Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

An honorable slave trade

In Society on 30. September 2017 at 17:52

A LOT HAS happened on the legal front when it comes to slavery, still the numbers are alarming high. An estimated 40 million people in 2016 lived under what is dubbed modern slavery, of these about 25 million were in forced labor, while the rest, 15 million of them, living in forced marriages. The latter bulk is definitely under-reported, no-doubt, because there are shades of force, taboos and most of all the acceptance of fate.

For whoever or whatever is to blame, there remains a fact that a society in where girls are married underage, where their say has little to say to enter a marriage, and where hurdles are great many to get out of these legalized prisons, there is in all practicality a tolerance of slavery.

In the guise of religion, culture and tradition, the institute of marriage is used to legitimize and safeguard against the fight for equality between genders, and freedom of choice and movement.

The link between forced labor, forced prostitution, and that of domestic labor and rape in the form of marriage is the crux on the problem. When can one enter the private domain and unshackle the injustices that are morally unacceptable as long as a marriage contract is not visible?

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Verdiers fiender og voktere

In Society on 25. August 2017 at 16:27

FÅ DEBATTER GIR så mange angreps- og forsvarsvinkler som debatter som vedrører verdier og identiteter. Slike diskusjoner har få matematiske faktum å forholde seg til, og hvis tilfellet, så kan selv disse faktum brukes til den konklusjon som allerede er trukket.


Det er derfor ikke rart at høyrepopulistiske partier kan få medvind når det uttrykkes bekymring for og om nasjonen, dets fremtid, dets lim, fra noe fremmed som truer med å fragmentere, destabilisere og fjerne hva som er kjent – hva som er trygt.

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Of freedoms and exile

In Society on 31. May 2017 at 20:30

IF ANYONE CAN tell of populism, fake news, conspiracy theories and all that follows strongmen riding a populist wave, then it would be the many Muslim majority countries that can present authoritarians of all colors. Moreover, if you wonder what the cost is of illiberal populism in the hands of illiberal leaders, then the citizens of the same countries have a long tale to tell.

While fleeing authoritarian policies, many a Muslims have found home in Europe and the ‘western world’, where they can safeguard their lives, families and freedoms of ideals, faith and speech. At a safe distance, they have in recent years seen a shrinking space for freedoms in their countries of origin (to a varying degree), with the element of increased demands for freedoms (with their dire consequences).

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On populist surge and traditional purge

In Society on 30. April 2017 at 20:59

THE DOMINANT POLITICAL narrative in the recent and upcoming elections are filled with myths that are taken for granted as truths. Political interest on immigration, its effect on the national unity, nationhood and its survival, globalization and the lack of sovereignty and the dominant of them all, populism, its surge, and the apparent almost purge of the traditional political landscape.


All form the central themes in an environment where de-industrialization and inequality increases popular resentment and anger towards an imagined elite. What is myths in this, and what are the truths. Are these concerns of nationhood, national unity, identity, multiculturalism, populism-vs-elitism, a new phenomenon? How to dissect the myths, and the realities in this inflated debate?

What effect does a populism that is based on tribalism have on the rights based order – and how do one enter a global order that can take into consideration the dilemma between choosing both democracy/rights and sovereignty? In the end, how is diversity in the current form, any different from diversity from our near past? Is multi-identity based citizenship possible or is such a project forever dead and bygone?

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The promised messiah

In Society on 31. January 2017 at 17:26

ISLAMIC ESCHATOLOGY IS a part of theology that is prone to more deductions and loose translations than perhaps any other field. The coming of a messiah, the second coming of Jesus, or the awaited reformer – there are several figures who make their rounds when some clerics tries to tell of the events that leads up to judgements day.

This interest in the days before the end has led to a worldview among certain believers of signs of the end, or the confirmation of events foretold in the real politics of our realities. The same stories are understood though differently, and they touch upon central doctrines among the majoritarian sectarian families among Muslims. These thoughts seem to flourish in times of crisis, great distress or popular resentment.


One interesting consequence of this is the concept of searching for real-time popular leaders who somehow have the semblance of messiah like figures, and whose agenda is linked to greater prospects of one’s own social and political conditions.

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Fourscore and seven years ago

In Society on 24. November 2016 at 22:50

Also published at The Nation blogs.

ABOUT ONE AND a half century ago, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous – now almost mythical – Gettysburg address starting with the words fourscore and seven years ago. His emphasis on liberty and equality enshrined in the state, and to work to protect these values in the state are good reminders after the recent political setbacks.

Donald J. Trump bagged the vote on a message of fixing a weak system in order to make America great again. On the ticket of Lincolns party Trump galvanized a voter’s base for the wrong reasons – a message of exclusive nationalism, to bring back the imagined glories of a past well hidden behind the grey areas of wording and retracting. While the established parties led by Democrats could not engage voters for the right reasons, and thus large portions of voters stayed at home.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement to comment on the result of the presidential elections in the US on November 9, 2016 in Berlin.  / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZTOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images

History is not at an end, as Fukuyama once announced the otherwise. What seems to be unfolding in front of us, with the many ‘set-backs’ these last years, and the future to come, is the disruption of an international order, where nationalism (tribalization) makes a short comeback in its fight against liberalism (globalization).

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Når individet forsvinner i mengden

In Society on 31. October 2016 at 20:13

Uformelle identitetsfellesskap er en faktor som råder i innvandrings- og integreringsdebatter, men hvordan vi oppfatter disse og hva konsekvenser det har er noe som overses. Uformelle fellesskap med dets uformelt utnevnte talspersoner – og med det, tilhørende ideologier og doktriner som blir påført disse fellesskap, er en pakke som enkelt blir projisert på individer.

I debatter som handler om nettopp identiteter som nasjonale, etniske og religiøse, så er det i retorikk ønske om å fremme sitt standpunkt som mer relevant og støtte sitt fellesskap som noe større, enn hva det egentlig viser seg å være. Slikt blir meninger tillagt basert på for eksempel etnisitet – og slikt forsvinner individet i en forestilling hvor homogenisering umyndiggjør individets tankefrihet og meningsrett.


Det er to trekk gjennom de siste par-tre århundre som har beskrevet menneskehetens progresjon; 1. Økende grad av globalisering, og 2. Et sterkt fokus på individet og dets rettigheter. Disse to kan virke motstridende i.e. hvor ene knytter alle til noe felles, mens det andre fragmenterer og polerer frem individet. I en brytningstid hvor noen ønsker nye fellesskap, andre en revitalisering av gamle, og hvor idealet er at individet står sterkt – hva skjer med nettopp individet?

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Det digitale krigsteateret

In Society on 30. June 2016 at 21:12

Hvordan det digitale rom både er et verktøy for kontroll og undertrykkelse som det er for rettighetskamp og representasjon

Det digitale rom har gjennom nye teknologiske nyvinninger, skapt arbeidsplasser så vel som effektivisert produksjon av varer og tjenester.

Samtidig er det også et område som råder usikkerhet når det kommer til rettigheter og plikter. Den digitale bruker er ikke fullt ut oppdatert på utviklingen som skjer, og ens plikter ovenfor myndigheter og andre autoriteter er relativt ukjente – likevel forplikter bruker seg til omfattende krav i møte med organisasjoner som Apple og Microsoft. Bruker bidrar med andre ord til å erklære sine plikter i et rom som er svært lite regulert i form av rettigheter.

Følgende er en analyse av det mulighetsrommet den digitale tidsalder har gitt menneskeheten, og som følge av det, de rettighetskamper som engasjeres – samtidig er digitale verktøy med på å undertrykke de samme rettighetene.

Hvor godt er vi rustet opp i det digitale krigsteateret for å møte på den digitale undertrykkelsen, og hvor støttende er vi til den digitale rettighetskampen slik vi kjenner den i dag?


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King Sadiq Khan, first of his name

In Society on 18. May 2016 at 22:28

The election of labour candidate Sadiq Khan as mayor of Greater London triggered a viral news reporting. His Muslim (and non-western immigrant) background made him the first of his kind to this post, an identity which dominated the campaign.

To counter the news, others started posting lists on why he was not the first of his kind, that the continent (from which Brits are to decide to leave or stay within soon) have had and still has mayors and elected members in counties, districts, parliaments and in Governments.

Soon the dusty books of history were picked (or rather Google searches) and social media started reporting on how some Muslims had powerful posts and positions in Europe, referring to Berber/Arab and Turk ruled domains in Iberia, Sicily, Anatolia and the Balkans.

The result became a tussle on whether or not a religious minority could gain such a post in a Muslim majority country.

With Khan’s election, what matters is not that he endured a xenophobic campaign, and amidst anti-Muslim sentiments, managed to bag the post by popular consent. It’s nice, indeed, that the way leader of far-right Britain First turned his back on Khan’s victory speech, that majority of Londoners turned their back to such racists.


What actually matters is the fundamental right to attend elections as a candidate at all. To be a citizen with equal rights, a part of a political party, vouch for its manifesto, and front the party to the electorate. Britain has long had a virus with their multicultural policy, where certain self-appointed representatives of different ethnicities or religious backgrounds tried to be elevated as leaders and voices of ‘their’ communities – Sadiq Khan broke that.

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Hvordan eksportere demokrati

In Society on 31. March 2016 at 22:19

Hvordan nasjonale interesser sammenfaller med økt innsats for demokratisering gjennom regionale aktører.

Det er sant, og ikke lenger en hemmelighet, at verden har kommet lenger på en del av de sentral indekser som måler suksess.


På et overordnet nivå, så har menneskeheten blitt mindre voldelig, mer tolerant, sunnere mer empatisk og mer kapabel til å takle uenigheter. Dette ble President Obama nylig sitert på av Jeffrey Goldberg i den mye sirkulerte artikkelen The Obama Doctrine hos The Atlantic.

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