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Lesbian couple saved 40 teens from Norway island (Helsinki newspaper reports)

  1. Aug 2, 2011 #1

    marcus

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  3. Aug 2, 2011 #2

    lisab

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    Why is it news that they're lesbians?
     
  4. Aug 2, 2011 #3

    Evo

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    Yeah, it's really discouraging that their sexual preferences were mentioned. Aren't they people?

    When we report news should it be "a male protestant christian heterosexual" did X today.
     
  5. Aug 2, 2011 #4
    Well I'm assuming if it were male/female they'd say 'young couple' or something like that... to show that it was a couple that was working together to go do these things. If they said 'couple' ... normally this word has a male/female connotation so adding lesbian just makes it more specific so it's known they are both female and they both acted together to save the people.

    I agree with what you're saying but it still makes sense they'd say lesbian couple. IMO
     
  6. Aug 2, 2011 #5

    Evo

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    I don't think that in a mass murder story they would care to find out if it was a "couple" that were dating or married. They would just say two people. No one cares what type of romantic relationship a pair of passersby that stop to help in such a tragedy have, it takes away from the tragedy and makes a political stance, in this particular case.

    How about, "two brave people risked their lives to save teen victims"?

    I'm pro-homosexual, but whoever decided to do this is an embarrassment, IMO.

    I can see it now, "a homosexual stopped and gave aid to a heterosexual motor vehicle accident victim".
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  7. Aug 2, 2011 #6

    marcus

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    The article in the Helsinki Sanomat did not say Lesbian. The headline was

    HERO COUPLE RESCUES DOZENS OF CAMPERS
    Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island...

    Sankaripariskunta pelasti kymmeniä leiriläisiä
    Hege Dalen ja hänen kumppaninsa Toril Hansen olivat illallisella Utöyan vastarannalla leirintäalueella, kun he alkoivat kuulla saarelta ammuskelua ja kirkumista....

    =======================

    So the newspaper Sanomat delivered the story in a nice tactful way. They made the headline gender neutral. Then they had a picture of the two women walking along the shore of the lake where they did their heroic deed. Then they said "Hege Dalen and her spouse Toril Hansen..." So the readers know at once that it is a Lesbian couple.

    kumppani is the word for partner. kumppaninsa means I think female partner. So when they say Hege Dalen and her kumppaninsa, the Finn readers already know it is a couple of women. I'm not sure whether that is part of the news story, but the Helsinki daily put it in their lede sentence. Some people think it is of interest, some probably do not.

    To me it has an interesting aspect because apparently the story was not widely reported. Why? There was a deluge of news about the massacre on Utoyan island. But I did not hear anything about a couple (gay OR straight) rescuing 40 campers. Bullets hitting the boat.
    Going back 4 times for more.

    Did anybody else with a boat rescue so many? Was it so common that married couples were rushing over there with their boats, that evening, to pull people out of the water? Did other people go back 4 times and get 40 out?

    Is it possible that the reason we did not hear the story was that the mainstream English language media found it awkward that the heros happened to be a married Lesbian couple?

    I really don't know.
    =================

    If anyone has a second source on this I would like to see corroboration. The Sanomat is Helsinki's largest daily newspaper so I'd assume it reliable, but I would still like another source. 40 people is a lot of people to rescue, whoever does it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  8. Aug 3, 2011 #7

    jtbell

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    No, "-nsa" is a gender-neutral possessive suffix. So "kumppaninsa" can mean either "his partner" or "her partner". Finnish grammar is basically gender-neutral; the third-person singular pronoun is "hän" which means either "he" or "she" depending on context.
     
  9. Aug 3, 2011 #8

    marcus

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    Happening on this story was my introduction to a blog that I had never seen before:
    http://talkaboutequality.wordpress.com/

    Talk about equality is the name of the blog.
    Today's headline (2 August) on TAE blog is:
    Would You Let Your Kids Play With Kids of Gay & Lesbian Parents?

    Yesterday's headline (1 August) on TAE blog was:
    If a Married Lesbian Couple Saves 40 Teens from the Norway Massacre and No One Writes About it, Did it Really Happen?

    So I'm gradually realizing that, for the blogger that relayed the story, the fact that the couple is two women is part of the POINT. And also the point is that the mainstream press apparently passed up the story because they didn't like gays/lesbians or else because they didn't know how to handle it :biggrin:

    Here in the SF bay area we have the Gay Pride Parade. My wife and I have gone most every year for the past 10 years. It is great fun. Really extravagant floats, dancers, motorcycles, various ethnic stuff like dragons, polynesian dancing stuff, mexican music.

    I find it NATURAL to emphasize that the heros of this particular news story were a married couple of women. I think it is an interesting aspect to the story. And not in bad taste to report it up front. However people's sense of what is in good taste or just exactly how information should be conveyed will of course differ from person to person.
     
  10. Aug 3, 2011 #9

    marcus

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    Thanks! How does the translation look to you? You must know some Finnish!

    ==English version==
    Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island.

    “We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview.

    The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden.

    Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock in, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat.

    Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times.

    They were able to rescue 40 young people from the clutches of the killer.

    “We did not sleep last night at all. Today, we have been together and talked about the events,” Dalen said.
    ==endquote==

    ==Finnish version==
    Hege Dalen ja hänen kumppaninsa Toril Hansen olivat illallisella Utöyan vastarannalla leirintäalueella, kun he alkoivat kuulla saarelta ammuskelua ja kirkumista.

    "Saarelta leijui ruudinhajua. Sitten hirveää kirkumista. Näimme, kuinka nuoret juoksivat pakokauhun vallassa järveen", Dalen sanoo HS:n haastattelussa.

    Pariskunta ryhtyi heti toimeen ja työnsi veneensä Tyrifjorden-järveen.

    Myös monet muut saaren läheisyydessä olleet tekivät samoin.

    Dalen ja Hansen ajoivat veneellä saarelle, poimivat vedestä sokissa olevia ja haavoittuneita nuoria ja kuljettivat heidät vastarannalle mantereelle. Välillä luoteja osui aivan veneen viereen.

    Koska kaikki eivät mahtuneet kerralla kyytiin, he palasivat neljä kertaa saaren edustalle.

    He saattoivat pelastaa tappajan kynsistä 40 nuorta.

    "Emme nukkuneet viime yönä lainkaan. Tämän päivän olemme olleet yhdessä ja puhuneet tapahtumista", Dalen sanoo.
    ==endquote==
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  11. Aug 3, 2011 #10

    marcus

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    More detail!

    Talk About Equality blog addressed the very issue raised here in a followup (2August) post:

    http://talkaboutequality.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/hege-and-toril-why-we-write/

    ==sample excerpt from the "why we write" followup==

    Secondly, this is a story I’ve seen around the internet for several days now – our blog cannot claim credit for breaking this news in any way – what we did do was ask the question about why it wasn’t getting covered by the mainstream media. Several people have asked why it’s necessary to report that it was a married lesbian couple that committed this heroic deed. You never hear “A straight firefighter saved a family from a burning building.” I agree. You don’t hear in the press when someone is straight and does something good. You also don’t hear when someone is straight and does something bad. But when someone who is LGBT does something bad, you can BET that their sexual orientation or gender identity is one of the first important facts of the story.
    ...
    ...
    This is a story of not only a lesbian couple that did a heroic thing, but a married lesbian couple – something that is still illegal across this country. Even in the handful of places an American can get married in this country, that marriage is not recognized by the Federal government. That leaves heterosexual couples with more than 1,100 rights which lesbian and gay couples don’t have.

    Norway is a world leader when it comes to protecting LGBT people. It was the first country to enact anti-discrimination laws. They decriminalized homosexuality a full 20 years before the US (the land of the free and the home of the brave) did. They’ve had nationally-recognized civil partnerships since 1993 and marriage equality became legal in January of 2009. So it may not be a big deal in Norway that this was a married lesbian couple, but it should be a big deal here.

    Thirdly – why has this story been ignored by the mainstream media? I don’t know. That’s why I posted the article. Is it because the couple is lesbian? Perhaps. Is it because the news cycle in the US is being taken-up by the imaginary “debt-ceiling” debate? Perhaps. The only thing we know for sure is that this is a story that needs to be told.
    ...
    ==endquote==
     
  12. Aug 3, 2011 #11

    arildno

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    Hi, marcus!
    This story is derived from a tiny newspaper, Helgeland Arbeiderblad, and it has not reached national news level here in Norway.
    That is probably due to that there were several rescuers, like the conventionally married couple Juvet, and a german who have become the "voices" of the rescuers, having rescued around 50-60 each.
    Approximately 300 youths were picked up from the Tyrifjord lake, and the lesbian couple certainly deserves recognition as heroes as well.
    Here is the original story:
    http://www.helgeland-arbeiderblad.no/nyheter/article5681862.ece
     
  13. Aug 3, 2011 #12

    arildno

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    Here is a translation, made by me of the article from Helgeland Arbeiderblad:

    "Like a bad movie"
    Hege Dalen from Sandnessjøen participated in saving 25-30 from death at Utøya. The scenes will remain glued on her retinas for the rest of her life
    ----

    I haven't yet had a grief reaction, but my mind circles about it all the time. Sunday night, after turning off the TV, we went to bed for a bit of reading. It was almost impossible to concentrate. We had to read the same passages several times in order to get the content. The drama is still buzzing violently inside the head, says hege Dalen from Sandnessjøen.

    She moved to her lover Torill Hansen at Raufoss a year-and-a-half ago, and works as customers' support at Elite Service Partner.
    Together, Hege and Torill have established themselves as weekend-and-holiday campers at Utvika, that has a panoramic view towards Utøya where 68 persons were shot and killed Friday.
    The family was celebrating the 10 year birthday of Heges step-daughter when the shots were heard from the other side of the lake in the afternoon.


    - We had receive visits from many of the other campers. The cakes were on the table, but then it banged, and we sensed a strong smell of gunpowde. We saw people who began swimming from Utøya.
    Then, we just had to change what we were doing, Hege tells.

    Torill Hansen took a speed boat and began helping wounded and unwounded youths out of the Tyrifjord Lake. At first, Hege remained on land, and received despairing people, among other places at the cafe belonging to the camp site. A bit later, she went with her co-habitor on the last fetching trips with boats. Hege estimates that the two of them saved 25-30 persons in this way. Several other boats participated in the operation, that may have saved as many as 250-300 lives.

    -This was before any professional rescue action took place. It was we at the camping site who did the job. We distributed blankets abd transported people to Sundvolden Hotel. The perpetrator was actually not arrested when we took the first trips. That's a scary thought to think back on. Our boat was quickly filled, and I do not know how it fared with those we could not take with us. We saw the bullets hitting the water, and we saw the bodies vefore they were covered. It was completely unreal. A bad movie, tells Hege.



    She tried to give as good comfort as possible to those who were brought to safety at Utvika. People were, of course, completely beside themselves in despair.
    - My mobile phone passed around, and many managed to speak with their loved ones. But it was tough to experience that a girl managed to get contact with her brother, who was still hiding behind a rock at Utøya. I do not know how it has fared with him, says Hege. She tells that Utvika is the natural refuge to seek for those who began swimming in panic.


    IT is about a 700 meters' swim. Utvika is Utøya's closest neighbour. Just a few meters from our camping wagon (caravan??), we can see Utøya clearly. Now, the pier is full of flowers and candles. We have made some trips down there in order to see it, and sense the athmosphere. It is a rough time, Hege says.
     
  14. Aug 3, 2011 #13
    I don't think that heterosexuals have gotten fair treatment in the press. For instance, stories about our President have mentioned his race, but never his sexual orientation. Well, he happens to be a heterosexual. In fact most of our Presidents since George W have been heterosexuals. Also, the first ladies. It's not just politics. You rarely hear of an actor or actress who is heterosexual. You probably didn't know this, but Little Richard is a closet heterosexual.
     
  15. Aug 3, 2011 #14

    arildno

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    Most kings in Norway have had five toes on each foot, Jimmy, but we NEVER hear about that.
    Why are we so terrified from speaking about royal tiddly-dums and diddly-toes??
    We need to rip apart this sock of silence.
     
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