Atle Hetland

  • Recently, an experienced Norwegian politician said that political parties are not important in themselves; they only play their roles if they get political ideas accepted and concrete projects implemented, such as roads built, schools made better, more jobs created, with equal pay for men and ...

    READMORE
  • Building political parties, educate leaders and voters, are multifaceted tasks. In the Europe, most political parties have for 100-150 years grown out of ideologies and sector interests; they would often focus on specific trades, professions and livelihoods, or they would be related regional and ...

    READMORE
  • Often we say that we get the leaders (systems, parties, politicians, governments) that we deserve, and we may not quite think about the real meaning of what we say, what it implies and if it is clear at all. It was the French political philosopher, historian and diplomat Alexis de Toqueville ...

    READMORE
  • Political parties are not what they used to be anywhere in the world, somebody said about European and American politics recently. The Democrats in USA failed to see modern issues well enough before last presidential election, and their organisation style and decision making ways seemed also to be ...

    READMORE
  • A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the common habit we human beings seem to have, notably that we do and say things without considering why we do it. We do it out of habit and convention, or because we think there is no other way. It is not always bad to be so certain that we don’t ...

    READMORE
  • As we approach Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day 14 August 2017, it is time to reflect on what it means to belong to a land we can call home – with sentimental national feelings expressed on great feasts and grand events. Yet, remembering, too, that most days are not Friday afternoons, ...

    READMORE
  • By convention, habitually or by general agreement, we do and say things without thinking. By convention, we act in certain ways and take things for granted. Scientists do that, too, basing the whole body of knowledge of a discipline on what is generally accepted, what the agreed-upon paradigms and ...

    READMORE
  • It is easy, even in the midst of slow and lazy summer days to get absorbed in current affairs issues, some of them international, others local, concerning neighbouring countries or border regions. The latest terrible bomb explosions in Kabul and Lahore cast dark shadows over the cities, countries, ...

    READMORE
  • Judging from the title of my article today, one might think I will write about the Panama leaks, American politics, and other current events at home and abroad. That wasn’t the real topic when I began thinking about truth in business and life, although I shall write about that in the first ...

    READMORE
  • Today, I shall discuss some aspects related to political values and compassion, which are the basis of political parties now when we live in a time when ideologies are almost gone, at least for the time being. Populism has become one visible version of ‘alternative politics’, which I ...

    READMORE
  • A few days ago, my friend Dr Wadhayo Baloch of Preston University, and his wife, invited me to join them at Islamabad Club to see the new and highly acclaimed film, ‘Yalghaar’, meaning, the attack or, the great battle. It is said to be Pakistan’s costliest film production, made ...

    READMORE
  • Now when this year’s holy month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr are over, and everyday life is on its way back to its usual routines, we have an opportunity to reflect on it all – especially if we sit in a bus or train for a long time, coming back from visiting the home town or village. The ...

    READMORE
  • The holy month of Ramadan is coming to an end. Many travel home for Eid, to the villages and towns where they come from, or where other loved ones live. Others have taken leave from work before Eid, so that they can be free during the actual feast. I am always impressed by how smoothly and ...

    READMORE
  • The holy month of Ramadan is coming to an end. Many travel home for Eid, to the villages and towns where they come from, or where other loved ones live. Others have taken leave from work before Eid, so that they can be free during the actual feast. I am always impressed by how smoothly and ...

    READMORE
  • For a long time, religion has mainly been considered a political domain of the political conservatives. Since the Russian Revolution in 1917 with communism and socialism in the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries and other states in Central Asian, and later also in China, religion was toned ...

    READMORE
  • We live in a time with changes in the mass media sector, mainly due to new technology, and cheaper production costs of broadcasting programmes and exchange of information on social media using mobile phones and Internet. The gatekeeper role of the editors in newspapers, broadcasting stations and ...

    READMORE
  • The launching in Islamabad last week of Nafisa Shah’s book ‘Honour Unmasked: Gender Violence, Law and Power in Pakistan’, was a moving event. It made us all proud and impressed of the Pakistani people, from the top down, from east to west, north to south. How come when the event ...

    READMORE
  • In last week’s article, I wrote about symbols of national identity, because it was my home country Norway’s national day on 17 May and because we still have a King and Queen in Norway, yes, who both just had their 80th birthday party. It is an outdated institution, yet, it does have ...

    READMORE
  • Yesterday, it was Norway’s National Day, usually just called the 17th of May. I am a patriotic Norwegian, where I was born – and also, a patriotic friend of Pakistan, where I have lived a lot for many years. I take special pleasure in writing today’s article, and I want to share ...

    READMORE
  • Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to listen to a foreigner, a British working in Pakistan, talking about his book manuscript about his host country for the last five years, his Canadian wife’s childhood land, and their three young children born in Pakistan. Matthew Vaughan had set out to ...

    READMORE
  • When Pope Francis, on his way back from Egypt this week suggested that, for example, Norway could help negotiate some solution in the North Korea situation, I felt quite flattered, being a Norwegian myself. The Pope must have taken up the issue since it is in the news now, as it has been for two ...

    READMORE
  • Many people have today begun questioning if the left-right political axis really exists and is a useful political divide in practical politics, notably where ‘left’ means socialist, even communist, and ‘right’ means conservative and capitalist, even ultra-conservative with ...

    READMORE
  • The Islamabad Literature Festival is for me a barometer of what goes on in Pakistan. What people are thinking about and doing, tweeting, writing, and creating. The writers present make us listen to what they have to say; they ask questions and sometimes give answers. They make us think and be ...

    READMORE
  • When Usman Rana, a young Pakistani-Norwegian, last year wrote a book entitled ‘Norsk islam – hvordan elske Norge og Koranen samtidig’, in English, ‘Norwegian Islam – How to Love Norway and the Quran at the Same Time’, he made it clear that he was not going to ...

    READMORE
  • In all countries, language is an important political and cultural issue. Sociolinguists, sociologists, anthropologists, educationists and many others in the hyphenated language disciplines, as well as politicians, know this well. The insightful left-wing American linguist, Noam Chomsky is one of ...

    READMORE
  • The European Union (EU) is celebrating that it is 60 years of age. Let me first congratulate EU on its birthday; it has done a lot of good, mainly for itself, and some for the rest of the world. It has done quite a bit of the opposite, too. People who are for, or against, the ‘rich ...

    READMORE
  • It is a pleasure to wish all Pakistanis, at home and abroad, Happy Pakistan Day, which is celebrated today, with main events in Islamabad and other major cities. The day is celebrated as a National Day of the country; in addition, there is the Independence Day of 14 August. After having been marked ...

    READMORE
  • I have written about refugee issues many times, partly because it is a field in which I have professional knowledge and experience, and partly because refugee and other migration issues are among the most important in our time. The way we treat refugees and others who are uprooted and on the move ...

    READMORE
  • Even if the cultural, social, economic and other beliefs about how to organise a society are the same or very similar, the implementation of it all may vary much from one geographic area to another, and certainly over time. We may belong to the same religion and read the same holy book, but the way ...

    READMORE
  • I was glad last week, when a former Swedish politician, Carl Bildt, said that Sweden had become a better country thanks to a large number of immigrants having come to the land since the 1960s. Today, about 20 percent Swedes were born outside the country. Most live in the big cities. Yes, in ...

    READMORE