Maaya says: we’re not there yet

Good afternoon everyone,
It’s election time in Norway, Monday is the big day. And although I know alot of my readers aren’t of age yet, I felt the need to make a post like this one, with the help of my own little politician of course. Fictional as he may be, Maaya was always more politically active than me, so I let him inspire me as I was writing, and as a result, I became more aware of the importance of politics, and my own heartcases.
The beauty of a democracy is having the power to shape the government, to choose who will govern for the next four years. Or rather, it’s about choosing who doesn’t get to govern.
It’s all about what you burn for, or course, but in my opinion what we should focus on is the right to live. Obviously we can’t have it all, it’s difficult to get someone to fix both the educational systems, more money for the schools and health sector, welfare, psychiatric help as well as enviromental and animal rights issues. In the end, it’s hard to get it all, and it might be hard to choosse what matters the most. For instance, I would love to see a bettering of the psychiatry, but the party that promises to focus the most on that are also for a lot of things that I’m opposed to.

Where am I going with this? Maaya can answer;

“Awareness. We need to be aware of what politicians stand for, what they’re against, and which parties are for ‘our’ cases. There are way too many countries in the world that actively practice discrimination on a daily basis. Denying someone the right to be themselves, whether it be based on religion, skin color, gender, sexuality or anything else, is wrong. I don’t understand how someone can for instance say that they want to fight against racism, they’re against discrimination and segregation, but then they won’t approve of gay marriages? That IS discrimination. It’s a violation of human rights. Not that it’s a human right to get married – that would be a privilege, in my opinion. But it’s a violation against humanity when you deny someone the right to be who they are. Saying it’s a violation against nature to be homosexual is ridiculous, look around and you’ll see that humans aren’t the only mammals where individuals are drawn to same-sex partners.
If you don’t like it, nobody can punish you for that, and nobody can force you to change your mind (even if they would like to with all their might). But, telling an entire nation that “you’re wrong, this is wrong, you are a freak.” and going as far as to punishing them for who they are – that is going too far.
You would never accept that your country say…banned a certain kind of religion for instance? That would never fly anywhere, unless we’re talking about a dictatorship. In a democracy, this kind of move would never be acceptable – or shouldn’t be. There are parties out there that continuously make suggestions or promises that are nothing short of discriminating – not to mention backwards. We’re in the 21st century, you can’t write homosexuality of as a “disease” or “unnatural” act. In that case, heterosexuality should also be banned, or how about banning an entire race?
Exactly.
What’s scary, is that a lot of political parties with absolutely horrifying plans appeal to a very large election-base; the young voters. A lot of voters know nothing more than that the party of choice is promising them things like lower alcohol prices, or lifting th ban on public consumption of alcohol etc. Kids care about partying.
Isn’t human rights more important?

So please, when the time comes to vote, have a look at what your party of choice has on their agenda regarding equality laws, views on homosexuality and other cases you care about.

Don’t let those who went first, who fought for these rights, have fought for nothing. We need to fight back, and make sure they never step on us again.

Thanks.”

There was alot of me in that too obviously, but for me this year there are two important agendas; the continous right to be allowto love and marry whoever we want in this country – regardless of gender, and the abolishment of the fur industry.
I wish all countries could be as open as we are, that everyone could be considered equals despite who they fall in love with, but knowing that there are still politicians out there who want to take this away from us, who still think it’s an illness and want it outlawed makes me realize that there is still a long way to go still. But they won’t win, right?

Happy voting everyone.

Advertisements

Words become empty

I’ve been thinking about doing this blogpost for about 24 hours now, what held me back was the need for more information, as well as the question of which language to write in. What would be more natural today would be to write in Norwegian, but as I have friends as well as readers who are English-speaking, I decided to keep this post in English as well.

If Norwegians turn on the TV these days, there will be one thing dominating the news, NRK and TV2 are on pretty much every channel, even BBC is focusing on our country, and incorporating footage from news broadcasts all over the world.
It’s unreal. I’m safe and sound in Trondheim, but it still feels unreal. Words become empty, it’s hard to have anything reasonable to say. In situations like this..what can you do?’
None of my loved ones have been affected by this tragedy, but I know people who’ve been affected, who know people who were nearby, who are lost or injured.
Alot of my readers live in Oslo, many of you have relatives there, many of you were there. My heart goes out to each and every one of you, I hope you’re doing as well as you can right now. My deepest condolances to those whose lives have been lost in this horrible tragedy, and to their families and loved ones.

It’s a difficult situation; “we didn’t see this coming”.
Well, of course we didn’t, who can predict something like this? On the other hand, this kind of “it won’t happen to us” mentality isn’t right either, we need to be aware that even if our country is small and insignificant-feeling in the big picture, we’re still here. And being here means that most anything that happens around the world, could happen to us. We need to be prepared. That doesn’t mean paranoid. It doesn’t mean “stop living”, life must go on. It’s not easy to just go on after something like this, obviously a lot will have changed after July 22nd, and of course we’re not going to forget – we shouldn’t forget, but we shouldn’t let fear and paranoia win. We need to stay strong, focus on what we can do; to help others, to be there for our loved ones, to be there for ourselves.

There’s hatred. Too much hatred. Of course the perpetrator is a horrible human being, of course he deserves being locked up for what he’s done. But letting ourselves be consumed with hatred only ruins it for ourselves.
I’m proud of our country’s way of handling things. I’m proud of our government, and of our Prime Minister, who stands strong, who condemns these attacks, but who still refuses to let this travesty breed hatred and suspicion. I applaud them for taking their time, not delegating blame from the first second, and for looking at the individual rather than a group of people as a whole. Stigmatizing, generalizing and finger-pointing… this is what wars are made of. I’m proud we didn’t go that way.
We have a Prime Minister who will fight back with more Democracy.

Norway is a country where we pracice Freedom of Speech, we have the right to have peaceful demonstrations, to be heard and to choose our government. We don’t see alot of these things up close and personal, obviously we’re in shock right now, as ‘we’ became ‘them’ – the countries on the news.
But in the middle of this shock and despair, we stand strong: the immense traffic on sites like facebook and twitter yesterday, the way people tried to help as best they could by spreading information, sharing telephone numbers, offering to drive people to and fro, to give blood, offering up their places for people to stay for the night. It was incredibly touching to see everyone working so hard together, standing together.

Words can’t describe this tragedy. Words can’t describe the way so many people felt, waking up to the number of casualties this morning. Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies a thing like this, especially not an attack on youths.  And so, I won’t say much more about it. I just wish that we never have to see anything like this ever again, that the person or people behind this will get punished for what he’s done, and that those affected will get the best support out there.

I’m not sure how relevant these things are now, but make sure to keep yourselves updated on what you can do to help, be it as offering your couch to someone who needs it, donating blood or just..anything that could help.
Talk to each other, cry together, don’t carry this alone. Don’t barricade yourselves inside and watch the news all day, it won’t get you anywhere – go out, take a break. Check if there is an arrangement nearby, at your local church or meeting place, for lighting candles or just talking with others.
We took a break today and went to the Nidaros Cathedral to light candles and offer one minute of silence, and I think those with the opportunity should do the same.

I don’t know what to say, and yet there is so much that I need to say about it. But I’ll leave it here. This is too long already. Just, take care of each other and hang in there ♥

Edit: If you’re in Oslo and your bloodype is O Negative, Ullevaal sykehus is still in need of donors! Call 2211 8900 or 2211 8865  (You might want to register here if you’re not already a registered donor)
Putting this one up here as well: The Police have established a special line for the next of kin of the victims at Utøya: 815 02 800
Keep an eye open for hashtag on twitter like #utøya and #utøyasavn if you’re looking for someone, or might know something about the people who are still missing.
Finally, The facebook event “Oslo er i god behold” is an archive people can look at if they have concerns about people they know in Oslo, over 63 000 people have registered and confirmed to be safe and sound.