April 1, 2012

Vlad Gladkikh:

My email to the Norwegian Government

Published on 23 March 2012 on Vladnama - Memoirs of Vlad from Kabul
and reprinted here by the kind consent of the author.

This letter has its roots in the Stavanger/India-case (
here and here), concerning two Indian children having been taken into public care by the Stavanger section of Norwegian Child Protection Service, and another case published in its wake, telling the story of a couple from Sri Lanka whose children were taken away, one of the justifications of this being that they let the children eat too much chocolate.

What makes the letter's perspective on all this special, is to my mind that it is actually not far from realistic, at the same time giving us a characterisation of the activities of our Norwegian social 'services' worthy of a satiral stage play. It provides some relief through hysterical laughter in the midst of the tragedy that these 'social' activities truly are. (But I should not have lectured my readers about humour.) I publish it here on April Fools' Day, with Norwegian weather outside my window to match: snow falling, after summerly days in March.

Marianne Skånland


Dear Norwegian Government,

I am impressed with your progressive practice of forcibly taking away children from thousands of parents. Surely, those parents who give their children more chocolate than you believe is necessary and feed them in a way that is different from yours shouldn't be allowed to care for their kids. Your Child Welfare Services will do it better than they.

Given that you also separate seized siblings and send them to separate foster homes, I conclude that you learn well from best childcare practices in the past centuries. Slave traders did the same.

Even though it is well known that psychological trauma resulting from separation of infants and toddlers from their parents is in most cases incurable, and those children will have to bear its consequences for their whole life, I still believe that such a progressive European country like Norway cannot be wrong, and its Government can do only good things.

Therefore I would like to thank you for your deep care for children, and I even would like to suggest that the services of your social organisations, like the CWS, should expand further.

Now, only children can enjoy the right of being taken away forcibly from their loved ones. But what about adults? I'm sure, there are many husbands whose care for their wives is below your standards. Or vice versa, there are many wives who are not good enough. You could help them as well.

For example, if a wife burns a meal while she is cooking, is it fair that the husband has to stay with such an unworthy woman? Social welfare agents (maybe, with the help of trained dogs), should look for such cases, and they must forcibly take the abused husband away and transfer him to a foster partner (man or woman, there is no difference nowadays in the developed world). Of course, there is no need to ask the man's opinion, as the social workers always know what is better for people. The success of current practice in which children have not been asked where they would like to be sent only proves that this method is correct.

Or, there may be an unhappy wife, whose husband doesn't take her to a restaurant often enough (it is not necessary to specify what often enough is, so that every man can be potentially accused, just in case).

There must be plenty of men and women who, encouraged by a fat social benefit, will be very happy to become foster partners.

Similar practice should be also implemented in every workplace. For instance, there may be a typist who sometimes makes some minor spelling mistakes. Maybe, he also appears to be not very happy at work. Why not transfer him to a foster job? Maybe, he is secretly dreaming of being a pilot? So, a pilot he will be! It will probably be his first and last flight, but how happy will he be!

I am also thankful that your social service agents are particularly attentive to expats from South Asia. Of course, parents from South Asian countries will never be able to raise children better than your foster homes. I wonder why is that? Do you think it is because of the colour of their skin? Which ethnic groups are lucky to enjoy similar attention from you? Jews? Africans?

Kind Regards,

Vlad Gladkikh

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