Arne O. Holm says Where Are We Going? To Northern Norway or North Korea?

High Noon (1952 poster)

High Noon, now also during the Arctic Arts Festival. (High Noon 1952 poster. Copyright 1952 – United Artists Corporation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Commentary: Russia's President Vladimir Putin recently followed in Donald Trump's footsteps and met North Korea's brutal dictator Kim Jong-un. In Brussels, NATO is preparing its nuclear weapons. We all make our own choices. I am going to Harstad, Northern Norway.

Les på norsk.

This is a commentary written by a member of the editorial staff. The commentary expresses the writer's opinions.

That is because High North News, in cooperation with the Arctic Arts Festival, is once again organizing the "High Noon" debate series, inspired by a classic Western movie from 1952 starring Gary Cooper as Sheriff Will Kane.

The movie's message

The movie's message, the fight for freedom and justice against suppression and tyranny, feels dangerously topical also today.

Because who would have thought that North Korea would be a Mecca for the world's most powerful men?

There was a period at the end of the Cold War when Russia and the US approached each other. More than 30 years later, they have once again found together, now around the country considered one of the world's worst dictatorships. Although Kim Jong-un ended things with Donald Trump before Vladimir Putin found his new best friend.

Birds of a feather flock together.

This is the backdrop for the series of meetings during the Arctic Arts Festival. With guests and artists from Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden, we set the agenda with topics central to High North News' journalistic mission. We analyze the world seen from the Arctic and the High North.

Analyzing the world seen from the Arctic.

On the first day, we will discuss the formative conditions in the North, focusing on social rejection and violence in the youth culture. The police in the Troms region have warned against the risk of contagion from Swedish youth violence.

Are we prepared?

In the next round, we ask if the people of the North are prepared for what is ahead, with a climate crisis and a belligerent neighbor.

And on day three, we will ask if the Nordic democracy is under pressure. 

So old-fashioned we believe in conversation.

On the final day, we challenge the artists' moral compass and responsibility. 

A real effort before summer comes. It is meaningful and an emphasis of High North News being more than an online newspaper continuously updating our readers.

Those who find their way to us in Harstad will meet famous authors, artists, academics, researchers, and youth from across the North. Others can follow the debate and conversations through streaming here in the newspaper.

High North Tour, the five-year-long reportage tour in a motorhome in the High North, is in its fourth year and is a natural arena for meetings between people.


Vladimir Putin's date with the dictator from North Korea is not anchored in democratic decisions. Neither was Donald Trump's obvious flirt with the same man. Nor is NATO's decision to air its nuclear weapons the product of open debates and democratic decisions. 

Yet, some of us are so old-fashioned that we still believe in and cultivate conversations in the open space.

Welcome to Harstad.

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