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Palestine, Portugal, pluralism

MANAGER / When is more independent identity important, and not?


Let me take this time for more examples indentity is problematic. Who-you-are and where-you-belong-to is still debated.

As usual, Norway's Foreign Minister led the Donor Group for Palestine (AHLC) – this time at Oslo City Hall for a couple of hundred participants, such as Palestinians, Israelis, the United States, the EU, Russia, the UN and other key countries. Anniken Huitfeldt began by emphasizing that Norway is working for that Palestine gets its own state – the two-state solution. In the long run, this could mean that the Palestinians realize their own identity independently of Israel. Huitfeldt emphasized at the same time that Norway is a partner for both parties. Afterwards, therefore, MODERN TIMES asked in a separate interview how the government views that Israel recently defined six Palestinian humanitarian organizations as terrorist organizations (or that these support such). Terror-identity is a label that entails both arrests, seizures and possible closure. Huitfeldt replied: "We have asked Israel to document these very serious allegations and are awaiting a response." These are humanitarian NGOs with human rights as their goal – that is, they work with universal values, beyond the individual's identity. Of the six, for example Al-Haq and Defense for Children, according to the UN, have submitted documentation of Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Huitfeldt does not have more information about this when I ask, but points out that "we have to open civil society on the Palestinian side, a space that has shrunk in the last couple of years. […] We may be facing a society that is collapsing, and that is very, very dangerous.”

Norway has long had an identity as a peacebuilder. For example, mourned nansen for the Nansen Pass to 500 stateless refugees.

But in terms of identity, this conflict is complex – as Israel identifies itself as a «Jewish state». When NY Tid films the Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammed Shtayyed in a conversation with the media afterwards, his conclusion is clear: «The Israeli Prime Minister gave us no three times – not a single yes. They now have more intense settlement programs than Netanyahu, saying no to a Palestinian state and no to meeting President Abbas. They will now face very serious consequences.» Huitfeldt, for his part, indicated in his earlier summary of the meeting that «Israel had outlined a number of concrete measures that their new government is willing to take.»

When asked about de-escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, at least Huitfeldt said that they are doing what they can – following the Oslo agreement – to ensure that Palestine receives enough money from the donors present. A question I unfortunately did not get to ask was whether the new government will now officially recognize Palestine as an independent state – as Huitfeldt's former colleague Anna Linde did in Sweden in 2014. And when Jonas Gahr store was foreign minister, he was quoted in the New York Times (18.09.11) as saying that "Norway is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state". His own comment in print 4 days later with the title Ready for Statehood, at «the main obstacle to the realization of Palestinian statehood is the occupation. The Palestinians are otherwise fully capable of running a state ».

See also the conversation with Thorbjoern Jagland. Yes, is it not time for Palestine to realize an independent identity?

Ai Weiwei, Sculpture, Lisbon

Portugal and the sea

Let me grasp identity in a completely different way, with the nations Portugal og Norway. I was recently invited to the documentary film festival DocLisboa, where I sat on a panel to discuss national identity – via the maritime nations of Portugal and Norway. Norway is now assisting with nearly NOK 10 million so that Portugal can digitize its films related to the coast and the sea. Like Norway, where 80 percent of the population lives 10 minutes from the sea, a lot of identity is linked there. We are good at talking about Norway as a coast, fishing and fjord – and national tourist destinations. The Portuguese identity will now be strengthened via film, as we saw how Cinematheque in Lisbon will digitize a total of 10 minutes from film rolls. An old Norwegian short film about Norwegian herring fishing was also shown at the festival. After all, we have quite a few stories about sailors, sailing ships, cargo ships and shipowners...

However, in the debate, I was skeptical of identity building. Via the sea, Portugal got an outlet for its colonial power. Although one can be proud to see Norwegian clipfish (bacalao) in Portugal, I was rather the heretic in the debate panel. I rather emphasized a pluralism and reminded the congregation of the cynic Kjell Inge Røkke. He who with bottom-sweeping trawlers destroyed bottom conditions and weakened the fish stock in South America. Many a local fisherman lost his income. Røkke is a westerner who proudly tries to invoke the identity «fisherman» and today invests heavily in farmed salmon – with «endless possibilities,» as he says.

If you look around here in the newspaper, you will find – not by chance – a number of critical remarks about identity.

I rather enjoyed some festival films, such as the retrospective of Italian Cecilia eat, where a couple of heretics – the boy who didn't fit in the class; or the feature film about Antonio Gramsci in prison. Rather, the deviation is important here, the ability to accept different thinking. Because isn't the health of the nation or democracy measured by how they treat the minority or minorities? Therefore, it was provocative to see the large French area with hippie-like eco-collectives in the film Spark (see appendix, MTR) – where humans had chosen to live in harmony with nature and each other – to be devastated by Macron's police forces. As jury members, we gave the film an honorable mention.

For documentaries can – in addition to strengthening personal or national identity – also question and open up for a fairer treatment of the Other, the Stranger, or the Refugee.

Yes, the refugee was also a theme in Lisbon, with Ai weiweis huge exhibition in the harbor warehouses, including all his documentaries about refugees – which Human Flow (see pages 2-3 in the appendix). Also the sculpture of a large oil-black inflatable boat with refugees. This world-renowned dissident artist did not find himself in the Chinese totalitarian and today lives in Berlin. The identity problem for the political refugees he mentions also applies to himself.


If you look around here in the newspaper, you will find – not by chance – a number of critical remarks about identity. For example, in the conversation here with jagland, where he in a criticism of the red-green alternative with SV and Sp – which dampened Arbeiderpartiets historical internationalism – expresses that "something of the social democrat in me died". Or what about former editor-in-chief Arne Ruth, who, due to Sweden's treatment of Julian Assange (see page 8), henceforth chooses to call himself European rather than Swedish. On the other hand, Steffen Moestrup's essay (page 50) on family belonging, having a grandmother who bears witness to your life, is an argument the other way. Dag Herbjørnsrud's essay (page 54) also shows how Africa historically contributed to helping Europe, but was then looked down upon. And several books deal with identity, be it political, ethnic, gender-related, youthful, national, religious or ecological – or the way one stages oneself in the media.

The middle section ORIENTERING also deals with photography, where, for example, black identity, or the suppression of it, is evident in Zofia Cielatkowska's article (page 28). The essay on the world of international books (page 34), on the major booksellers – in turn builds on a pluralism and a broad understanding.

As the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said about identity, we must not fasten the travel suit with a hard knot. Because with a little reflection, you really see how temporary much of your identity is – and don't hold on to it so hard, but open yourself up more to others, to those who think differently, to multiculturalism or a pluralism. Such a French philosopher as Emmanuel Levinas has pointed out with "the other's face".

And as the politician Jagland emphasizes over four sides, war and conflict most often end in nationalism and proliferation of enemy images. Borders and walls create violence, and military action creates revenge and hatred over generations. The stigma of the past as «black» or «Jew,» or today's populist play on emotions with labels such as «terrorist,» «conspiracy theorist» or «vaccine opponent,» has never helped the world in the future.

It is time for less offense and emotion, and rather more openness, reason and reconciliation – or as Nobel Laureate Liu , Aobo finally said at his trial in China: "I have no enemies."

Truls Lie
Truls Liehttp: /
Editor-in-chief in MODERN TIMES. See previous articles by Lie i Le Monde diplomatique (2003–2013) and Morgenbladet (1993-2003) See also part video work by Lie here.

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