Just Eight Minutes…

Even as the conflict in Gaza sees no end, news stations are ready to move on. But that’s no reason for us to do the same. 

A couple of days ago, one summer evening in our cabin, the newscast presented eight minutes of the dramatic world situation. Eight minutes in, the host moved on to inform us of more or less completely unnecessary news. The kind of news I often find humiliating. Especially when there are more important issues worth knowing. This particular evening for instance, it detailed the beautiful weather in Norway, the explosion of ice cream sales, and a train stopping because of the heat. Far less important than the surrounding world in flames.

This past week, the documentary from 2008, ‘’Tears of Gaza’’ was broadcast on Norwegian TV. Sadly, the situation presented in the documentary, is the same today, if not worse. While watching, we witnessed frustration and hopelessness of what felt like constant bombing, endless deaths of innocent children and endless tears filled with hatred. Quite understandably, it can be hard to avoid the hatred that younger children develop under these circumstances. A boy who had lost his dad said: ‘’I hope God punishes Israel, Egypt, and everyone else who supports Israel’’. The same boy wanted to become a doctor when he grew up. He wished to cure injured in war. Back in 2008, we wished that the little boy never would have to experience another war. Unfortunately, by this point, he’s probably been through three wars all together.

That is if he lived through the first one…

That same night I had trouble sleeping. Usually, I am able to reflect upon an unfair situation, become frustrated, but then again feel glad that I am living the life I am. This night I could not help to think that I am too going to die one day, just like the children in Gaza. Maybe loving life the way I do eventually will feel like a waste. Even though my situation cannot be compared to those lives in Gaza, a sort of death anxiety came creeping up on me. The following night, the same channel showed another documentary on the tense situation in the Middle East. For many years, two TV channels were our only way to keep updated on what was going on in Norway and the rest of the world. This year, we decided to subscribe to newspapers, and organise an Internet connection. Suddenly, news became available, and it was almost a shame not to be updated. Usually, we are able to read heartbreaking articles, watch awful, disconcerting documentaries or listen to unbelievable sad interviews on the radio before we continue on with our life without any concerns. Sometimes we are disgusted at the news. At the same time it all happens at a distance, making it somewhat palatable. Thursday, however, I woke up doing the most natural thing when connected to Internet; check the newspapers and social media on my smart phone. Around the breakfast table the same morning, the terror threat towards Norway, was a delicate subject. Now, the dramatic situation was no longer at a distance.

News about the unbelievable weather, one or more happy rather unknown celebrity, and worries about being fit for the beach, has still remained in the headlines in addition to the terror threat. Some of us are always looking for a way to escape the reality, some seeking only news or advice that will make their day even better. Certain days, I can honestly say that I have done the same. This summer however, I have barely been able to go to bed without any concerns. There are too many terrifying things happening around the world and in our country at the same time. This makes the news — to me and presumably others — impossible to avoid.

The last couple of years, Norway has experienced disasters that have affected our people. Memories will always stay with us, but moving on is often vital to obtain the meaning of life no matter how hopeless it might feel. What we are experiencing in our country today as well as in the world, can make us revaluate our lives. Seize the day, hopefully everyday, and especially during these critical days. But, please do take time to engage in the world issues in between all the sunbathing and ice cream eating.

By Hanna Skotheim

Photo: Electonic Infitada

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