On Monday 8 September at 12 noon the American peace activist Cindy Sheehan will receive Erik Bye’s Memorial Prize during the official opening of Christianssand Protest Festival. ….
Cindy Sheehan is an ordinary housewife who became known all round the world because she lost her son in ….Iraq….. She was the woman who got the antiwar movement going in ….America….. For example, she and her helpers set up camp three years ago on George W. Bush’s ranch in ….Texas….. The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet wrote the following about her:….
With her at the forefront the antiwar movement has united and got on its feet in ….America….. What was a loose movement without any particular force now has a public figure known worldwide as its leader. In the American press the former youth minister is called “Peace Mom”. She has been on the front page of the major newspapers and ….America…. has become acquainted with a resistance to the war that many people did not even know existed. For ordinary Americans sympathise with Cindy. She is no dirty little radical, she is not suspected of being a communist, she is no Michael Moore, only a deeply Christian mother with a moving story that they can relate to…..
She met the President in 2004 together with several other military families. She was furious when afterwards she discovered that the reasons for ..America.. going to war against ….Iraq…. had been planted. She became the unifying leader for the peace movement. Last year she was arrested in the Congress for having protested against the Democrats’ lack of will to impeach President George W Bush…..
She has also supported the 9/11 Truth Movement, which believes that the collapse of the Twin Towers looks like a controlled demolition, and demands new investigations into the terror attacks…..
She withdrew from the front line of the antiwar movement last year after having given up attempts to get ..America.. out of ….Iraq….. She announced in a press release that she was disheartened and disillusioned, and could no longer carry on the fight, which had cost her her marriage, led to hostility with her surviving children and emptied her bank account. In her blog she wrote:….
This is my resignation letter as the “face” of the American antiwar movement. I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost…..
Now a group that call themselves ”….Grassroots.. ..Action.. ..Center….” are working to get Cindy elected to the Congress in 2008 at the expense of Nancy Pelosi. This is what she herself says about why she is running as a candidate:….
I decided to run for Congress in San Francisco against Nancy Pelosi who is the failed Speaker of the House because the occupation of Iraq has become worse since the Dems have regained both houses of Congress and she refused to hold GWB accountable for all of his crimes since stealing the White House in 2000. I am running unaffiliated with any political party and our slogans are: People Before Politics and Let’s Make a Difference…..
Cindy Sheehan, however, has certainly not given up the struggle for peace and she is very busy holding peace lectures all over ….America….. ….
Cindy Sheehan has become an example for women and peace activists all over the world…..
Erik Bye’s widow Tove Bye died on 15 May this year. Shortly before she died, she expressed the hope that Cindy would win the prize. She had followed Cindy’s work for peace from the start. When Tove died, the family in cooperation with the festival decided that her wish should be fulfilled. ….
Cindy Sheehan is coming to ….Kristiansand…. to receive the prize. The leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Dagmar Karin Sørbø, will make a speech, as will the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Magnhild Meltveit Kleppe. The prize will be handed over by Erik Bye’s daughter, Anne Eriksdatter Bye. ….
Kristine Jølstad Moi will sing two songs by Kris Kristoffersen, ‘In the News’ and ‘Don’t Let the Bastards’, in honour of the prizewinner…..
Who, then, was Erik Bye? If we scrape away all the great things he did, which he was so well-known for and will be remembered for till the end of time – the TV legend who was voted the best TV personality ever, the writer, poet, singer and composer – then we will be left with Erik Bye the person. He was just as likely to be friends with the ordinary man in the street as with the King, he became involved on behalf of the weakest in society and he was not afraid to show feelings. He carried a whole generation around in his generous embrace, or at least it feels like that. He became involved on behalf of the wartime naval servicemen, the lifeboat service, the Native Americans, the mentally handicapped, and always stood up for the weakest. He always thundered against war and injustice. People listened to him more than anyone else and when, a few days before the EU referendum in 1972, he expressed his opposition to membership, the Yes side collapsed, saying “He took victory from us”. ….
The war-machine will lie to you…..
On Monday 8 September at 12 noon the American peace activist Cindy Sheehan will receive Erik Bye’s Memorial Prize during the official opening of Christianssand Protest Festival. ….
Cindy Sheehan er en vanlig husmor som ble verdenskjendis etter at hun mistet sønnen sin i Irak. Hun var kvinnen som fikk antikrigsbevegelsen i USA til å røre på seg. Blant annet satte hun og medhjelperne for tre år siden opp telt på ranchen til George W. Bush i Texas. Dagbladet skrev om henne:
Med henne i front har anti-krigsbevegelsen samlet seg og kommet seg på beina i USA. Det som har vært en løs bevegelse uten særlig gjennomslagskraft, har nå en verdenskjendis som frontfigur. I amerikansk presse kalles den tidligere ungdomspresten for «Peace mom». Hun har vært på forsiden av de store avisene og USA har blitt kjent med en krigsmotstand mange ikke en gang visste eksisterte. For den jevne amerikaner har sympati med Cindy. Hun er ingen skitten raddis, hun blir ikke mistenkt for å være kommunist, hun er ingen Michael Moore, bare en dypt kristen mor med en rørende historie som de kjenner seg igjen i.
Hun møtte presidenten i 2004 sammen med flere soldatfamilier. Hun ble rasende da hun i etterkant oppdaget de plantet begrunnelsene for at USA gikk til krig mot Irak. Hun ble den samlende frontfigur for fredsbevegelsen. I fjor ble hun arrestert i Kongressen for å ha protestert mot demokratenes manglende vilje til å stille president George Bush for krigsrett.
Hun har også støttet 9/11 Truth-bevegelsen, som mener kollapsen av tvillingtårnene ser ut som en kontrollert nedriving, og forlanger ny etterforskning av terrorangrepene.
Hun trakk seg tilbake fra førstelinje i antikrigsbevegelsen i fjor etter å ha gitt opp å få USA ut av Irak. Hun kunngjorde i en pressemelding at hun var motløs og desillusjonert og ikke lenger orket kampen, som hadde kostet henne ekteskapet, ført til uvennskap med de gjenlevende barna og tømt kontoen hennes. I sin blogg skrev hun:
Dette er mitt avskjedsbrev som frontfigur for den amerikanske antikrigskampanjen. Jeg vil ta det lille jeg har igjen og dra hjem. Jeg vil reise hjem og være mor for mine gjenlevende barn og forsøke å vinne tilbake noe av det jeg har mistet.
Nå jobber de som kaller seg ”Grassroots Action Center” for å få Cindy inn i Kongressen i 2008 på bekostning av Nancy Pelosi. Hun sier selv dette om hvorfor hun stiller som kandidat:
I decided to run for Congress in San Francisco against Nancy Pelosi who is the failed Speaker of the House because the occupation of Iraq has become worse since the Dems have regained both houses of Congress and she refused to hold GWB accountable for all of his crimes since stealing the White House in 2000. I am running unaffiliated with any political party and our slogans are: People Before Politics and Let’s Make a Difference.
Cindy Sheehan har imidlertid absolutt ikke gitt opp fredskampen. Hun er travelt opptatt med å holde fredsforedrag rundt i USA.
Cindy Sheehan er blitt et forbilde for kvinner og fredsforkjempere rundt i hele verden.
Eriks enke Tove Bye døde 15. mai i år. Kort tid før hun døde, uttrykte hun håp om at Cindy skulle få prisen. Hun hadde fulgt hennes fredsarbeid fra starten. Da Tove gikk bort, besluttet familien i samarbeid med festivalen at hennes ønske skulle følges opp.
Cindy Sheehan kommer til Kristiansand for å motta prisen. Leder av Internasjonal kvinneliga for fred og frihet, Dagmar Karin Sørbøe, vil holde tale. Det samme vil statsråd Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa. Prisen deles ut av Erik Byes datter Anne Eriksdatter Bye.
Vi er glad for at Tove Byes siste ønske blir oppfylt, at årets prisvinner kommer den lange veien for å motta denne prisen. Bøygard vil synge “Sheraton slott” og Shantykoret vil fremføre to av Eriks Byes andre viser under utdelingen. Til prisvinner vil Kristina Jølstad Moi fremføre Kris Kristoffersons “In the News” og “Don’t Let the Bastards (Get You Down)”. Prisutdelingen støttes av Kristiansand kommune.
Det vil være en glede og i respekt for årets prisvinner at flest mulig publikummere har mulighet til å overvære årets utdeling, som skjer samtidig som den offisielle åpningen av festivalen. Det er gratis inngang.
Erik Byes Minnepris deles alltid ut under festivalens offisielle åpningsarrangement.
Erik Bye var ikke bare sterkt engasjert i festivalen, men hele sitt liv bekjempet han likegyldigheten, som han anså som sin verste fiende. Minneprisen skal gis til en person som over en lengre periode har fremvist et uredd og brennende engasjement for å påvirke samfunnsutviklingen i positiv lei lokalt, nasjonalt eller internasjonalt.
Vedkommende må ha fremvist mot til å gå mot strømmen og de moteriktige standpunkt, til kompromissløst å kjempe for fred, rettferdighet og menneskeverd. Den første som mottok minneprisen, var artisten Åge Aleksandersen i 2005. I 2006 var det menneskerettsaktivist Hanne Sophie Greve som mottok prisen. Prisen i fjor gikk til filmregissør og journalist Erling Borgen. Erik Byes Minnepris er en statuett i bronse, laget av billedhugger Arne Vinje Gunnerud.
Kulturnatta, Havana, Kristiansand,
lørdag 26. april kl.1830
Kristiansand som Kulturby – en tapt kamp?
Har Kristiansand noen som helst sjanse til å vinne status som kulturby? Vil den ikke fortsatt bli ansett som et sted “preget av et moralskbasert tradisjonalistisk kulturbegrep i et relativt konservativt og kristendemokratisk borgerskap”? Eller er bare alt “så greit” på Sørlandet at behovet for kultur ikke er tilstede?
Må vi ikke bare slå fast at festivalkjempen Quart vakler, at det i Kristiansand nesten ikke finnes scener for større konserter, at agentene ikke regner med byen når de legger opp turneer for stjernene, at mange mener kulturhuset planlegges som et sted for fiffen og dessuten heller ikke står ferdig før i 2011? Dessuten løper ikke sørlendingene mann av huse for å oppleve kultur, i hvert fall ikke kultur som ikke er knyttet opp mot bedehusmiljøene. Samtidig vet vi at kulturkåte sørlendinger bosetter seg i Oslo, der det vrimler av kulturbegivenheter hele uken gjennom året rundt.
Stavanger er blitt Europas kulturhovedstad, Bergen får stadig besøk av verdensstjerner til Grieghallen eller USF Verftet; og bergenserne vasser i festivaler som Ole Blues, Festspillene, Bergenfest og Lost Weekend. Likeledes har byer som Tromsø, Trondheim, Tønsberg og til og med lillebror Arendal i øst et levende kulturliv året rundt og med store festivaler som Canal Street og Hovefestivalen.
Daniel Nordgård, festivalsjef Quartfestivalen
Anne Kristine Blågestad, kulturredaktør Agderposten
Terje Dragseth, forfatter, musiker og filmregissør
Trygve Allister Diesen, utflyttet filmregissør
Toffen Gunnufsen, bookingsjef Hovefestivalen
Solveig Knudsen, adm. leder Rock City
Debattleder: Sylfest Lomheim
Musikalsk innslag: Per Warning (DK) og Keith Austin (USA/N)
The Protest Festival
Smuget, Wednesday the 5th of March at 6pm
Law of Neutral-gender Marriage –
Will this have consequences for people in general?
If so, which?
In Parliament there is now a majority supporting neutral-gender marriage. The law will most likely be passed before the summer. Homosexuals are celebrating, while the opponents – among them Christians – are shocked. But the fact is that those with conservative values are conspicuously silent. Have all the discussions about tolerance discouraged them? Will the frontlines close ranks and the level of conflict in society increase,
or will it all work itself out?
The law also includes that married lesbian and homosexual couples have the right to adopt, and they have the same right to assisted fertilization as other couples. VG wrote some time ago about “The homosexual reformation” where Anders Giæver claimed that the homosexual culture is a matter of fashion. Is a matter of fashion the reason this case is on the verge of a breakthrough in the majority of political parties, in almost all the media
and in an almost united cultural life?
Frank Rossavik is a homosexual, but still wonders if this case needs clarification. The Norwegian media has refused to take the case.
The Protest Festival will.
Øivind Benestad, Project leader MorFarBarn.no
Frank Rossavik, journalist and member of LLH
Jon Reidar Øyan, leader of LLH
Bjørg Tørresdal, Member of Parliament KrF
Ole Texmo, Forum for men and care
Inge Lønning, Member of Parliament H
Trude Ringheim, Commentator Dagbladet
Leader of the Debate, Erling Borgen
“Et verdensdyp av Frihet”
HenrikWergeland – a presentation:
w/ author Geir Uthaug
For those who have not realized it yet, this year we are celebrating Henrik Wergeland.
It is now 200 years since he was born in Kristiansand.
Wergeland should need no introduction. We know what he meant for Norway’s freedom, for freedom of speech, for freedom of the press, for tolerance, human worth and integration.
We know the amount of time he invested in the enlightenment of the people.
People also connect him with some of the finest poems written in Norwegian,
but what do we really know about him?
There are many expectations to Geir Uthaug’s book about Henrik Wergeland,
which will be published this year. He is known for his work on William Blake, and sees many similarities between these two poets. In his lecture he will shed light on some of
the exceptional ideas as they are described in Wergelands writing.
Wergeland did not just write poems. He also wrote plays and farces. He was much freer as a poet of farces, and as a dramatist he could produce his ideas.
Wergeland was also a sharp journalist and editor, and had many ways of speaking out if he felt freedom or other inalienable rights were being threatened.
Music: Bøygard sings Erik Byes “Sheraton slott”
Music: Keith Austin and Bøygard
Compère: Anders Tangen
In summer 2000, in the middle of the main holiday period in the southern part of Norway known as Sørlandet, Svein Inge Olsen and Kai Erland mobilised about a hundred entertainers, academics and artists to protest against indifference and powerlessness.
This article is to a considerable extent the history of the protest festival. It contains all of an interview with one of the arrangers and appeared in the weekly net publication Ukeavisen Ledelse on 7 January 2005
In summer 2000, in the middle of the main holiday period in the southern part of Norway known as Sørlandet, Svein Inge Olsen and Kai Erland mobilised about a hundred entertainers, academics and artists to protest against indifference and powerlessness. And indifference was what they got, as the public didn’t give a toss. However the local printed media did, and completely slaughtered the event. Nor were the creditors indifferent, as they demanded payment of a deficit of NOK 160,000.
‘Oh dear’ says Svein Inge Olsen, with a faraway look in his eyes.
‘The entertainer Ole Paus stood singing in the street, and people passed by without the slightest idea of what was going on. According to the local newspaper Fædrelandsvennen the whole thing was so embarrassing that they just about asked us to leave town. We were pretty low when the week was over.’
That crazy week in July 2000 was the start of Christianssands Protest Festival, which is now entering its sixth year. The motto is still protest against indifference and powerlessness. Under the motto ‘Indifference kills’ people pay to listen to debates about the tyranny of beauty, health fascism and the dechristianisation of Norway. They go to listen to poetry readings with Paal-Helge Haugen, to see Jacob Holdt’s photographs and to hear Jahn Teigen’s concert in the church, and they mingle with well-known culture personalities such as ex-politician Stein Ørnhøi, clergyman and writer Per Arne Dahl, actor Lars Andreas Larsen, comedian Per Inge Torkelsen, ex-footballer and football agent Erik Soler, and media figure Svein O. Høiby.
‘Five years on, we’re now recognised. Kristiansand Municipality sees us as just as important an event as the summer rock festival Quartfestivalen. We’ll never be a profitable enterprise, but we get public financing and we’re sponsored by many of the local business people that traditionally support culture. We’ll make sure that we make an important contribution to the public debate and that we don’t go bankrupt.’
But the bankruptcy was a very frightening thought when the culture businessmen Olsen and Erland sat licking their wounds after that harrowing summer in 2000. Svein Inge Olsen’s past included being a warehouse worker, local radio enthusiast, writer and event maker, but none of these had made him rich. Among other things he had a poetry festival in Søgne and a song festival in Marnadal on his conscience, in addition to a book about one of his ancestors, the great Bjørgulv Upstad from Setesdal. Olsen and Kai Erland met for the first time in spring 2000. The were brought together because of their common past as festival arrangers and a common frustration that people’s visions on the threshold to the new millenium had not stretched any further than a few thoughts on how high the rockets could go on New Year’s Eve.
‘We decided to get an arrangement going together, to do something about people’s indifference. The concept of a ‘protest festival’ was chosen after a bit of doubt, perhaps characterised by my personal fascination for the hippie period in the seventies. I almost get a bit depressed when I think about the commitment that was around at that time, but that I can’t find in so many places today.’
The first arrangement was what Svein Inge Olsen calls ‘a crazy stunt’.
‘We were late in getting started, but decided to challenge that part of the summer when people just sunbathe and eat shrimps on the edge of the quays. We set up a broad programme, with debates about morals, and values, concern and judgement day, war and peace, the struggle for women’s lib and legislation for children, prayer and recovery, environmental protection and anarchy. There were debates everywhere, and several debates at the same time. The programme was terribly spread, and ended with a terrible letdown. Nobody came because nobody knew where they should be, because we hadn’t told them that. We didn’t have any marketing budget.’
The two of them were left with a pile of unpaid bills, and with an editorial in Fædrelandsvennen saying that they had started something that must never be allowed to happen again as long as the town existed.
‘Things were not very much fun on the purely private level either. I was alone during the week at that time, but Kai had family and was not exactly received with shouts of joy at home. Besides, he was the only one of us that had a regular income, so he was probably scared that he’d have to repay the 160,000 kroner by himself.’
But in the middle of all the depression there were some positive phone calls too: from the county medical officer, from the bishop, from the entertainer Kine Hellebust and the writer Triztan Vindtorn.
‘There were encouraging comments like: don’t give up, this is important, try once again. There were enough positive reactions to make us decide to try in 2001 too. We were a little reckless, but our nerves were also a bit frayed, so when we launched the next festival in the newspaper we politely asked the journalist in the local paper if he would please not kill us off yet again.’
The second attempt with the festival was at the end of August/beginning of September, after the locals had crawled ashore from their pleasure boats.
‘Then we were a bit less ambitious, and made sure people knew a bit more about us. In addition we got the old myth confirmed, that all PR is good PR, as the curiosity created by the previous year’s fiasco increased the notice taken of the next arrangement. From 2001 the festival has developed more naturally, growing a little year by year, and has managed a little better economically. And the local paper has gone from trying to kill us off to being one of our most valuable supporters.’
But it is only NOW that the protest festival is getting rid of the debt from 2000. And that’s related to another of Svein Inge Olsen’s personal hang-ups, his admiration for the American country icon Kris Kristofferson. In between the festivals Olso has both written a book about, and put on a tribute concert in honour of, Kristofferson, who in June last year gave a free concert in Kristiansand in support of the festival.
‘ Kristofferson was a big name already in 1970, but I didn’t discover him till the eighties. He became really important to me in 1995, when I went through a fairly traumatic relationship break-up. It was a personal breakdown that ended with me being off work and changing job, but also with me playing Kris’s records round the clock for a long time. His songs are not always very cheerful but there was incredible comfort in the fact thay they’d been written by someone who’d been down in the deep hole before me. In his past Kris was a drug addict, and his songs sort of let me be depressed. Gradually I began to read more about the man himself and his own models like the poet William Blake. Everything I read appealed to me. Here was a guy that went his own way, who gave up his family and an academic career to become a songwriter, and who later sacrificed both record contracts and film roles so as to be able to go public with what he thought was IMPORTANT.’
Svin Inge Olsen’s fascination has for example resulted in two records with collections of Kristofferson’s songs by Norwegian artists, a book published in 2001 and an interview for the Norwegian channel TV2 in Nashville in 2003. And last summer ‘the old guy’ came to Kristiansand and performed for free on his 68th birthday. The Kristofferson concert on June 22 gave the festival a net income of NOK 130,000 and the event was filmed and shown on the opening day of the festival in August.
‘I reckon Kristofferson is underestimated and should have the same status as Bob Dylan. Everyone listens to Dylan, but Dylan himself listens to Kris,’ says Olsen.
To the extent Kristoffersom has had his equal in Norway, according to Svein Inge Olsen it would have to be Erik Bye, another of the festival’s patrons.
‘I interviewed Erik Bye in the nineties when I was working in local radio in Mandal. Then I had a poem with me that I had written to him, which I felt he really appreciated. When we got in touch with him regarding the protest festival he gave us his support immediately. And not just as a participant – on one occasion he marched into the office of the Arts Council Norway (Norsk kulturråd) and thumped the table with his huge fist, demanding that they produce financial support for us.’
During the last year Erik was alive he was very committed to the protest festival and made a moving appeal a few weeks before he died.
Even though the disaster of 2000 was never repeated, the festival has for a long time balanced on a financial knife edge. When Kris Kristofferson supported the festival last summer, in reality he saved the event from being financially strangled. At the same time he also contributed to a profit that meant that all the debt from 2000 could finally be crossed out. Now the festival in fact has NOK 50,000 in capital to take into 2005. This is unaccustomed luxury, as finance is still a sore point for the ‘protestants’.
‘We’ve already received money from the Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) and from the municipality for 2005, but we are losing the financial support from Cultiva (Kristiansand Energy Corporation Foundation), which has helped us all the way. In return we are getting almost half a million kroner in money and other agreements with local business.’
‘Is that not a problem for a gang of antimaterialists whose aim is to challenge the establishment?’
‘No, and so we can’t allow sponsorship from Coca Cola or MacDonalds either. But we’re getting help from what we see as solid traditional local businesses, companies that stand for values we ourselves can accept. And the response from those we’ve approached has been overwhelming.’
‘Have you benefitted from the fact that Quartfestivalen had a porn stunt on stage last summer?’
‘I must be careful not to gloat over other people’s misfortune, but we’ve obviously got support from some sources that have previously supported Quart. What’s important for us is not what other festival arrangers do but that we ourselves can act independently of those sponsors that choose to support us financially.’
Svein Inge Olsen is now working full time with the festival, which has a ‘record budget’ of NOK 750,000 next year. Colleague Kai Erland is doing more or less the same, even though he is formally employed by Stiftelsen Arkivet, the institution that has grown up in the old state archive premises in Kristiansand. Nowadays there is a peace centre there, in a building where the Nazis had their headquarters and their torture chambers during the Second World War.
‘How can a five-day event like the protest festival manage on less than a million?’
‘Because people help for nothing. This is particularly true of the artists. We’re dependent on the personal enthusiasm of the participants. But it limits freedom of choice somewhat, because of course it’s difficult for the less well-off artists to turn down paid engagements to come to us. But Kris has given us status and has helped us here too. Now we can use the argument that even he did it for free. Of course he can afford to do that, but the fact is nevertheless that he actually could be bothered to do it.’
‘With you as arranger this should probably be a country and hippie festival?’
‘I’m too young to have really experienced the hippie rebellions in the seventies, but I’ve got the films from Woodstock and the Isle of Wight and wallow in them when I feel I need some comfort. But Kai makes sure that my hippie preferences don’t take over completely. The intention is to offer a broad spectrum: debates and church music, performance art and country, readings, visual art and photography. Everything that can be called culture, but with a protest slant. Because without the protest there’ll be no protest festival,’ says Svein Inge Olsen.
Dag Håkon Hellevik, Ukevisen Ledelse