Saturday, August 25, 2012

Something different - and uplifting!

Norway is a small to mid-sized European country of approximately 4.7 million people.  79% of the population lives in an urban setting.

The World Fact Book says the following about Norway’s history:
Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country's extensive social safety net with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness.
Pretty dry stuff, huh?  Hidden among those dry words is a history replete with violence, betrayal, conquest and defeat.  It didn’t even mention the fact that their Viking ancestors almost conquered the British Isles and barely alludes to the fact that they terrorized the whole of Europe as far south as the Mediterranean for those two centuries!

And yet, today, the Norwegians are known world-wide as a peaceful people of good repute.

Which was why the horrendous shooting last year so shocked the world.  How could such evil come from such a peaceful people?  And how would they react?  To Americans, this kind of thing has, unfortunately, become an almost yearly thing, and we react schizophrenically.  Many of us want to hang the bastard and the rest just want it to go away.

Well, folks, courtesy of the German TV channel Deutsche Welle, I give you a most notable news story about the Norwegian shooting and the trial of Anders Behring Breivik.

This story is brought to you by Deutsche Welle, NOT an American news source.  It is in english, but I want you to see the tangible difference in how the news is presented and the story told from American sources.

It is in several different parts, told at different times, but it all tells the story of a most remarkable country reacting to what is to it, a most remarkable occurrence.

Here are the links:   (I’ll wait until you’ve finished, please come back here after reading this for more thoughts.)

Finished?  Pretty incredible, isn’t it?   Could that kind of scenario ever play out here?  Would this country ever accept such a short sentence for such a horrific crime?

Probably not.

But think about this:

For a country which terrorized the whole of Europe as a pagan force of berserker warriors and almost conquered England, they’ve come a long way.

How much of Norway is Christian?

Recent poll results for Norway give this breakdown when it comes to religious beliefs.

29 percent believe in a god or deity
23 percent believe in a higher power without being certain of what
26 percent don't believe in God or higher powers
22 percent have doubts

No matter how you slice it, Norway is not a Christian nation.

How does that affect Norwegian society?

The Global Peace Index rates Norway the most peaceful country in the world. The Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living, has ranked Norway No. 1 every year for the last five years.

Norway has the second highest GDP per capita in the world, an unemployment rate below 2 percent, and average hourly wages among the world's highest.

Not bad for a bunch of socialists!

I want to make this perfectly clear:

This reaction, documented in the three stories I linked to, is astonishing in how it clearly shows how reason and a lack of religious policy making has resulted in a country whose reaction to such a terrible crime was to lock the guy up for only 21 years.

Over and over again, you hear the victims (and families of dead victims) say things you’d never hear in this country, forgiving things, things which show a strength of character by wanting to move on and forward, to get past the horror and build a better country.  No argument about gun control, no calls for the death penalty, no “lock em up for life” calls, either.  Few religious references in the statements of the victims.

In short, a complete trust in the democratic institutions and laws which they expect to deal with the situation.

Almost to a person, interviewees want to move past Breivik, to get on with their lives and try to see how they can improve their country so this can’t happen again.

In short, as sane a reaction as one could hope for, and one which shows a country with a strength of character to rival anything the US could show.  (After all, a substantial portion of some States in this country can brag of Norwegian ancestors!)

THIS is what I want our country to look like.

In a few days, Hopefully, DW will post a video of a show (In Focus) they aired on the 18th, before the verdict, which clearly shows much of what I’d like you to see.  Once they post it, I’ll link to it so you can see it - it is in English, and it will blow your mind.

I promise.

1 comment:

Oldfart said...

Michelle Bachmann comes from Minnesota - land of the Scandinavians......