Dilemma into Conflict



Roar Hagen, 2017: "It's typically Norwegian to be good".
Words first articulated by then Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Note the desert setting...

The rock on which Norway is built is a solid one.

Equal measures of heroic history and the grandeur of nature, both of which of a forceful and dangerous character not to be messed with.

With grandeur comes a moral collective obligation to do right and the Norwegians of present day have been doing their utmost. Today this year's Nobel Peace Prize shall be awarded in Oslo. Norway too has housed forums for negotiating peace, just as they strive to be the major donor country in the world. 

Roar Hagen, 2017: "We are suing the parliament for our own riches".
Roar Hagen gifted me his beautiful book Den norske fortellingen (The Norwegian Tale) when we met this autumn, highlighting four decades of taking on the role no less of anthropologist and sociologist, working at the core of that very moral dilemma.

While the classical dichotomy of cartooning lies between the ideal that human never was and the actual fallible human, this is a dichotomy between what once was and the moral drive to do likewise in the present.

At the heart of the dilemma lies another obstacle. It has in fact pushed the mountains into the background as Roar accentuates, although the eternally snow-clad peaks only serve to show off the difference. The new and strange structure, however, is breaking into society making that gap all the bigger: Oil.

A dirty word almost all of itself. To the dilemma already at hand has now been added the collective guilt of being rich.

Roar Hagen, 2017.
Oil is a defining matter, linked to a certain type of behaviour. Indifference or outright opposition to human rights is one of them.

From moral dilemma to moral conflict in other words, being on first name level with Iran and Saudi. Even taking a step back while they set the oil prices, means taking active part. Barren yellow creeps in as the ground on which everything takes places.

Roar Hagen, 2016
OH WHY? the wretched Norwegian shouts out, not even getting an echo for an answer as the mountains of yore would have provided. The oil culprits meanwhile could not care any less, busy as they are shooting down the price per barrel in order to create problems for the other - two of a kind as they are in their brush-off, forgetting the troubles it creates for themselves too. Even the stupidity of it.

"We must in some measure distance ourselves from reality, that is, from ourselves", Roar concludes.

Norway has placed its riches for the long-term common good, saving for the future. Not a bad new rock as it is, although that is no consolation for the struggling. Besides, there is much to do. Not least from what is created by those, who brush of our shared humanity.


Roar Hagen, 2015.



The cartoons shown are courtesy of Roar Hagen and must not be reproduced without his permission.


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