Norway has always held a special place in my heart, and if you consider the photograph above for a moment I belive you can see why. I am Scandiavian, I have both Swedish and Norwegian roots, and these roots run deep. Cuturally, historically, and most of all environmentally, I am a son of two nations. Nationalism has a very negative ring to it, especially when heard through swedish ears. But for me, a love of country is not the same thing as a hatred for everything outside of it.
Do I take pride in being Scandinavian? You can bet your arse I do. The thing is, I see many of my fellow countrymen lash out in frustration. The kind of frustration felt here can be felt all throughout Europe these days and like many have here, other Europeans have begun to lash out as well. We seek scapegoats and the anger and frustration many feel demand that somebody takes the blame, acknowledges responsibility. Herein lies the tragedy of nationalism’s darker side. The role of scapegoat often befall those who are different from the majority.
Are we not two nations of intellectuals? Are we not two nations confident in our historical and cultural identities? I want the obvious answer to be yes. I want to be able to say that we are. But if that were true, why then would we be so afraid of those who are culturally different from us?
It seems to me that many of us have forgotten something important, something fundamental. We’ve lost our humility(if we ever had any). We’ve forgotten how to show respect. Social and cultural segregation is not okay. We are better than that. Or have we seriously become that dumb? Intelligence and racism do not go hand in hand.
We need to ask ourselves what we want it to mean to be Scandinavian. I would personally want the word to be associated with a people defined not by ethnicity but a strong desire to foster creativity, compassion, intelligence, and respect toward our environment as well as each other. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.