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«Thug Life reporter» responds to newfound viral fame

Unflinching war reporter Odd Karsten Tveit, 69, is amazed at being made an internet celebrity a quarter of a century after his original report aired.

Odd Karsten Tveit

STILL STANDING: Tveit still covers international affairs for the NRK, as he has been doing on and off since 1973.

Foto: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

A 25 year old clip from the archives of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) went viral this week, racking up more than six million views in less than 48 hours.

The video, combining arhive footage of Norwegian Gaza reporter Odd Karsten Tveit with the music of nineties gangster rappers Geto Boys, was posted to the Facebook page the Lad Bible Sunday night, with the caption «Thug life journalist!».

(The population of Norway, the report's original target audience, currently number just above five million.)

Reporting «all quiet»

The original clip was broadcast sometime in 1990, as part of NRK's coverage of the first Intifada in the Palestinian territories.

Tveit, one of NRK's most experienced war correspondents, had come to Ramallah on the West Bank to assess whether the unrest had spread there.

– I was travelling with an experienced Israeli photographer. All seemed quiet, except for the occassional thrown rock, Tveit recalls today.

An Israeli jeep arrived, but still no shots were fired. The photographer decided to shoot a segment with Tveit walking towards the camera, reporting on the general situation and atmosphere.

– I started out recounting how it was quiet in the area. That being said, it was the thousandth day of the Intifada, and skirmishes could have erupted at any moment.

Knew he wasn't going to get shot

– Just as I was saying how quiet it was, soldiers jumped from the jeep, and one of them ran forward and fired a shot.

– And you kept on working?

– I knew he wasn't going to shoot me. I didn't wear a field uniform, but I had a shirt that clearly identified me as a reporter, Tveit says.

Several commenters have expressed surprise that Tveit doesn't wear a helmet or a protective vest, but Tveit maintains that journalists rarely were targetted back then, and that they generally felt safe.

Although amazed by the sudden popularity of his 1990 report, Tveit is slightly less enthused about his new moniker.

– I don't see the point of calling me a «thug» or a «gangster», but maybe young people today use those terms?, asks Tveit, 69.

See the original footage in its entirety in the below clip.

Se Odd Karsten Tveits rapportfra Ramallah, hvor han havnet i skuddsonen under opptaket. Fra Dagsrevyen 4. september 1990.

THE ORIGINAL: Odd Karsten Tveit's full report from Ramallah during the Intifada.