Borderline Anti-Semitism – Role Play in Oslo

Look what we found on Fagforbundets website

Role play in Oslo, : next time, attempt a funny role play called “suicide bomber” or “rocket attack”. Perhaps this may put things into perspective.


Frifagbevegelse 2011 09 22

Vegard Helle

On the way to work at Fagforbundet this morning I was stopped at my door by an authoritarian lady. I was asked whether I would like to be part of a role game on Palestine.

I responded with a yes; receiving the choice between being an aid worker or a Palestinian. Having an indication on what would take place, I chose to be an aid worker.

All 87 delegates to the National Board of Fagforbundet and many employees had to cross checkpoint Gaza on their way in to Fagforbundet’s offices. The background is the extensive solidarity project with the Palestinians throughout many years. By now, members were to receive a taste of what it is like to be a Palestinian on his way to work in Israel every morning.

I was sweating, cold.

Quite right, the Palestinians, tagged with red cards were forced to line up behind the aid workers. They were neglected and forced to wait longer in line, for up to three quarters of an hour at checkpoint Fagforbundet. No replies to our questions, brusquely being questioned on ID cards; about whom we knew, on our boss, on political opinions. We felt like being under suspicion.

I was sweating, though it was cold, felling all this was unpleasant.

“We try to make people feel like they are on the border between Israel and Gaza. Soldiers are instructed to make participants in the role play feel like they have done something wrong, even though they have not. They shall make people feel about uncertainty”, says the director of this role play. Tonje Gotschalksen. She received help in this role game by Norwegian People’s Aid..

However, the idea to this role play was by Ingunn Eriksen, the counselor of Fagforbundet.

“We felt many becoming nervous. One person told of biting his lip during this event. Another was visibly shivering. A third tried to bribe the guards”, Eriksen says.


The role play was a wake up to the participants. Beneath are some of the comments of the participants:

“It was a test of patience and a stimulant to think”, says Tore Brudeseth, a member of the country board from Møre og Romsdal.

“I felt it unpleasant, but think such an awakening is useful. I was thinking of the Palestinians, who has to endure this treatment, year after year. This is food for thought to us, who may move as we like”,says Solveig Løvik Norevik, member of the board from Sogn og Fjordene.

“It felt strange, having a prerogative, walking past the others; says “aid worker” Brit Gull Rones, member from Nord-Trøndelag.

“It was unpleasant to lose control; feeling other were ruling you”, said “Palestinian” Randi Helge Aronsen, leader of the Fagforbundet’s committee on internal control.

Let me know when they organize a role play on Rocket attacks and suicide bombings, I can play the awful silence that grips you when the person next to you on the bus is dead.