Monday, November 27, 2006

The Final Praxis...Cheers to being done academically with SUST

Since I didn't get any sleep last night...not really sure why? Figured I would post this final praxis reflection paper. Enjoy.

Summing up
A Semester in Scandinavia

When I first came to Norway, I knew very little about the country and therefore had few assumptions about what the country was like. Unlike the others in the SUST program who had family connections here, I chose to study in Norway for purely academic reasons. I wanted to have an experience that would deepen my knowledge of urban life as it is experienced in another country. The opportunity to study public transport systems of similar sized metropolitan areas to that of the Twin Cities through the ISP was a major draw.

Because I was basically uninformed about Norway, I do not think I have experienced the shock that some of the other SUST participants have experienced. I did not have a strong image of Norway as the: “Land of the Vikings”, with beautiful landscapes, strong environmentalism, tolerance of other backgrounds, openness to all, etc. So, this program has both informed me about these images and crumbled them. The course readings and our guests have revealed growing tensions of xenophobia, consequences created by a constructed national identity, discrimination based on ethnic background, and a growing divide between the wealthy and the poor even with Scandinavia’s Welfare system. I learned that these issues are sometimes considered taboo; subjects that “we don’t talk about here”. By not having a strong perception of what Norway was before coming here, I created the understanding of what Norway is as it was presented to me in the readings and in class discussions.

After reflecting on the semester in general, I realize that I have had very few problems or obstacles that I have had to overcome. In some of our travels I have been thwarted by the airlines in getting to certain destinations (Bergen-Stavanger), yet through patience and perseverance I was able to get to those places eventually and reconnect with the group. In doing research for my ISP, my lack of ability to read Norwegian was an obstacle because important documents were only published in Norwegian with short English summaries. However, I was able to overcome this by contacting and talking to important researchers through my placement at the Norwegian Conservation Society. It made me feel proud to hear positive comments from my program director about my efforts to establish contacts regardless of my lack of experience with the Norwegian language.

Overall I think adapted very well to living in Norway. This can be attributed to the many similarities between Norway and the US in regards to daily life, which I described in my praxis regarding globalization. I was able to buy food that was familiar to me and didn’t have to eat fish eyes or something of the equivalent. My living space at Sogn was similar to that of most student housing developments in the US. I was able to make new friends, something that was a challenge for me. It is easy to rely on family and old friends rather than push myself to meet new people. I hope to stay in contact with my new friends and visit them in the future.

In addition to making new friends, I was able to survive a 4-month separation from my girlfriend who awaits my return. This period provided me with insight into what couples often face in long distance relationships including feelings of jealousy and loneliness, and the arguments that can flare up from the smallest of things. Through this study abroad Kristen and I learned a lot about each other and how we interact with one another when the conversation isn’t face to face.

Finally although I have traveled quite a bit with my family, this was my first trip alone. Before I left on this trip I was worried that things would go wrong and I wouldn't know what to do. I found that even when things go wrong, I can solve the problem. I have survived a traveling here, and the huge ordeal that was, but also arranging other trips in Europe including the trip my Mother and I enjoyed in London during the semester break in October. All of the travel I have done over the past four months has increased my confidence in my ability to solve problems and reduced my fear of traveling on my own.

Through the SUST program I was exposed to a large range of issues facing contemporary Scandinavia including the importance of national identity, immigration and integration, and the future of the welfare state. What I found interesting was how all of these large topics are in themselves interconnected to each other, and how they continue to fuel the center-periphery struggle in Norway, my core issue. I have been particularly fascinated by this debate the entire semester because it relates so closely to things that Minnesota politically is facing in the wake of increased urbanization and centralizing forces. So far this topic has been covered in several sets of critical questions and at least two praxis reflection papers.

In my first praxis paper (Wambach, Praxis 1, 2006) I summarized the work of Knut Heidar (2001) on the creation of Norwegian identity. Heider describes how Norwegian identity was created by social elites who searched for a “pure Norwegian” after gaining independence from Sweden and earlier Denmark. These elites were looking for an identity that was as far from Danish influence as possible. Thus the periphery of Norway, due to the lack of communication technology at the time, along with common Scandinavian ancestry was the perfect place to find the foundation for the fledgling identity. (Wambach, Praxis 1 page 3, 2006). As Szlachetko stated, at the time Norway achieved independence, there were no large urban areas in existence. The relative lack of urbanization, tied with Norway’s geographical conditions, mandated that the regions were more important and self-sustaining out of necessity. The traits that lead to success in a challenging agrarian environment, such as persistence, physical strength, stoicism, and self-sufficiency (or what ever you have read - throw it in here) are still championed in Norway. Yet Norway has developed large urban centers where cooperation, collaboration and tolerance of diverse life styles will be needed to avoid urban problems such as congestion, pollution and disenfranchisement of segments of the population.

Recently this issue has been brought to the forefront for myself with our recent visit with Ketil Solvik-Olsen of the Progress Party of Norway. During that talk I brought up the issue of transportation planning to which he responded quickly and without further discussion that his party favors road investment over investment in critical rail infrastructure. Andrea tried to keep the conversation going by asking whether rail transport would threaten the current decentralized state of Norway, and if favoring roads was a simple form of showing opposition. Though he did not address her question, Andrea was on the right track. In any country there are likely to be forces promoting centralization and those promoting decentralization. Transportation planning is one area of decision-making where those forces become apparent. Like in the US, those in the periphery are often opposed to projects that increase centralizing forces such as investment in High Speed Rail and public transport subsidy. Parties who are in favor of public transportation spending, such as the Social Democrats and to some degree the Conservative party, support these projects due to the benefits of centralization. Hamilton (2004) described how investment in critical infrastructure is often justified because of the creation of economic growth that often occurs as a result of these projects. The economic growth is generated from reduced costs in the movement of people and goods, jobs created while the network is being built, jobs needed to maintain new rolling stock and guideways, etc. However, one could also argue that decentralization can also be encouraged at the same time with these investments because it makes it easier to travel to and from major urban centers of the decentralized state. For example, in the USA planners argue against improving highways, because adding more lanes to roads encourages development further from the urban core called "urban sprawl". Advocates for roads argue that most people prefer to live in more rural or suburban settings and roads allow us to do that, improving our quality of life.
In another praxis I described how classic Scandinavia Literature and art support this stigma against city life. For example, Knut Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil and artwork featured prominently in the National Gallery examine the problems of urban living. Szlachetko commented that the depiction of the urban areas during the early 19th century or height of the industrial revolution often depict the misery of urban life. This is also a common feature in the US art where very strong depictions of the harshness of the urban realm and the need to escape to the peripheries can be found in 19th century literature and art.

Through the process of examining these competing forces in Norwegian culture I have become more aware of how they operate in the USA. For example, our SUST group has discussed the threat to the periphery that Norway’s potential integration with the EU creates through the targeted elimination of subsidies in the fisheries and agricultural sectors (Matlary, 2004). Political parties such as the center party that was formally the agrarian party continue to lobby for these subsidies without addressing the negative effects of continuing these subsidies such as inefficiency and lack of competition. This is similar to Minnesota where lobbyists have called for an increase in the size of feedlots to support increases in livestock production for farmers without considering any of the negative side effects such as environmental degradation through “feedlot” farming practices. I have also come to see how competing forces influence my own personal choices. For example, I believe that using mass transit is better than driving for the environment, but it is sure more convenient to hop in the car. Reconciling the need for preserving the environment with my need to travel when and where I like is a challenge.

To conclude the center-periphery debate for Norway and other states is a dialectical problem. Dialectical problems require us to combine a thesis with its antithesis, or bring together two contradictory ideas, to create a synthesis. Hanging onto core values and traditions of the past while at the same time strengthening these traditions by adapting to changing circumstances is an example of synthesis. Another example is the pursuit of High-Speed Rail to enhance centralization while promoting decentralization at the same time. Seeing problems as either or – we either have or do not have centralization – limits our ability to come up with creative solutions. But dialectical thinking is hard, especially when we are highly committed to our positions. From my vantage point as an outsider, it is easier to see need for synthesis in the problems faced by Norwegians, than it is to see the potential for synthesis in problems we face in the USA, or that I face in my personal life. I hope that as I return to my usual environment, the lessons I have learned through this study abroad experience will help me recognize and think through the dialectical problems I will surely encounter in the future.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

2 days Left in Norway

The countdown has begun for the return trip home. For Kristen this countdown has been occurring since late October and will now finally come to a close in the next two days. It is currently 3:08 AM here in Oslo Norway. I am wide awake for some reason and thought I would do some free writing to possibly make myself tired.
Last night was Saturday night, my last Saturday in Oslo, and nothing exciting happened. That’s not to say the night was a total waste, but it was close. My friends all felt tired and didn’t want to go out to the city, Mark is getting set for his trip to Amsterdam and is saving money, and I think Jennifer has a cold and I hope she starts to feel better. Saturday night consisted of sitting in Mark’s room chatting, drinking a couple beers, eating some chips, and enjoying the wonders of YouTube with music video clips featuring David Bowie and Ray Parker Junior’s Ghostbusters.
The weather has been to blame in regards to people not wanting to venture out in my opinion, then again, we are very close to the end and people need to pack who are leaving in the next few days, and then the other students here at Sogn who most of us are friends with are preparing for their final papers and exams as well, making it difficult to go out and have a good time.

Oslo City Hall, semi rainy and cold night
Oslo City Hall - Night Shot
Just another thing I’ll have to add to the list of things I want to do when revisiting this Northern portion of Europe called Scandinavia.
I finished my Final Praxis paper earlier this evening, and yesterday I began taking down cards, photos, maps, and posters down from my walls and started to feel sad. I gave away a bunch of my kitchen stuff tonight because I wasn’t going to be cooking here again in the time between now and Wednesday morning when I plan on catching the Express bus at Ulleval Stadion to the Oslo Lufthaven (Oslo Airport). Hopefully I can have Henrike and Tobias help me load up my suitcase in their car and give me a lift down to the bus stop.
Ready to go home
The room, getting set for the departure
Tonight Alizee and Cora did some baking in the kitchen, which was nice. Alizee made a chocolate cake and offered a piece to everyone in the flat while Cora made cupcakes. I feel bad for not baking with them, I tried cooking for people a number of times and shared my meals with Marie so that she wouldn’t have to cook when she came home late a few times but it wasn’t a reoccurring thing.
Photo added 1-31-07
The last supper with the flat mates
Eating some Peppes Pizza with the Flatmates before heading back to the states, it is something that I wish I would have done more of, but upon reflection I spent a lot of time with students from other countries vs. hanging out with other Americans.
Leaving for the SUST retreat tomorrow morning at 9:30 from Ulleval Stadion, so I need to get to sleep.
Probably have one or two more posts before I leave Norway,

Another late edition:
Some photos from the Retreat:
Morning at Sogn
Morning at Sogn

A Cabin fit for a SUST retreat
A neat little cabin for a SUST retreat

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Week in Review

The past week has been pretty hectic. It started Sunday night when I pulled an “all-nighter” to finish my Independent Study Project (ISP) report on Scandinavian Public Transport and the presentation that would follow later on Monday afternoon. Once I had finished the Oslo section, the most detailed, I switched gears to the systems of Copenhagen and Stockholm and was able to find some good information but not to the degree of detail that I was able to get from studying the Oslo Public Transport atmosphere through my work at the Norwegian Conservation Society and the researchers I had contacted during my time here. Suffice to say, I was able to finish the report and had a total of 17 pages single-spaced due to images and figures used in the report and created a 22-slide presentation from that report.

From Blog Photos

The X60 Commuter train, manufactured by Alstom
photo taken by User:Udo Schröter
date: August 2005
first upload: 16:11, Aug. 13, 2005 -­ sv:Wikipedia by the photographer

The presentation went well, even though I was incredibly nervous and kind of loopy for not having sleep the night before. Tim quickly noticed that my skin color had turned to a very pale white and after our field seminar that morning suggested I go back to Sogn and get some rest. However, had I done that I wouldn’t have woken up for my presentation. So during our time between the seminar and my presentation I tweaked some things in the PowerPoint and added some extra pictures. After class, I went straight home to Sogn and crashed hard. I slept straight until about 10:30 or 11:00 PM, and then woke up for a snack. Afterwards I slept from midnight till about 10:00 Am I think, and then I had to hoof it to our seminar at the ISS classroom discussing Growth Fetishism in the world economy. Very interesting topic.
Later on Tuesday, our SUST group met with the Norwegian Progress Party at Stortinget that was very revealing. For the entire semester the Progress Party has been labeled as very Xenophobic in regards to its stand on immigration and integration issues and on the amount of foreign aid that they support. The man we spoke with, new where we were coming from politically and answered our questions very well. However, when I launched into him about High-Speed Rail and their opinions regarding Public Transport he told me straight that they supported cars over rails, however, he did not go into greater detail.
Wednesday involved the last meeting with my volunteer placement with the Norwegian Conservation Society. My advisor, Holger Schlaupitz, and I attended a High-Speed Rail conference hosted by Jernbaneverket (the Norwegian National Rail Authority) from 10:00 Am to 3:30 PM. The conference started with a presentation from a German Consortium VWI from Stuttgart, who showed the phase 1 of their analysis on the feasibility of High-Speed Rail in Norway. They concluded that the most feasible alignment for High-Speed service would be single track from Oslo to Trondheim based on market aspects. The travel time between Oslo and Trondheim would be reduced from 6 hours to 2 and half hours and serve 5,000 passengers a day. Their was a strong negative reaction from many of the attendants who were surprised that the Oslo-Bergen line was not selected, environmental effects were left out, etc. Personally I was surprised that a single track system was proposed when double track can allow for faster speeds and reduced dwell times for passenger trains at stations. Followed by the presentation from the Germans were two presentations by Norwegian proposals, the first being Den Sørnorske Høyhastighetsringen which basically means High Speed Ring route, a very ambitious project, however, is supported by the Conservative Party I think; and the second presentation was from a company called Norsk Bane AS whose website I have linked in a previous post.
The Oslo-Gardermoen Flytoget Express Train
From Blog Photos

Origionally uploaded by Mr. Kjetil Ree, on wikipedia, origional image can be found here. Currently this is the closest thing to High-Speed Rail in Norway.

Thursday involved our final field seminar as our SUST group, when we all visited the Henie Onstad Art Center, where Maria has been working this semester and will continue to work for after the program is done. Thursday also consisted of the level 2 Norwegian students Mark, Jennifer, and Heather taking their Oral exams and then having their final Norwegian exam on Friday.
For me, Friday I spent the whole day walking around Oslo and taking care of some holiday shopping. In the evening I hung out with Tobias, Henrike, Marc, and Friederike. Marc and Friederike had visited the Freia chocolate factory earlier in the day, and told us all about it.
Now it is Saturday, and the weather sure hasn’t been cooperating this week at all. It has been raining for almost this entire week; I personally wish it had snowed but oh well. Have one more academic thing to do and that is the Final Praxis that is due on Monday before we leave for our SUST retreat where we will be staying in a hytte until Tuesday and coming back to Oslo.
Not sure what will happen this evening, but as the last partying night in Oslo, it should be a blast.

Be back in the Twin Cities soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Latest Addiction

This is a collection of photos and clips that I plan on using in my presentation on Scandinavian Public Transport coming up next week Monday. Enjoy, and let me know if you think it would be appropriate to include in a power point presentation.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stockholm Sweden

Our SUST group’s last class trip involved a 5-day visit to Stockholm. The trip began very early Wednesday morning, 5 AM for most of us including myself, and involved a scary descent from the hills of Sogn. Tuesday night, the region experienced a massive blizzard (see previous post) that had blanketed Oslo in snow, however, as the temperatures got colder the snow froze and the pavements became ice rinks. There were some parts that were so bad that you had to walk on the dirt that hadn’t froze to avoid falling to your death. Suffice to say no one wiped out that morning but there was some close calls.

While Mark and Andrea were waiting for the T-Bane, the operator overshot Ulleval Station coming into fast and skidded on the icy rails. He then had to walk all the way thru the train and back up. Mark and Andrea were kind of freaking out but managed to get to Oslo S in plenty of time. I was the first to arrive, followed shortly after by Heather, then Mark and Andrea, then Jennifer and Marea, Halvard, and then lastly Tim. He scared all of us by showing up a few minutes before we went to board our NSB train to Gothenburg that was scheduled to leave at 7 AM.

The train made it to Gothenburg in plenty of time for our connection to Stockholm, however, Swedish rail had other plans. As soon as we arrived, trains from Gothenburg to Stockholm and other locations began to be canceled left and right and one right after the other. Turns out that Sweden had been hit particularly hard by the blizzard and many of the lines that the trains used to pick up power and run had frozen in the night. Unable to take a high-speed train to Stockholm, we had to force ourselves onto a local train heading to Malmo and then transfer to another train into Central Stockholm. We made it eventually, however, by the time we had arrived we had all been traveling for over 12 hours and were very tired.

Thursday involved an entire day at the Swedish Parliament where we had the opportunity to talk with Björn von Sydow, the former speaker of the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) and a major political figure of the Social Democratic Party. Afterwards we met with the Political advisor of the Moderate Party who recently made government as of the September 2006 elections. The advisor also gave us a tour of parliament and a description of some of the historical figures and prominent speakers.

Friday we made a trip to the US Embassy of Stockholm, where some of us were appalled by the way US citizens (such as ourselves) attempting to visit the embassy for a meeting, were treated by security personal. We met with a Political and Economic Officer who told us about the continued relationship with Sweden. It was very different than our discussion with the officer from the Oslo US Embassy, because this time we were in the actual embassy vs. the political officer coming and meeting with us on the UIO campus. That evening we had an interesting meeting with the Youth Chapter of the Swedish Red Cross and had a discussion regarding immigration, integration, and issues of asylum and tolerance of the Swedish populace. I like to think that I was potentially helpful or beneficial to our meeting with the organization. The woman that spoke with us told us about a series of stories that were written by immigrant children and specifically those who had come via asylum. The organization was hoping to publish these stories and distribute them with the ad campaign for a documentary that dealt with these issues made by another organization. I suggested that they try to negotiate a deal with the Stockholm Underground, famous for its public art, to put up some of their stories in high traffic areas up until the premiere of the documentary to increase awareness of the issue, potentially increase recruitment, etc. After our meeting, we all did our assignment of studying the Stockholm underground at two or more stations and finding the public art featured there. We later gave presentations on our finding on Tuesday of last week.
Fun with blurry images
And speaking of the Underground, here's a great vid I recently found on YouTube featuring one of the C20 Subway car, same as the one pictured above, uploaded by godisp:

Saturday we all made a trip to the Modern Museet and were given a tour by one of our classmates Marea who has worked for the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) and is now working for an art museum here in Norway. From there we were given free reign to explore the city. I took the opportunity to find the Stockholm museum of public transport. After a long walk from the T-Banneren I finally found the museum with about a half hour before it closed. Thankfully I didn’t have to pay admission because I had a valid transport pass even though for students it wasn’t that steep. Overall my reaction to the Museum was about the same as my reaction to the Transport museum in Oslo: great collection of historic pieces and photographs, however, a lack of information in English and other languages for international guests. However, the last comment could be argued that there aren’t many people who visit these museums with other languages and that I am a special case. Both museums are more geared towards children, although the Stockholm museum did have some good exhibits on the future of transport in areas of Europe as well as a great exhibit on the public art of the Stockholm underground. As a souvenir, I bought a poster that I told Mark I will place in my office. His response was “Since when do you have an office and where?” my reply was “Well I’ll have an office someday” :-D.

Saturday night we attempted to hit the town hard. We ended up going to a Reggae part that was a bust and then down to the Sentrum where we couldn’t get into any of the clubs. This was much to the frustration of Andrea. There were a couple of bars we were able to get into and get some decent beer (Guinness!!) but in regards to nightclubs there were too many bleached blond Swedes and men slipping Kroner to the guards that there was no chance we could get in. A later found out from a friend of mine, that there were some good places in Sodermalm (Southern Stockholm) that were nice and much easier to get into. Oh well, chalk that up as a thing to do for the next time.

Sunday we all headed for home on a direct train from Stockholm to Oslo. After seeing some of the passenger trains around the station I knew we weren’t going to be put on a high speed line, but I could describe the train that we took as the Battletrain Galactica or at least that’s what it felt like. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap a picture of this battleship of a train before we left, and I shouldn’t be so harsh. The train got us home comfortably and in one piece. Monday we were all given the day off to recover from the Journey and make preparations for the week ahead. I meant to write this on that day but, things come up and priority must be given to other activities.
Thus ends the post for Stockholm, a great Scandinavian city and one that I will have to visit again.

A Glimpse into what we do pt. 2

My highest scoring Praxis reflection paper: 9/10!!!!!

Emotions Run High
Praxis 3
Weeks 9 through 11

The past three weeks have been very exciting in the SUST program. From our travels during our Semester Break, films and readings we have discussed, and organizations doing great work in many of the “hot topic” issues that Norway is experiencing.
I had recently returned from London where I got to spend a week touring with my Mom. While in London I had the opportunity to ride the underground and see many important cultural/historical landmarks and analyze their importance in contemporary European society. At the beginning of week 9, all of us back from enjoying the breaks, experienced our first hot button issue: that of the politics surrounding asylum, which we discussed heavily at NOAS Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers. Many of us could not fathom how someone who had been tortured almost to death would be denied asylum, while someone who was drug trafficking in the USA was able to flee and claim asylum. This will be the topic I will expand on in second part of the paper. The rest of the week consisted of the Danish film Truly Human, followed by the trip to the Modern Art Museum, and then the visit by the representatives from the University of Minnesota and our discussion with Ritika Dhall whom in my opinion, has been one of our best speakers.
The next week we discussed Immigrant literature and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House with Einar followed by a trip to the Ibsen Museum. The discussion of A Doll’s House was really helpful in understanding Ibsen’s commentary about the world and the role of women. However, during the course of the discussion it sort of felt like the mood had changed from discussing the major points of the play to how evil Men are in contemporary society and how all the advantages are still predominantly male oriented, that gender equality with all its progress still gets the response “how far have we really come?” Mark and I started to feel out numbered (4 girls, 2 guys), and then all of a sudden Mark and Andrea got into a pretty strong argument in which Mark was ripped apart without much opportunity to defend himself in my opinion. This week ended with our regional home stays in Levanger where I was able to get a glimpse of the center-periphery debate first hand. What was really surprising was the amount of negativity associated with immigration on the part of our host parents.
Week 11 has turned out very nicely with some great readings on the city of Oslo, much to the interest of this Urban Studies major. The small excursions to the suburbs were very interesting and I will have fun discussing them on Thursday in our groups.
A topic I have been interested in digging into a little further is asylum and integration. This program has opened my eyes to a topic that is filled with xenophobia, overt racism, and a topic that is often pushed under the rug as if no problem existed in this perceived utopia that is Scandinavia. In Crisp’s (2003) Politics of Migration article there was a particular section stating that because of barriers erected by nations keeping people out, more people actually needing asylum had been forced to resort to more illegal methods of getting into countries including human smugglers or trafficking. This peaked my interest due to my week in London where a major human trafficker was arrested just before I left the UK. Ekberg (2004) talks about integration of refugees in Sweden and how immigrants are distributed all over Sweden to avoid the creation of concentrations. Ritika did a great job of talking about this in Norway and the specific guidelines of the “program” for integration. What was interesting was how important the program was for integration for these new comers and if they “opted-out” they would be truly left on their own with very little success.
After our discussion at NOAS I became curious as to what the qualifications for asylum in the United States. As a student at the University Minnesotan, I have interacted with those of the Somali community and the Hmong community, both that are political refugees that fled from their countries and settled in cities in the Midwest such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Chicago. However, I have never taken the opportunity to look into the procedures for asylum in the USA.
Using The Wikipedia (Accessed October, 2006) I was able to find the necessary steps and this following passage:
The United States is obliged to recognize valid claims for asylum under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. As defined by these agreements, a refugee is a person who is outside his or her country of nationality (or place of habitual residence if stateless) who, owing to a fear of persecution on account of a protected ground, is unable or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the state. Protected grounds include race, nationality, religion, political opinion and membership of a particular social group. The signatories to these agreements are further obliged not to return or "refoul" refugees to the place where they would face persecution. (The Wikipedia,
What is interesting is that torture is not a qualifier for asylum as was discussed at NOAS. In addition to this, there was a recent article in Aftenposten on Somalis being denied Asylum because of their dialects. Southern Somalia is where most of the fighting is occurring and people from that province can apply for asylum and often escape into another country, however, those coming to other countries leaving the Northern areas do not qualify for asylum because there is no active conflict in that region. Inspectors are questioning new refugees before admittance to determine where they are from based upon their dialects, if they match the South then they are one step closer to being allowed in, if they match the North, one step closer to deportation. (Aftenposten October 16, 2006)(
In the post 9-11 world, it is unfortunate how many people who actually need asylum are lost in the systems and red tape or sent back because of “not fitting” with procedures or programs that would mean their survival and a better life. It is also unfortunate that because of this the black market of human trafficking has become strengthened. However, there has been no punishment or real public outcry from the Western world to reform these systems, and this in my opinion is a crime.