I’m Danish. I’m also British. I grew up and have lived in England for the majority of my life, but through careful and considerate parenting, I have always felt at home in Denmark – I can speak fluent Danish and try and stay as up-to-date with Danish politics as I can, to make sure Denmark remains as large a part of my identity as possible.
I love Denmark. I love the culture, the wonderful social structure and society. I am proud whenever friends mention the latest Scandinavian offering in crime-drama or gush about Danish design or society. It fills me with joy to hear all this.
Recently, my feelings toward Denmark and my Danish roots has changed, beyond all measure. I am, of course, talking about the way in which government has treated refugees fleeing the Middle East during this incredibly turbulent time in the region. Particular emphasis must go to the passing of a new law that legally allows Police and Border officials to strip refugees – seeking shelter in Denmark – of their monetary possessions and valuables.
How dare you?
How dare you take the last, precious possessions from these people? The people who have had to flee war, travel hundreds of miles – through areas of war and at often great personal expense – in search of shelter and a better life. These people arrive at the border, exhausted and you choose to, instead of extend a hand, spit in their faces.
The argument that accepting refugees comes at great expense to the Danish government is farcical at best, downright xenophobic at worst. Yes there is an inherent expense in housing, feeding and clothing a refugee. But, in the biggest mass-migration since World War 2, why – oh why – are you clamping down?
The fact that your Integration Minister, the hideous, racist and xenophobic Inger Støjberg set the agenda a few months ago by not only taking out full-page adverts in Middle Eastern newspapers, informing those planning to seek refuge in Scandinavia that Denmark is ‘no longer an attractive option’ as well as running a similar, multi-lingual campaign in all refugee asylum centres around Denmark is beyond reason or coherent explanation.
What has happened to the Denmark I used to love? What happened to the happiest country in the world with the avant-garde approach to society and life itself?
Listen to your own MPs – scores of whom have already resigned or are in the process of stepping down from serving in your minority government. They are the zeitgeist if you are too cavalier or insular to see the shockwaves that your hideous, xenophobic policies are having on Denmark’s global standing. It’s not even about that though; this is a question of humanity and humility.
Short of instructing Police to begin pulling out gold teeth at the border, you are doing rather well at imitating a leader who went on to carry out the Holocaust less than 100 years ago.
See reason, Lars, I beg you.
Bring back the Denmark that I, and so many around the world, have loved so dearly.
Be a human, for God’s sake.