“Norway isn't becoming less Norwegian because it's changing,” a man named Salimi cheerfully reassured Aftenposten the other day. Salimi – who came to Norway 37 years ago and was in on the founding of SOS Racism, the Anti-Racist Center, and various other enterprises and activities, including a well-known annual food festival in Oslo – described today's Norway with enthusiasm as a place where immigrants and natives are gradually and peacefully adapting to one another, each embracing the new and mysterious aspects of each other's cultures. Although “extremist Islam and Islamophobia” represent threats to these marvelous developments, noble and well-meaning Muslims, Christians, and Jews, working together on the basis of “shared universal values,” are striving with increasing success to forge a harmonious multicultural society founded on mutual respect and acceptance.
Blah, blah, blah.
Every now and then, to be sure, one of the major national newspapers will proffer a brief glimpse of reality. But more often, you have to look elsewhere for it. On April 27, it was the business newspaper Finansavisen, of all publications, that served up a tonic dose of the truth. Reading the headline, “Life as a Minority,” readers might have expected the usual sob-sister fantasy about how tough it is to be a Muslim in Scandinavia. But this article was something different. It was a searing portrait of the New Normal in Groruddalen, a huge stretch of East Oslo, where the “minority” in question is Norwegian.
The article was based on interviews by Finansavisen's reporters, Kjell Erik Eilertsen and Ole Asbjørn Ness, with two teenagers, both ethnic Norwegians. Andreas (a pseudonym) is 16; Marius Sørvik is 19. In grade school, both boys' heads were stuffed with pretty words about intercultural understanding. Repeatedly, they were encouraged to be sensitive to their classmates with foreign backgrounds. Andreas: “All the teachers said it, the principal said it, that if you come into conflict with them, I was supposed to understand what a bad life they'd had, that they came from countries where there had been war. I thought he was kidding. It was the grandparents who had immigrated from Pakistan. If I hit someone, would nobody yell at me because my grandfather was in the Resistance? But I believed in it.”
Eventually, however, both boys realized that, as Marius puts it, “everything you've learned in school is wrong.” For Marius that day came in seventh grade, when seven or eight Somali boys jumped him on a tennis court and beat him to a pulp, knocking his teeth out. Afterwards Marius tried to hold his head up, but he could only take the constant fear for so long. He suffered a heart attack. The producers of Our Valley, an NRK documentary series about life in Groruddalen, interviewed him, but decided not to include him in the program, explaining that his “views” didn't fit into their “concept.” (The series, as Eilertsen and Ness observe, is “government-financed propaganda” designed to cover up the reality of Groruddalen. Naturally, “views” such as Marius's aren't welcome.)
As for Andreas, it was his well-intentioned but deplorably naïve mother who decided to raise him in Groruddalen, so he'd “get to know the new Norway, to get acquainted with many different cultures.” That he did – mostly through schoolyard beatings. (“They're a gang. They're always a gang. They're dogs. They hunt in packs.”) He was hit, but wasn't permitted to hit back. At first he responded to the bullying by trying to fit in with the thugs – deliberately making simple grammatical mistakes, limiting his vocabulary, and behaving submissively. He even made a Muslim friend – who started trying to convert him. When Andreas resisted, and persisted in his resistance, his friend threatened to kill him. Seeing no other way of protecting himself, Andreas joined an ethnic Norwegian motorcycle club. “If I hadn't known them, he'd have killed me,” Andreas says.
It's a battle – and, as Marius points out, the battle isn't a fair one. A Norwegian kid who finds himself in conflict with, say, a Pakistani kid, isn't likely to have anyone on his side, whereas the Pakistani kid will have a whole clan of brothers, cousins, and uncles ready to turn violent on his behalf. Integration, Marius suggests, is a lie: none of these people wants to become Norwegian: “Norwegian is synonymous with weakness.” Nor can Norwegian kids count on support from their teachers or principals – they're terrified, too, and they do everything they can to accommodate the Muslim kids to avoid trouble. Moreover, while Norwegian boys learn early on to keep their hands off Muslim girls, Muslim boys hit on Norwegian girls with impunity; indeed, “Norwegian girls prefer them....they're tough, and they have money even though they don't have jobs.”
One way to avoid the constant warfare, of course, is to surrender: Marius alone knows five people who have converted to Islam.
Since “Life as a Minority” wasn't published online, and since few people outside the business community read Finansavisen, the article might have come and gone without gaining widespread notice. But excerpts posted by bloggers attracted so much attention that Finansavisen ended up putting the whole text online last Friday. It goes without saying that readers weren't drawn to the article because it told them anything new; on the contrary, they were drawn to it because they so rarely see the raw, fundamental truths of their own current lives reflected in the mainstream media – at least not without oodles of euphemism and herculean efforts to achieve “balance” and avoid “offense.”
Not everybody in Norway, to be sure, lives in the midst of the kind of hell that Andreas and Marius do. Certainly the people who call the shots in the media, producing pap like Our Valley, don't reside in the neighborhoods, like Groruddalen, that they're determined to idealize. They live in pleasant west Oslo districts, where they rub shoulders with their fellow makers of opinion – politicians, academics, and others who share their ardent devotion to multiculturalism but who, like them, don't have to live with its consequences.
These multicultural elites may be cowards and reprobates, but they aren't total fools. They have a pretty good idea of how challenging everyday life can be like for Norwegians, especially teenage males, in places like Groruddalen. They've seen the statistics demonstrating that while Muslims are settling in such areas in huge numbers, infidels are fleeing in droves. But, quite simply, they don't care – not enough to change their stripes, anyway. After all, those aren't their kids having their teeth knocked out of their heads and being made to feel like outsiders in their own country. (Their kids go to safe schools where they feel firmly in the majority.) The country's leftist elites have a responsibility to kids like Andreas and Marius; but that responsibility is infinitely less important to them, alas, than their determination to keep alive their own beloved multicultural ideology. Never mind that it's precisely that ideology that's responsible for the nightmare that is Andreas's and Marius's world.
That's the reprehensible bottom line here: to preserve the Big Lie of a magnificently multicultural Norway, the Norwegian elite is willing to fiercely deny the defining truths of such kids' lives. And in service to this cause, the mainstream media are a powerful weapon. The newspapers' readiness to echo official claims about immigrants and Islam is only enhanced by their eagerness to continue receiving official subsidies (Finansavisen, it should be noted, is one of the few sizable Norwegian newspapers that don't get government handouts). And then there's state-run NRK, which uses license fees squeezed out of the parents of young people like Andreas and Marius to create programs smearing the likes of them as liars and bigots, while depicting the savages who torment them as the innocent, virtuous objects of nativist prejudice.
Andreas says his grandfather was a member of the Resistance – a brave band of brothers who risked their lives to deliver Norway from the Nazi invaders. Can you imagine what that man would think if he could see what has happened to the nation he served – and to his grandson, who no longer even feels that that nation is his own?
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