Life at school

Elverum Folk High School is incredibly unfair…

We received strong reactions to yesterday's educational program. Then we conducted so-called "Pedagogy for the rich", and an unfair dinner.

Strong reactions

A table in the dining room with some selected students was served, and was served a three-course dinner with, among other things, duck breast and everything that goes with it. The rest of the dining room, about a hundred students, got rice. No sauce, no accessories - but enough rice for everyone to be ready to burst.

At first there was confusion. What's up? When will the rest of us get "proper food"? But there was no other food, and the reactions were not long in coming. Rice was thrown between the walls, some left the dining room in anger - others to escape the chaos. Duck breasts went astray, and caramel pudding flew through the air. Some did not eat in protest, some from the "upper class table" went to another table and ate rice, others ate the gala dinner with life and desire, others ate their rice and thanked nicely for the food. Some even demanded a refund for the food they had not received. There were reactions across the spectrum.

Gross injustice

It is very interesting to reflect on how we react to gross injustice. In Friday's Media Studies and World Today classes, we summed up the dinner, and one of the key words that emerged was "perspective". And to get perspective for the dinner, we saw NRK and Leo Ajkic's fourth episode of the series Escape, about how people risk their lives for a better future in Europe. This laid the foundation for the following concluding comment:

«If there is one thing, only one thing we want you to take with you from the folk high school year, it is that there is no difference between people. No human is less important than others. You should not just know that. Don't just say that. But understand it. Understand that. Really acknowledge it and let yourself be influenced by it.

It's completely random that you were born in Norway. Complete.

You could just as easily have been born in Nigeria. Or Bosnia. Or Somalia. Or Syria. Or England. Those who are born elsewhere have just as little chance of influencing choice as you do.

Boundaries are man-made, unnatural. They group us, create unity and security, but at the same time division. How can we determine that someone born an inch to the right or left of a map does not have the same rights as everyone else?

We can not. Correction: we should not be able to.

We who are rising generations now have not lifted a finger to deserve the life we ​​have. But this is not about deserved, or not deserved. It's about the right place at the right time. To be born in Norway, 70 years after the war. After discovery of oil and gas. That's luck. That, together with leaders who have largely managed values ​​and human views with respect. As here established a system of legal certainty, without corruption. It is fantastic.

We know that the world is unfair. Norway is unfair. And if we imagine what it would take to distribute the world's goods and resources fairly, we have everything to lose. It's easy to shake your head when you know that one percent of the world's richest population owns more than half of the world's assets. It's harder to understand that it's us. "310.000 Norwegians are in the one percent club, while 2,5 million of the Norwegian population are among the world's ten percent richest" (Dagbladet, 15.10.2015).

Norway is the world's sixth richest country. We are talking about the need to preserve the European way of life - of course we do.

Norway for Norwegians. But why? Why does not the whole earth belong to the entire population of the world? We understand that we cannot introduce such a system now. But historically? Why do we have borders? Why can people not move freely and establish themselves where they see a good and secure future?

It is not more than 100 years ago there was mass emigration from Norway to America. In historical perspective, this is a vanishingly short time. 800 Norwegians fled from poor conditions (http://www.hist.uib.no/).

How can we refuse other people to follow a dream of a better life? It is not a dream to fit into the generous one percent. It is a dream of just enough to give the family a safe life. About being able to work and contribute. Know that you have a function and a value.

We can not open the borders and let everyone in the world who wants to live in Norway do it. It will, of course, create chaos. Not because those who come here are criminals, or that their outlook on life collides so badly with ours that there are riots and war. But because the system does not handle it. Because we are not able to integrate people well enough. Because we are not open enough. Because people with their lives waiting for an asylum reception center do not have the good life they want. Because we can not offer the follow-up it requires.

But before we judge new compatriots in order not to integrate, we can take a moment and think about what we ourselves would do if we were to suddenly settle in Afghanistan. We had probably appreciated finding the area with the most Norwegians, so we could continue to speak Norwegian once in a while. Discuss the country we love and the traditions that bind us together. Many Norwegians only travel on holiday to places where they get the restaurant menu in Norwegian. It is perfectly normal to seek out their own, and the known and loved ones.

We're scared for what is happening in many places in the world. We're afraid it's going to happen here. So we shut ourselves in - and the differences continue to increase. It is the surest way to ensure that dissatisfaction continues to grow. The surest way to make sure that those who live at the bottom of all charts come one step closer to doing something drastic to change the injustice. It is no wonder that there is extremism and rebellion in the world. What's nice is that it's not sea extremism and rebellion in the world.

That table under "Unfair Dinner" who got a three-course master meal, it is in the eyes of the world the table we eat at every single day.

When the distance increases. When we sacrifice diversity for nationalism. When we do not want to change the situation. When we want to move on with our lives and stop thinking about others and their misery. Then we really need to know that we are doing it at the expense of 90% of the world's population.

There is something to think about, when we complain about bad Internet. When the charging cable for the mobile does not reach all the way to the bed, or when you are bloody offended that you have to experience extreme injustice one dinner in a year - but can still eat so full that you vomit…

What are you going to use this insight for? You should have it with you in the meeting with other people. You should take it with you in small daily ups and downs. And you will have it with you when you vote for our elected representatives - those who will represent us, and make choices on behalf of us all. And the way the world looks now, this is more important than ever ».

(Written by Eivind Høimyr, on behalf of Elverum Folk High School).

Note: The post has been updated on Sunday 29.01.2017. The phrase "it is only one age ago" has been replaced by "In historical perspective, this is a vanishingly short time". This is because we have been made aware that the term one man is used in about 1/3 century - ie about 33 years.

Update, 20.01.2017: Directed left to left, and chilly heather to second breast.

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