Atle Hetland

  • 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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  • TThe world is big. Yet, it is also small. We are all part of it, and we all have more commonalities than differences. But we also have different approaches, timelines and paths to development and equality, justice and prosperity. Luckily, the human nature is also such that we always want more ...

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  • TI have written some articles recently about democracy. Yet, I will again write about it today and even next week and the week thereafter, discussing both philosophical and practical issues. And still, I will only have touched upon the myriad of aspects of democracy, and how to get more of it. Your ...

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  • TDemocracy is about trust, participation, and inclusion. It is about building a fair system of giving and receiving. Indeed, it is about lifting up and getting onboard those who need help. Democracy also requires growth and development, as we human beings want to do more and better. We want to bake ...

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  • TIn today’s article I shall write about the quality of democracy, noting that democracy is about trust and participation, and that both citizens and voters, and those elected and representing people must have knowledge, commitment, training and values. In the ‘old world’, in ...

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  • TIn his idea-stuffed distinguished guest-lecture at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad, the French political scientist and international relations researcher, Professor Emeritus Bertrand Badie, gave a broad overview of the West’s, or should we say the ...

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  • TIt is easy to talk about democracy as something that is given and as if it has existed for very long in our world, especially in the West. Well, in the former colonies voting rights came late, including Pakistan with independence in 1947 and voting rights for all since 1956; remembering, too, that ...

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  • TThe theme of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos last week was ‘shaping the future together’ – a good theme with good intentions, indeed worthy of the WEF chairman Professor Klaus Schwab and his wife Hilde. She is in charge of the social wing of WEF, the ...

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  • TIn the past three days, I have attended three seminars in my neighbourhood in Islamabad; one by Centre for Culture and Development with speakers from Iran, Sweden and Pakistan; one about Oxfam’s annual report, this time (as always) about the devastating inequality in the world; and the third ...

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  • TWe live in a time with major migration, indeed forced migration, with a record high 60 million refugees. Voluntary or semi-voluntary migration includes several hundred million. People smuggling and trafficking is a growing problem. In USA, there is constant discussion about how to keep illegal ...

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  • TWhen a new calendar year begins, we may all take stock of the year that is behind us, saving memories from loved ones who have passed on, cherish lessons learnt and hopes given, and missing enthusiasm, interest and even criticism. Sometimes, we cannot quite believe and get to terms with the loss of ...

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  • TOn the first day of the new calendar year of 2019, I had the opportunity to watch the film ‘Saraband’ by Ingmar Bergman, the much acclaimed Swedish film director and script writer. The film is a Nordic and German TV production from 2003 (released in the US with English subtitles in ...

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  • TJan Eliasson, a retired Swedish diplomat, former government minister, and Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, said recently on a Swedish state television (SVT) debate about this year’s Nobel Prizes, that he is optimistic about the future. Well, he added that he might say he is a ...

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  • TIt is said that we should plan is if were to will live forever, but live as if we were to die tomorrow. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said it. He said we should learn forever, which I modified to plan forever. In any case, we must know that life is unpredictable and that anything can happen any time, ...

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  • TIt was very moving and thought provoking to listen to the lectures by this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates on Monday 10 December, which is also the International Human Rights Day, and this year it is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s Nobel ...

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  • TIt was exciting to read the new government’s ‘National Education Policy Framework’, which was launched just about one and half weeks ago. The government has taken on one of the most important areas of the new and future Pakistan early in its time in office. It is proof of the ...

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  • TThere is nothing more important than education – well, after the three basic-needs areas of security, food/shelter and health have been taken care of. One can argue that since these sectors are intertwined and depend on each other, they can only be improved if looked at holistically and as a ...

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  • TIt is a general pedagogical principle that we in the learning process talk about going from what is known to what is unknown, from what is near to what is further away, from what is concrete to what is abstract, and so on. When we learn new things from far away, it is always essential that we can ...

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  • TWhen I was 19, I became a school teacher at a lower secondary school in the industrial town of Sauda on Norway’s west coast. I had myself just completed upper secondary school at Bergen Cathedral School, and then I went on to teach at three different schools for two years before beginning my ...

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  • TLast week, on 1 November, and earlier, on 4 November, I wrote about prosperity through education and the importance of good teachers. Today, I will cast the net wider; I will re-emphasise the importance of basic education and schooling, but also include literacy, youth and adult education, giving a ...

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  • TFrom my schooldays in Norway, I recently came to recall a few proverbs we used to talk about. One went something like this: “One must have a strong back to carry prosperous days”. The other one was: “Knowledge is a light burden to carry”. The third one was more a religious: ...

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  • TIn today’s article I shall write about this life and the hereafter as I have come to reflect on it because a dear friend became ill, was treated but didn’t become better, and then in the early autumn, it all turned into serious and terminal illness, ending with the last weeks spent in ...

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  • TIn the West and elsewhere where populist right-wing political parties and other extremist groups organise, mainstream politicians and regular people seem unable to understand what goes on. We somehow seen unable or unwilling to believe the unorthodox right-wing political trends. There are also ...

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  • TIs it important to be modern and follow trends? Yes, I think so. We should live in our time and follow the moods and trends, even the whims of the time. To be part of the going Zeitgeist is important, although that can sometimes also mean that we raise questions as we don’t have to agree with ...

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  • TTomorrow, 5 October, is the World Teachers’ Day, also called International Teachers Day. So, when we celebrate teachers everywhere, let us note that a global teacher is also a local teacher. A teacher to the world is also a teacher to the local community, yes, first we are local then we can ...

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