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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kontroll! Kontroll you may control but no to violence



I had already been to town and back home by 9am to do some official business. It was fine morning. A friend greeted me on the bus. We were chatting. After a couple of stops the bus stopped and the uniformed control people came in. We were fine. We had our tickets but there is a woman who did not have hers. She talked back to the first control man and I could hear her saying that she forgot something. I have seen someone go up to them before and explain her situation, she looked and sounded Norwegian but how can you know these days, and she was fine. That morning the woman without a ticket said she had a kind of permit which she forgot at home. We were chatting and for a while I forgot who else was on the bus until suddenly I heard a commotion. Now in Nordic and even other cities in the South people in towns and cities people normally mind their own business. Well, they were doing just that but the control people were now pushing the woman quite hard because she wanted to alight. It was spontaneously that we reaacted. I remember only saying that all that could be done without any pushing or violence. It looked really ugly. Now the woman involved and the men were also trying to use phones to contact someone but really for a while the 27 to 50 kroners it costs to be on the bus for an hour seemed more important that all decency? I know it is a lot of money but we must reason before we can employ physical force. For me men on a woman's body in like that is a no go ... and I know why. Well, it was a moment in Oslo. A moment in which we did not allow the noise and the pushing to continue.

One of the control men was asking us not to say anything or to stop them but we made it quite clear that we are non violent and that between the ears there is something to be spoken to. The pushing stopped but I can just imagine what a start of the day. I know you cannot have police on buses but I have been on a bus where a man who was very high on something went right up to the driver to push him and hit him because he did not stop where there is no bus stop. All seems fine in Oslo until suddenly something like this happens. I know it for a fact because the man breathing hard and heavy passed over my shoulder not without some pushing and looked so angry that I started to shout "Stop it!" That day some passengers intervened but often people are quite indifferent. The man was overcome by the people and he came off the bus. The driver shook and was angry and wanted to beat to something to the man but then he parked and then had to move because it was Carl Berners busy roundabout. You see on that route Bus 33 which we were on stops on the upper side and the man had insisted that it stops on the first stop in CB plass on its way towards Rosenhof where we were going to school. Phew! That was a tough one. But the people told him to forget it he was drunk/high.

It was after the driver started the bus again that someone told him they thought hte man hurt some of us but he said that is why he had wanted to call the police.  Well, this is not the common thing but we began to say that we are concerned about safety on buses. What would have happened if that man hit the unsuspecting driver hard from behind? Probably he would have been so shocked as this place is rather always so safe that the bus would have ended up in an accident with other vehicles.

In most places I know, it is not enough to have one person on a big bus with only a camera to assist him when he can look at the back.  And yet, well, it is quite the normal thing and an efficient thing in Europe. Everything appears smart and sophisticated. Only the driver whom am sure will soon move out as we promote robots sits in a big tram and only the driver takes care of thebuses. Well. That is the way it is. I wondered what a lively and drunk little mob that was on the bus one Friday night would stop at. They were bullying a woman on other side. "Are you married? Do you have a child? Are you on fb?" The strange thing is that she decided to cope with them and even speak to them so that at the end of it all when they alighted form bus 37 on Arnes Borg plass? Ooops, near Deichmanske Library and next to the government buildings that were bombed, one of them shook her hand and told her , "Keep it real!" I thought this young woman should have protested the invasion of her space but she did not in this world of equality. I guess we all need to keep it real. Remember the old saying "In vini veritas?" Well, it has been said that the younger generation of Nordic women might not be too keen on their liberation as were women in the 80s and 90s. She did not keep it real by protesting. She kept mum. I say again we need to keep it real in Norway.

I am glad the young men remembered to mention the 22nd of July but I was not sure in what context as they drooled in Norsk, probably the fact that they were alighting there. Well, I have to tell you that very often young people are really drunk in the evenings here. But, hey, in the evenings and mostly after work. This is normal society... but what am not so used to is every now and then finding someone throwing up from drunkenness on any street you can name. This problem concerns us all. What shall we say when we drink where there is poverty and exceed where there is wealth?

Norway is a beautiful world. Every country has its beauty. Remember reporting for inside Africa on BBC and also African Voices on CNN every week? We need to report from Inside Europe about the beauty of the wildlife here. Norway is strangely not as much in international news as it should be unless something dramatic happens. Neither is the rest of the Nordic countries. You see they do not have a major channel for themselves. They rely on America and England to give the news to the world I think. There are many programs from Americ on TV here. And the Norwegian local channels have an intense internal focus.  We are used to being reported by others in Africa so we like to seand we furiously report the world in our countries at least in Kenya. At the universities too 99% of quotes are from European sources in many cases. What do you expect, we speak and teach in European languages in our continent. It is the way the world has gone. You can read more about Norway here however, someone does some reporting on nature and other things from time to time http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/sep/07/polar-bears-norway#/?picture=352624100&index=10