The healing effect of Culture

After muslims volunteered as "N atteravner", the level of gang violence in Kristiansand dropped markedly, the NRK reported recently. The nightly ravens are a civic group going rounds in the city centre after dark to help reduce crime and violence.

The presence of some "natteravn" people can at its best stop escalation of conflicts. They walk around showing a neutrality and a bond back to a sane society where people collaborate and help each other, rather than compete fiercly.

The police in Kristiansand has remarked that the drop in violence is largely owing to the cultural knowledge and social skills of the muslim natteravner when faced with fellow muslim youths involved in violence and conflict.

It seems that the muslim night ravens have approached and talked to the disrupted youths and struck a chord. Communal reference points, like country of origin, that region´s culture, the ways of kin and family, the debates on immigration in the Nordic countries, religion, different aspects of Islam, all these can be seen as jewels from a treasury of concilation.

The American anthropologist Ruth Benedict claimed that Culture can have a healing effect. It can invite to participation in rituals and knowledge that guides and sooths the Self. Thereby it may pick up those lost souls that have either been ostracized or have been led astray and are living on the margins. Looking upon the succsessful attitude forming work by the nightly ravens in Kristiandsand, one may wonder whether this assertation is not in fact true.

- Sheila Parrera