Atle Hetland

  • TUsually, we say: Do you understand what I mean, or maybe: Do you see what I see? But I thought I should turn it, and ask if I can be able to see what you see, what you mean. The demand should not only be on you, it should also be on me. We can all learn new things; we can try to see things from ...

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  • TToday, I shall reflect on some aspects about how we talk about faith, and also how we must not behave towards others even if we disagree with them religiously or otherwise. This is accentuated by last week’s sad case in Kristiansand, Norway, where a small extremist group, which calls itself ...

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  • TIt was sad to learn about the anti-Islamic public gathering and attempted burning of the Holy Quran at a central city square in the southern Norwegian city of Kristiasand last week. The police interfered immediately and stopped the desecration of the holy book. A few members of a small extremist ...

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  • TPeople learn from meeting other people. Yes, we also learn from listen stories, from reading books and newspapers. Today, I shall tell something about Norway’s emigration history, about Norwegian sailors and missionaries, and a bit more. I shall be able to tell much about the nine million ...

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  • TWho is happiest in this world? Not the Norwegians, Danes or Icelanders, said a senior Pakistani social scientist, having carried out surveys and analyzed what people say, including in the so-called ‘happiness surveys’. If those Nordics were so happy, they would be more optimistic about ...

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  • TIn a few recent articles, I have written about ‘unequal relations’, with reference to a book by Lisa Halliday, who the media and literacy critics in USA have said is a ‘literary phenomenon’ after her first novel, ‘Asymmetry’ was released a year ago. She writes ...

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  • TToday, I shall begin my article by writing about author Lisa Halliday (42), who the media and literacy critics in her home country USA have said is a ‘literary phenomenon’ after her first novel was released a year ago. She has written other books and worked in publishing for many years, ...

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  • TAutumn must be the best season for everyone who wants to discuss books and authors. The world’s largest book fair in Frankfurt has just ended, and the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded a couple of weeks ago, this year with two prizes since last year’s prize was postponed due to a ...

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  • 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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