Atle Hetland

  • TThe Global Dignity Day was celebrated yesterday. In Islamabad, I had the pleasure of attending an event a few days earlier, with Irfan Wahab Khan, Telenor Pakistan’s CEO and leader of the company’s Emerging Asia Cluster; Right to Play country representative, Iqbal Jatoi, whose chair is ...

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  • TA Norwegian friend told me in an email recently that although it is important to discuss multiculturalism in our time, and be welcoming towards immigrants and refugees, it is also important not to forget the variations and diversity within one’s own country. The retired sociologist and ...

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  • TToday, I will write more about the value of multiculturalism in our time and the future. In my article last week, I stressed the value of multiculturalism, and that it would be good for Pakistan to receive more foreigners for far. It is important to take part in cultural exchange; it is important ...

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  • TDeveloping countries are less multicultural and diverse than the rich Western countries. Pakistan has not yet become multicultural. Well, it has a colonial history, and that resulted in English becoming the main language in the country, with cultural dimensions, and especially the upper classes ...

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  • TA few days ago, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad. It was about climate change and, for a change, there were more female than male speakers. They spoke well and so did many participants, too, having ideas for ...

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  • TAs Muharram, the first month of the Muslim calendar began Muslims marked Ashura on the ninth and tenth day of the month earlier this week. The grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was martyred in the Battle at Karbala, and the event is commemorated by all Muslims, indeed by Shiite Muslims. I believe ...

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  • TLast Sunday, in the Chapel of the Royal Castle in Oslo, the Norwegian Princess Ingrid Alexandra (15) was confirmed in the Church of Norway, where she became a member at the baptism as a baby of a few months. According tradition in the Evangelical-Lutheran denomination of the Protestant Church, and ...

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  • TLast week, I said in my article that a new school year is meant to be a happy time. Today, I will say that the first day of the new school at the opening of the SSPSS school on Kuri Road in Islamabad was indeed happy. The full name of the school in the new sector of the capital is ‘Sir Syed ...

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  • TA new school year is meant to be a happy time for students, parents, teachers, local communities and the whole nation. In Pakistan, many children are not enrolled and do not have the chance to go to school, and others drop out early before the full primary school cycle has been completed. Parents ...

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  • TAs the new school year begins, education becomes a concern for all of us, if not directly then indirectly. I had planned write about the education sector today, especially aspects concerning private and government schools. But since other important events took place, I will only be able to write a ...

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  • TIn my home country Norway people say that ‘Norway Cup’ is the world’s largest football tournament for children and youth. That’s half fake news, say others. The Swedish ‘Gothia Cup’ in Gothenburg, and also the Danish ‘Dana Cup’ in Hjørring in ...

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  • TIn my articles last week and the week before, I have looked at some aspects of the calibre and work of Western diplomats in developing countries, mostly related to development aid. I have also said that their jobs, especially those who are heading an embassy or government aid agency, but also those ...

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  • TWhen I last week wrote about Western diplomats in developing countries, I just touched upon issues related to the difficult jobs, which I said belong to the group of ‘impossible professions’, along with doctors, pastors, teachers, and others, which I did not name. To be an envoy to a ...

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  • TThere are several impossible professions in this world, they say. To be a doctor or a pastor are such professions, or a teacher. They are certainly rewarding, too, at times, but one always feels one should do better and more. I have been a teacher, and I know how much more I should have done, and ...

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  • TDemocracy is a form of government that is just about one hundred years old, and in many countries, much younger. There was no democracy in any of the British, French, Spanish, or Dutch colonies. When the Brits left their crown colony and India and Pakistan were created in 1947, after long suffering ...

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  • TGood people are good people – and they can easily be identified wherever they are. Not so good people can also be identified, but often it is not their fault but the structures around them that make them less good. It can be that we don’t want to see reality. It can be that we ...

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  • TIt is summer time, and for many that is equal to holiday time, with time off from job and school, opportunity to travel, and a duty to make some travels, too, such as visit and receive relatives. Those who are more affluent can travel as tourists. But not everything slows down in summer, most ...

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  • TThere is a famous saying telling us to plan as if we will live forever, but live as if we will die tomorrow. Mahatma Ghandi said it similarly: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Such words of wisdom teach us profound things in religious texts ...

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  • TMuslims all over the world are still in celebration mood of Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. This year, Whitsun, also termed Pentecost, falls on Sunday 9 June, marking the day when the Christian Church was founded. Ten days earlier, Ascension Day was marked; Christians and ...

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  • TIn some recent articles, I have discussed media issues, prompted by the fake news debate. I have also written about my country of origin, Norway, since Princess Märtha Louise has been in the news and targeted by the media in ways I think has been wrong. She is holding seminars about faith, ...

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  • TThe holy month of Ramadan is not only for renewal and reflection of faith, one’s relationship with God and the sacred aspects of life and the hereafter. It is also about our secular life, about improving ourselves and our relationship with fellow human beings – within own religion and ...

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  • TTomorrow 17 May is my home country Norway’s national day, celebrated in old and new ways to commemorate that the country in 1814, after four hundred years as a part of Denmark-Norway, again became an independent country with its own parliament and constitution. Well, it should take almost ...

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  • TOxbridge Society and its co-ordinator Irshad Ullah-Khan were more than happy by Moeed Hassan Pirzada’s lecture in Islamabad last week, where he gave an overview of Pakistan’s media situation, past, present and future. It was good to get some basics sorted out, a description and facts ...

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  • TFirst, a belated congratulation on yesterday’s International Labour Day. Today, I shall discuss a few aspects related to fake news, including that I believe that fake news and populism are related. Furthermore, I shall use a radical network on the left as an example in counteracting to fake, ...

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  • TLast week was Easter, beginning with Palm Sunday, when everyone cheered Jesus as the “King of the Jews”, as people called him; he was riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, not a stylish horse, but as an ordinary man, close to men and God in all ways. Yet, events turned hostile quickly. ...

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  • TLast week, I began exploring the issue of ‘fake news’ and I will continue this week. I don’t quite go along with what we say nowadays, that fake news is something entirely new, and that there is so much more of it today than before. True, social media may circulate more of it than ...

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  • TIn our time, ‘fake news’ is on the agenda daily, not only because it is a favourite topic of President Donald Trump and others who do not want to see and talk about realities the way they are. They make up their own reality. Maybe we all do, to some extent. That can be discussed, as it ...

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  • TDevelopment is never neutral. It always has a price. We cannot change and improve things unless some lose and some win. In a country’s development, the majority of the people should win, indeed those who are at the bottom on the ladder. In all countries, even in the fairly egalitarian ...

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  • TIt was last Saturday at the 40th congress of the Swedish Social Democratic Labour Party (SAP) in Örebro, Central Sweden, the Party Chairman and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (61) said that poor people must dream big. It was fairness in party, politics and people’s minds that had made ...

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  • TIn my column last week, I wrote about Oscar and Greta Björk, representing the ordinary Swedes who built the ‘folkhemmet’, the welfare state, and a fairer social and economic system of the land. It was not built by the leaders, or the upper-class, certainly not. It was built by the ...

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