Happy 17th!

Today is the 17th of May, Norwegian Constitution Day! Another wonderful day in a free country, devoted to celebrating how awesome it is to be lucky enough to live in freedom and relative peace.

However; not all of us are so lucky. Not everyone are born in freedom, not everyone lives in a country where the government’s main task is to work for the benefit of the population, not everyone benefits from an implied social contract that makes the stronger help the weaker.

Some people live in war zones and in terror. Some suffers from oppressive governments. Some are seeing right now how their home countries are sliding into dictatorships or anarchy. Some simply don’t know freedom as I, as we do. And that means that even as we celebrate our freedom, even as we’re remembering those who gave their lives so that we can be free, we cannot forget those who ain’t. To paraphrase Arnulf Øverland, a 20th century Norwegian poet, we cannot accept the loss of rights that don’t affect us directly.

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!

I’m not saying everyone should run of and join the military – that would be counterproductive.
I’m not saying we should “liberate” those who lives in less free countries – as we well know it’s easier to win a war than to build peace.
But I am saying that we cannot forget those less fortunate. We cannot be so self centred that we delude ourselves into thinking that since we’re okay, everything is okay. We should help others remember, and through the means available to us work to remember and work to improve the lives of those less fortunate. It won’t be done quickly or easily, but it wont get done at all if we don’t remember that freedom don’t come for free.
Happy 17th, and enjoy your freedoms!

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