Thursday, September 10, 2015

et småligt land

these days, there are many refugees on the move throughout europe. leaving their war-torn homes in syria and iraq, coming ashore in barely seaworthy boats on greek islands, getting on trains or trucks, or failing that, walking their way up through europe. they're trying to get to germany and sweden, which are the main european countries standing up and taking responsibility, opening their doors, their stadiums and hearts. meanwhile, the minority, xenophobic and apparently tone deaf danish government took out ads in newspapers in the middle east, discouraging people from coming to denmark. this means that the hundreds of people who need to cross denmark to get to sweden are being stopped at the borders these days. yesterday, several hundred of them walked along the motorway and it had to be closed at one point for their safety. some danes form "welcome" committees on the overpasses, spitting down on the refugees and screaming obscenities in broken english. these are shameful, dark times.

last night, instead of standing up and taking any responsibility, the danish prime minister, lars løkke rasmussen, apparently went to a wine tasting. the police, overwhelmed with people at the borders, have elected to stop trying to register those who don't wish to seek asylum in denmark and just let them go on through to sweden. yesterday, they were stopping them, but the numbers are too large for that now and taking people off trains and buses to forcibly register them was only creating chaos and large crowds of people walking on the motorways.

for all of my complaints, i do love living in denmark and i love many things about it, including the welfare state which allows people to get back on their feet when they're down. but this makes me (and a whole lot of danes) sad and embarrassed and ashamed. and it's the direct result of years and years of heightened xenophobic rhetoric. and now the whole world is watching and it's not a pretty sight.

1 comment:

John said...


I agree with you. I too feel embarrassed for the Danes who, like you, are in touch with their own humanity. I heard reports this morning on NPR about how the Official Danish response was being run. I felt so bad for the refugees and those who try to help them. I wish there was a quicker, more complete way to help powers that be to get in touch with their own humanity. Perhaps then these zenophobic response can finally disappear

In away this news has a very familiar sense to the way people are treated in nursing homes here in this country. I can commiserate with the frustrations of the refugees so much, way more than I wish due to the kind of treatment i receive.