Norway


Repercussions of the Norway Attacks

It has been just over a week since the brutal Norway terrorist attacks and it is not at all surprising to see that the news of the attacks have completely disappeared off the western media front. It’s all about debt ceilings, celebrity deaths and anything else that comes to mind ever since it was found out that the terrorist wasn’t Muslim or hadn’t converted to Islam. It is embarrassing and pathetic. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if the terrorist attacks weren’t carried out by a blue-eyed, blond haired, Norwegian? It certainly wouldn’t have dropped off the news this quickly, that’s for sure.

There was a piece titled “Why Norway Could Happen Here” by Peter Beinart a few days after the attack which stated that “the same anti-Muslim bigotry that influenced Anders Breivik in Norway is widespread among right-wing extremists in America, and could trigger a similar attack here” and you saw that in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Sure the attacks can happen any where and it is not necessarily just limited to the United States but the tendency to allow military ideology to prey on mentally vulnerable people fosters a hostile culture towards anything that is different.

There were reports left and right that this had the hallmark signs of Al-Qaeda or Muslim extremists but that just wasn’t the case. In a matter of days, the Crown Prince of Norway did apologize in person to the Muslim community there at the World Islamic Mission Mosque in Oslo that there were some in Norway that immediately thought this was an act of a Muslim. That kind of humanity and sincere gesture is something you would never see here in the immediate aftermath.

In the clip below, Stephen Colbert walks through the American media’s early coverage as the news of the attacks were unfolding.

“These journalists were able to get the story they wanted and scoop reality,” Colbert joked. “Even if there was a rush to judgment, we must not repeat that mistake by rushing to accuracy. Just because the confessed murderer is a blond, blue-eyed Norwegian-born anti-Muslim crusader doesn’t mean he’s not a swarthy, ululating Middle-Eastern madman.”

Even more embarrassing than the media’s rush to judgment, though, were the half-hearted retractions that came after. Colbert played a clip of a CNN guest attempting to explain how a Nordic-looking person could have a committed such an attack. “Maybe it was a good disguise?” the guest theorized.

“Yes,” Colbert said, “which is more plausible? That a non-Muslim did this or that Al-Qaeda has developed Polyjuice Potion?”

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Not A Bad Few Days… 2

Well the past few days have been a little busy as I’ve traveled around Norway. I went among other places Lillehammer (site of 1994 Winter Olympics), a local beach, a jungle of sorts that starts from the backyard of my cousin’s house and the Holmenkollen ski jump.

Norway has pretty much been what I expected it to be… not too many cars (good luck getting stuck in traffic here… just doesn’t happen). Tons of people just walking around or on bikes all the time. I wish I kept my phone on (which has a pedometer) to keep track of how much I’ve asked these past few days… it has certainly been a lot. Holmenkollen was simply fantastic and makes me wanna go skiing or ski jumping (haha).

The jungle that starts in my cousin’s backyard was not what i expected it to be at all. I thought it would be something small and short but boy was I in for a hike. We cut it short to only an hour but it is a remarkable trail (see pictures here on my sister’s blog). I think I’m gonna head back there tomorrow morning and I know my sister won’t be tagging along… that hike took quite a bit out of her the first time. There are also reports of snakes and other sorts of animals in that jungle but I didn’t see any in the first time there… maybe its a little ominous to be asking/hoping to see them the second time around but we’ll see how it goes.

We went to Lillehammer yesterday which hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics. The weather was completely awful and that is an understatement. There was plenty of rain and so much fog that you could barely see anything in front of you and never mind anything on the sites like a huge ski jump or other sites. I got a chance to go into the gift shop there and was met by a wonderful tour guide of sorts named Hans who showed plenty of highlights and artifacts from the games and even signed a couple of postcards (don’t ask me why) with his name, number and email address. I learned plenty from him and it was wonderful that he spoke English but it clearly seemed like he hadn’t seen a living life form in ages and was just happy for the company.

Went to a local beach today which was really amazing. Although at times it was disturbing to see some what grown up children without any forms of clothing, which has happened twice now, it was still a great experience. Plenty of walking along the bumpy rocks with cousin and his father, another half an hour trek by the mountain side and the fjords as well as being talked to by a guy in Norwegian and nodding my head to his talk while I have no idea what he trying to say. On the other hand, I did eventually learn how to say “Do you speak English?” and “Thank you” which should come in useful.  I’ll have pictures up on ABG Photos here soon, so stay tuned.

Tomorrow and by that I mean later today since it’s 3 AM local time, I think I’ll travel more in Oslo city and see the downtown a bit more. Maybe some really good food tasting is in order and a movie at night at the unique local theater would be nice. We’ll see what happens but let me try to get to bed for once before the sun is completely up (around 4 AM local time) and before my cousin’s wife gets up to go work. I have gone to bed after she has woken up to go to work more than the other way around… and that’s something I should definitely change. More Halo in line for tomorrow night, so if anyone wants to join me around midnight Norway time, 6 PM EST… let me know.

Random Fact: The day of the opening ceremonies, art thieves stole Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream from the National Museum in Oslo.

Also remember that life is like a box of chocolate, a box that I just might bring home if it is Mars Chocolate Bars… something I can’t find back in the States.

One more thing, how have the Yankees been doing? I haven’t paid much attention to them while I’ve been here but any thing specific that I missed out on that a boxscore won’t tell me? and what’s up with Willie about to be getting fired anyways?

– ABG From OSL


ABG From Norway 1

Greetings from Norway!

I’ll have more updates later but I’m here until the end of the month and hopefully these next 10 days are fantastic here. Stayed tuned to find out if my sister bothered me on the airplane ride again or not, how the food was, and anything else out of the blue that might have happened between Newark and Oslo.

Anyways, here are some random pieces of information regarding the country:

Population: 4,644,457 (July 2008 est.)

Religions: (2004)
Church of Norway 85.7%,
Pentecostal 1%,
Roman Catholic 1%,
Other Christian 2.4%,
Muslim 1.8%,
Other 8.1%

Literacy:
definition:
age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%

Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy

International Disputes: Norway asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Queen Maud Land and its continental shelf); despite dialogue, Russia and Norway continue to dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia’s fishing rights beyond Svalbard’s territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone.

All of this information is courtesy of the very friendly CIA: The World Factbook.

– ABG From OSL