Thursday, June 9, 2011


I spent last week in Norway, going far up north and searching for the place where the sun don't set. This is a shot taken at 11pm. The sun dips just at the horizon at midnight, and then it starts rising again. Subhanallah, truly an amazing moment.

You might be wondering how to pray in such a situation. We combined the possibility of shortening prayers (jama' and qasar) and our daily rhythm. So we prayed when getting up, eating lunch, and before going to sleep.

Flew to Oslo and took an 18-hour train up to Bodø, with a stop at Trondheim. It was just our luck that the night we were in Bodø there was to be a partial (60%) solar eclipse and I was super excited because I've never seen one before! Our host drove us to the coast and we had to wear special dark glasses to see it.

If you look carefully at the top right-hand part of the sun there's a tiny shadow - that's the moon. Sadly it got too cloudy afterwards so we couldn't see the full partiality of the eclipse.

There were other fun things to do in Bodø though. We visited the Norsk Folk Museum, which showed the life of 'ancient' and 'indigenous' people in Norway. This mainly showed the life of the Sami - the indigenous people of Scandinavia who still live in parts of Sweden, Finland and Russia today.

Sadly, during the Christianisation of the Sami in the 60s, a lot of their artefacts were destroyed. But they still made an effort right? Compare this to the ad for a similar museum in Oslo:

Juxtaposing the text "People of Norway" with two white girls is saying that the people of Norway are white, period. Forget Samis, forget immigrants. And Oslo is the town where 80% of migrants live. While walking around in Oslo I saw a lot of Somalis (refugees), Indians and Turks.

Although to be fair there is an Intercultural Museum in Oslo as well. I only had a day in Oslo and found out about that museum too late. It's the first time I've heard of a museum that focuses on migration flows and I'm sure it would have been interesting to visit!

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