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A vitamin policy peace supplement in the election campaign

In the middle of the election campaign, an exciting and highly political exhibition opened at Akershus Art Center. Through the Flag Follow the Bottle, the artist group ANNEX gives us a critical look at the country's treatment of asylum seekers, the abundance community and not least the war nation Norway.

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

The exhibition portrays, among other things, exports of Norwegian war materials, and explains how Norwegian weapons are used in war. The artist group ANNEX consists of Mona Bentzen, Marie Skeie, Kjersti G. Andvig and Solveig Syversen. The exhibition will be displayed until 17. September, and also features works by Rolf Groven. ANNEX was founded in the summer of 2015 as a result of a common interest in various aspects of Norwegian migration and asylum policy. They themselves state that a goal is to create debate and engagement around important societal choices through traditional and non-traditional art expressions.

"Gaddafi tent" at the Storting. As part of the exhibition, the artists brought a Libyan Bedouin tent to Eidsvolls square and invited to a peace political debate right in front of the Storting. The tent installation is called "598 § 25" after the number of bombs Norwegian fighter jets dropped over Libya in 2011 and the constitutional provision which states that the Norwegian military must never be left in the service of foreign powers, and never used outside Norway's borders without the consent of the Storting.

The UN mandate gave no right to that, but Norway was instrumental in bombing Gaddafi's properties, Libya's military and civilian parts of the state apparatus.

Two panel debates were held on very basic matters regarding Norwegian war policy in the Gaddafi tent in front of the Storting. The first debate concerned Norwegian alliance policy. Questions were asked about what it means for Norway to be a United States ally, whether today's alliances are our best defense, and what room for action Norway has as a NATO ally. In the second panel debate, the Norwegian reasons for participating in international military interventions were discussed. It was discussed whether our politicians are adequately informed in such decision-making processes, and whether the people are well informed when Norway goes to war. Colonel Tormod Heier was the chairman, and under his brilliant leadership I had the pleasure of caring for both parliamentary representatives, professors and editors in the peace policy tent debates.

Lessons learned from Libya? One of the most interesting topics of discussion concerns what lessons we should take from Norway's bombing of Libya. Although most people seem to have realized that the bombing of the North African country was not a great success, many politicians are still far from taking basic self-criticism for the Norwegian contribution to the Libyan disaster. After six years I think this is marvelous.

Of course, we in the Peace Team were opposed to this war, and worked intensely to prevent Norwegian military power from contributing to the destruction of Libya. First, we addressed possible negotiation solutions for Libya. In February, there was also some interest in this kind in the Norwegian public. But as the media and the liberal warlords seriously hit the ground in the Libya case in March, temperatures rose rapidly. Cold and calm debate became impossible. As so often before, Norwegian security policy emerged as reactive and impatient. Thus, the public was also controlled by the war hoarding. In the peace movement, we did everything we could to disprove claims by the Left, Right and FRP that massacres were underway in Libya and that Gaddafi could attack Benghazi at any time. It should quickly turn out that we fought against wind turbines. This was considered a new type of war that most liberal media in the West ended up supporting. In Norway, perhaps VG was the most egregious example of war supporting media. However, there were many others out there that were not much better.

Disturbing liberation euphoria. Much of the reason why the Norwegian media chose to support the bombing of Libya was in "the Arab Spring"; Norwegian media had portrayed it with future faith and enthusiasm over the past six months, and for politicians it was now important to end up on the victorious side in the fight against the Arab dictatorships. The media's future faith was tangible. The dangers that were latent in Islamic extremism the Arab Spring unleashed were not seen. One did not see the lack of democratic attitude of those who should cast their dictators. Nor were they able to understand the interests of the great powers that were behind the upheaval in the Arab countries in question.

Strangely enough, self-criticism for the contribution to the Libyan disaster is still a long way off for many of our politicians.

This excessive liberation euphoria degraded both the military and the political authorities. This became very clear in Norway. In light of a lousy understanding of the situation and a hasty political process, Norway sent its F-16 aircraft to Libya, just three days after the UN Security Council opened a no-fly zone over the country. We were first out, and the best in the NATO class. However, it was not only civilian protection that was the target of this bombing, but also regime change. Although the UN mandate did not give anyone the right to attack the Libyan state, that was precisely what NATO did. Not only did we bomb Gaddafi's properties and Libya's military, but also civilian parts of the state apparatus, such as television stations and power supplies. The result was a land in ruins.

Lack of self-criticism. In the wake of NATO's bombing raid, the Libyan civil war escalated, killing 50 people before Gaddafi himself was killed and NATO ended its bombing raid. Since that time, conditions have not improved. The state of civil war, the rise of terrorism and uncontrollable refugee streams are today stifling Libya's future faith.

In light of this highly avoidable and man-made disaster, it is noteworthy that no more of the Storting representatives, who in 2011 agreed to bomb Libya, are now taking basic self-criticism. Of the parliamentary representatives who participated in the tent debates during the election campaign (from Frp, Left, SV, Sp and Krf), only Olaf Lundeteigen from Sp made it clear that he will not support any such military action in the future. Such a conclusion should most have been in favor today.

The Norwegian will. The question is whether the will of war has become more prominent than the will of peace in Norwegian politics. Those who want to make it more difficult for Norway to go to war are currently in the minority at the Storting. One must therefore ask whether the bombing of Libya – with all the catastrophic following it has received – helps to raise Norway's threshold to go to war. Because if it doesn't, then what's the matter? Maybe a similar catastrophic bombing of Syria? We cannot allow our politicians to be so heavy-handed. The cost of such a lack of humility is far too great – just ask the civilian population of today's Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Se akershuskunstsenter.no

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Alexander Harang
Harang is the editor of "Fredsnasjonen", the magazine MODERN TIMES published in the summer of 2021.

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