2008/09/09: News of the Eric Bye Memorial Prize - in Norway -

 PRESS RELEASE  (from Karin Sandvik - WNPJ volunteer and personal friend of Eric Bye -  karinsandvik@yahoo.com - Madison WI )

 On Monday, 8 September at 12 noon the American peace activist Cindy Sheehan received Erik Bye’s Memorial Prize during the official opening of Christianssand Protest Festival, Norway.


Eric Bye 1926 - 2004 - Norway



Cindy Sheehan is an ordinary housewife who became known all round the world because she lost her son in Iraq. She was the woman who got the antiwar movement going in America. For example, she and her helpers set up camp three years ago on George W. Bush’s ranch in Texas. The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet wrote the following about her:

With her at the forefront the antiwar movement has united and got on its feet in America. What was a loose movement without any particular force now has a public figure known worldwide as its leader. In the American press the former youth minister is called “Peace Mom”. She has been on the front page of the major newspapers and America has become acquainted with a resistance to the war that many people did not even know existed. For ordinary Americans sympathise with Cindy. She is no dirty little radical, she is not suspected of being a communist, she is no Michael Moore, only a deeply Christian mother with a moving story that they can relate to.


She met the President in 2004 together with several other military families. She was furious when afterwards she discovered that the reasons for America going to war against Iraq had been planted. She became the unifying leader for the peace movement. Last year she was arrested in the Congress for having protested against the Democrats’ lack of will to impeach President George W Bush.


She has also supported the 9/11 Truth Movement, which believes that the collapse of the Twin Towers looks like a controlled demolition, and demands new investigations into the terror attacks.


She withdrew from the front line of the antiwar movement last year after having given up attempts to get America out of Iraq. She announced in a press release that she was disheartened and disillusioned, and could no longer carry on the fight, which had cost her her marriage, led to hostility with her surviving children and emptied her bank account. In her blog she wrote:


This is my resignation letter as the “face” of the American antiwar movement. I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost.


Now a group that call themselves  ”Grassroots Action Center” are working to get Cindy elected to the Congress in 2008 at the expense of Nancy Pelosi. This is what she herself says about why she is running as a candidate:


I decided to run for Congress in San Francisco against Nancy Pelosi who is the failed Speaker of the House because the occupation of Iraq has become worse since the Dems have regained both houses of Congress and she refused to hold GWB accountable for all of his crimes since stealing the White House in 2000. I am running unaffiliated with any political party and our slogans are: People Before Politics and Let's Make a Difference.


Cindy Sheehan, however,  has certainly not given up the struggle for peace and she is very busy holding peace lectures all over America.


Cindy Sheehan has become an example for women and peace activists all over the world.


Erik Bye’s widow Tove Bye died on 15 May this year. Shortly before she died, she expressed the hope that Cindy would win the prize. She had followed Cindy’s work for peace from the start. When Tove died, the family in cooperation with the festival decided that her wish should be fulfilled.   


Cindy Sheehan came to Kristiansand, Norway, to receive the prize. The leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Dagmar Karin Sørbø, made a speech, as well as the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Magnhild Meltveit Kleppe. The prize was handed over by Erik Bye’s daughter, Anne Eriksdatter Bye.


Kristine Jølstad Moi sang two songs by Kris Kristoffersen, ‘In the News’ and ‘Don’t Let the Bastards’, in honour of the prizewinner.


Who, then, was Erik Bye? If we scrape away all the great things he did, which he was so well-known for and will be remembered for ‘til the end of time -  the TV legend who was voted the best TV personality ever, the writer, poet, singer and composer – then we will be left with Erik Bye the person. He was just as likely to be friends with the ordinary man in the street as with the King, he became involved on behalf of the weakest in society and he was not afraid to show feelings. He carried a whole generation around in his generous embrace, or at least it feels like that. He became involved on behalf of the wartime naval servicemen, the lifeboat service, the Native Americans, the mentally handicapped, and always stood up for the weakest. He always thundered against war and injustice. People listened to him more than anyone else and when, a few days before the EU referendum in 1972, he expressed his opposition to membership, the Yes side collapsed, saying “He took victory from us”.    


The war-machine will lie to you.

(Cindy Sheehan)

Best regards

Svein Inge Olsen and Kai Erland

Arrangers The Protestfestival

Phone: +47 380 16500 / +47 905 46504

Email: post@protest.no

Website: www.protest.no

 More on this Protest Festival:

Christianssand Protestfestival is a unique festival in Scandinavia, probably also in all of Europe. It aims to address apathy and indifference in society, and are often refered to as "the small festival who asks the big questions".