f16-sonic-boom

Supersonic booming from fully loaded F16s, air raid sirens and bomb shelters have now become a regular part of life for me in Norway.

The caption in the photo reads: Fighters on an ID-hunt cause booms

I have only recently become acquainted with the bomb shelters in Alta.  They are amazing, big underground tunnels with full-on steal and cemented doors that are so large and heavy I can’t open them by myself.  Standing in one, and walking round, feeling the coldness seep into my bones and the echoes of my movements traveling through makes my soul feel the hollowness of fear and loss.  Right now the bomb shelters are being used to store some of my larger theatre props but they are designed for a much more grave purpose.

Every now and then I hear air raid sirens from the city.  The first time I had no clue what they were and had to call up Moose, who was at work, to find out.  They regularly test them, and the only way you know if it is the real deal or not is to check out the newspaper website.  But if it was the real deal I wouldn’t know what to do, or who would be ‘chosen’.  Alta has grown dramatically over the last 50 years and the bomb shelters just won’t fit everyone in.

These bomb shelters and sirens are only for emergencies, only when we are under attack, only when there is conflict or war.  And who wants to threaten peaceful Norway?

Two times in the space of three months our houses have been rocked by sonic booms from fully armed fighter jets breaking the speed of sound to check out the Russian bogies invading Norwegian airspace in the east.  When questioned, the military casually tell us they are just carrying out the ‘NATO contingency’ when there’s ‘indications of Russian aircraft activity in the east’.  It is all very ‘underwhelming’, or so they tell us.

It might just be coincidence, but the F16 flyovers have only happened since the heat developing between the Ukraine and Russia.  I guess it is natural for bordering countries be on (high) alert.  But it is the first time that I have seen Norwegians run out of their houses to look up at the skies wondering if there is any clear and present danger.

In a time of reflection, and in this world of strife, it makes me wonder if the bomb shelters of the past could become our future.

http://www.altaposten.no/lokalt/nyheter/article9851860.ece 

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