(Dan-Raoul Miranda is the new President of the Norwegian Young Humanists, in this chat with YS Editor, he bares his mind on diverse issues that affects Norwegian nationa youth humanists and the growth of global humanism)
YS: Good day to you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? (Who is Dan-Raoul Husebø Miranda?)
Dan: Hi, I’m Dan-Raoul Husebø Miranda, the new chairman/president of Humanistisk Ungdom (In english Norwegian Humanist Youth). I was born 10th of June, 1990 in Stavanger, Norway, which make me 19 years young. I’m a geek, dork, and partly nerd(http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2010/04/500x_dorkydorkdork…), interested in computers, tech, somewhat into politics, and finally, which is what brings me here, I’m a humanist.
YS: ‘Humanism’ is a complex word, what, in your own view, is humanism
Dan: Humanism is to set focus from a deity to us humans. Humanism is to reflect upon the world, and to appreciate what we have here. It is to be human; to do mistakes, and it’s to be “God”; to forgive mistakes. Humanism is a wide concept, with no correct answer, only guidelines(e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). As a humanist, you’ll have to find the answers that apply to you, based on human compassion and understanding.
YS: Based on the foregoing understanding of Humanism, can you tell us how and when you become a humanist?
Dan: I think that I’ve always been a humanist, but before I my 14th birthday, I think I was more of an apatheist. My views where always supported by my parents(also humanists), but me growing a humanist came mostly to be a counterpart to the crowd. “Everyone” went to church, while I invented new ideas on how to avoid going to church. This in turn gave me a more reflected view of my life stance, and I think that’s about where I startet to be a real humanist, which in turn was right around my confirmation (civil confirmation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_confirmation).
YS: We learnt you are now the new leader of the Norwegian HU, congrats. What are your visions for the group?
Dan: I will strive to recruit many new members, and on the same time focus to have a more critical profile than the one HEF has. And, as always, new and more creative campaigns. At the very least one a year!
YS: HU during the leadership of Lars-Petter and his team was active with international youth humanist circuit, what plans do you have to conitnue this?
Dan: I will do my best to continue down this road. It’s not the easiest of tasks, but I think the importance of sharing experiences between other organizations counts as more than the cost!
YS: How and what do you think needs to be done to make IHEYO more active?
Dan: An active network and active members is a must. If IHEYO then manages to get income they can fully rely on, then they’re almost there, I guess!
YS: The Humanist World Congress hold in Oslo next year, are there arrangements for HU to host the youths?
Dan: It’s still work in progress, but HU will have some arrangements for the youth audience(if not even for everyone) during Oslo2011. Our board is nearly all new, so we have to gather some more ideas before we set out to announce anything.
YS: If there are, what are these plans?
Dan: As said, I can’t say anything yet, other than that there are plans to do something. Let me get back to you!
YS: There are many contentious issues that humanists worldwide dabbles into, which do you think should be prioritized and why?
Dan: I think that some of the issues that probably is the most important ones for us humanists to work with is governmental repression and accept. It is a definitively continuous issue in developing countries, but I’m continually saddened by industrialized countries that still have big issues with accept for different religions and the lack of religion. The US is particularly present in this category, but even Norway fails short sometimes. It shows that even though that we’ve come a long way in the last century (it is more or less generally accepted to have different religions, and the right to not have a religion is getting strengthened too), we still have lengths to go.
YS: What message do you have for HU members and IHEYO group leaders reading this interview?
Dan: Don’t give up. Even though it seems hopeless sometimes, we’ve got plenty of breakthroughs to show that we’re in fact getting somewhere. Some bright points:
The state – church bonds loosens bit by bit in Norway
The UK had an atheist do the run for prime minister (or, agnostic, uncertain religious person in public)
The present president of the USA, Barack Obama has mentioned non-believers twice. Maybe not the biggest breakthrough, but it’s a step towards acceptance in the US.
YS: Finally, how do you want Dan-Raoul Husebø Miranda to be remembered as HU leader? (What do you want to be remembered for?)
Dan: I’m not so much for the remembering-part, but to get remembered for getting one step closer to a secular society, both from separating state and church, and getting the general publics acceptance for it, would’ve been great!
YS: Tusen takk for the interview and do enjoy your tenure! Onward!
Dan: Thank you too (and sorry for the lateness of it!), and good luck onwards to you!