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False US alibi

Norwegian debates can often seem absurd from the outside. Just look at the debate around the Literature Prize from the National Book Critics Circles (NBCC), distributed to 8. March in the United States.


[new trend] Among the nominees in the criticism category for the American NBCC award was the Oslo resident Bruce Bawer, for the book "While Europe Slept", which deals with Norway and warns against Islam and the soft European immigration policy. The book has become a bible for newly saved people who are on the wave of revival of our time against "the others", with reference to Norwegian or "Christian values".

In May, debate editor Knut Olav Åmås, one of Norway's largest intellectuals, commented on the book on a full page in Aftenposten: He points out that Bawer "sees most of Europe's Muslims as unintegrated and anti-democratic", but believes it is "worth discussing": "And Bower's book is easy to discuss, While Europe Slept is well-written political essayism and personalized reporting in the best American tradition."

The head of NBCC's American Critics' Pool, John Freeman, does not quite agree: "I have never been as embarrassed by a nomination as I have been with Bruce Bawers While Europe Slept," Freeman wrote on the association's own blog. And the rationale: "The book's hyperventilated rhetoric hints from real criticism to Islamophobia."

What are common opinions of Norwegians, who have the honor of honoring the United States, are thus considered by the same Americans as un-American and prejudiced. When author Eliot Weinberger announced the nominations, he said in front of a packed hall that Bawer had committed "racism. . .

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Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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