The former Norwegian army peace keeper and mine clearer, who had served all over the Middle East, in Afghanistan and the Sudan conflicts, I had dinner with on Saturday told some amazing stories.
One of them was that in the violent war-torn Sudan, when they arrived in a new village, in their blue UN berets, he would mingle with the locals. Then he would find a group of kids playing. He had a clown’s red nose in his beret and would put it on, and then pretend not to know what the kids were laughing about. Worked well…and helped the adults see the Norwegians were OK people.
But one time, he and his UN Land Rover were approaching a road block manned by very twitchy hostile looking teens with AK-47s and no adults present. He thought: “this is not going to end well”.
But then he had an idea. As he approached closer to the road block, he put his clown’s red nose on and stuck his head out the window and said in the local language: “what’s the problem?” And the dangerous teens fell around in laughter and simply waved his vehicle through.