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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Obama receives the peace prize in Oslo, and I was there.

Well I wasn’t exactly at the award ceremony, but I was one of the thousands lucky enough to see Barack Obama in Oslo today. I remember so well that when I heard that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize that I said to my husband, RennyBA, ” I want to see him!” I tried to get tickets to the Peace Prize concert, but was not one of the lucky ones, I even bid on tickets on an ‘ebay’ like service here in Norway, but without any luck.

Queen Sonja, Michelle OBama, Barack Obama, King Harald, Crown Princess Mette Marit, and Crown Prince Håkon

Queen Sonja, Michelle OBama, Barack Obama, King Harald, Crown Princess Mette Marit, and Crown Prince Håkon

Fortunately I was lucky enough to be in Oslo around the time that Obama visited the King’s Castle and quickly understood from all the police in the area that something was about to happen! And then it did! The President drove by waving at the onlookers, along with Michelle and a number of secret service officers. And so my wish was granted, I did get to see him. Unfortunately as .luck would have it my telephone camera was full and by the time I deleted a picture to save one…this is what I got! After the motorcade drove by 😦

Missed the motorcade

Missed the motorcade

He also made a short appearence on the balcony of the Grand Hotel as most of the Nobel Peace Prize winners traditionally do, at exactly 7 pm they came out and winked to the crowd of 10,000 Norwegians who gathered for the event.

Waving from the Grand Hotel, courtesy of Aftenposten

Waving from the Grand Hotel, courtesy of Aftenposten

Now the Peace Prize dinner is on the television and I probably get a much better view then I would have in person!

Everyone thinks he made a good speech, a historical speech, and the entire country is buzzing about it. It has been personally an exciting day as an American living in Norway, I have been able to be proud to be a part of both countries at once! Click here to see a panoramic view of the crowd outside Grand Hotel!

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DianeCA Congratulates Obama on inspiring Peace

I almost couldn’t believe it when my husband RennyBA sent me a text message while I was at work congratulating me, and telling me that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize! First I have to admit that it really was a surprise to me because I have been so wrapped up in my own little world that I didn’t realize it was time for the peace prize again hehehe! And then I thought it felt good to be an American again. As an American living overseas I have to admit that the Bush years were quite tough. I didn’t much care for Bush – ever- and he was really unpopular here in Europe.

DianeCA congratulates President Obama

DianeCA congratulates President Obama

Obama on the other hand is someone who I voted for. Someone who I like representing my country and one who has dreams and ambitions which I can agree with and stand for. This is why I think it is appropriate that he receives the Nobel Peace Prize. There is a lot of discussion here, some are saying that he hasn’t earned it yet, he hasn’t done anything yet…but that isn’t true in my opinion. He has set a standard that we must live up to. He has set the frame for peace, he has opened his hands, and America’s hands to the rest of the world and said that we must work together.

This is a very big change from the politics of recent years. I believe the prize will encourage Obama to fulfil his commitments to peace, and give strength to his vision of the future. It will also put more power behind this vision of peace because the world is saying – hey we’re with you!

Quoting Muhammad Yunus (previous peace prize winner for microfinance) “The first thing Barack Obama has completed is to get the world on the right track for peace and multilateralism.”

President Obama has captured America’s and the world’s imagination because he so strikingly embodies an America that the world yearns for – an energetic, diverse, inclusive America that is determined to lead the world, but with the world’s interests in mind.

While no one person can ever bring peace to the world, that isn’t what the peace prize is about, it’s about inspiration. It’s about ideals, and it is about creating a peaceful world a little bit at a time. We can’t do that without a vision…and I believe the Barack Obama has that! Well done, Mr. President!

Your comments are as always welcome, hop on over and visit RennyBA’s Terella to get his thoughts on this day.

It’s finished! Breaking away a master thesis on domestic violence

It’s finished! Breaking away! A master thesis on domestic violence

I am happy to announce the finish of my long project which I began working on some time last year, and finally delivered the finished work to Oslo University College this afternoon. That means yes I will also have time to blog again.

domesticviolence

My thesis is made up of two articles based on a qualitative study of domestic violence in association with the women’s shelter where I work. Here for the mildly interested are the summaries for the two articles, if you are very interested you can click here to read the whole darn thing if you like!!

Thanks to all my friends for sticking by me through the whole process and not giving up visiting my blog. And a really BIG thanks to RennyBA for putting up with all my moods, stress, tears, and sharing my joy as well. You are the best!

Discourses of survival: A study of the discourses domestic violence survivors reveal in talking about coping and reestablishment
Summary:

In this article, Discourses of survival: A study of the discourses domestic violence survivors reveal in talking about coping and reestablishment, the focus is placed on prevailing discourses identified in interviews with female domestic violence survivors.

The article is founded in a qualitative study of women who stayed at a local women’s shelter in the fall of 2008. Through discourse analysis of the interviews the article will lift up the users own voices as they share their experiences regarding receiving help from a local women’s shelter and re-establishing themselves in a home free from violence.

The results of the article identify four discourses which are present in all of the women’s interviews. These discourses are called 1) collective solutions discourse, 2) others-are-worse-off discourse, 3) violent experience discourse, and 4) Norwegian normative discourse. Through the use of Faucault’s definitions of discourse, power, and knowledge coupled with Butler’s theory of performative gender the article will show how these discourses both empower and challenge these survivors.

Valuable help: identifying best practice in social work with abused women

Summary
The theoretical perspective of the article is known as best practice. This concept as used in the article is based on Ferguson’s (2007) method which places the focus on where social work has had a positive outcome, or is considered to be a success. Although best practice is most commonly used when the worker identifies a situation where he or she perceives the work as successful, in this study it is the user who is in focus. The participants described situations where they felt successful, supported, or strengthened and identified best practice based on their own experiences.

The results showed that all of the women mentioned the safety aspect of the shelter as being significant. Physical refuge and having an alternative to returning home was rated as important to the users. Next is the category of guidance, sorting and planning which all of the users mentioned as being a necessary part of regaining control over a chaotic situation. Further help in setting appropriate goals was seen as useful. The starting point for the users varied, so setting appropriate goals required patience, flexibility, and individual focus on the part of the social workers. All of the participants also worked on their network in some way. The majority relied on their existing network for help, but some of the participants also found the shelters opportunities for creating new network connections as valuable. Lastly practical help was considered important by the participants. Although the need for help varied based on the individual all of the users reported relying on the shelter for some form of practical help.

Welcome Barack Obama the world is in your hands

Of course, every inauguration is a celebration of democracy’s power, but I don’t know that there’s ever been one that embodied so many aspirations and dreams. Not that I’m not realistic — you only have to look around to see that the U.S. and the world are in trouble — but in this moment of transition, from one president to the next, there lives such potential. I feel hopeful, I feel optimistic, and I feel proud.

The arrival of a new American president triggered joy and jubilation Tuesday in a world made weary by warfare, recession and fear. Bulls and goats were slaughtered for feasts in Kenya, toasts were offered at black-tie balls in Europe and shamans in Latin America chanted Barack Obama’s name with reverence.

Unafraid to march in the streets to freedom and democracy

Unafraid to march in the streets to freedom and democracy

From Kenya and Indonesia, where Barack Obama has family ties, to Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, Obama’s inauguration sparked an explosion of hope for better days ahead. The ascendance of the first African-American to the presidency of the United States marks a new era of tolerance and possibility.

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who also inspired millions, sent a letter to Obama on his inauguration day.”Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done,” Mandela wrote. “Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place.”

Alex Andrade, a 24-year-old unemployed black Brazilian, said Obama’s rise has inspired Brazil’s poor. “Blacks face so much discrimination here,” he said, standing outside the Cantagalo slum, where ramshackle shacks line steep hills in Rio de Janeiro. “Now with a black man in charge of such an important country, it might help decrease the racism in Brazil.”

In Kenya, traditional dancers performed, feasts were held and movie screens were erected so neighbors could join together for the moment, only a year after their own elections were marred by horrific ethnic violence. “Our election in Kenya really had problems with ethnicity … America has shown that this doesn’t have to be that big a problem,” said Dr. Joseph Osoo, who runs a clinic in one of Kenya’s biggest slums. “Kenyans are very happy because their son is going to be the leader of America,” he said.

In the village of Kogelo in western Kenya, where many of Obama’s Kenyan relatives live, women dressed in colorful printed cloths performed traditional dances to the rhythms of cowhide drums. At the biggest hospital in nearby Kisumu, Christine Aoko named her newborn daughter Michelle, after Obama’s wife. “I hope my girl will grow as tough as Michelle”.

In the South American country of Guyana, dozens of work sites closed at noon to let employees watch the inauguration. “As far as I am concerned, today is a holiday,” said Patrick Hazelwood, an insurance agent in Georgetown. “Today is a serious day for everybody, a historic day.”

There was also jubilation in the Colombian town of Puerto Tejada, where sugarcane-cutting descendants of African slaves had the day off and watched the Washington proceedings on a giant screen. “The people here see themselves represented in Obama,” stated Mayor Elver Montano.

In Peru’s capital of Lima, a dozen faith healers from Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Bolivia danced during the inauguration. Stomping their feet, shaking rattles and blowing smoke, they chanted Obama’s name while throwing flower petals and coca leaves at his photograph. The ancient Andean ritual is known as Jatun Sonjo, or ‘Big Heart’ in the Quechua language, explained shaman Juan Osco. “In ancient times, it was one of the rituals dedicated to Inca and pre-Inca rulers,” Osco said. “Today we dedicate it from Peru to Obama, because he is the first black president and his heart is big for the whole world.”

In Sweden, African-American singer Cyndee Peters was hosting a “A Gala for Obama,” featuring dozens of Swedish soul, jazz, hip-hop, gospel, folk and blues artists.

And of course in Norway the inauguration is on all the channels, and everyone is eagerly watching and hoping as if a miracle will soon happen. While I am not naïve enough to expect a miracle, it seems that there has never been a day in history where more hopes and dreams were placed in the hand of one man. I offer my blessings to Obama and his family this day, and pray that the world will give him the time which is needed for change and that he will succeed in being the inspiration that so many of us need. I believe that Barack Obama represents something much more than President of the United States, but the presence of a new generation and new thoughts in the White House. Thank you, Barack Obama, for making it much easier to be an American overseas.

The winds of Change are blowing in with Obama

It is a unique experience to participate in and follow an American election from another land. The election has been the main topic on the lips of the people in Norway as well. Barac Obama is overwhelmingly popular in Norway. At the same time the topic has brought from the question of whether or not the United States was ready to elect the first africanamerican president.

Last night we turned a new page in history. Barack Obama’s thrilling victory to the 44th American President is a triumph which promises change, overcame centuries of prejudice and finally shows that in the United States a man can finally be judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.

Victory march

Victory march

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,” vows Obama. This is a change long coming for the American people and I feel that it shows a movement into the next generation, into my generation! Which is a generation that grew up under very different circumstances then the one before. I grew up in an integrated society. I grow up with a much more balanced understanding of that people could look different and come from different backgrounds, but still were my equal.

It is important to also point out that Obama stands for more than a change in the status of africanamericans, but to change in many other areas. Obams states in his acceptance speach, “There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.” There is something about him that makes me believe that this is one promise he will hold to us all. I feel that yesterday the American people took back Democracy and finally spoke out for what we want for the future. I thank everyone who turned out to vote and used their democratic rights, regardless of who you voted for. Us? My son and I, both US citizens voted through the good old mail system from our home in Norway over 2 weeks ago.

Here are some of my other friends who have writen about voting or the election, drop by and congratulate them!
Oh fer Cryin’ out loud
House of Lime
TorAa’s Mirror

And stop by and wish Renny a Happy Birthday if you haven’t already done so!

Confusing reports on War in South Ossetia & Georgia

The AP wire is reporting that today, Tuesday 12th of August, after five days of air and land attacks Russia has ordered a halt to the military action. This sounds like very good news given the photos in the newspaper when I work up this morning. However the next report says that Georgia insists that Russian forces were still bombing and shelling.

Russian Soldiers on the way to Tskhinvali

Russian Soldiers on the way to Tskhinvali

Back to that interesting question lime posted: “it makes me wonder what is so strategic in that little corner of georgia that makes both the georgians and the russians want to fight over it.”

Georgia sits on a strategic oil pipeline carrying Caspian crude to Western markets bypassing Russia, has long been a source of contention between the West and a resurgent Russia, the dominant energy supplier to Europe. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm could this have something to do with the hostilities??

I don’t know, I also see Medvedev’s point, he denounced Georgian attack on South Ossetia launched late Thursday as “genocide.” And harshly criticised the West for supporting Georgia in the conflict, saying it reflected hypocrisy: “International law doesn’t envision double standards.”

I must admit though that even the most libereal left wing in me is starting to get a bit worried here. I do hope this is the end!

Trying to understand the news, Georgia – Russian war

Having a natural need to try and understand horrifying news I set about today to investigate what is going on in Georgia, Russia, and a little territory called South Ossetia.

What are they fighting over? A break away region named South Ossetia which separated from Georgia in a 91-92 war. South Ossetia has a population of 70,000 and is a different ethnic group from the people of Georgia. South Ossetia is inhabited mostly by ethnic Ossetians who speak a language remotely related to Farsi. Georgians account for less than one-third of the population.

South Ossetia region

South Ossetia region

Georgia has never accepted the South Ossetian claim for independence and tensions have never been far from the surface with violence flaring up sporadically. In August 2008, heavy fighting erupted between Georgian and separatist forces, following nearly a week of clashes. The fighting deepened fears of a full-blown war in the Caucasus.

The current fighting began four days ago when Georgian forces launched a surprise attack to regain control of South Ossetia, which has had de facto independence since the end of a civil war in 1992.Russia had maintained peacekeeping troops in South Ossetia although the Georgian parliament has called for them to be replaced with an international force. On August 8 the Russian forces moved in “to restore peace to the region”.

As of today’s news Georgia has pulled out of South Ossetia, according to their own reports, while Russia claims that Georgian troops were still present in the region.

To date estimates put the death toll on the South Ossetian side at more than 1,500, mostly civilians. Georgian casualty figures ranged from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of about 130 dead.

Does this clear up the information for anybody else but me?? I am wondering after doing my own reading if Russia is so clearly in the wrong in this conflict? They appear to be helping the separatists. But then again I am not good enough at international politics to understand what Russia’s alternative motives may be, if there is something for them to gain from the conflict? Anyone have an opinion or information you would like to share?