The museum director quoted in the article below is an exemplar of the well-educated cultural elite in Norway. Like most other people in his cohort, he does not believe in the legitimacy of the nation-state, and views nationalism as a dangerous atavistic sentiment.
He is a reminder that the real enemy we face is not Islam. The people who threaten Western civilization are its privileged scions. They are some of the most intelligent and well-educated members of our societies.
Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer, who translated the article, includes this note:
This article talks about a museum in Trondheim (the third largest city in Norway) that refuses to fly the Norwegian flag because the director believes that it is a racist nationalistic symbol.
The museum director should also reflect a little bit upon the fact that he can freely insult his fellow countrymen (if he indeed is Norwegian) or neighbours (if he is, as I suspect, a Swede) without being physically harmed or fearing any other serious repercussions. He wouldn’t be so easygoing if the target of his derision were Islam.
By the way — in the penultimate paragraph the museum director is obviously referring to Palestinians, but doing so in a very subtle way.
The translated article from Adresseavisen:
Refuses to fly the Norwegian flag
The director of the Museum of Art in Trondheim, Pontus Kyander, hopes that the decision will generate a debate about the meaning of the flag.
In a post on the museum’s Facebook page today, he says that the national flag will never fly from the museum building as long as he is director.
“The Museum of Art invites everyone, regardless of origin or nationality. Nations are ideas of the 19th century,” Kyander claims.
He believes that a flag can be used and misused, and by not flying the Norwegian flag the museum hopes to generate a debate about the meaning of a flag.
“A national flag can symbolize nationalism, which in some cases can result in a nation seeing itself as superior to others,” he adds.
Venstre [Liberals] politician reacts
The Liberal Party county leader in Sør-Trøndelag, Trond Åm, reacts to Kyander’s decision.
“Kyander kicks the flag into the hands of nationalists and extremists, which is a pity, because the flag is well suited as the lowest common denominator in a society characterized by ethnic and cultural diversity,” he says.
Åm believes that the Norwegian flag is a symbol of belonging in a liberal democracy.
Wants to discuss nationalism
Last Saturday the Museum of Art opened the exhibition “Sammen” (Together), which is the first exhibition hosted by the Museum since Pontus Kyander took over. The exhibition is about the ‘human community’ with July 22, 2011 as the backdrop.
“Now it’s time for us to discuss nationalism, and not simply focus on Breivik’s sanity which we have debated since the nationalistic terrorist attack occurred last year. Clearly the flag means something completely different to Breivik than it does to you and me,” Kyander says.
The Museum Director is pleased that his decision to not fly the flag has generated such a debate
“Of course people are going to react. We want to create a discussion. Our job is not to decorate the community with nice pictures,” he says when describing the mission of the museum
Despite the unwillingness to fly the Norwegian flag, Kyander is open to the idea of flying the Sami flag [indigenous ethic group in Northern Norway] or the flags of “other nations” without territory.
The Museum of Art in Trondheim is not required by law to fly the Norwegian flag, as it is a private institution.
Fjordman adds this about Pontus Kyander:
He has studied and worked in Sweden:
- Writes art critiques on a regular basis for Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Malmö, Sweden.
- Chief editor for the contemporary arts program Format at SVT (Public Swedish TV).