Janne Robberstad

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Square thoughts

By spotogspindel | December 3, 2015

square

 

Like most of you I am sad and angry about some of the horrible terror-events taking place around the world the past months. Whenever it seems to escalate, my heart grows darker with sorrow for humanity. I know it´s only a very small percent of people who let evil rule their actions. But it´s not only terrorists. We´ve had a lot of refugees and asylum-seekers coming to Norway the past 4-5 months, and it is really bringing out the intolerance in people. Sometimes I wonder about them, how can ordinary people become so narrow-minded? How can they not see themselves from the outside, how can they not see things in perspective? It is honestly not our achievement that we were born in this country! We don´t own it! We are here to borrow and nurture and take care of. It is not our birthright to be arrogant and better-than-thou-racists. What if we were the ones who had to flee? Of course, I know, a lot of people will call me naive (at best).

But am I really? I have travelled the world, I have met people of different religions and races, and you know what? I don´t think I own the truth, because there is no one truth, there are several truths. I even lived in a foreign country for 3 years when I was young. My family weren´t refugees or asylum-seekers. We went there because my Dad got a job there. My sister and I went to school, my baby-sister was born there. If you want to put us in any booth, I guess you could call us  financial immigrants. Not really immigrants, it was only temporary. Since we are a white family from a very wealthy country, it was labeled as an adventure, not gold-digging, the type of adventure we encourage our young to do: travel the world, study abroad, maybe even work abroad a couple of years, gather life-experience, learn a language… treasured traits! If you are rich. If you are poor, you are free to be looked down upon. As if people from rich countries are better, smarter, whatever…

I learned about white privilege when I was 11. I had just been to my new school, in this new country for a couple of months, when one of my fellow students grabbed hold of me, asking if I had been bullied because I was from a another country and couldn´t speak English all that well. I said no, I hadn´t. Along with him, was a third classmate of us, a young boy who had started at the school about the same time as me. He was a boat-refugee from Vietnam (this was back in the late 70s). And now he had been bullied by some of the other students. His all-american friend was so angry he was crying about the injustice.

I have thought about this so many times later in life. How differnet our stories. He fled in a small boat, not knowing anything about his future. I flew in a jumbo-jet across the Atlantic. We were both 11, both aquardly shy, both new in this big country. After 3 years I moved back to Norway, and I never knew what became of him. But even though we didn´t know each other all that well, he and his story, brought to my attention by his friend, has always stayed with me. In the newspaper today I read about how another friend of mine, here in Norway, is getting death-threats, by other Norwegians, because of his political stand fighting for the refugees and financial aid-programs…. I am lost for words. Someone is trying to use the political power they have to do good for other people, and for that they are threatened on their lives? I am lost for words.

So what is with the square world? It is a little picture-experiment, that turned into a social comment. My beautiful island, turned square, to match the square mindset some people have. I think I´d be bored quickly if it was the same everywhere I turned, to be honest.

Topics: Diverse | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Square thoughts”

  1. gail Says:
    December 5th, 2015 at 22:28

    I love this post. It can be so disheartening to see how afraid some people are of ideas, of differences, even though for some of us — for me — those are the main delights in meeting and being with other people. How sad to want a world where everyone looks and thinks and talks like me. Hugs. I am hoping that this difficult time in history will be an occasion for growth, however long it takes.

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