"Come Home and Stay Home!"

Commentary: This week, I have deep-dived into the analog world, out among people, where journalism thrives and stories are made. Mixing artists with other Northern Norwegian voices has become a pre-summer tradition for High North News.

Norwegian version.

The title of this commentary comes from our interview with Pål Knutsen, better known as the songwriter Moddi, and has an addition that is difficult to translate. "Come home, you pesslest," says Moddi. Both AI and Google are speechless when I ask for the definition of the dialect word.

But we get it nonetheless. 

Although Moddi is one of the few artists who has understood that it is no longer necessary nor very convincing to move to Oslo to write lyrics about life in the North. He moved home to Senja in Troms and discovered that Northern Norway and the High North are changing, even as the myths about the North still feed policy and business.

We have quietly discussed.

The modern North

For four days during the True Northern Arts Festival, we addressed the High North. We have discussed what the modern North looks like. We have quietly asked northerners, Russians, and Ukrainians what life in the shadow of a belligerent neighbor is like. On the first day, we took the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seriously and asked what the way forward looks like. And we have asked artists how they bring reality into their art.

Twenty-something voices have sat on the stages in Harstad in front of a big audience. Four very different artists have entered my mobile office. I am certainly not alone in longing for the analog. Those who did not make it to Harstad, and that is the majority, can still see the recordings of the debates and the conversations on our website.

Together, we have confronted a reality balancing unique opportunities and deep conflicts. The most important to us was to bring forth voices from the North, if not to drown out, then at least to supplement and correct the storytelling about the North seen from the South.

A reality balancing unique opportunities and deep conflicts.

With love

We do it with love to a part of the world that far too many commutes to instead of "moving home" to. To a part of the world that does not quite fit into an oil fund's appetite for fashionable properties in London or a central bank's analyses of interest rates and business cycles. A region populated by people who may not be first in line when ministers appoint their friends for public boards and councils. 

On the eve of a rich week, thank you to Pål Moddi Knutsen, Tore Vagn Lid, Elle Sofe Sara, Tine Surel Lange, and all you others who make it meaningful to create a newspaper that everyday tries to embrace politics, business, art, and culture in the Arctic and the High North.

And to our faithful readers from us in the High North News editorial staff:

Have a great summer!

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This commentary was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.