A former Norwegian Minister of Justice calls for the military to be used for border protection. The threat? A few dozen seeds and their reindeer.
“Bizarre” You couldn’t say more about this initiative, says Björn Nilsson, District Administrator of the northernmost Swedish province of Norrbotten. Per-Willy Amundsen, justice policy spokesman for the Norwegian Progressive Party, has now proposed the use of the military to protect the border. To protect Norway from what? In front of Swedish seeds and their reindeer.
Norway, Finland and Denmark still keep their borders with the Swedes closed due to the significantly higher Covid-19 infection numbers in Sweden. There is nevertheless border traffic, for example for commuters or other “urgent” reasons. A complete monitoring is impossible anyway. More than 200 roads connect Sweden and Norway, not counting thousands of field and forest paths.
And because the Sami follow the train of their reindeer, who know no borders, these borders do not apply to them anyway. That was in 1751, when national borders were first drawn in Lapland, in the “Lappkodicillen”, a kind of Magna Charter of the Sami. That still applies today. The Norwegian corona limit regulations issued in March therefore also contain a special exception.
So how can you get the idea to classify a few dozen seeds as the most dangerous infection spreaders against which the military should be used, “because they could hit our local population while shopping” (Amundsen)? Per-Olof Nutti, President of the Swedish Seed Parliament, says that anyone who suggests this simply wants to create a mood against the Sami: “Reindeer seeds also take the situation we are in very seriously. They don’t cross the border for fun or to annoy Norwegian citizens and politicians, but follow the migration of their animals as they have forever.”
It could be sheer ignorance if you stylized the seeds as a risk of infection. But a long list of racist effusions is known from Per-Willy Amundsen. In June, he defended Oslo’s police against racial profiling. That is downright the duty of the police: “Because who is it that organizes gang and youth crime?”
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg had Amundsen at her cabinet table between 2016 and 2018 as Minister of Justice.