Feb 28, 2011

It Is All About Love

Frankly, I am tired of it. Talking, reading and writing about love. It is too much. In newspapers, in television, everywhere. In our time love is commercialised. English is such a fantastic language, and they have words for everything, such as: Over the top.

As you already imagine. I agree!

Still, I am troubled. Love is essential in all people`s life. It is about relations to other people, connection. Not only to a lover, but in a very broad perspective. There are love between parents and children, between friends and in many various kinds of relationships, which has nothing to do with physical needs.

The human love, which we can share with joy and harmony and without expectations is the most important kind of love in my opinion. What you give of warmth and support and care is actually your gift to the humanity. It is indeed not a big issue. You are not going to save the world. You can just open your door to a neighbour, which would appreciate a cup of coffee at your home. It does not take more than a half hour or so and you have done something important, you have given light into an other persons life and you self have been enriched.

I have met true love while travelling around. I have met hospitality and kindness. I think I have seen genuine love in the face of many people. I have got these experiences in particular in places and areas where there are Muslims. Although I have never considered Islam to be any kind of aggressive religion as I do not reflect in black and white, I have had an opportunity to compare different societies and religions and I have honestly been taken much care of in Muslim communities.

Through these meetings and experienced I have learned a lot about love. Still I am talking about the human love, which goes beyond flesh. I think I have to make this clear as people easily misunderstand, and this is why I write this text.

There are too much focus on sex and too little focus on the strength and support we all can give each other. I have close women friends, and we are giving each other lots of support and positive energy. I also have some male friends, which I appreciate and love very much. Not because of their physics, but because of their good and honest heart. Sometimes I can worried about that I will loose their friendship as men have a tendency to think not only about friendship, but also something else. I do not want to discriminate, but I believe it is a little bit fact in what I write as I have experienced it many times.  I have not said it is wrong. Of course not. Sometimes I can feel attraction to men I met or see my self, and I have certainly not done anything wrong.

I want to promote friendship between women and men as it is can be a great gift in life. As I told you I have had some very good male friends and I have enjoyed talking with them, dancing with them, have fun with them, walking with them, felt safe and secure with them.

What a great treasure in life!

Human nature is strange. One wants more. One needs more. It is difficult to keep it as it is. Just let it be friendship and not crossing the bridge. Well, easy to say perhaps. Still, I would say, give it a try. Give friendship a chance to survive.

It will certainly give you strength.

These days I notice with great pleasure that many young people mix much more easily than my generation does. One does not see too many friendships between men and women of my own generation. Very fast, love is in the air.. or it is dropped.

What a waste!

I admire the younger generation which seems to be so relaxed in friendship, going out together, cafeteria, cinema  etc.

What a winner you are!

Did I say anything negative about relationships which end up in the bed?
No. I am not a moralist.  The sexual chemistry is powerful. Enjoy!
Still, we need the friendship, and the love which is transmitted through friendship, and which we can give with a pure heart and receive with a pure heart.  We all belongs to the same chain, as we are human, and indeed very much so.

Demokratiet er en søvnig velfødd gris

Historiske endringer finner sted i arabiske land. Mange slåss for rettigheter vi i den vestlige verden tar for gitt. Vårt eget demokrati får meg til å tenke på en søvnig velfødd gris som ligger like ved trauet, og knapt åpner øynene når den får mat.

Demokrati handler om politikk. Men stemmeretten til tross, er vi egentlig deltakere?

De politiske partiene får færre og færre betalende medlemmer, og holdes i live av statlige midler og fete sjekker fra støttespillere. De medlemmene som er igjen, drifter demokratiet.

I forbindelse med årets kommunevalg, har nominasjonskomiteer sittet rundt brune respatex bord og under 15 watts lyspærer og satt opp lister med personer som skal representere deg og meg i kommunestyrene. Men det er gjerne ”the old guard” som holder i tømmene, og dersom gjengangere med flere perioder i styre og stell vil fortsette, er det nesten aldri nei å høre. Det er snakk om små og snevre miljøer. Siden vi stemmer på partier, vet vi ikke en gang om våre folkevalgte ombud er kompetente eller ikke.

Noen som bryr seg?

Norske husholdninger er travle. Ansvaret for vår velferd er overlatt til en liten gruppe mennesker, i Storting, fylket og kommunestyrer. I mindre lokalsamfunn kan mangel på aktive innbyggere og kritisk presse, resultere i dårlig styring, samt ukultur i administrasjon og politiske miljøer. Kritiske spørsmål blir ofte ignorert.

Er vi gitt velstand og rikdom, men mistet grepet på politikken og samfunnsstyringen?

Jeg vil si ja. Vi trenger sterke stemmer som setter et skarpt blikk på et system, som kan minne om en ”take away” restaurant: Folk stemmer. Politikerne leverer. Derfor returnerer jeg til grisen. Fikk du med deg bildet og poenget?
Fint. Da stiller jeg neste spørsmål: Hva ville engasjert,  og gjort oss sinte? Mangel på frihet og demokrati?

Feb 25, 2011

Democracy Is A Sleeping Well-Fed Pig

In a couple of months the struggle for democracy and freedom in Arab countries has changed the map of politics and leadership. Although facing an unsecure future in both Egypt and Tunisia, there are no return tickets for long surviving leaders like Mubarak or the corrupt presidential family of Tunisia. Emotions are still intense and the young people in other Arab countries fight for rights which we in the West takes for granted.

I am a Scandinavian, living in a part of the world known for its welfare and wealth. Still I am getting worried as we are taking too much for granted.  When I think of our democracy one image comes to my mind: A sleeping well-fed pig, which just slips its eyes when food arrives.

Democracy is freedom, justice and all the principal human rights any civilian society should be build on. Still, democracy is also very much about politics and politicians, and of course the freedom to vote and thus be a participant in the democracy.

Did I write participant?
Well, this is one of the topics I should like to discuss with you.

As I said, democracy is politics - and politics is very much about political parties. All these parties have paid members.  Although the number of members falls and the state and supporters are giving out fat checks to keep parties alive and floating, they still have paid members. These members are the people who decide for instance the nominations of those who shall present the party in various bodies, community councils, regional councils, parliament and in the end the government.

Do you think all the members turn up at the meetings? 
No, that would be too naïve. Let me be concrete:  In a Norwegian community with a population of 10 000, which is rather normal in my country, only a handful will in fact turn up and decide the names on the nomination list.

The nomination committee, which has set up the list consists of three or four men and women, sitting around a brown table and under a dim light. Usually, they would not let new people in,  if the “elephants” want to continue and they would not nominate anyone the “old guards” does not like. Selection is done in a small circle.

This is going on, without any notice from the general public.

When the nomination is finished, you can go and vote at the election day. But as we vote on parties, the people on the list are secondary. We do not really know if we elect smart people, incompetent people or plain stupid people.  

Does any care?
I am not sure.

In a hectic and organised life as ours, we usually only put focus on politics when it happen to influence our budget and standard of living – or some times when important environmental issues are on the agenda. The politicians of higher levels, in parliament and government, are elected to manage our wealth. Politicians on lower levels, in community council, are elected to take better care of the community services like health stations, care of elderly people, schools etc.

Few people are in fact in charge of the destiny and development of our community. As long as it works, the politicians can live their own life in their small fish bowl. If you start to ask questions, the politicians will do their best to ignore you – as they are not use to involvement or engagement from out side.

Are we given wealth and welfare, but less involvement in politics and in the fabric of society?
Sorry to say this, but I think the answer is yes.  This is what worries me. We have few spokeperson who put attention to democracy in a welfare society. We need someone who could put a sharp and critical eye on the weakest link in a system build up, like a take away restaurant: The people vote. Politicians brings us the goods.

This is why I return to pigs.
Did you got the picture and the point?
What could really engage us, make us angry? What could bring emotions to our mind?
Of course: Lack of freedom and democracy.