Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It is no cakewalk being the Finance Minister of Norway.

Last October, a student threw a cake in the face of the newly appointed Finance Minister of Norway, Mr. Halvorsen. On Halvorsen’s first day on the job, he was attacked outside his office with a cake plastered squarely in the back of the head. The situation would be funny in the silent movies of the 1930s but is not considered funny at all by the Norwegian government.

The attacker--a 24-year-old student from Norway--wanted to stimulate the debate about whether Norway is served by having a minister of finance from the Socialist Left Party. The situation described by the 24-year-old student as a prank is considered a serious offense by the Norwegian government. Today, the student is facing a 15-year prison sentence for the “prank.” "We ended up with a relatively serious charge," chief public prosecutor Marit Bakkevig told a local newspaper.

Halvorsen did not press charges over the incident, but been summoned as a witness for the trial, which is scheduled to be held in Oslo on Oct. 11. The cake-student was completely unprepared for the backlash and has since dropped his studies and lost his job.

I think the student should think long and hard about how to communicate his views in the future. At times, communication can have unintended consequences and a surprising impact. Hopefully, I will not get a cake in the head as a result of this post.


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