Most Norwegian news outlets have been living in a desert for ages, but it has been especially bad the last few years. It would have been tolerable, to a minority at least, if they had had the benefit of the occasional oasis, but no such luck. It feels like sanity took an extended holiday some time after the Iran-Contra affair, which was initially exposed by a Lebanese magazine in 1986, and never came back to the newsroom. That is, unless journalists have been using definitions of honesty, integrity and information flow that I haven’t come across in my textbooks yet.
But after an uneventful period in Norway since the Utøya-attack in 2011 a few journalists have seen their synapses coming online again, except that common sense still seems irrelevant. The feeling many have had that media haven’t been doing their job as a watchdog was confirmed this summer when a reader broke what became one of the biggest stories this summer, which says it all. It turns out that journalists have a habit of “loaning” and sometimes they forget to ask for permission or even tell their colleagues what they are doing. I think the first discovery was an article where the journalist had used quotes from a five year old article in The New Yorker, but the Norwegian journalist gave the impression that he had talked to these sources himself.
The situation right now makes me sick, as it did after Utøya and the murder of Benjamin Hermansen. We are all one big, happy family and we just want to invite every one to be a part of this happy, united family called Norway. We see the same in other countries, and I believe there was a big crowd in Germany waving banners saying welcome refugees. It reminds me of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. The old DDR was poor and the reunited country had to tear down old factories and build new roads, houses, schools, hospitals, bridges, power plants etc. Different sources give a different price tag. An article in Sunday Express from about a year ago said it was £ 1,6 trillion and rising. No matter what it’ll cost when it’s over we are talking about a lot of money. Germany also had to deal with a neo-nazi problem for a while. Nevertheless Germany decided to reinstate control and slow down the traffic on the border to Austria today, which means they have momentarily left the Schengen system. I don’t blame them. On the contrary, it was a wise decision, one they could have made much sooner when countries on the outskirts of EU asked for help. They acted when the problem reached them.
What troubles me about the situation now is that there is no opposition. In fact, if you even hint at the possibility that it might not be a good idea to have open immigration, you are labeled as intolerant and someone that spreads fear. There have been some people on facebook believing all propaganda they come across, and they insist that it’s the truth. It is possible, as some believe, that the reason this crisis suddenly exploded in our faces is because ISIS have planned to overwhelm Europe with hundreds of thousands of refugees. It is possible that there are terrorists among real refugees, but that’s something the authorities will have to deal with. Some of these Syrians are refugees, while some are innocent migrants looking for a better life.
I have suggested another solution on my Norwegian blog, but no one is paying that any attention. This should be a time for reason, and that is partly why I am posting this. I believe there will come a time when I have the right to an opinion because I could see where this was going. Many won’t have that privilege because they went with the crowd.
Small countries like Jordan (with an estimated 1, 4 million and Lebanon with 1,2 million Syrian refugees) are doing a lot more than richer countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. One of the reasons we have been seeing so many come to Europe is because they are not getting any help in their own region, but also because EU have been ingnoring the problem. This union left it to the countries bordering the countries outside the EU to deal with this, and these are some of the poorest, most desperate countries to begin with. The EU have only promised to accept 32 000 Syrians this year, while Norway is accepting 8 000 this year and 50 000 more between 2016 and 2019. I assume that family reunification will be an addition this these figures, so we are talking about a lot of people in a short period of time.
What happens when we don’t feel like one, big happy family anymore? Are we going to blame the government? That would be the logical choice, but that’s not us. No, we are going to blame the immigrants. It’ll be the Syrians fault that school budgets are decreased and that there is less money to take care of the elderly. It could get ugly.
What makes this especially bad is that Norwegians believe these people are going to be integrated, but Europe don’t do that anymore. Most European countries stick to a Canadian principle where they allowed the people of Quebec to do whatever they wanted as long as they paid taxes and were good citizens. Norway as the rest of Europe, have assumed that immigrants (including refugees) will decide to become Norwegian or the culture they move to. That hasn’t happened and if you don’t demand things from immigrants, they won’t bother. It’s considered intolerant to tell Muslims that we expect a certain behavior, such as not beating up your wife or sending your 12 year old daughter out of the country to get married. Many don’t seem to realize that low birth rate among Norwegian women and increased immigration could eventually change this country. Lebanon had a Christian majority at the census in 1932, but the country is believed to have a clear Muslim majority today. That could be the new Europe as well.
I have some more thoughts on this topic, specifically the responsibility NATO needs to accept. I’m coming back to that in another post. Incidentally, the USA have agreed to welcome 10 000 Syrians. That may seem like a somewhat small number.