An embarrassing display of disgust

Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg’s conduct during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony yesterday agitated quite a few, clearly demonstrating her contempt, not only by abstaining from applauding a number of statements, but by clapping – and smiling – in a demonstratively condescending way. Yours truly not exempt:

Needless to say there’s been a lot of debate in the wake of the whole thing. The PM herself, and those sharing her view on nuclear weapons, keep trying to explain that applauding attitudes she does not share would be dishonest, and who am I to contradict that? Hell, I even agree.

Nevertheless the incident turned out to be a blatant show of the official Norway’s distaste for Nobel laureate ICAN, which surely cannot possibly have been the Nobel committee’s intention.

Better then to stay away, leaving the Norwegian parliament’s opposition, sharing ICAN’s views, to represent the official Norway.

That could have brought some dignity to the mockery we were forced to witness.

With all that said, I’m not at all sure that a unilateral disarmament is the way to go (in Norwegian), but this performance was nothing less than a blatant display of disgust. For which I’m deeply embarrassed.

Photo: Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives). Photographer: Tomas Moss – http://www.icu.no.

Photo: Turkey’s dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Wikipedia.

In a tweet yesterday (please forgive its – Norwegian – language) I put it to my fellow tweeters that the longer an occupying force (Spain) is able to hold an occupied possession (Catalonia, since 1714), the bigger the chance of the occupation’s international approval:

Most of those protesting the statement objected that the occupation has lasted too long for the assertion to hold true.

Also see: Let Catalonia remain occupied, if they so desire

Let Catalonia remain occupied, if they so desire

I like Spain. Not only because I’ve visited several times and quite like it there, but also because I favour unity over separatism, which goes for Spain as for any other country, as well as my beloved homeland, Europe.

However, we should remember that the late generalissimo Francisco Franco remains in high esteem among many a Spaniard. Also his Guardia Civil‘s conduct during the Catalan referendum weeks ago, immediately woke my sympathy for the Catalan separatists – and their demand for independence.

With that said, I find separatism a bad idea, just as I find unity a good one, which includes Catalonia and Spain. Nevertheless, there are a couple of factors that we need to take into account.

What ever the outcome, the international community needs to ensure that democracy prevails. Today we hear claims that the Catalan referendum was illegal, rendering, therefore, the declaration of independence equally illegal, but is that actually the case?

  1. We need to remember that the declaration was made, not by the referendum, illegal or not, but by the legally elected Catalan parliament. Whether or not that decision was based on the referendum, it was indeed made by the Catalan people’s legally elected representatives. As the case always is, when ever democracy is at work.
  2. We’ve heard claims that a new referendum would have to be held throughout Spain, in order to secure the referendum’s legitimacy. To which I should perhaps remark that:
    1. The minute you assign an overwhelming majority the task of deciding a minority’s future, how could you possibly expect an outcome favouring anyone but the majority?
    2. Said majority is an occupant, insofar that Spain invaded, occupied and annexed Catalonia in 1714, rendering Spain a de facto occupying force. Since when did international law condone an occupying country’s right to decide the fate of the occupied?

These are all facts that we need to keep in mind, whether we favour Catalan separatism or not. Personally I do not, but if we are to discuss these matters, I think it’s only fair that we do so on the basis of facts.

Illustration: The Estelada blava. The Catalan flag. Blogger’s own drawing.

Could we, per chance, justify another Spanish civil war, if it, like the last one, yielded another The Fifth Column – or yet a Guernica?

I really wouldn’t know, but something good should come out of this.

In any event, the conduct of generalissimo Francisco Franco’s good old La Guardia Civil, has been a proper disgrace.

So shame on you, Spain.

Estelada blava. The Catalan flag katalonsk flagg Catalonia Katalonia

Top photo: Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, 1937. Oil on canvas, 776.6 x 349.3 centimetres. Catalan flag, the Estelada blava: Blogger’s own drawing.

Elvis Presley: Viva Las Vegas

While an avid supporter of unity over fragmentation, I also favour democracy over fascitoid regimes.

Enough said, I think.

Incidentally, if a Saudi female driver should happen to run into a car driven by a male …

When extremism changes our view of normalcy

Most people weren’t surprised by yesterday’s Alternative für Deutschland landslide election, perhaps because we long since allowed extreme views in our own governing bodies, to such an extent that their views increasingly become our own, seen as the standard to which we’re all held.

Seen in light of this, Americans supporting a proto-fascist’s U.S. presidency, or Norwegians, securing another four years of xenophobic rule, should of course not be surprised by a German 12.6 percent AfD support. We should, however, be surprised that extreme views no longer surprise us. Maybe because “they” are now “us”.

The German election received significant news coverage yesterday, as it should, regardless the outcome – granted with some attention to the extremist advance, although few bothered to raise an eyebrow (which is my real concern here).

The term “white shirts” is about to establish itself as descriptive of the white-shirt-clad neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, whose marching no longer affects or concerns us, lulled into the impression that it’s all as it should be, rendering even authorities on extremism fairly indifferent to their success.

Why?

Perhaps because said Nazis do not define themselves Nazi, and after all, we have to take their word for it, no?

No.

In any event yesterday’s extremism is seen as today’s state of normalcy, and it should scare the living daylight out of us. Unfortunately, brought to a state of indifference, it does not. Furthermore and off the top of my head, I can think of only two groups rejecting the Nazi term used on modern-day Nazis: The moderate voices advocating dialogue over condemnation – and the Nazis themselves.

As mentioned in this blog on many an occasion, we often ask ourselves how the interwar Germans could possibly allow Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

Really? I mean, really?

Photo: White shirts marching in Sweden (and increasingly, hardly noticeable, in our very own streets).

Elton John: Rocket Man

Would it be fair to say that it’s hard to find better theme music for the The Donald v Li’l Kim controversies these days?