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Lecture: ‘Why DID America invade Iraq?’ and 9/11 thoughts

April 21, 2010

Random post. :)

So as you all (probably) know if you’ve been reading my posts, I’m in three courses here at NTNU.  Two are the normal credit classes, a sociology/anthropology course called “Globalization, Modernization and Development” and my course in Norwegian called “Scandanavian Literature History.”  My third class called “America in the World” is double credit and deemed “Project work” which is why I’m only in three because it counts for two classes because I have to write a 25 page paper along with the final exam.  The paper is supposed to be a proposed policy amendment to the President, and it has to do with foreign policy.  I’ll probably be writing about immigration laws, because those I believe there is a lot of information out there on it and I’m pretty interested in it (concerning FOREIGN policy, not domestic).  Anyways.  So for that class this paper is worth 2/3 of our grade and the final 1/3.

So about a month ago my professor was gone for some conference or something and we had a guest lecturer.  His name was Torbjørn Knutsen and I think he’s just a professor at the univerisity.  Anyways, we’ve been working with a bit of political theory as well as foreign relations in the class, and his lecture was on “Why did America invade Iraq” interpreted through the three separate levels of analysis (the individual, state, and international/systemic levels).  It was actually quite interesting.  I originally signed up for the course because I wanted get a European view on American politics….and then I found out my prof grew up in Alabama and graduated from Penn State. haha.  Oh well, right? It’s actually a nice class, not too much new information for me theory/history wise (mostly things I learned in my intro PoliSci courses, or history…in like 6th grade…) which is nice so I can just focus on writing the paper/proposal and not stress about learning all new information for the exam.  So I was excited to finally hear a bit of outside opinion on the matter, even if it was just one professor in a 2 hour lecture.

Sidenote: in Norway, the general norm is to call your teachers and professors always by their first names…but I just can’t bring myself to do it-it just feels so disrespectful to me! Unless I am very close with a professor, like my Norwegian profs (also because that’s the norm for norsk) and a couple PoliSci ones, I just can’t do it. There’s another cultural difference for ya haha.  Usually I really really try hard to abide by the Norwegian norms, for example eating my hamburger with a fork and a knife instead of just picking it up which is so much easier, but in this case it just feels too wrong coming out of my mouth-‘I just can’t DO IT captain! I don’t have the power!’ Anyways, my point is that I’m going to call him Professor Knutsen, which I was going to start this paragraph out with, but ended up going off on yet another tangent my life seems to be built on these days.

Professor Knutsen’s lecture was very (……..insert long pause because my fingers stopped typing and I looked up at the ceiling before I could come up with the right word……..) thought-provoking. Interesting. Enlightening? No not quite. Well anyways, I enjoyed hearing his viewpoint.  I won’t go into the “boring” (for you maybe, not for me the theorist woo!) PoliSci levels of analysis mumbo-jumbo, but in my opinion he did a pretty good job of explaining the different factors and potential “why’s/causes of invation” within these levels.  I didn’t come across too much new information, just a few lesser-known names and specific dates, but mostly a lot of widely known conspiracy theory stuff.  It was pretty much a Bush-bashing session, which is fine, whatever, and Professor Knutsen stated very specifically that he was not saying GB Jr. is an idiot himself, just that because of the poor judgement and rash decisions he made, he acted inconceivably and beyond all intelligent reason.

Somewhere in the middle of the lecture he got to 9/11 (obviously).  This is actually why I’m writing this post.  I was so surprised at my own reaction; I just didn’t even know I had any of these feelings.  When he began talking about 9/11 (which, sidenote, in Norwegian is actually 11/9 because they put the month first-very confusing-so some people thing it was on November 9th, not September 11th…yeah.)–anyways–the first slide he showed just had the words “September 11, 2001″ on the header and there were two or three pictures of the WTC, Pentagon, etc.  He just began talking about what happened that day and how people, especially people on the east coast, in New York, D.C., etc., were just devestated, and rightfully so, and how everyone just kind of pulled together.  Of course, he talked about how the Bush administration used that blind patriotism as an excuse for the “War on Terror” to finally get Sadam etc.etc.etc….but before he talked about that there was just a few minutes where he was just explaining that day and the days immidiately following to us and how the country reacted.  When I saw the pictures, and heard him talking, I just had this GIGANTIC wave of emotions.  I found myself tearing up, thinking about that day, and where I was, and where everyone else was, and how fortunate I was to not have known anyone personally and to have been safe…and I just got very emotional.  9/111 is the Kennedy assasination of our time.  I think, after 9/11, we all thought about it daily.  Newspapers, etc., with constant reminders of what happened.  But now, 8 1/2 years later, we hardly think of that day.  Not on a daily basis at least, I mean those of us who weren’t directly affected, didn’t lose a loved one.  So when I DID begin to think about it, everything just came crashing over me and I had to mentally tell myself to physically CALM DOWN and breathe normal and get it together-I was in the middle of a lecture hall for gosh sake.  So I did, but I was so surprised at how deeply seeing those images and hearing him talk about that day affected me; since I wasn’t affect PERSONALLY (didn’t know anyone, don’t live on the east coast, etc.) but I was affected-like everyone else.  Some people live in places where every single day they have a fear when they walk out of their home in the morning of whether they’ll make it home alive that day or not. 

Part of my point is, we’re so quick to forget.  Obviously no one has forgotten that day or that moment, but it certainly isn’t on the forefront anymore.  It’s insane how quickly we adapt to such intense changes in our perception of reality.  The first two weeks, two months, that I was in Norway, EVERY DAY I would wake up and think, “Oh my gosh. I’m in freakin Norway.” But now I wake up and think, “I have to pee.” I still have moments almost every day where I really cherish something or try to really remember where I’m at and what I’m doing, but it’s become almost routine at this point.

So cherish the moments people.  Forgive but don’t forget.  Learn from your mistakes. Yada yada all those phrases.

We are truly blessed. xoxo Emma Kristin

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2010 10:48 pm

    Very thought provoking, Emma. I read the title of this post and immediately my mind wandered to where I was when it all happened (on my way to my NDSU architecture class my sophomore year at Concordia), and what my friends and I did those hours/days/weeks following. It was such a crazy time, and I think you’re right that it’s the JFK Assassination of our generation. I remember driving around and every billboard, gas station sign, etc. said something like, “GOD BLESS AMERICA” — and it really was so powerful & moving to be part of a national movement like that. Then Bush had to screw it all up. But I digress…

    Thanks for the update. I love the little things that are so bizarre at first (eating hamburgers with a fork & knife) that become so routine and “normal” after awhile. I think it’s a great example for people, and Americans in general, that just b/c we do something a certain way and it’s normal to us, doesn’t make it the “right” way or the “only” way.

    I’m so happy you took this trip. I’m so grateful that you’re seeing a whole different way of thinking & living in a culture. I’m so excited to be visiting you in 2 1/2 weeks.

    God Bless America…and all the other countries in the Whole Wide World. And All the other people in the Whole Wide World. Amen.

  2. Samantha permalink
    April 22, 2010 1:39 am

    Hei Emma!

    Jeg heter Samantha Zempel og kommer fra Northfield. Jeg jobber på St. Olaf College (i Business Office) og tar Norsk 232 med Nancy. Jeg har lest bloggen din og synes den er fin!
    Det er mye som skjer nå på St. Olaf College. Det er nesten slutten av semesteret og det er mye å gjøre! Mye arbeid og mye oppgaver! Heldigvis har vi fint vær i Minnesota. Det har vært varmt og våren er her! Tidligere hadde vi så mye snø og jeg er glad i våren. Dessuten er det mye konstruksjon på St. Olaf. Den gamle naturfagsbygning blir renovert. Det er mye bråk ute!

    I Norsk 232 leser vi Naiv.Super. I bloggen din leste jeg at du så Erlend Loe i Trondheim! Det hørtes bra ut! Har du sett andre berømte mennesker i Trondheim?

    Jeg leste også at du studerte 9/11 i timen i dag. Jeg er enig med deg at det er vanskelig å tenkne på 9/11 i dag. I begynnelse var det så emosjonelle og trist. Men nå vil vi huske mindre om 9/11 og bare føler hyggelig og føler seg trygge. Etter 9/11 gråt jeg så mye, og jeg kjente ikke mennesker som bor eller jobber i New York. I fjor så jeg på bilder fra 9/11 igjen og jeg gråt.

    Takk for bloggen. Ha det bra i Trondheim!

    Samantha Zempel

  3. Melissa Burch permalink
    April 22, 2010 9:44 pm

    Hei Emma fra St. Olaf! Jeg heter Melissa burch og jeg er norsk 112. Jeg har nyte bloggen din. Bloggen din gjør meg lyst å reise til norge noen dag! Spring has arrived to St. Olaf. The weather is perfect and everyone is outside studying and chilling on the lawn. The trees are all green and its beautiful. The sand volleyball courts are always full with people playing. Hope you are enjoying the Norwegian Spring! Ha det bra!

  4. Melissa Burch permalink
    April 22, 2010 9:57 pm

    Oops, I didn’t write enough. So, Anyways… Jeg har et sporsmal om bodde I norge. Er du læring norsk “slang” mens snakker med innfødte? Hvordan er shopping i norge? I would love to go shopping in norway, although I bet its soo expensive, but I bet the clothes are awesome. How has the american- norwegian food transition been? I have never had norwegian food before but I hope its good! Well enjoy the rest of your time in Norway!

  5. Mom permalink
    April 22, 2010 11:23 pm

    Interesting post, Emma. Dad recorded a TV show about 9-11 and I started watching it one day this winter and it just got harder and harder to see and by the time people were jumping out of the World Trade Center to avoid being burned alive I just sat there and wept. I could not keep watching. It felt like it was happening all over again. Amazing how powerful those images are and how close to the surface all those emotions from that time are. We human beings simply cannot maintain that level of emotional intensity, neither good nor bad, which is why you have gone from “Oh my gosh. I’m in freakin Norway” to “I have to pee.” :-) That’s a great line, by the way. lol. xxlove you

  6. Cara Lemmon permalink
    April 23, 2010 4:19 am

    Hei Hei Emma,
    Jeg heter Cara og jeg er en student ved St. Olaf. Jeg spiller softball og studerer norsk på St.Olaf. Jeg er i norske 112 og jeg studerer psykologi.

    After reading your blogs I can tell you are having a great time. I really enjoyed reading your blog about 9/11. I think that you are absolutely correct about how we forget things. Your blog was very interresting and made me think about things in my life that I have just seemed to push to the side and forget. It’s crazy to think that it happened only 8 and half years ago.
    So in Norway you have to call the professor by the first name!! I agree with you that it just seems so disrespectful! Do you say Professor and the then their first name or just their first name? I feel that not saying professor takes away from them because they went to school for so many years to get that title as professor how could you not call them that.
    Norway sounds amazing and I hope to one day visit. I hope the rest of your trip goes well I’m sure it will. Thank you for taking the time to write these blogs they are very interesting to read! Good luck with your exams!

    -Ha det

  7. Annelise Detlie permalink
    April 23, 2010 5:21 am

    Hei Hei Emma,

    Jeg heter Annelise og jeg kommer fra Maplewood Minnesota. Jeg studerer på St. Olaf og tar Norsk 112 med Nancy. Jeg har lest bloggen din og det var veldig hyggelig. When I red “Lecture: ‘Why DID America invade Iraq?’ and 9/11 thoughts” I remembered exactly where I was that morning. Your blog post was really thought provoking and when I read those last few lines about forgetting 9/11 I realized that it had been at least a year since I last even thought about the twin towers. Its sad but I guess like you I just wasn’t as effected by it.
    On a lighter note though the old Science Center has started being renovated and the trees are budding! They are adding what looks to be a new arched roof onto it so that should be interesting for next year (they are saying it is going to be done by semester II… we’ll see). Nancy and Kari tell us to say hi for them and we all hope you have a great time in Norway. 


    Ha det!

    Annelise Detlie

  8. Molly Erickson permalink
    April 23, 2010 7:39 am

    Hei Hei Emma!

    Jeg heter Molly Erickson og jeg kommer fra Bloomington, Minnesota. Tar jeg norsk 112 med Nancy. Jeg studerer biologi og jeg er veldig glad i St. Olaf! Hjøpe jeg reise til norge i sommeren på 2011! The weather has been amazing here the past two weeks! The grass is looking greener and the trees have started to blossom. I play on the golf team here and this is some of the most unbelievable spring weather I’ve ever seen! Hvordan er været i norge? I loved reading your blog! You give some really great insight for people who want to travel to Norway at some point. I was going to do the summer school in Oslo this summer, but ended up canceling my application last minute. I hope to get there next summer though! Your blog about 9/11 was especially interesting. I think you’re absolutely right about people forgetting things. Reading that brought me back to where I was that morning…headed to the bus stop as a 5th grader it’s insane to think about that again. Another part that caught my eye was addressing the profs by their first name! I definitely can’t imagine doing that, it just feels so disrespectful and against the rules. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Norway! Ha det bra!

    Molly

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