The Norwegian Dream

Two teenagers whose parents brought them to Norway from Pakistan and Iran were singled out by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg when he delivered the annual New Year's Day address to the nation on Sunday. The teens' outstanding academic achievement, Stoltenberg said, makes them prime examples of "The Norwegian Dream."

Stoltenberg said he was convinced that both children and adults, no matter their ethnic background, want to succeed at something, and that all deserve to do so. "Our strong fellowship gives each one of us greater possibilities to seek happiness," he said. "That what's become the Norwegian Dream, that more people have more possibilities."

A new study, however, shows that roughly a third of all Norwegians remain skeptical about immigration, even though Norwegians themselves led one of the biggest emigration waves in history, when an estimated 800,000 left Norway to seek a better life in the US. Now others are seeking a better life in Norway, but it's not easy.

Stoltenberg thinks that Norway is the United States, and speaks of the Norwegian Dream, but there is a big difference between the two countries. The Norwegian Dream is not about immigrants coming to Norway and making a future for themselves. It's about Norwegians creating their own culture and making their own future together. That is the essence of a country based on a specific culture. The United States, on the other hand, is a country of immigrants. The natives will never be given a chance again to make the real "American Dream" of living in their own culture. The Americans, being a collection of immigrants coming from various countries, created the possibility for every person to make something of themselves.

Norway can accept immigrants, and maybe in a few generations those immigrants will assimilate into and enhance the general Norwegian culture. But those immigrants should be aware that they're not living the Norwegian Dream until they feel and act Norwegian in their very essence.

Source: Aftenposten (English)

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