MY POINT OF VIEW

My opinion in a world with freedom of speech

Sachsenhausen ~ post one

Our trip to Berlin went well, although we did meet a few problems here and there. But this post is not about that; I want to tell about my experiences when visiting Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Which, as expected, was tough. I have got some things I want to mention, so I will probably make a few posts on this topic and add it as one of my “weekly topics”.

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Have you ever read 
“The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”? I have. And I think it is a great book. A truly nice story. What I never thought about though, is how surreal it is. At school this year I will write an assignment about the story in “Schindler’s List” and compare it to “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas“, because they are both about World War II, however; one is written out of what actually happened, while the other does not deal with all the facts.

In “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas we are introduced to two boys; one who is Jewish and one who is German. The son of a Nazi. The Jewish boy, Shmuel, lives in a concentration camp – Auschwitz. But in spite of that, he becomes friend with the German boy on the outside.

I never thought about it before, not until I started writing this assignment and reading about the criticism the book has received. Then I went to Sachsenhausen, and understood even better, why people criticize the book.

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The walls. The tall, thick 
walls and the wires on the top and down at the ground. I do not write this post to criticize the book; as I said, I think it is a great story. I was really moved by it when I read it; the movie as well. However, going to Sachsenhausen made me think. And with the book on my mind, I realized exactly how trapped these people were. We also had a guide with us, and all the stories he told … wow, I am surprised of how cruel mankind can be sometimes. Then again not surprised. Maybe angry is a better word.

Anyway, the walls were actually my first thought when entering. That is what split these innocent people away from the world. That hid all the bad things that were done to them; I am fully aware of the fact that things were not good on the outside either at this time, but still … all the stories we will never know, all the cruelness these people had to suffer through, and that died with them… I do not think we can ever imagine how bad it actually was in there. But over these next posts, I will try to tell some of the stories we were told when visiting one of the most important concentration camps.

  • Have you ever visited a concentration camp?

Monika

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First We Take Manhattan

Tonight, as I am heading to Berlin in a couple of hours, I want to share you a song. A great song in my opinion. By Leonard Cohen. I remember hearing it a lot when I spent time with my father a few years ago. (That means we heard the song back then, I still see my dad). And I think it has been years since I last heard it, but some days ago I just suddenly remembered it. I did not even know if I had the right lyrics or if my childish non-speaking mind had made up some words. But yes indeed, “then we take Berlin” is part of the lyrics. And so I found it. First We Take Manhattan by Leonard Cohen.

The lyrics of this song feel so deep. I simply love them. Every word. And because I now, with an older mind than some years ago, find a meaning behind the words, I wanted to see if Cohen actually thought about wars, and WW2 in particular. And well, still not sure, I am pretty convinced he was. I have read different people’s opinions about the song and its meaning, and some quotes by Cohen himself.

Anyway, on Monday I will go to Sachsenhaussen concentration camp. I have always wanted to go to a one of them, but as I am now actually going to, I feel a bit… I don’t know, but I am sure it will be a pretty tough day. So many stories lying in the walls, floors and everything… But hopefully it will be an experience that inspires me to write a proper post in here again. And give me the chance to add some pictures I have taken myself.

  • What is your interpretation of First We Take Manhattan?
  • Have you ever been to a concentration camp?

Monika

The Norwegian Elections 2013

I cannot believe someone still visits my blog, I mean I do not update very often these days, for which I am terribly sorry. But I actually do not have time and I have to have school and work as priorities right now. On top of that, I do not know what to write about. I have been so caught up in school lately I have not had time to think about these… well, these things I am so interested in and write about on this blog. But then it hit me. A topic for today.

After last week’s Elections in Norway we had a change of government. We moved from the left side and over to the right. We have a new prime minister, Erna Solberg. A few years ago I could not have cared less, but last Monday I gave my vote and in the evening I sat up until 1 am just to follow the counting on TV. And when I realized we no longer have a red-green government, but a very blue one, I was pretty shocked. I did not vote for that. The day after we spent two of our classes just talking about which changes we will see, as this means a lot of changes. Just to mention a few topics; the oil industry, immigration, taxes, schools, hospitals… Pretty much all the big things will somehow change from now on. It means a good future for the rich and well educated people, and probably harder conditions for us “normal” people.

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Anyway, what I want to reflect upon is not this, it is actually something else. Something many Norwegians are pretty sad about. And that is how the media in other countries suddenly …. Okay, first of all, our new government is: Høyre (right), Frp, Venstre and KrF. After 22nd of July 2011 Norway was put on the map, because of one man, Anders Behring Breivik. A Norwegian man. A terrorist. A man who has been a member of the party FrP.

Now I do not at all support the politic FrP wants, but when the media in other countries started linking Breivik to FrP and all of that… I have to say I got a bit disappointed. It is like the rest of the world says we chose FrP into our government and somehow support what Breivik did. But that is not the case. After 22nd of July, Norway stood closer as a nation than ever. Not one party supports what he did that day. And I do not want anything in our politics to have anything to do with Breivik. Yes, he was a member a long time ago, but he got out because they were not as extreme as he was. They did not have the same thoughts as he did, and he realized that and left the party.

I just want everyone to know this. As I have said, I was sad with this change of government, but it has nothing to do with Breivik. And even though I do not share the opinion of neither Frp nor Breivik, I do not want anyone to link those two together. It is actually important to me. So please world, do not, ever again, link Frp and Breivik together. Ever. Thank you.

Monika

Closing your ears in a debate

It has been silent here for ages again, for which I am sorry. But in my defense I am officially back at school and I already see (and feel) how this will be a tough and challenging year. Last week I had one afternoon to just relax and today I fell asleep pretty soon after getting home from school. I also was without my computer for an entire week, so it has not been easy keeping the blog updated.

As we are heading towards our Elections (which will be held on Monday 9th of September) we had a panel debate at school today. One representative from the nine biggest parties in Norway participated in the debate and it was open for us to ask questions. This year is the first where I can actually vote myself. And I have to admit I do not quite know which party will get my vote. It is so much easier to eliminate some of them, and I am now facing the choice between two parties.

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Anyway. After the debate we could walk around and talk to each party as we wanted, and once again I had an interesting conversation. There is one party in particular that has bad animal politics. They want animals in circuses. They want the fur farming industry to continue (although they say they want to improve the situation, but still nothing is being done). They want to remove the few wolves we have got left in Norway to save the thousands of sheep we have. So I asked them about these things. Went up to them and said, “Tell me about your politics regarding predators.” And by his look I think he at once understood I knew what his answer was and that I did not support it.

The guy I spoke to in the beginning was nice though. He shared the party’s opinion. And ended with, “but I guess we do not agree on this?” with a little smile. I smiled and said, “Nope, not at all.” And we moved on to the circus question. Then to the fur farming. And it was on this topic that another guy from his party joined in. And the way he was talking, the way he just did not care to hear what I had to say and apparently had made up his mind completely and just shut me out in order to express himself (in an idiotic way) really provoked me. So in the end I just shook my head and left. I mean, I do not bother using my time debating with people who closes their ears for what others have to say.

debattThis is not the way to debate.

I am happy people have different opinions. That we do not always share the same thoughts and that we do not see the world through equal eyes. I respect that. What I do not respect is people who shut out everyone. Especially in a debate. Alright, you want to express your opinion, but you have to let the other one talk and give them a chance. I do not say you should change your own opinion, but everyone has got the right to be heard. And if you are representing a party it is even more important to behave calmly and polite, and letting the person you speak to express what they mean.

  • Have you ever debated with someone who closed their ears for what you said?

Monika

I want to save the world

So I just got this crazy idea. All of my life really, but especially this last one and a half year, I have made up my mind about wanting to make a difference. Wanting to do something to help someone. Because if you help someone, you do make a difference.

As I have been looking for the right education for me lately I have realized how many people actually have this dream of “saving the world”. And seeing the amount of these people make me understand there is also a big amount of people who do not accomplish this dream in the end.

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Still, this is not a post to make anyone feel down. I actually want to see if my idea is interesting for some of you guys out where, which I really hope;

I want to share your stories. I want you to write me your story, your life-time dream related to helping someone out, and I want you to hear if you have accomplished it, are studying for it right now or still is looking for your right path to get there. If you have any advice for other people with the same dreams, please share them too. And then, anonymous or not (your call!) I will publish it here and let more people read it. Let more people get inspired – either realizing they want to do this too, or understand where they can study or in general just how to get there. If you happen to also have a picture related to your topic (e.g. yourself, you doing some of this work or another illustration picture) please add this too.

I really hope some of you want to join me on this idea, and I will of course publish my own story too. So if you are interested, please e-mail me your story on moonierh@hotmail.com and I will publish it.

  • What do you think of this idea? Are you interested in giving it a chance?

Monika

Night ravens

As a result of being spontaneous yesterday, a friend and I ended up as Natteravner (night ravens) tonight. Every year my town has its biggest party at this time of the year, and as many get drunk some assistant might be in need. As I only just turned 18 I am finally allowed to do things such as this and considering we were not going to the party/concert ourselves we thought, why not? and joined in as night ravens.

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So what  is this “Natteravnene”? I will quote Wikipedia: “…established in 1990, is a Norwegian based franchise organisation of volunteers that encourages adult, sober citizens to walk around in the city in groups at night during the weekends. Their task is to be visible and available for the public as it is believed that this will prevent violence and anti-social behavior. The volunteers will also assist people who are unable to take care of themselves.”

We were walking the streets from 11 pm to 3 am, and according to the police there were about 1600 people at the party. I had expected people being drunker, but we actually did not have to do much. Apart from helping a slightly drunk girl getting to her friend, and just having a few calm (of course weird) conversations with some others, it really was not a big job.

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So why did I do this?
According to the Facebook event of the show, a lot of my class/school mates were going too, but to enjoy the event, not to make sure everyone would be alright. Well, firstly I have to say I am no big drinker myself. I am not saying (as I once used to) that I will never drink or anything, but that big partying with getting drunk almost every weekend is nothing for me. And I am always looking for some experience and I find volunteer work interesting. I would love to do more volunteer work, but unfortunately we do not have a lot of that type in my town. So it is like you just have to do everything you find.

I am thinking of joining the Red Cross’ volunteer work soon, because I believe that working like this will make you more prepared for what is out there. I believe it will help you open your eyes for the reality. And I am hoping to have a job where I can help people in the future, so I think working like this will help me prepare for this.

  • Do you have something equal to the Night Ravens in your town/country?
  • Have you ever done any volunteer work?

Monika

Plans for future posts

I have got so many things on my mind these days, and there are so many topics I would like to share and discuss with you, but somewhere in between my head and my fingers pressing the publish-button, there is a wall. A thick wall I cannot break through. I do not even know why, all I know is that it is not because I suddenly lost the interest in the blog.

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However, during the years I have had one or two blogs and I have never liked making any posts without pictures. The same goes for this one. And even though I have done so here, I am no fan of taking illustration pictures from the Internet (as above). As it is my blog, with my opinions, I prefer using my pictures too. But I do not have many pictures that relate to the topics I write about here. However, I think I will try to take some during these next days.

Hopefully, if I get any pictures I feel are alright to use, I will manage through that wall.

Lastly I want to say; if there is one, or more, topic(s) in particular you want to hear my opinion about, I would be so happy to hear it. Although I have many topics written down for future posts I am always open for new ones.

  • Do you prefer having pictures in your blog/the blogs you read?

Monika

Being polite

I want to dedicate this post to the topic of proper behavior. I work in a store, where we have different things such as bathroom and kitchen stuff, clothes, some furniture, tools, toys, some food, candy, light bulbs and a lot more, and have been working there since May. Today I saw the perfect example of how not to behave.

As a man came up to me to ask if he had this one particular thing, which he said he had seen a couple of days ago, but did not now, I told him we probably did not have it at the moment because we have not been moving any stuff lately. He then disappeared into the store again for a few minutes and later came back to me, not at all polite.

It is not what he said that upset me, it is more the way he said it. I have never seen a man that age talk to a girl my age like that before, and did not at all know how to react because we are supposed to respect and be polite towards the costumers. So I ended up answering pretty calmly, saying I was sorry.

be-nice-or-go-awayMaybe we should put this sigh on the entrance door,
and it would of course go both ways.

The man actually ruinined my entire day. This happened in the beginning of my shift, and I had to work through the whole day while I could not get it off my mind. It probably sounds crazy, but he was so rude I even felt like crying for a while there. It did not help later on either, when another grown up man came and asked me if we had another thing and I told him I did not know so he should rather ask one of the other workers, who was in the store and has worked there a lot longer than I have. When he came back he started going off at me too, saying I should know all of these things and bla bla bla.

I could never even consider talk to someone like that, at least not when it is such a small thing. Even though you have not found what you wanted or whatever, it is no excuse to criticize the worker or to raise your voice. It is something called proper behavior… I mean, how about in this last scenario, the man had come back to me later saying “I spoke to the girl in the store, and she said you don’t have this, so now you know for later on” with a smile? That would have been so much better for both of us and I would not feel like he was trying to step on me.

  • Have you seen many people behave like this? Do you find it excusable?

Monika

Update on the kitten

Woah, I feel like the worst blogger in history at the moment. I am so sorry for not updating in here in ages, but truth to be told there is so much going on I do not have time. I am watching the kitten, I am working and the last week a friend from Spain has been staying with us.

However I thought to give you an update on what is going on with the kitten. Or, how it is going. During the first one and a half week we were a little bit worried about its weight, because it did not grow much. We have read a lot on the Internet about how much an average kitten usually grow, and this little one did not follow the “model” at all. But during these last days it has finally reached a turning point and is now gaining a lot of weight.

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Something good always brings a problem though. The fact that it is growing a lot is something you easily see on its stomach. On Monday my mother took it to the vet because the stomach actually looked like a ball; and yes, the vet stated it did have some stomach problems. So ever since, we have used a lot of time trying to get it to “the toilet”. It is still not totally fine, but at least it seems like it is getting better.

On the other hand it seems like it is beginning to trust us now, and is even sleeping, totally calm, on its back almost every day.

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This is probably the most “demanding” project I have ever started. When I took it in from the garage attic that day a couple of weeks ago, I had not at all pictured myself getting up in the middle of the night, every night for weeks, just to give it like 5 ml of milk. But I am glad I brought it in; seeing it growing and knowing I have helped it survive gives me so much joy.

  • Have you ever taken care of a kitten like this?

Monika

Painting: War is hell

To make up for the lack of posts here lately (as I am pretty busy with work and now to watch the new, little kitten in house – look here), I thought to share my newest painting with you. I got inspired when I saw a picture on the Internet of a soldier with the words “War is hell” written on his helmet. So I decided to try to paint it. And for once I actually even finished it.

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I always try to document my process to be able to look back and see what worked and did not. Anyway, the final result;

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I know painting is not really what this blog is about, but because of the message behind this particular one, I thought to share it after all. When I look at it I see all the soldiers out there fighting for their countries. Not the ones who grew up thinking, “I want to become a soldier!” and actually think it is alright to make war. No, I see those who never got the choice. Those who have had their countries destroyed because of this terrible act of other people, and those who were forced to put their lives at risk in order to protect their countries. Their families. And friends.

  • What do you think when you read “War is hell” like this?

Monika