Tag Archives: Leif Magne Helgesen

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 26, 2016


Priest voted Svalbard person of the year for historic work
Svalbard Church Leif Magne Helgesen has been selected by Svalbardposten readers as Svalbard’s person of the year for 2015. He has been involved in a number of local and global events of historic significance during the past year, including spending the summer helping to keep Israeli soldiers from demolishing a Palestinian village in the West Bank, leading calls for action by the church and others to combat climate change, and serving as one of the most prominent caregivers and spokespeople for the community following the Dec. 19 avalanche.

Chillingly clueless: Svalbard’s 10 strangest stories of 2015


Which is stranger: a year where parasitic wasps went on a killing spree or the year that actually happened? Yeah, we’re not sure either.

All we know is both versions of Svalbard will be back – and probably even stranger – next year.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: ‘All emotions are normal in such an abnormal event’; free help available to those needing it


Anna Eckhardt is a crisis intervention expert, so at least she knows why she’s having trouble remembering things this week.

“Memory can be affected by a crisis,” she said during a meeting with Longyearbyen’s English-language community at the Kulturhuset cafe Wednesday, where she and other officials discussed last Saturday’s avalanche, and its short- and long-term aftermath. “You may have super memories, exact details, remembering 20 seconds like they’re in slow motion – or the contrary.”

“I’m realizing going from meeting to meeting that I need to keep a log,” she added.

Svalbard priest details efforts to save Palestinian villages from Israeli soliders in new book


The village relied on the same communal bread oven for 50 years until soldiers demolished it. They brought a new one so the residents weren’t deprived of one of their main food sources, but then destroyed that one as well. And the next.

Still standing fast: Svalbard priest grateful after helping save Palestinian village from destruction, but fear lingers


During a week when much of the world’s outrage was directed at the killing an 18-month-old Palestinian boy in an Israeli firebombing, another nearby West Bank village under constant threat was celebrating a reprieve – for now.

Book review: ‘The Ice is Melting’ asks right questions about ethics and climate; answers remain elusive


In a book full of questions, one of the toughest to answer is who this book is for.

It treats man-made climate change as fact, which eliminates an unfortunately large percentage of the population. It reveals little information a climate expert doesn’t already know and doesn’t make pure villains out of culprits that climate activists would surely like to see eviscerated. And ultimately the answer to all those questions is less than satisfying: we need more and better dialogue with each other.

‘The threat of annihilation’: Svalbard Church priest returns to West Bank to try to save village from demolision


Inside the home, “considered to be more of a big tent,” there’s a “happy reunion” with a family celebrating the post-fast Iftar meal during Ramadan. Outside, soldiers are awaiting orders to destroy the village, which those inside the tent believe may happen the next day.

Random weirdness for the week of June 23, 2015


A cluster of snowmobiles and wood pallets in a dense housing area – one of many such clusters around Longyearbyen – is fueling a fierce online debate this week that’s essentially the Arctic version of the “your parked vehicle is making the neighborhood look ugly” feuds in countless suburban neighborhoods elsewhere.

Sacrifice for thee, but not for me? Prayers for global action and local coal mining launch ‘climate pilgrimage’


As the first step in a “climate pilgrimage,” it was a precarious one. Prayers for leaders to help the global community by taking action to combat climate change – accompanied by prayers for leaders to help the local community by keeping coal mining alive in Svalbard.