We blog about minor annoyances. People who were rude to us about our accents, people who were rude to us in supermarkets, people who were rude to us at work; the main thing being that back home our cultures would have made rude people very self conscious and therefore selective about when to be rude.
We get all “Noble Savage” about it, don’t we? It’s JUST THEIR WAY. We cry to each other. Or we try to say that there are rude people everywhere and we do not get so upset back home, do we? And there are grains of truth running through it all.
The heart of the matter is not this minor stuff, though it is all connected like a spiderweb.
I blogged about how in 2005 the Agricultural Ministry made leaflets and advised on the writing of textbooks which had dangerously wrong diet advice. They have since changed their advice about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle but the worrying thing is that they are still allowed to. After misleading the population for so long (until 2005), they are still allowed to say what is healthy to eat.
I blogged about how as an outsider, my experiences are minimised or denied. That my right to free speech is compromised by a set of things that certain people say to shut me up.
(A quick run down:- why are you here, it must be the people you choose to hang around with, it is just your town, I have not experienced it… and now that several people have come out and said “no, it is my experience too!” we have ‘you are just blindly agreeing with other bloggers and do not seek the other side of it’)
I blogged about how disturbed I was that peaceful protest could be dealt with violently. I might have added “my country is no better” because it seems we have to wear that phrase around our necks like a crucifix. Except, in my country, when police go on the rampage THEY GET IN TROUBLE.
I blogged about how worrying the Golden Fuck You money is and why. (Basically, because it is not to sweeten undesirable immigrants but designed to sweeten people who might oppose forceful repatriation in a few years time)
I have fallen out with people about these issues. There is something very far from a consensus in the outsider-international-expat community.
Go watch Denied and come back. I will be here.
The heart of the issue is that there is a huge problem in terms of misplaced trust here. This country is top three for crime in Europe and yet is boastful about the police.
This country boasts about its free health care and yet lags behind other countries (it is 34th in the world) who also offer free health care like mine(18th), France (1st), Norway(11th) , the Netherlands(17th). It is actually closer to countries that do not offer free health care like the USA (37th) in terms of quality. Tucked between Chile and Dominica in the table.
This country boasts about its education system and yet pressure groups are able to change teaching resources to fit their agenda and no one complains for years.
This country boasts about being tolerant and liberal and accepting and kind… and yet… people who have been here for ten years, learned the language and would like to stay for safety reasons, were forcefully removed from somewhere they were given sanctuary.
This country boasts about free speech and democracy but kids who are just sat still, bearing witness to something they think is wrong, are beaten and chemically attacked.
If I have free speech, why do I feel paranoid about posting this today?
It is tempting to say “well, this is not my country, I cannot get involved…” but then I remember that this is my species. And that has to count for something, right? These people *are* my people. We are not so different. Even if they do piss on people in concerts. They are the same as people everywhere, right?
I am also likely to stay here for a long time, I like it here, obviously not all aspects but a lot of it. I would go as far as saying “I love it here!” because I love my job, my flat, my friends, my colleagues, my quality of life.
But what I saw in that movie WAS WRONG. The laws have been applied but the laws ARE WRONG. The police had a right to move the protesters but how they did it WAS WRONG. The protesters had a right to be there because sending riot cops into a church to deny sanctuary WAS WRONG. Sending people back who are *good immigrants* because you do not like the colour of their skin IS WRONG. Denying it is about skin colour and trying to claim Iraq is safe now IS WRONG.
If you are one of my readers from outside Denmark and god knows there are a lot of you, please consider writing to your local Danish embassy about this matter. If you think I have given less information than you need to make up your mind then please try the Church Asylum FAQ
If you are a Dane and god knows there are lot of you too who read my blog (and you are very welcome because you know when I say things, I do not mean you personally and you are happy to read my free speech and did I tell you I loved you, today?) then can you do something democratic about this? Vote in the chaps who will be more like Sweden in these matters? Or say something to the cops about their behaviour? Or write a letter to a newspaper? You know, something democratic and free speechy.
If you are an outsider in Denmark, then what do we do? If we try to do anything we get repelled with “why don’t you go home?” or “it is not your country!” or “you can never understand our legal system, so do not try”.
I guess. If you are an outsider in Denmark, can you continue to tell the folks in the old countries what this place is like?
I mean, there are great things like the paint they use of the front of houses… but just something to counteract the “desirable immigrant attraction board’s” hype? Just so when the UN or Save the Children or Amnesty International the EU or whoever criticises Danish policy, people on the outside say “Oh they WOULD do something like that, in that Denmark…” and maybe the skilled immigrants will try Norway or Sweden if they want to try something more Nordic? Just until they live up to their hype.
This is a country with great potential.