OGH Comments

Feb 02
Egypt with fire in her eyes

It may be strange to post to this section through a kind of extended “beat poem”, but OK here it is.

Egypt with fire in her eyes

Home is where the heart is
But when there is no work, no food, no future – there is no home

Egypt has arisen with fire in her eyes
So-called apathy and lethargy, but now, banners in the streets

People showing up, we want human rights, and we will not yield to dictatorship
We don’t flee, we don’t give up to fear, we won’t use violence, and we stop looters and violence
I bow deeply in honour, as I watch street demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and other places in Egypt

It is not the sword of Islam, it belongs to all religions
It is not the superiority of Marxism, Liberalism or any other -ism
It is not the voice of any single belief

Instead, it is the big voice of all, of democracy, the experience of history
A power of old, a sister and brother, an ancient parent, a deep prayer
Learning from the best, South Africa not just for the black man, not the killing, but peacefully, together

Many things can come out of this, and for a poor country, it won’t be easy
Yet nothing can stop the forwards momentum, if people hold on to justice and democracy
People power is old women, not just young men
People power is a critique of those who have traditionally represented people
People power is an old power, like the power of cancelling debts, freeing labourers, letting the Jews go, equalizing beliefs
People power is a new power, women as much as men, peace before violence
Egypt has arisen – and the fire in her eyes gives hope to the whole world

I am just a European watching Egypt’s revolution on TV
I am just exposing my troubled mind
I am steeped with killing solutions, my history is full of it, even in small Norway, like the persecution of the Sami people
The west has blood on its hands – how can it help, making things better, from now on?
I am tired of the north African world being a despotic world, why can’t they get a chance like everyone else?
When I was young, South East Asia was a poor and war-torn region, now it is prospering
South America had dictatorships, now it has democracy
Now is time for Africa to move

My mother barely escaped the Nazis, fleeing to Sweden in World War II
My father fought with the British marine, securing convoys to Murmansk
My uncle was in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen, and barely survived
My other uncle fought in the Norwegian resistance

Egyptians, unite for democracy, and you will have the victory on your doorstep
Develop democracy for all, in everyday life, and it will lead to the developments you want, for all the people
We Norwegians united, to create a democratic state from 1814 onwards
We resisted colonialism and occupation, and won
We have some fire too

As world citizens, we were all betrayed by the horrendous 20th century killing solutions
Nazism especially, but also Stalinism
I was born in 1952
Seven years after the gas chambers
The gulags still ongoing
The two worst horrors humanity has yet seen

Why did these horrors happen?
Capitalism did not work out, not for the people, only for the rich
Reactions appeared, these were misused, catastrophies followed
Capitalism’s antidotes, its vaccines, like Marxism. were initially good, but were misled and became killing solutions instead

Why could such beliefs be misused?
They missed a central point, democracy
It was so weakly developed, that power people could take the front instead
The first holocaust, before the Nazi execution of Jews, was the Stalinist killing of revolutionary opponents
My uncle told me, German communists were the first inmates in Sachsenhausen
It all started with imprisonment of the opposition, breaking the first democratic principle
“Freedom is the freedom of the person that disagrees with me”

This is why I look into the eyes of Egypt and see a fire that is different
How can the democratic fire of street demonstrations remake a nation?

It is the spirit of democracy that makes people rise, the need for dignity, not the right belief
Perhaps there is a greater historical purpose, to get the message across, to get the old power to work
Don’t give in to factionalism, split interests or fundamentalist causes

Just get the little gold ring in place in the middle
Gold not for its value but for its prophecy
The voice of wisdom
To unite, to make democracy work
Women, as much as men
Is the ring whole?
At first it seems broken, but you can find the missing parts, they are there

The fire creates the ring
The fire in her eyes

Home is where the heart is
Egypt is our home today

Nov 25
A well meaning man

Today, Norway’s largest newspaper Aftenposten published the following debate article from the Conservative party’s (Høyres) leader, Erna Solberg, celebrating former prime minister Jan P. Syse, who would have been 80 this day, 25 November 2010.

Syse, Solberg remarks, was very much located in the conservative tradition. Syse argued that the private property is the fourth right (beyond the French revolution values of freedom, equality and brotherhood), securing the right of the individual against the state. Solberg also describes Syse as a cooperation man, and notes his idea of “co-property democracy” (medeierdemokrati).

This blog is for research, not politics, but these ideas are interesting for research. The co-property democracy idea strikes a broad chord for example in working life research, although it is hard to achieve.

Honours to a good man, and to a woman for making the point.