Wednesday, 26 January 2011

imagining emanuel

on monday evening i had the chance to view the premiere of a brand new norwegian documentary at the oslo cinematek. it will be screened on tv tonight, wednesday 26.01.2011, on nrk 2. the topic of the film stands at the center of norwegian attention right now, so the production team worked day and night for a week to finish it as early as they possibly could. focal point of the film is emanuel, an illegal immigrant living without papers in norway, just like my friend maria amelie who got deported to russia on monday. his fate is just as unclear as hers. while their personal lives and histories are as different as could possibly be, they both stand up, with friends and helpers, to shine a light upon an injustice and wrongdoing by norwegian authorities and government against some of the weakest members of norwegian society.

emanuel comes from liberia, says he. he is a young man, who fled from war in his home country to ghana as a child. after his mother died he somehow managed to get onboard a ship and ended up in norway, without passport, birth certificate or anything else. authorities decide that he does not come from liberia but from ghana, imprison him in the refugee camp in trandum and attempt twice to send him there. authorities there don't agree and since then he has lived his life in norway without a chance to earn his own money or even visit a school to learn how to read or write. he would like to return to his country of origin, but since authorities are apparently unwilling to contact liberian authorities to check if what he says is correct, there is no chance that his wish will come true anytime soon. he, like maria, falls between every possible available chair.

one could say that "imagining emanuel" has two focal points. emanuel is clearly the core subject of the film, but at the same time director thomas østbye is occupied with the process of imagining, the making of a picture, the process of how a persons identity and a persons story is built by what we know, what we see and hear. does the lack of identification mean that emanuel does not have an identity? what do we know about him when we see him standing in the studio, when the camera traces his head in a close up? this documentary reflects about its own genre, it doesn't take any point of view for a universal truth and at the same time fights for the human right to nationality and identity that its subject is being denied. it gives the audience time to reflect. it celebrates the close-up as a possibility to connect and to disturb.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

maria amelie

two days ago, one of my best friends here in norway was arrested, to be deported to russia as soon as possible. she came to norway 9 years ago with her parents, has not been to russia for 13 years and doesn't know a soul there. they went underground when their plea for asylum was declined, and ever since she has tried to live a more or less normal life - despite the more than difficult situation she found herself in.

for me, as i wrote before, she is more norwegian than some norwegians i know, and i would gladly offer her my residence permit for this country. she is one of the bravest people i know. by writing a book about her life's story, she dared to give the group of illegal immigrants a face, she dared to speak up and point out what's wrong in how this group of people is handled here. norway prides itself for their high rate of deportations, and their politics when it comes to refugees seems to be more to protect the authorities and laws than to act humanely and protect people in need.

maria amelie has done nothing wrong other than coming to a strange country as a child, and adapting to the situation. she learned the language, got herself an education, made friends. is that wrong? she was honest and is now being punished for wanting to live a good, normal life with work, paying taxes, eating out and meeting friends.

if you have a heart for a young women standing up for herself and her situation, please sign this amnesty international petition on her behalf. it takes you only a minute and will make a difference for her and other refugees. it will mean a lot to me. thank you all.

pictures from here and here

Sunday, 9 January 2011

winter walk

last weekend we had wonderful cold weather. we went to a small lake just outside oslo to take a good walk and get some air and sunshine in our faces. i recently bought myself a typical norwegian sweater, called "lusekofte". they cost a small fortune since they are handmade of really thick wool and reqire a lot of needlework. i couldn't find one with a pattern, colour and price i liked in our local secondhand and vintage stores, so i got this one from etsy - you could say it returned home after several years abroad...

of course i had to match the lusekofta with my beakboots and norwegian handmade mittens!

jeans: voice of europe
beakboots: lapikas by topman
lusekofte: vintage, via etsy
mittens: handmade, bought on a market
hat: h&m
scarf: thrifted h&m
belt: diesel

Sunday, 2 January 2011

happy new year

a happy new year to all who read this! i hope your year 2011 will be just as fantastic and wonderful as you wish it to be!