Atle Hetland

  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • 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 ...

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  • It is easy to get stuck in old ways. The longer we live, the more we feel comfortable in doing things the way that we have always done them. We feel our habits are unnecessary and impractical to change, at least in everyday life. But what about the broader issues and the way we think; are we as ...

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  • In last week’s article, I discussed a few new trends in current politics. I wanted to look behind the veil of the manifestations we see in politics today, especially the populist and untraditional ways, hoping I could discover some reasons, explanations and trends – because the world of ...

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  • We have for several decades lived without the ‘isms”; communism, socialism, capitalism, liberalism, and more or less clearly defined ideologies and political thoughts. Added to this, should be the most popular version of ‘socialism-light’; social democracy, which is a mix of ...

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  • There is a beautiful Swedish hymn called ‘Barnatro’, Childhood Faith, by Einar Westling (1896-1971), which was popular in my childhood in Norway – and since Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are so similar languages, we have no problems understanding each others’ languages all ...

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  • The most commonly used calendar around the world is the Gregorian calendar, introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. There are other older calendars. But this week, the Chinese lunar calendar is in focus, with the New Year to be welcomed this weekend on January 28. The exact date varies from year ...

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  • Donald Trump won the American presidential election by promising to “Make America Great Again”. But what did he mean by ‘great’, and when, in the past, was America great, since the slogan says that it shall be ‘great again’. America is in many respects one of the ...

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  • There is one week left till Donald Trump will be USA’s next president, taking the oath of office on January 20, 2017, in front of the powerful and famous in his land on The Mall in the park in front of the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The rest of us, at home and abroad, will watch ...

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  • My article today makes direct reference to the New Year’s speech by a head of state, King Harald V of Norway, who took up essential issues that are important to all of us, everywhere. He is the symbolic head of state of Norway, a constitutional king, as it is called, while the actual power ...

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