Who are the Organizers?
Several weeks ago, I attended a “spontaneous” rally in Oslo, protesting President Trump’s immigration suspension. Hoping that this would be a dialog, offering two points of view so that people can make an informed decision, I was sadly disappointed. A uniformed representative from Amnesty International told me, “This is a demonstration and not a discussion!”
Source: Letters from Norway – Trump Protest in Oslo on January 31, 2017
Facts for Liberals
Badgering them, I asked another organizer, an American, if he read the executive order. He said no but assumed it was no good. When talking to the policemen, standing nearby, he told me that he did. He confirmed that nowhere in Executive Order 13769 was the words “Muslim” or “ban.” Donald Trump’s proposed suspension, subsequently overturned, was only for three months and covered seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya), deemed “countries of concern” by the previous administration. The intention was to review procedures for those countries, reinstating movement once the issues have been addressed: not an outright ban.
I challenged those willing to talk to me on the following:
- Obama suspended immigration from Iraq in 2011 for six months over terrorism concerns.
- Jimmy Carter suspended immigration from Iran in 1979 after radicals took over the US Embassy.
- Norway turns away a majority of human trafficking victims.
- Israelis are banned from sixteen countries!
The Deeper Issues
Why are there refugees in the first place? There are refugees who support Trump, stating that it would be better to fix the homeland than displacing people, traumatizing them. The very countries advocating for refugees are also fueling the wars in those same countries. The war mongering from the establishment Republicans and Democrats, assisted by Europe (NATO), helped displace the Syrians and other groups. Furthermore, rich Middle Eastern countries turned their backs on their own people. Ironically, Trump, criticized for not putting Saudi Arabia on the ban list, negotiated a deal with King Salman, getting Saudi financial support for safe zones within Syria.
What is a Country? Nations, defined by borders, laws, and culture must adhere to laws of nature, common sense and economics if they are to survive. Here in Norway, I had to take 300 hours of language and social studies to get permanent residency. When I fly in from the US or outside the Schengen zone, my passport is checked and stamped. Countries also have limited resources and therefore must set priorities. Unlike Scandinavia, many Americans still suffer from poverty and misappropriated assets. Economics is the art and science of allocating scarce resources against unlimited wants. Those decisions are inevitably difficult and heart-wrenching but necessary, or everyone loses, society tearing itself apart in the process. Lack of decisiveness may explain what we are witnessing today. It is common sense that nations would prioritize their own people, who paid into the system, over outsiders. That goes back to our tribal origins, taking care of family and friends first when dealing with resource constraints.
Who are the Organizers
There were several organizations present behind the rally, but Amnesty was the most prominent. When you talk to people from various “humanitarian” organizations, they do not seem to understand the limitations imposed on us by mother nature herself. The leaders of those organizations are highly educated and well-spoken but then why are they seemingly so daft? Perhaps it is money:
Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization, collecting EUR 278 million per year in donations, employing 2400 people in 70 countries (2015). Their main activities are Research, Advocacy and Lobbying, and Campaigns and Action. They also have numerous volunteers assisting with fundraising, back office, and online efforts. Hence, it is an organization on the same scale as a small or medium sized global enterprise. In Oslo, they have an office in a prime location, only one block from Karl Johan (Oslo’s “Main Street”) and two blocks from the parliament building. It would be like having a location near Fifth Avenue in New York. Amnesty’s CEO, Salil Shetty, pocketed around $350,000 (£210K) in 2014!
Despite the headlines, the average American CEO, considering all companies, earned $169,000 per year! Hence, they are an organization, required to maintain with overheads and structures. Amnesty is a non-profit, competing with UNICEF, the neighborhood Church, and others for donations. Moreover, Amnesty has been under fire for harboring and anti-Israeli bias. An aid organization should be impartial, fact-driven, and about helping people, no matter their beliefs.
Therefore, my impression is that the rally in Oslo was more of a membership drive than protesting injustice. Although research is one of their main activities, it may have conflicted with the overall need to maintain the organizational machinery. There are plenty of non-Amnesty lawyers willing to do pro-bono work, promoting social justice and not an organization. If people want to help, they cannot just donate money to an organization, in a “fire and forget” manner. Liberalism and charity require intellect and hands-on involvement. Before engaging in a demonstration, have an open discussion, welcoming opposition, so everyone has a 360-degree view of the issues. Only then will there be a tangible impact, solving the problems at their core instead of medicating them. If not, Liberals will continue to embarrass themselves, taking “intellectual shortcuts” and turning violent, beating down those who oppose their point of view, even if they are elderly.
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