What is true?

What is true?

Growing up we are all exposed to some truths. This happens in school, on TV and through stories told and passed on by the older people. I grew up with Mount Blanc being the highest mountain in Europe, I grew up with a West-East divide in Europe, with one good side and one bad side. We had freedom and they had the opposite. We had leaders, they had dictators, we had beauty, they had grey communism.
I have learnt that Eastern Europe is so much more than some grey communist apartment blocks. I have learnt to know that names like Tito and Ceausescu were leaders of the people, and when I talk to people over a certain age they still refer to them as leaders. The latter one did not end up well and the fact that the nation was in ruins was also part of it.

But the police, the control over media and propaganda was existing on both sides. The US had a big propaganda in the Cold War, even little Norway had propaganda and the picture portrayed to all was supposed to be the truth. A truth that was perhaps more influenced by the times we lived in rather than the reality of those days.
In Eastern Europe people needed to deal with things as the wall came down. We, in the West, on the other side didn’t need to. We could just celebrate that we had been on the “right” side after all. In writing this I know I am in danger of stepping on some toes, but I think is a good question to ask ourselves. Are we influenced by the times, moves in our time and so on?

Some people will look at me as conservative others will look at me as liberal, it depends on the reference point.
We often hear that we need to be tolerant, and my friends are some of the most tolerant people you can find, but can we be tolerant of things that is not mainstream in the times we live? I will have a restrictive thinking about abortion. Not that I condemn people, but I see the baby in the mother’s womb as a human being and I cannot defend death penalty because I don’t think we should set ourself in the position of authority to take others’ lives. So, I would say the same about abortion – can we tolerate that?

True for whom?
Society is more and more individualistic. This leads us to a society in which what is true for me is not true for you, and so on. We all see the 6 and the 9 from two different angles. One sees a 6 the other sees a 9. We need leaders that can speak truth, that is rooted in something more than just ME.

One thing I know is that when we deal with truth that is no longer true, it is like growing up and then opening the door to your old self. Like many found themselves in 1990 and after when Communism fell, and apartheid in South Africa came to a end. We were met with our own attitudes, pain and problems, and we had to face them, work through them and overcome them. Could it be that many western nations never dealt with the cold war problematic, like their own propaganda, own misleading facts and even the attitude of ‘what did we do during the cold war’? Could that be why we have had ‘elections on steroids’ where truth seems to not be relevant anymore?) Could that be why we still hear today some talk about eastern Europe with a certain attitude towards certain nations? Are the people of US and west Europe still influenced by the propaganda that they lived under during the Cold War?

To all my missionary friends and ex-pats, you now see things from the outside so you are maybe more reflected. You have hopefully seen more, felt more and had the impulses that brought you an awakening. And just like I have, maybe you’re finding out that there is more to the picture of Eastern Europe than the stereotypical message I and many others were given growing up and to a certain point it still is influencing the Western world.

I have a lot to be thankful to my father for, as his need to get around and see things has made us see many new places, and as soon as the wall came down we were our way into Eastern Germany. I still remember staying in a private home in Wittenberg, speaking to the local people and seeing the changes as they were taking place. The same has happened to my over 20 years of Romanian adventure, as I have been living the changes.

A part of the truth is to live the changes, as we see things change and it’s part of life. I believe that if we stop changing we are more or less done in leadership, and in life too. What is true can be a difficult question, but talking about it helps us become aware of incorrect facts and attitude problems that comes out of our nations biased story telling.

We need to discover what is true all over again, and not from the media or mainstream, but by reading history books from both sides and finding the truth where truth can be found.

Till next time,

Rune Saether


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