Aike Rots Profile picture
6 Apr, 16 tweets, 6 min read
Since January, the Norwegian government has denied entry to nearly all EU/EEA and other foreign citizens. They claim that this is necessary to prevent new infections. Yet they also deny entry to people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. So something else is at stake. (1)
Norway wants to reduce international travel and has strict rules for obligatory testing and quarantine. This is understandable and justifiable (even though the lack of restrictions on domestic travel is puzzling). But the problem is not quarantine rules; it's discrimination. (2)
The problem is, as I wrote before, that almost all non-citizens / non-residents are denied entry. They are not allowed in EVEN IF they test and quarantine; not even when vaccinated. These are not tourists. They are workers, family members, partners. (3)
Absurdly, Norway even refuses entry to newly hired employees of Norwegian universities. I would love to hear what the @EU_Commission thinks about this. To me, it seems like a clear violation of the right of the free movement of workers within the EEA. (4) ec.europa.eu/social/main.js…
I've previously tweeted about the problem in Norwegian academia that new researchers cannot come. @AvisenKhrono wrote about it; @Henrikasheim said he would try to find a solution (but hasn't). These new employees are discriminated based on nationality. (5) khrono.no/han-skulle-fly…
It's not only about employees but also about family and partners. Thousands of people in Norway - Norwegian citizens as well as non-citizen residents - have partners, parents, and other family members abroad. They are denied the right to be with their loved ones indefinitely. (6)
Needless to say, this lack of perspective has led to much human suffering and mental health crises. Sadly, the suffering of these people is no priority for the minister of health, @BentHHoyre. (For more information about this, follow @slippossinn). (7)
The underlying assumption seems to be that foreign partners, parents, and employees are intrinsically dangerous; that they will not test and quarantine properly, because they are not Norwegian and, therefore, not trustworthy. Xenophobia is a core part of the state apparatus. (8)
Not surprising. For months, media have been bombarding the public with sensationalist stories of migrants bringing waves of infection into the country. We recently wrote an essay about this. Sadly, even the mayor of Oslo has contributed to this frame. (9) utrop.no/plenum/ytringe…
It appears that closing borders is no longer seen as a necessary evil; a means to an end. It has become an end in itself; sacred and non-negotiable. Critics are accused of being unpatriotic or downplaying the risk of Covid-19. Open borders are framed as unnecessary luxury. (10)
The tragic consequence: a Minister of Justice who declares EU/EEA treaties irrelevant; who announces that borders will remain closed "for a very long time"; who states that seasonal workers (berry pickers) are more important than family reunification. (11) tv2.no/nyheter/139283…
She states that borders must be closed for non-citizens (except berry pickers!) for a long time, as we must prioritise "our own children and youth". The good old rhetoric device of the false dichotomy: "This is for our children, how dare you oppose?" Populism at its ugliest. (12)
Two last points. First, I realise that Norway is by no means the only country that has seen an increase in xenophobia and nationalism in public discourse and state policy. It's a global problem. This pandemic seems to bring out the worst in societies. (13) tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.10…
That said, as a long-term resident in Norway - I've lived here for most of my adult life - I am most familiar with the situation here. And I am sad and concerned about this unprecedented wave of state-sanctioned xenophobia and lack of respect for international treaties. (14)
Second: I didn't write this thread - or any of the previous threads on this topic - for fun. I am not a lawyer or politician. I am just a scholar who wants to tweet about things like sacred trees and whale gods and temples; not about EU worker rights or Covid-19 or borders. (15)
But I am also a European, and a migrant, and I am worried. Worried about the distrust, the rhetoric, the consequences for academia and families. So I write, because there is not much else I can do. And I hope some lawyers and politicians will read this and take it further. (16)

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More from @AikeRots

5 Apr
It's ironic. As a scholar of religious heritage and ecology in Asia, I have often criticised the negative impact of mass tourism on places like Okinawa, Hoi An, and Kyoto. But now, whenever I read about plans to reopen countries for international tourists, I get excited. (1)
The sad reality is that, right now, the tourism industry and I have the same interests: open borders. My @ERC_Research project depends on ethnographic research in #Vietnam, #Japan, and #Indonesia. We were supposed to collect data in 2020; postponed it to 2021; then to 2022. (2)
So we need those countries to reopen their borders by the end of this year in order to get our research data. In practice, this means we need them to reopen for tourists - even though, paradoxically, one of the things we study is the impact of tourism on ritual traditions. (3)
Read 7 tweets
20 Mar
I am leading a research project funded by @ERC_Research. ERC stresses the importance of international collaboration and wants us to invite guests researchers from other countries. I was fortunate to be contacted by an excellent Japanese scholar who wanted to join my project. (1)
She applied for a visiting researcher grant from the Japanese government. Her application was successful. She was supposed to join us in Norway this month. She has a visa and researcher accommodation @UniOslo, and is ready to travel. But then @Justisdep closed the borders. (2)
Two months ago, the Norwegian government closed the borders indefinitely. One month ago, I wrote a thread to explain why this decision is irrational, disproportionate, and in violation of EU agreements. To no avail: the borders are still closed. (3)
Read 8 tweets
25 Feb
If an EU/EEA government (like Norway) closes its borders and prohibits non-resident EU citizens from entering, it violates our right of free movement. The problem is not obligatory testing and quarantine; it's that people are not allowed entry EVEN IF they test and quarantine.(1)
I am shocked by the ease and eagerness with which many Norwegian politicians, journalists and ordinary citizens accept this violation of the right of free movement. "Close the borders", people on the left and right have been shouting for months, and they got what they wanted. (2)
Norwegian news media have consistently portrayed Covid-19 as a "foreign" virus, "imported" into the country by migrant workers and tourists. Central to this frame are the widely used neologisms "importsmitte" (imported infections) and "innvandrersmitte" (migrant infections). (3)
Read 14 tweets

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