Regardless of my Norwegian passport or Norwegian identity, I rarely feel Norwegian. I feel human. And I rarely understand why people say there is a difference between us and them, because I do not make that distinction. We are all the same, we are caring, loving human beings, in search of meaning. This can be found everywhere. Many people find meaning in religions and faiths, here they find a place where they belong.
I am very lucky. Because I feel I belong many places. I belong with my family. I belong with all of my friends. I belong in my flat. I belong in my parents’ house, my childhood home. I belong in Oslo. I belong in Trondheim. I belong in Norway. I belong in Denmark. I belong in England. I belong wherever my fiends are, wherever that is.
I belong in this world.
And I feel like a world citizen. Theresa May can call me stateless as much as she wants, I’m not giving up on this hope that people can overcome differences and live in peace. I know this sounds crazy to some, but a wise man once told me that before I turn 30 I’m allowed to be a bit naive and idealistic so I intend to stay that way. Let me believe in world peace, at least for a bit longer, because without this world what are human beings to do? This is our home.
Even though I’ve grown up in Norway and lived here for almost all of my life, I still feel more like a global citizen. Home is so many places, not just Norway or England. Home is a place I feel happy, and my happiness is not restrained to one geographical area, nor is it restricted to one type of food, one culture or one language. Everywhere I go I see different people, even that can make me happy and it certainly makes me think. It makes me think of the whole world, of how similar and different we humans are, and most of all how much more there is to learn about this world and its inhabitants, its nature and wildlife. I am reminded of this everyday when I walk around in Oslo. I pass people from many cultures, which reminds me that Norway is a multicultural society.
This brings me to what I wanted to discuss; the title of this post: Norwegian Values. It has been a strange, interesting, fun and sad political campaigning period so far, it is not over yet, but before I continue: Imagine if the campaigning started a year ahead, as the American election, then our Norwegian politicians would have argued about Norwegian values for a year… I find that crazy, because the answer to “What are Norwegian values?” would be different for each person you asked. I do not believe there is a right or wrong answer, or a standard answer that would suit all Norwegians. There are over 5 millions, of course we are different, yet we are all Norwegians.
Ever since the debate about Norwegian values begun, I’ve been waiting for a politician to mirror my Norwegian values, but I’m still waiting. I wish “their” Norwegian values allowed me to be myself. So far, I do not fit into the square boxes that are described in this years debate. Solely, because it is only about Norway. The debate seems to have forgotten to add the argument of Norwegian culture having been influenced by foreigners for a very long time, very, very long time. Norway has been governed by Denmark for 400 years, a lot of our traditions are the same, and our culture very similar, so how can Norwegians be sure that the values debates are truly Norwegian and not Danish? My question to this whole debate: Why does it matter? Does it matter? Isn’t it more important that we continue to care about fellow human beings, regardless of whether it is Norwegian or not?
This years debate is missing the bigger picture, as Aftenpodden mentioned 17th August. The focus should not be on brown cheese and waffles, but Norways global role. Issues concerning more than just ourselves. What about the European project, for example? What about Norways role in world affairs? And for me it is especially important to hear more about how Brexit will change, for example, our trade with the UK. It is important to focus on Norways place in Europe and the World, in these times of change. Yes, times are changing and I do not want to just sit in this little, safe bubble Norway provides. It is time for Norway to change with the rest of the world, we cannot hide from this, and I miss this focus in this years debate.