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The importance of leaders

Ny Tid chose to talk to three people about leadership at the Bergen International Literature Festival. A leadership based on finances, fear or autocracy?


The Bergen International Literature Festival had all 69 events in February. A total of 75 writers from 20 nations participated on the stage. The theme ranged from "Identity and populism" (Carsten Jensen / Thomas Hylland Eriksen) to "Ballar, chickens and wives" (Helene Uri). Also events such as "Poetic Punk Gala", Siss Vik's night talk with Thomas Espedal or the opening performance with Hissa Hilal from Saudi Arabia were full.

Based on this, Ny Tid chose to talk to three people about leadership at the Literature Festival in Bergen. While NRK's ​​Tomm Kristiansen believes that southern Africa is facing a bright future, Amnesty International's Ina Tin is gloomy about the future of the Middle East. And the sociologist Heinz Bude believes that society is driven by fear (see study). Kristiansen has written several books about Africa, Tin has published Saudi Arabia. The sword and the voices (2018)

Extreme Heads of State

Tomm Kristiansen is known as a NRK correspondent in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has also been an adviser to the President of South Sudan. About the South African party ANC since the fall of the apartheid regime, Kristiansen says to Ny Tid: "The ANC has had so much power that they have not had to fight their cases through in parliament. They have been able to control the policy from the party office. The mistake was that the people chose the wrong people to rule. I am thinking of both Zuma and Mbeki, who denied that AIDS existed. With such leaders, a lot goes wrong. "

"Royalist power in Saudi Arabia is maintained by oil." Tin

Ina Tin from Amnesty participated in a panel debate with Tomm Kristiansen about extreme state leaders. To Ny Tid, she emphasizes the development in Saudi Arabia: "The Saudi Crown Prince is a dangerous player in the Middle East. His business partners in the West must put their foot down. His aggressive policies could end in military confrontation with Iran. Then the region could face a major war between two of the largest military nations there. "

Kristiansen has met Nelson Mandela several times: “Mandela is the most sympathetic head of state I have met. He may not have accomplished the whole world, but sometimes you have to tell the story of what didn't happen instead of looking at what happened. For South Africa held together – there was no war between xhosa and zulu, between the inkatha party and the ANC. As a journalist, one can find corruption and a weak economy. But one must also see how many people have electricity, how many in rural areas have health care, and how many have access to clean water. ”

Regarding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's closed regime, Tin told Ny Tid: "Saudi Arabia has a totally oil-dependent economy. The king's autocratic power in the country is maintained with the help of oil. Under bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is more than ever a brutal regime. He persecutes his own people and tightens freedom of expression – this affects religious leaders, human rights defenders and women activists. The Crown Prince is also behind the war against Yemen, which is a proxy war against Iran, since the hothi militia is said to have received support from the Iranian regime. The war is a disaster for the people of Yemen. "

"The ANC has been able to control politics from the party office." Kristiansen

Kristiansen emphasizes that the multiculturalism in South Africa works better than much else there: “Today there are ethnic conflicts; most are rather political. People are marrying across ethnic boundaries all the time. 'He himself married in the township of Khayelitshai.

At the same time, Kristiansen points out that South Africa has a long way to go – often for a couple of generations. After it sold well Mother Africa (1994) he was in Bergen to talk about his latest book, When God changed his mind (2018). Kristiansen mentions two African countries with success. For example, South Africans travel to Mozambique on holiday: “Mozambique has succeeded. Some of the white farmers from Zimbabwe are doing very well there. They were welcomed in Mozambique. The beaches have been deserted because of the civil war, but now there is a big commitment there. ”And developments in Zimbabwe have improved since Mugabe left. Indeed, President Mnangagwa welcomes international press, and several white peasants displaced by Mugabe are back.

Nepotism or openness

Back to management. President Trump refuses to take a principled approach to the killing of Saudi journalist Khashoggi. He has stated that he is more concerned about having a good relationship with Saudi Arabia â € “and selling weapons to them â €” than by settling on such a policy. Amnesty's senior adviser, Tin, adds: “In Norway, too, there is room for some self-examination when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Sørige should demand that the arrested women activists in Saudi Arabia be released immediately and unconditionally. She doesn't. "

Tin has never been to Saudi Arabia and never thinks she can go there. "Amnesty is considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia. Besides, my sources could be compromised just by talking to me. "
Gjerstad is a freelance journalist.

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