Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sweet dreams

Dear fellow citizens and residents of Norway, please take a walk with me. Let us pretend for a second that we are not better or richer than anyone. A famous man, whose name I beg for forgiveness for not remembering, once said, “When you own more than four things, the things start owning you.” I suppose we have crossed that limit for owning things long ago. Our greed is resulting in complaints, which again results in greed for and expansion of our materialistic world. We complain about all that we have and not have, and our demands increase day by day. We complain about our lifestyle and about the insufficient effort the government puts into the society. Living in a dream world, where millions of people just dream to live in, we don’t realize what we actually have today. Therefore, my question is, how do we, Norwegians, sleep at night?

A father in Tiruppur in South India tosses around on his worn mat at night wondering what sunrise would float to surface and how his children would encounter the financial world of 2010. Wrinkles on his face show the tension and the hard work he goes through to earn 100 INR, equal to 15 NOK, every day, just for his children to be able to attend school and afford three meals daily. A mother in the olden part of Czechoslovakia with a Ph.D. in physics dwells around the cream of the western world to be able to send her daughter abroad. Tears rolling down her cheeks show the brutality of her job as a mannequin, hoping to be sold every night to the generous American and European tourists. A sister overhears her parents argue every sunset. One final night, her ten-year-old brother is sent to Nigeria as a factory labourer. Poverty hasn’t only shattered the family picture into pieces but also left an invisible scar, which would probably never be healed. Every night you can hear screams of newborns from the forests of Southern China. The waifs that are found by the local police and adopted away to the west are usually someone´s daughters and sisters. How do we sleep while the rest of the world cries?

Norway, to be nominated as the best country to live in by the UN through the HDI ranking, and also credited as the most beautiful country of the world, possesses a rich fauna and flora, minerals, forests and water resources, natural gas and petroleum and last but not least “untouched” nature. In spite of the natural beauty and wealth, we complain that Norway is not as commercialized as the U.S. There are several groups proclaiming to bring franchises such as Star Bucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burton to Norway. But are there equally many groups against? How many of us realize that by bringing multinational companies to Norway, we would actually be polluting thousands times more in the global perspective. Multinational companies not only exploit on cheap labour in developing nations, but also ruin their natural resources and leave the population behind in corruption. On the other hand, yes, we, Norwegians, do become richer on these franchises and develop a new economic market. I wonder how we dream and what we dream about when the rest of the world suffers due to our financial growth?

The 2008-2009 financial crises has been the worst financial domino effect this decade. Thousands of people have lost their jobs mainly in the western world, mostly in the U.S. Several documentaries were soon made to show the governments in the western world and the people about the situation due to unemployment. We wanted the governments in the west to take some action. However, have we ever imagined how unemployment must feel for the developing nations, who have half the population living in it for more than a decade or two? The two years of a crucial financial crisis Norway, along with other western countries shook the people off board, but did we ever realize how thousands of people are actually living in it daily? What do we feel when we see all the jobless all around the world? How do we sleep at night?

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