, annoying for those who come from countries where lying is a way of survival. 
6) An idea that freedom is something that comes from within, not from an external power of an oppressor and protector. 
7) A tradition for «dugnad»(This is a Norwegian word for a thing that is uncommon in all other parts of the world. It means Unpaid voluntary, orchestrated community work. For instance; Norwegians tidy and clean their neighbourhoods every year, for free, local authorities usually provides equipment like trash container and plastic bags,etc)  that came as a shock, because it's not forced and sponanous. 
8) A stubborn search for consesus rather than confrontation. 
9) An «Erotic patriotism of nature» - that I have never before seen. 
10) A strong belief in Norwegian good luck and that Norway is best. 

She's earned a storm of negative, racist and stupid comments for this article and her list. I think it's brilliant. I think she hit it spot on, whether we like it or not. I am guilty of being a mediocre Norwegian with a world view as romantic as a granite rock, who can be brutally honest, trust in my government and a firm believer in good ole common sense, who in addition is spoiled rotten enough to actually believe that freedom comes from within.

Perhaps it is time we all sit down and look into our own cultural set of beliefs and values. What are we teaching our children? What type of men and woman do we want them to grow up to be? How do we talk about those who are a little different around young adults and children? I'm just asking, because hey, this negative culture didn't spawn out of thin nothing. I wish that instead of looking for a scapegoat to blame, we'd stop and think and then ask ourselves; What can I do to stop this trend?  

It's just so depressing. and I know I'm being unrealistically romantic in thinking we can change things to the better, but you have to start somewhere, right? And you have to believe it can get better, or it certainly won't ever get better at all.


  1. I am praying for you. It sounds weak to some, but God is still God, and He takes care of His own. War is coming. 'Authorities' will blame this culture or that culture, because 'culture' has replaced nationalism. Next month, my Internet contract expires, so I may quit going online. Did you get the envelope I sent?

  2. Yes, I did. It came today and It took me completely by surprise, thank you. You didn't have to do that. It did make me feel good to know you enjoyed the surprise =)

    I don't share your views on the authorities and we don't share views on politics, or religion, but I still respect you and consider you a friend. I know you are a great mom for your girls. We don't have to think alike, or feel the same to be friends. It is okay to disagree without hating.

    I'm not always good at getting my message across the way I intend. I'm not referring to any government, or any authorities. I meant that I yearn for more tolerance in people in general. I wish there was more acceptance for being different. I wish we were better at treating others with respect and honor each other's right to choose to live our lives the way we feel is the best for ourselves.

    I fear that the need to promote MY/OUR way as the ONLY way has become overly important to the point where it is acceptable to bully, abuse, rape and threaten everyone who isn't just so-and-so, or believes exactly this, or that.