Oslo declares ‘refugees welcome’

 

20160127-190326-norway-0103Norway’s refugee policy has made international news because of a crisis at the northern border with Russia. There, a number of asylum seekers have crossed into Norway by bicycle in spite of freezing conditions because it’s the safest way for them to enter the country—and that border cannot be crossed by foot. A number have been deported back to Russia, which as a very poor record of treating asylum seekers according to UN conventions on the rights of refugees. You can see my full report and photo essay on Middle East Eye.

Two highlights from the demonstration:

1. Learning about Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland, whose anti-Nazi poem, “Du må ikke sove” (Dare not to sleep!) was quoted on many signs and banners. Read the article for more context.

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2. Spontaneously meeting a friend whose church I attend, who was carrying a sign with Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Matthew: “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.” Being able to include his witness in my article was a real joy.

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