10:33:22 pmCategories: Other

Slow attempts at making sense: Oslo 22/7

People meditating the sea of flowers outside Oslo Cathedral a week after the bomb blast and massacre

This research diary has until now exclusively treated the various facets of my PhD research project in Paris. When the numbness began to lose its grip, I started to realise why I feel so terribly concerned. Of course, I think most Norwegians, many Europeans and even many, many fellow world citizens feel deep concern when an atrocity like this strikes, even when they or their closest aren’t struck personally. This concerns us as fellow humans (of both the victims and the perpetrator…), and it concerns us as political beings. But I also realised that this concerns me profoundly in terms of the career I’ve chosen: What good is it to devote my professional life to understanding nationalism, belonging, community cohesion, conceptions of difference and the like when I have done nothing to prevent the worst thinkable acts of violence to take place in my own country? Especially since I think – or I’m sure – that I’ve felt there was a need for worry (but of course, not to this unconceivable degree…). For several days now I’ve been thinking about how I can contribute. How can I contribute in the best way with my knowledge (of living with difference in Europe), my concern (for the future of us all) and my devotion (to work for a better world)? I know need to think much more about this in the coming days and weeks, and I know that I need to act.

When I very soon finish my present project, I will – hopefully – be able to do research in Oslo. And there are few places on earth than here I’d rather do this kind of research right now. I don’ think there’s a coincidence that the last huge act of terrorism in Europe was committed by a rightwing nationalist in the name of anti-Islamism. And I even don’t think it was that big a coincidence that it happened in Scandinavia.

Now, after eight days of numbness (and reading of philosophy of difference) it’s time to get back to the main task: finishing the Paris project and get on with life. (Or rather, get on with life and finish the Paris project.)

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