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

Enough said, I think.

France beware

A huge fan of France’s newly elected and instated president Emmanuel Macron I remain a staunch supporter of his policy and – up until now – suggested measures, saluting his landslide win in the two stages of the recent presidential election.

A victory in today’s legislative election wouldn’t go amiss either, but there’s every reason to sound the alarm should that victory, too, turn out to be overwhelming.

While I lean more in the direction of Macron’s beliefs than in that of any other candidate, I have always been wary of excessive concentration of power.

Before long my French favourite could emerge an absolute and despotic leader (remember, we do seem particularly susceptible to “strong men” these days).

Certainly I salute the French for taking a firm stand against the nationalists, but feel an urge to remind them that dictators come in many shapes and colours – even in the gentlest of appearances.

There’s something very, very scary about democracies with no real opposition.

Photo: France’s president and En Marche! party leader Emmanuel Macron. Photograph from Business France/Flickr

Any attempt to concentrate power to one out of three branches of government must be opposed vehemently.

Who needs a free press anyway

Since the current U.S. president took office, we have witnessed a very special White House conduct towards the press, not least when he declared the press an enemy of all Americans the other day – and, of course, yesterday, prompting me to pose the following question, which I hope you find the time to answer:

Granted CNN wasn’t the only news outlet to be excluded from yesterday’s White House press briefing*. Seeing, however, that I used to work for said network (and a red heart’s colour so matches its logo), I thought it only natural to feature it.

*The list includes The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, BBC and the Guradian, among others.

Build a strong Europe – or abandon all hope

Having spent around a decade fervently warning against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s master plan, it is something of a relief to see that even the mainstream media have gradually come to realise what’s been going on, even if they perceive it as an outcome of recent events, establishing some sort of consensus that the objective is to destabilise and, ultimately, disintegrate Europe, leaving the northern hemisphere with only two really influential powers; Russia and America – among whom the latter currently under the influence of the former.

Concluding that a strong Europe is the best preventive action isn’t rocket science, and yet we’re left with no option but to witness the UK’s departure, possibly followed by other countries, depending on whether or not nationalist parties emerge victorious in this year’s European elections.

Of course you may object that it’s easy for a citizen of a non-member country, such as my own, to call for a European consolidation, even if I’ve championed a Norwegian EU membership since the age of ten (which amounts to approximately 45 years), but remain cautiously optimistic that the non-nationalist parties will prevail in this year’s general election, luckily to be held in September, at which point I would hope Norwegian voters will have had ample time to witness Putin, Trump, Le Pen, Petry and Wilder’s frenzied attempts at destroying European unity.

valgutstyr, valg, stemmesedler, stemme, norsk form, oslo rådhus
Norwegian ballot.

There is, of course, a distinct possibility that they like what they see, considering that nationalist tendencies are palpable, also in Norway – especially among the Progress Party, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party supporters, eagerly resisting a Norwegian EU membership, among whom the rural, energetically anti EU Centre Party just made a formidable leap forward in recent polls.

Screw you, EU! Blogger's feeble attempt at a comic strip.
Screw you, EU! Blogger’s feeble attempt at a comic strip.

Voters able to see beyond narrow-minded self-interests, on the other hand, may conclude that the ongoing Russo-American race to tear Europe apart, with the aid of European nationalists, needs to be met with a firm support of the European Union.

The obvious approach would be for Norwegian voters to not only support EU friendly parties, but to demand resumed membership negotiations – if Europe will have us, that is (it wouldn’t surprise me if they decline, seeing as two former applications already failed, due to discouraging referendum outcomes).

At any rate it is time to reinforce European unity as a countermeasure against the emerging nationalism – and a world lead by a through and through non-democratic Sino-Russian-American trio, accompanied by the Erdoğan regime in the Middle East.

If not I’m afraid we may as well abandon all hope.

Top illustration: EU flag. Blogger’s own painting.

Sleep well!

For about a week or so the Nedtegnelser blog has been all about utter non-sense – or quick visual posts with perhaps a deeper meaning, but with an air of apparent indifference, which is all-too true, I’m afraid, as the political posts have been modest attempts at contributing to the prevention of certain developments, rather than moaning over them in retrospect.

Which would explain the blog’s incessant attention to this merry band of nationalists in particular:

While a warm defender og western values, I can see no reason why I should defend the attitudes and actions of the western world’s most powerful leader. Of course, that is so because he’s everything but a champion of western values. In short, when ever a leader, or any politician, for that matter, show strongman or national and isolationist tendencies there’s much cause for alarm.

So far we’ve seen them succeed, which may very well be all it takes to bring about dark times the likes of which we haven’t seen for over 70 years, but their European henchmen aren’t about to stop, in what we know to be a crucial election year for Europe:

No rest for the wicked

Leaving yours truly – and, hopefully, you – with no option but to carry on. Chances are we’ll lose this battle, too, but shouldn’t use that as an excuse to relax. The battle may be lost, but the war?

Hell no!

Which is where I’m compelled to recite Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland’s (1889–1968) 1936 anti-fascist poem Dare not to sleep (translated to English American by Lars-Toralf Storstrand):

I was awakened one morning, by the quaintest of dreams
‘twas like a voice, spoken to me
It sounded afar – like an underground stream,
I rose and said: Why do you call me?

Dare not to slumber! Dare not to sleep!
Dare not believe, it was merely a dream!
Yore I was judged.
The gallows were built in the court this evening,
They’ll come for me — 5’ in the morning

This dungeon is teeming,
And barracks stand dungeon by dungeon
we lie here, awaiting, in cold cells of stone,
We lie here, we rot, in these murky holes.

We know not ourselves, what does lie ahead
Who will be the next one they’ll reach for.
We moan and we shriek: But do you take heed?
Is there none among you who’ll hearken?

No one can see us,
None know what befalls us.
Yet more:
None will believe – what the day will bring us!

And then You defy: This dare not be true!
That men can be utterly evil.
There has to be some one with merits pure
Oh, brother, you still have a great deal to learn

They said: You will give your life, if commanded
We’ve given it now, for naught it was handed
The world has forgotten, we’ve all been deceived
Dare not to sleep in this hour – this eve.

You oughtn’t go to your business hence,
Or think: What’s your loss – or what is your gain?
You oughtn’t attribute your fields and your kine,
Nor say you’ve enough – with all that is thine.

You oughn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget

Pardon them not – they know what they do!
They breathe on hate-glows, and evil pursue,
They fancy to slay, they revel with cries,
Their desire is to gloat, when our world is at fire!
In blood they are yearning to drown one and all!
Don’t you believe it? You’ve heard the call!

You know how infants will soldiers remain,
While dashing through streets, fields, chanting ‘bout pain
Aroused by their mothers‘ assurance of glory
They’ll shelter their land – and they’ll never worry

You know the fatality of the lies,
that glory and faith and honor abides
You discern the dauntless dreams of a child,
A saber, a banner, he’ll flaunt them so wild,

And then they’ll leave home for a rainfall of steel,
‘Till last they hang ragged on barbed wire will,
Decaying for Hitler’s Aryan call,
That is what a man’s for – after all…

I couldn’t imagine – too late now it is
My sentence is just: The verdict’s no miss
I believed in prosperity, dreamt about peace
In labor and fellowship; love’s fragrant kiss
Yet those who don’t die on the battlefield,
Their heads for the axeman, will certainly yield

I cry in the gloom – if only you’d knew
There is but one thing – befitting to do
Defend yourself, while your hands are still yearning,
Protect your offspring – Europe is burning.

***

I shook from the chill. To dress, up I rose
Without stars were shining, so far, yet so close
‘twere simply a brilliant ray in the east,
Admonishing warning from the dream that just ceased

The day that soared up from earths furthermost strand
Augmenting with blood — and with firebrand
It grew with terror – like a breath that was lost
It seemed like the starlight – was slain by the frost.

I weighed: Something is imminent – and it’s dire
Our era is over — Europe’s on fire!

Ringing truer today than at any given time after WW2. While Russia, Turkey and America are lost, for the time being at any rate, I’ll have to carry on, then, incessantly as ever, and to those among you who have simply had enough of my restless ramblings:

Sleep well!

Top illustration: Norwegian, now mostly dismantled, Soldiers of Odin marching. Blogger’s drawing.

You may ask yourself how the German Nazi party managed to rise to autocratic power, in spite of democratic branches of government in place, following Adolf Hitler’s 5 March 1933 federal election victory.

Considering current events, my immediate answer would simply be:

Pay attention.

The dawning of an authoritarian era?

Facing inevitability people often say that it’s better to go with the flow than to fight it, and usually rightfully so, except, of course, in cases where the inevitable poses a threat to the values on which we base our entire existence, such as compassion, decency, democracy, concern for the planet and our common prosperity and so on, among whom the following appear most prominent at present:

  • Russia’s president Vladimir Putin
  • America’s president-elect Donald J. Trump
  • Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • China’s president Xi Jinping
  • Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei
  • North Korea’s president Kim Jong-un

Alongside a plethora of left and right-wing politicians throughout Europe, impatiently waiting to put Donald Trump’s methods to good use, among whom we find the usual suspects, such as Front National’s Marine Le Pen, Alternative für Deutschland’s Frauke Petry, FPÖ’s Heinz-Christian Strache, Vlaams Belang’s Tom van Grieken, UKIP’s Paul Nuttal (preceded by Nigel Farage), PVV’s Geert Wilders to mention but a few.

Fortunately most of them are yet to succeed completely, but are, as we all know, likely to gather much support in the aftermath of the US presidential election. Also we should bear in mind that most of them hail from countries of less importance than the afore-mentioned six, with the possible exception of Kim Jong-un, perhaps. The potential outcome of left and right-wing nationalism gaining foothold in Europe, however, is the dissolution of the European Union, already afoot in the wake of last summer’s Brexit, as well as the prevalence of authoritarianism, sometimes bordering on totalitarianism, now that their self-confidence has received such an ill-deserved boost.

Among the most recent examples we find the Norwegian Progress Party leader (and the country’s minister of finance) Siv Jensen. According to an almost 100-year-long tradition the King and PM give their new year speeches on radio (and TV). This year, which happens to be an election year, however, said Ms. Jensen decided the time is ripe for a minister of finance new year’s speech, albeit via social media.

Make of that what you will, but it’s safe to say that current events forecast a change of direction throughout the world, paving the way for the early stages of an authoritarian development which may easily escalate into full-blown totalitarianism, as we’ve already seen in some countries.

I’m not in the business of provoking fear where fear is undue, but we’ve seen the writing on the wall for some time, and the development of an international community characterised by populism, antagonism and just about any ism in the book is very real, a very distinct possibility.

What I can say, however, is that I sincerely fear that it’s too late, that we indeed do find ourselves on the verge of an authoritarian and totalitarian age, but haven’t given up hope that before long Putin, Trump, Erdoğan, Xi, Khamenei and Kim will have managed to convince us of the authoritarian leadership’s futility.

Also, let’s not make the mistake of comparing today’s authoritarian leaders with yesterday’s dictators. A modern-day oppressor is more likely to appear mild-mannered than rabid, fully aware of the importance of appearance.

There is, of course, precious little we can do to prevent it, save voting in accordance with values other than theirs – and to contribute to our fellow men’s reflection on the matter, which is what I hereby try to do, to the best of my feeble ability.

Then again, if you challenge me to a wager, my bet is that the first half of the century is lost, and if so, the chances of a second (half) are fairly slim. But who knows, where there’s a will, there may even be a way.

Top illustration: Blogger’s own drawing, based on a third-party original.

Goodbye, Turkey

Regular readers will have noticed this blogger’s long-standing scepticism towards the current Turkish regime, since long before my daughter and wife bought me the above depicted tea mug on a vacation in Turkey some years ago. A vacation in which I neither did nor could or would partake – and a mug which is yet to be used, for very obvious reasons.

Reasons that I fear become more evident for each and every day, underlining the importance of the EU’s suspension of Turkish membership talks (which shouldn’t have been held in the first place), as mass arrests are carried out and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tightens his grip, submitting a bill to expand his power even more than currently is the case.

Tyrkias president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (foto fra Wikipedia).
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Wikipedia.

Please understand, though, that I deplore PKK terrorism just as much, but you have to sympathise with the Kurds’ frustration and predicament, facing leaders such as Mr. Erdoğan and his criminal regime.

My “Goodbye, Turkey” includes termination of future EU talks as well as the country’s unjustifiable NATO membership, provided the international community is about to wake up – and realise that we’re dealing with a full-blown dictatorship.

And please, ladies and gentlemen of the press, stop referring to Turkey as a European country, when all that is European about it is the three-percent landmass that is the occupied East Tracian territories on the European side of the Bosphorus, granted Turkey in the aftermath of the Balkan wars some 100 years ago.

For how long will the European Union remain European?

The European parliament voted in favour of a motion calling for a freeze in the European Union’s accession talks with Turkey today – talks that perhaps shouldn’t be held in the first place, as only 3 percent of Turkey’s landmass, the occupied East Tracian territories on the European side of the Bosphorus (please note the strait’s Greek name), remains European, geographically speaking – culturally not so much.

The European part of Turkey. Tyrkia
The European part of Turkey.

As an avid federalist I’ve been advocating a federation encompassing more than just Europe, in which case it will no longer be European, of course, just as the prospective inclusion of Turkey will render the European Union everything but European.

That fact alone is an argument against inclusion, not just a suspension of talks. Just as deterring, of course, is a government prone to totalitarian ways.

Tyrkias president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (foto fra Wikipedia).
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Wikipedia.

Fully aware that I’m wasting my breath, I’d just like to reiterate my stand for the record, all for the future pleasure of being able to say “I hate to say I told you so”. That’s the kind of smug bastard I am.

But by all means, go ahead and make the European Union semi-European.

Interestingly I’m citizen of a European country, much like Great Britain not interested in being one, whereas the Turks are Asians with a burning desire to be just that.

It’s all beyond me.

Top photo: European flags in Brussels (photograph from the European Union).