Music critic slams Mo for ‘cynical’ Utøya song

Norwegian music journalist Jostein Pedersen has mercilessly attacked Utøya survivor 'Mo' Abdi Farah for "cynically" milking his trauma on the island to try and win a place as Norway's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Music critic slams Mo for 'cynical' Utøya song
Mohamed 'Mo' Farah Abdi, 21, hopes to represent Norway in Copenhagen with the song Heal. He lost his best friend, Ismail Haji Ahmed, on Utøya in July 2011. Photograph: Kim Erlandsen/NRK
"He has profiled himself as an Utøya survivor, so to have something that sounds similar to a machine gun in the chorus is extremely cynical and vulgar," Pedersen, a veteran Eurovision commentator, wrote in his review of the country's contenders.  "Shame on you Mo! Shame on you NRK!" 
On Sunday night, Abdi Farah was beaten by his Sony label-mate Carl Espen, in the Norwegian final of the Melodi Grand Prix  with the piano-driven, slightly folky torch-song Silent Storm. 
Pedersen's review of Abdi Farah's entry must have stung almost more than losing, however. 
"This is a botch-job of a song that has stolen more than is good for it from Russia's 2008 winner," he wrote in the Helgeland Arbeiderblad newspaper. "Mo sings in an overblown and pretentious way without regard for text or melody."
The 21-year-old and his managers at Sony Music have tried hard not to overemphasize his experiences on Utøya, with Abdi Farah in interviews maintaining that the song, Heal, is not directly about his own recovery from trauma, and also normally refusing to answer questions about what happened to him on the island. 
Pedersen's savage review drew an angry reaction from the 23-year-old singer's supporters. 
"Jostein Pedersen writes that Mo has "profiled himself as an Utøya survivor," the comedian Klaus Sonstad wrote on Twitter. "That's not so much a blow below the belt, it's more like a knife to the heart."

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 

Find out what's going on in Norway on Tuesday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 
Oslo Operahus .Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Only one in ten Norwegians plan to travel abroad this summer 

Around ten percent of people in Norway are planning to take a holiday abroad this summer, according to a survey carried out by tourism organisation NHO Reiseliv.

Seven out of ten respondents said they still plan to holiday in Norway this year, even if they receive a vaccination before the holidays start.

READ MORE: ‘My arguments didn’t matter’: How I ended up in a hotel quarantine in Norway 

Viken and Vestland are this year’s most popular travel destinations for Norwegians planning a “staycation”. Young people were the most likely to want to remain in Norway this summer. Just under half of those aged between 18 and 29 said they wished to stay in Norway this summer. 

Third of Utøya survivors have received abuse or threats

A third of Utøya survivors have been victims of hate speech or received threats, according to a new survey. 

Three-quarters of respondents said that the reason they received the abuse was linked directly to the Utøya terror attack, the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Studies (NKVTS) found. 

The massacre on Utøya was the second of two terror attacks carried out by Anders Breivik on July 22nd, 2011. Of the 69 people who died in the attack, 32 were under the age of 18. 

Fewer in Oslo willing to ditch cars 

A climate survey carried out by the city of Oslo has shown that fewer people than before are willing to cut back on using their cars. The proportion of those who think that Oslo city centre should be car-free has fallen to 45 percent from 52 percent last year. 

READ ALSO: Could Norway introduce mandatory inbuilt car breathalysers 

When asked whether Oslo City Council had gone too far in removing cars from the city centre, almost half said that they believed that this was the case. 

“A change in the attitude around these measures may be due to more people feeling dependent on cars during the pandemic. There has been a lot of debate about measures that have been introduced or are planned to be introduced,” Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Climate Agency, told the Dagsavisen newspaper

Tighter Coronavirus measures in Trondheim 

Gyms, museums and swimming pools have been closed, and alcohol service in hospitality has been stopped in Trondheim. The new measures come barely a week after restrictions were last tightened. 

“We need to shut down most of Trondheim to get control. It is only days since we last tightened measures, but we are in a situation where we must take even stronger action,” Morten Wolden, the municipal director for Trondheim, told state broadcaster NRK.

Norway reports 292 new Covid-19 cases

On Monday, 292 new coronavirus infections were registered in Norway. This is a drop of 52 compared to the seven-day average of 344. 

In Oslo, 48 cases were recorded, an increase of two on the capital’s seven day average of 46. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected, will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable. 

Total number of Covid-19 cases so far. Source: NIPH