I took a Saturday evening stroll through Oslo’s more Islamic sectors. Although dicey, it was certainly not a no-go zone. I probably would have felt differently if it had been dark. I sat on a ledge outside the mosque for about 10 minutes just to observe. The ‘locals’ milled about and seemed not to notice me as I sneaked snapshots. As I did, a tall, buff, blond Swede walked by, wearing a skin-tight pink shirt and cut-off jean shorts. Irritatingly, the Muzzies paid him no more heed than they did me.
For the most part I kept my distance from the fauna while shooting photos. I wanted to catch them off guard–you know, for the sake of art.
After a few hours of trooping around, I went to the station to bus it back to the suburbs. As I waited, a shortish, East African man asked me about the bus route. I replied curtly that he was in the right place. A brief silence followed, wherein he checked his smartphone. Being a sneaky fucker, I saw that his background was a giant orthodox-looking cross. My racism ebbing, I decided to try my luck and asked, “Where are you from?”Â After establishing thatÂ he had no Arabic, that I no Tigre, andÂ neither of us Norwegian, he explained in painstaking English that he was from Eritrea. He had arrived last year “by bus, though Germany.” “By God,” I thought, “he’s not just an immigrant, he’s a bloody refugee! That’s it, Game Over. I just won the SWPL sweepstakes. 1,488 points!Â No socialite in DC will keep me out of her bed with this story.” I pressed for more, but despite his easy style, his English really was barely rudimentary.
The bus came, and we parted. He got off a couple stops before me, at a place that gave off that thirdy vibe. His sort seemed to come and go from the same spot. It occurred to me the Norwegian government had to be putting theÂ refugeesÂ up in different places around in the Oslo burbs. It’s not like these guys could afford anything, especially given the prices around here. The next day would see my suspicions confirmed. In the course of my morning run, IÂ sought out that hill-peak up toÂ which seemed to be the objective of my bus-route. There I came upon a school shrouded in trees and overgrown hedges.
This was it. Atop thisÂ labyrinth of quaint Scandic neighborhoods was a wasp’s nest. I saw an old hijabess on a parkbench in the yard and some young muhajiruun behind a window. I suppose this need not have been a refugee center, maybe they were just at the school at 9 AM Sunday for job-training. Regardless of their purpose, these Muslims had struck it rich. In Dante,Â Mount of Purgatory culminates in theÂ paradise of Earthly delights. I can think of no more fitting description of Mohammad’s conception of heaven.