In 1989-90 after finishing my A levels at a Convent in Ascot, I left England and moved to Norway to live in Lillehammer and went to an amazing folk-school: Nansenskolen, a school of humanities. I was one of 9 other artists chosen amid a group of about forty or so philosophy students. (It was the year that I designed the school sweatshirt, which had a tree of life whose trunk was formed from a profile of a man and woman face-to-face.) I have many amazing memories and experiences during this time, of people I met and of things we did. Nansenskolen is known for inviting inspiring talkers of all walks of life - and today I heard, through my mum, that only Wednesday a girl had been arrested directly after- her talk.
This is what the press have said:
A young woman from the former Soviet Union, whose family sought and failed to win asylum in Norway when she was still a teenager, was in custody on Thursday and threatened with deportation. Maria Amelie won an award last year for her struggle as an illegal alien, and protests were brewing over her sudden detention.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that Maria Amelie was taken into custody by eight police officers around 11pm Wednesday night, after she had given a speech at, ironically enough, the Nansen School in Lillehammer, named after one of Norway’s most famous humanitarians and asylum advocates Fridtjof Nansen.
More details on Amelie’s background She was born in the former Soviet Union, according to newspaper Dagsavisen, in the city of Vladikavkaz in the autonomous republic of Nord-Ossetia in 1985. Her father was a successful businessman, her mother reportedly keen on being a politician. Even though Nord-Ossetia, largely populated by Christians, wasn’t as vulnerable to the religious and sectarian violence raging elsewhere in the Caucasus, there was unrest and just a few months ago, a car bomb killed 15 at a local market.
Amelie has never said why her family fled, and there’s speculation it resulted either from conflicts with local mafia or authorities. They went first to Finland, where they were rejected, and then to Norway, where they also were turned down for asylum in 2004.
They stayed, however, and Amelie took on cleaning jobs for cash while learning Norwegian, studying (allegedly under false identity) and getting top marks and eventually a master’s degree. Her parents also remain illegally in Norway, at an undisclosed location. Amelie, however, went public by writing a book about her experiences last year, saying it was the only way she could maintain her integrity.
She seems to be paying a high price for her openness. Now the Norwegian authorities intend to send Amelie and her parents back to Russia, not to Nord-Ossetia where it’s agreed they may face persecution, but somewhere else in the vast country. Russian authorities, reports Dagsavisen, have confirmed her citizenship and will accept the family if they’re returned. There were no guarantees issued, however, for their security and appeals continue to rage in Norway that they ultimately will be allowed to stay.
I hope Maria gets to stay in Norway, there are so many that do but don't deserve it. Why can't they keep someone who is inspirational doing good for her adopted country appose to those who just take and drain from the system? I guess its not as easy as that. I think there will be an outcry, and I think the Norwegian public will fight for her cause.
Time will tell, like many others, thinking of you Maria.
Here are some pictures from Maria's Blog.
Here is a link to her blog, Maria Amelie, This is my Universe