The Northern Ireland conflict over the years- in a nutshell

Why and when?-  History 

 Many assume that The Troubles were the beginning of the conflicts between Northern Ireland and Republican Ireland, well, nothing more wrong. The encounter and battles between the two countries began all the way back during the reign of Henry VIII.  That’s when King Henry invaded much of Ireland and declared himself King of Ireland, despite never having full control. It was especially the Northern parts of Ireland which were attractive due to the fertility of the land. Therefore, many English and Scottish settlers, who had taken on Protestantism, spreading their culture and religion further on into the 17th and 18th century Ireland.  


Everyone expected that the Republic of Ireland would sooner or later join the Union, but that never happened. Then came the Civil War and The Troubles, thinking that if not by peace, they would force Ireland to join the union by war. The conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, fuelled by historical events. The key issue was mainly between the Catholics and Protestants.The reason back the riots was a political campaign, wanting to stop the unionists from discriminating the nationalists. The main participants in the Troubles were republican paramilitaries such as the Irish Provisional Army (IRA) and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). The conflict lasted almost 40 years, killing over 3500 people and totally demolishing the city. It ended with “The Good Friday Agreement”, or “Belfast Agreement”. The peace treaty brought an end to the riots. Then again in 2007, the agreement had to be renegotiated, hence the difficulties in implementing it. Despite all the hassle, all the way to this day, the biggest part of Ireland remains independent.  


Brexit and Northern Irish concerns 

With the UK’s decision to leave the EU in March 2019, there have been many concerns from the people of Northern Ireland. Many people are scared that the withdrawal from the EU will result in the return of physical borders and military control stations on the almost 500km long border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, that split the two parts of Ireland until. The Republic of Ireland is a part of the EU, and there are a broad array of opinions on the consequences of Brexit, and how it will affect Northern Ireland as a part of the UK, but also as a part of the Island of Ireland.  

One part of the problem is the result of the referendum of Brexit. While the majority in the whole of the UK voted to leave the EU, 56% of people in Northern Ireland voted to stay. Only 40% of the Protestants in Northern Ireland voted to stay, while 85% of Catholics wanted to stay in the EU. We can see here the same divide that’s been in Northern Ireland since the British made it a part of the UK, the divide between the Loyalists (Protestants) and the Republicans (Catholics). Everyone agrees that they don’t want another physical border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but a stricter border is almost inevitable. Even though the British government has been clear on the fact that they will work against a hard border, officials from both Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland want a specific plan from the UK on how that could be avoided.  



But if everyone agrees that a hard border should be avoided, why are they still debating? Couldn’t they just keep it the way it is, and move on to the other remaining Brexit-discussions? Well, the core of the problem is actually trade. The EU has tariff-free trade between all EU-countries, something the UK will be giving up in March 2019 (if they don’t agree on a new trade deal). This means that there has to be some sort of border control between Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland, to prevent smuggling of goods. But as a person who lives in a non-EU country that borders to an EU-country, I know that It’s possible to have border control without causing any trouble. The border between Norway and Sweden have control stations, but unless you are taken in for inspection (which rarely happens, especially if you’re in a personal vehicle) you just drive past the control stations. Even though you could call it a physical border, as there are controls by the border, you barely notice it, and it doesn’t really feel like entering another country. I can understand the difference in Norway and Sweden’s history to the history of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and how even control stations at the border may cause a reappearance of conflicts that have been dormant for years. Considering the conflicts ended less than 20 years ago, it’s probably still very touchy for many people, especially in Northern Ireland, but also in the Republic of Ireland.  

One suggestion that was posted by the British government was to give Northern Ireland a special status in the EU, to prevent having a border between Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland. That would result in the border being in the Irish Sea, between the Island of Ireland and Great Britain. Although this sounds like it could be a good way to solve this border-issue, it has faced great criticism, and especially by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). They claim that this proposition is a campaign for Irish nationalists, that want to separate Northern Ireland from Great Britain. One of the problems here is that the prime minister, Theresa May, needs the support of the DUP. After the snap election last year, where the Conservative Party didn’t get as much support as they thought they would, they needed the help of smaller parties like DUP. The British government can’t just decide on a fate for the border, they need the support of DUP, or else they will pull their support, and Sammy Wilson, an MP from East Antrim, told BBC that “if there is any hint that in order to placate Dublin and the EU, they’re prepared to have Northern Ireland treated differently than the rest of the UK, then they can’t rely on our vote”.  

Written in cooperation with Camilla. 🙂



#5- Gender Equality


Global Goals have been a topic of focus in a class for a very long time now. Whenever we have a possibility, we try to relate to them in our lessons and be reminded of how important it actually is to make changes. Today, we focus specifically on goal number 5, which in our opinion, should be prioritized and taken into account as first.

Global Goal 5

“Women’s status in society has become the standard by which humanity’s progress toward civility and peace can be measured”- Mahnaz Afkhami

Everyday, woman and girls all over the world are exposed to discrimination, many forms of violence, and even harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage. None of this should be happening now in the modern world in 2017. Therefore, me and my group are focusing on specifically this goal, to take part in eliminating gender inequality, and to help provide women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes.


Even in industrialized countries, as of 2017, there is inequality between men and women. In the United States Congress, only 20.3% of the members are women, according to the Congressional Research Service. Furthermore, there are less female CEOs than there are male CEOs, women tend to be in lower-paying jobs, but the situation in the developing world is worse. From a young age, it seems that girls are less likely to get an education, many cultures practice patrilocality, which means that when a man and a woman get married, they tend to stay close to the man’s family, and the woman is considered more a member of her husband’s family than her own birth family. In several cultures the property and name pass on to the male descendant, so a widow will not inherit her husband’s properties, that goes directly to the son. The widow then has to rely on her son to maintain her standard of living. This increases the probability that both men and women would want a son more than a daughter. This is also a reason to why many parents seem to invest more time and money in their sons rather than their daughters.

Developing countries do not have a strong economy, and depend heavily on agriculture and other sectors that relies on physical attributes, rather than services, which require brain power and not muscle power. Physiologically speaking, men are stronger than women, and they can easily get jobs in sectors like agriculture. This results in men earning money, and women staying at home looking after the children and because the culture in developing countries tend to favorize boys getting education, the girls stay at home, so the mother’s will look after the girls and teach them to be a housewife

Therefore, spreading awareness is our main and biggest target. We will try to achieve that by writing about it, making videos, and informing others. Together with a class in New York, at Lindenhurst High School, we collaborate in order to spread the word and make a difference together.

Written by me, Sondre and Léon

Analyzing speeches- B. Obama and D. Trump- unfinished

After reading Barack Obama’s victory speech, and Donald Trump’s inaugural address, I must admit that they have much more in common than I would have imagined. In both texts, the use of persuasive techniques such as pathos, logos, and ethos are on a very high level. We can also find examples of other literary devices, for instance, repetition, triples, alliteration and so on.

Obama, in his speech from 2008, focuses a lot on thanking the people for voting for him, but also says a lot about what how he wants to use the power to lead the country. Already in the very beginning, he asks a rhetorical question:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

In this paragraph, he explains that there still is hope for making America a strong country, and for anyone who doubts it, he will prove them wrong. This is a literary device used especially often in speeches, therefore Donald Trump also chose to use one in his text.

Recount (unfinished)


Before watching


  1. What is the Electoral College?
    The Electoral College is the important and often controversial process by which the United States selects the President of the United States every four years. The founding fathers created the Electoral College system as a compromise between having the president elected by Congress and having the president elected by the popular vote of qualified citizens.
  2. Why do we have an Electoral College and why was it considered necessary?
    Though occasionally maligned, this system of electing a chief executive has been incredibly successful for the American people. Electors, appointed by the states, are pledged to support the presidential candidate the voters have supported.

  3. What is the official procedure for presidential elections? Illustrate an approximate timeline of key events in any given presidential election year. 

    The Presidential election process follows a typical cycle:

    • Spring of the year before an election – Candidates announce their intentions to run.
    • Summer of the year before an election through spring of the election year – Primary and caucus debates take place.
    • January to June of election year – States and parties hold primaries and caucuses.
    • July to early September – Parties hold nominating conventions to choose their candidates.
    • September and October – Candidates participate in Presidential debates.
    • Early November – Election Day
    • December – Electors cast their votes in the Electoral College.
    • Early January of the next calendar year – Congress counts the electoral votes.
    • January 20 – Inauguration Day
  4. Is it possible for a president to win the popular vote but lose the election? How?
    There are 538 total votes in the Electoral College and a presidential candidate must win a majority—270—electoral votes to be elected. Since 11 of the 12 states in the chart above account for exactly 270 votes, a candidate could win these states, lose the other 39, and still be elected.

  5. Who were the candidates in the 2000 election and what happened?
    In 2000, there was a total of 538 electoral votes available with 270 needed to win. Republican George W. Bush, with 50,456,002 popular votes won 271 electoral votes. His Democratic opponent, Al Gore, won the popular vote with 50,999,897  votes but won only 266 electoral votes. Bush was elected president.

  6. How was the Supreme court involved? 


While watching


  1.  In every presidential election, the media will announce the new President and Vice President by the morning after election day; however, when is the President and Vice-President actually elected? 
    The Electoral College electors then formally cast their electoral votes on the first Monday after December 12 at their respective state capitals. Congress then certify the results in early January, and the presidential term begins on Inauguration Day, which since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment has been set at January 20.
  2. What does it mean to “concede?”
    If you concede something, you admit that it is true, proper, or certain––usually in an unwilling way and often in the context of a competition.
  3. Why did Al Gore retract his concession?
     In a televised speech from his ceremonial office next to the White House, Gore said that while he was deeply disappointed and sharply disagreed with the Supreme Court verdict that ended his campaign, ”partisan rancor must now be put aside.” “I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College” he said. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”
  4. Why would a machine recount of Florida’s ballots tally a slightly different number than the first time? How was this a threat to the Bush campaign?
    The ballots were counted differently each time, due to problems with the hole punchers, therefore were they invalid. This was a threat to Bush’s campaign, as he could lose the possibility to become president.
  5. Why did the Democrats initiate a hand recount?
  6. What trend did the Democrats discover about old voting machines and the neighborhoods they
  7. What did the Democrats discover about voters being turned away from the polls?
  8.  Did the Republicans actively try to stop a hand recount? Why?
  9. What issues did officials encounter with the hand recount?
  10. Why did the Republicans want to count absentee ballots?
  11.  Are absentee ballots usually counted on Election Day?


Can we change the world in 15 years?

Global Goals have been a topic of focus in a class for a very long time now. Whenever we have a possibility, we try to relate to them in our lessons and be reminded of how important it actually is to make changes. Today, we focus specifically on two goals, which in our opinion, should be prioritized and taken into account as first.


Goal 4-  Quality education 

Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all will require increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.  

The global goal number 4 has a lot of goals itself. Some of these goals are “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”. Another goal is “By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university”.   

The global challenge number 4, “quality education”, is in our opinion the most important one. We value the ability to solve the problems in your own nation. Therefore, the world needs an educated youth with the capability to resolve the global challenges, better than we have done before. If we take one of the global challenges targets for an example;   

By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries 


It may seem hard to people such as myself, living Norway, to find an easy way to contribute to their growth. However, Sandvika Videregående is in a partnership with a school in Lesotho. Some students and teachers travel down to Lesotho with a few of our old computers and new clothes. Sandvika has been in contact with this school in Lesotho for some years now. The school has been helped in many different ways, but we see that it clearly impacts the students and teachers in Lesotho.  

So, in a way, a solution could be for more schools in other wealthy nations would follow the same lead, coming in contact with a school from a struggling country, we would increase the well-being of many students across the globe. As I previously stated, if we build a strong core of young students, with good knowledge of society and science, solving the other global challenges would come much easier. 



Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals 

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. 

The problems the world is facing today aren’t tied to individual countries, they’re problems for the entire world. As our modern society becomes more globalized, it is evident that all the countries of the world need to take action together. This is the essence of the seventeenth global goal, partnerships for the goals.  

To achieve the 17th global goal, the UN has come up with several targets we must hit. Among these are: 

  • Strengthen both domestic and international finance 
  • Developed countries should cooperate to assist and help developing countries with their economy 
  • Promote development of technology worldwide, also in the less developed countries 
  • Promote a universal trade, inclusive of all 
  • Increase the export of goods from developing countries, to increase their share of global exports


What can we do to contribute? 

Goal number 17 is probably the most important goal of all, as it binds all the previous goals together and makes it actually possible to achieve. Luckily, we in the developing world have a great advantage in doing so. With so many well educated and creative people, we are finding ways to make to goal come true.  

Therefore, we must ALL commit and come up with a resolution. Nowadays, information can be passed along incredibly easily. Through social media and other the networks, the word is spread by the speed of lighting. By having a good dialog with other countries, we all can have an impact on what is going to happen and how we will, together, achieve the goal.  

An idea on how we can work together is to promote financial aid for developing countries. If we all come together and share the message, we can have a powerful impact in achieving the SDG nr 17. 

Cicero once said 

We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.” 

There is no way we can reach the goals as individuals. However, if we unite, we have endless possibilities.  


Written in cooperation with Sondre, Camilla and Nora.

The importance of knowledge in a changing world 

In the world today, as our society becomes more and more globalized, it is important to have basic knowledge of what is going on around the world. The fact that the President of the most powerful country in the world is ignorant and unwilling to learn about even the simplest of situations, is scary. The US has so much power and responsibility, which is why the President should know about the reasons and contexts of these conflicts. It shows a lack of respect toward the countries of the world and all the important historic events. It is so important to have knowledge of these past events, to gain a full understanding of why the world is like it is, and also to prevent horrible things from happening again.


An article written by the New Yorker states:

Trump’s latest blunder was made an appearance in the Rose Garden with Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, on July 25th. “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah,” Trump pronounced. He got the basics really wrong. Hezbollah is actually part of the Lebanese government—and has been for a quarter century—with seats in parliament and Cabinet posts. Lebanon’s Christian President, Michel Aoun, has been allied with Hezbollah for a decade.

-New Yorker

Further on, the New Yorker lists some of the other mistakes Trump has made.

“The list of other Trump blunders is long. In March, he charged that Germany owed “vast sums” to the United States for NATO. It doesn’t. No NATO member pays the United States—and never has—so none is in arrears.

Also during his trip to France, in July, the President confused Napoleon Bonaparte, the diminutive emperor who invaded Russia and Egypt, with Napoleon III, who was France’s first popularly elected President, oversaw the design of modern Paris, and is still the longest-serving head of state since the French Revolution (albeit partly as an emperor, too). And that’s before delving into his demeaning tweets about other world leaders and flashpoints.”

It is also important to get the right knowledge and the right facts. Here are some tips for revealing fake news:

  1. Be critical of headlines – Fake news articles often have catchy headlines in only capital letters and with exclamation points. If the headline has shocking claims that seem too incredible to be true, they’re probably fake.
  2. Look closely at the URL-address – A falsified or copied URL-address can be a warning sign for fake news. Many websites that produce fake news imitate authentic news outlets by doing small changes to the URL-address. You can visit the website and compare the URL-address with established sources.
  3. Inspect the source – Make sure that the news is written by a source you trust, and that has a reputation for being correct. If the news comes from an unknown organization, you can check the about-section to find out more.
  4. Be aware of unusual editing – You should be skeptical if the text you are reading has a lot of spelling mistakes and an unusual layout.
  5. Look at the pictures – fake news often uses pictures which are photoshopped or manipulated in some other way.
  6. Check the dates – fake news can use dates and timetables that are incorrect.
  7. Check the evidence.– Check the writer’s sources to confirm that they are correct. If the news lacks evidence or puts their trust in unknown experts, it could testify fake news.
  8. Check other articles.– If there are no other news sources reporting something about the news, it could indicate that its fake. If the news is reported by several sources you trust, there’s a bigger possibility that it’s true.
  9. Is the news just a joke?– Sometimes it might be difficult to tell apart the fake news and humor or satire. Check if the source is known for making parodies and if the details and style indicate that is is just supposed to be a joke.
  10. Some news is fail on purpose- Be critical with the news you read, and only share the news you know are trustworthy.


In our opinion, number 2, 7 and 8 are the most important tips to reveal if the news is fake. These tips are the most important because they are the tips that will assure you to figure out if the news is fake or not in the best way.

Written in cooperation with Camilla and Nora.

Third year of English!

Welcome to my third and last year at Sandvika High School, Norway. This year in english class, we will be mainly focusing on the British and American politics, fake news and climate challenge. I’m very excited for what this year will bring, and hope it will have an outcome in many interesting posts!



Problems due to lack of education in the developing world

What is a developing country?

First of all, to find out more about inequality in underdeveloped countries, we need to define the meaning of the term “developing country”. According to Wikipedia, it is “a nation or a sovereign state with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries.” These type of countries usually have a much lower life expectancy, while the pregnancy and fertility rate is much higher than in other countries. The peoples’ income is also significantly lower, and there is a line of factors which all have an impact on the lack of education. Poverty, inequality, persisting marginalization and similar issues are just some of them. Further on in this blogpost, I will explain more about this.


No matter which part of the world one is from, everyone should have an equal opportunity to learn. Education has a big affection on a human life, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. Unfortunately, the world is such an unfair place, that while some countries have too much, others have too little- and both are unhappy. According to new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS),

“263 million children and youth in the world are out of school. This is equivalent to about a quarter of the population of Europe. The total includes 61 million children of primary school age (6-11 years), 60 million of lower secondary school age (12-14 years), and the first ever estimate of those of upper secondary school age (15-17 years) set at 142 million.”- source:

These numbers are extremely drastic and especially hard to believe. We would never be able to imagine a quarter of the population of Europe to be uneducated, but unfortunately, this is how some parts of the world function. However, have we ever tried to find out the reason behind it, and then did something to help?


After researching on the web, I found some relevant information. First of all, the main places affected are the Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and Eastern Asia, as well as the Pacific. The reason behind the lack of education in developing countries I have mentioned before are very serious and should not be undervalued. They can lead to many issues associated with little or no education at all. Basic skills like reading and maths are requiered in everyday life. A few lessons on proper hygine and preventing pregnancies would prevent many unpleasant desieses and situations from happening.  Even in underdeveloped countries, the citizens should get the opportunity to gain the essential competences. Otherwise, areas with lack of education are usually stricken with poverty due to the deficit of schooling. Lack of education equals lack of proper job, which results in too much free time that is often poorly utilized. The locals are more exposed to gang violance, theft, drug use and such. Children and adults with a meaningful lack of education are more vunlerable to victimalization. Moreover, they have little possibility to get out of the unfortunate living cycle which also their parents have beared.


After reading so much on this topic, I became very frustrated on how unfair and sad the world is. I can’t bear the thought that at exactly the same time, on a different part of this planet, a girl or boy my age or younger are probably being forced to work in horrendous conditions, just to help their family survive. I wish we could do something more about this, and I am very grateful for organisations and actions such as the Lesotho Project at my school, which raises money to support schooling in Africa. Thanks to them, everyone can be a part of making the world a better and more honorable place.