Don’t feed the trolls

I write for the English language newspaper Copenhagen Post sometimes. Not that that is a secret.

A few months back, I took a recommendation to write about what it is like to be the partner of a soldier who has been deployed to a war zone.

I was as honest as I could be. I am not just a partner of a soldier but also a pacifist. I mean, ok, there are some occasions where I could be persuaded that violence is part of a reasonable response to a situation but conflicts like Afghanistan just do not make the cut.

Afghanistan is a mismanaged, imperialistic clusterfuck of a conflict. Having my boyfriend deployed there did not make me change my mind. It made me do as much background reading as possible which strengthened my opinion and gave it justifications grounded in fact and testimony.

That’s not to say that I think my boyfriend is a bad person for being involved. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. I don’t think he is. I think he was trying in his clumsy, misguided way to make the country a better place for those living there. We all do our best. Sometimes we do the wrong thing. I’m not mad at him, or any individual soldier. I am mad at the war machine, crisis capitalism, 24 hour news cycle, corrupt political systems and powerful men who avoided ever fighting in a conflict but send young people to fight them on their behalves.

Anyway. I wrote about that in different words. I got attacked by people who think ‘support the troops’ means ‘support the war’ and the corollary ‘if you don’t support the war, then you hate the troops’.

The world is black and white. You are either with us or against us.

One of those guys got under my skin. I don’t know why. I should have expected pushback. I thought I had worded it so that even the very patriotic would understand the bind I was in. Maybe not empathise with it or even sympathise. But just to recognise it. Just to recognise that I had gone through some shit and that the usual consolations of the partner of a deployed soldier were not available to me.

He did not recognise me as a human being. He did not recognise my suffering. He did not respect me or show me any kindness. He just assumed that he could be rough and unkind with me because I was just some bitch who did not support the war without question.

The comments he has left on the site since then have done nothing to rehabilitate his image in my eyes. He is mean spirited and unkind. He also appears to be not all that smart. (He might be book smart but his critical thinking facilities leave much to be desired)

So, why would I engage with him? Why would I bother to talk to him ever again? He’s a prick and we would probably never get on.

Though, actually, if we met in real life, he would probably like me. It’s not like I tell soldiers and relatives that I am against the war when I first meet them. It’s often a consolation and a comfort, this idea that the war is just.

But the point was: where is my consolation and comfort? Do all relatives of deployed soldiers have to brainwash themselves into believing in the war, if they were not already on that side? Are we only worthy of respect and support if we toe the party line?



Better treatment for trans people


So, Denmark actually took Amnesty International’s recommendations to heart. If Parliament agrees the change, it will no longer be required to be sterilised and have a medical diagnosis of transsexualism in order to transition.

The new plan is: after a 6-month reflection period if someone is serious about needing their gender changed on their documentation, they can do that.

This is a good thing. High five, Denmark.

Halal butchery banned in Denmark

Oh and kosher, they’re not picking on the Muslims! (There are no kosher slaughterhouses in Denmark to the best of my knowledge and googling)

There were some news stories a few months back about halal meat being sold unlabelled in supermarkets and people got mad because consumers want all the information before they can make a choice.

Now halal slaughter is banned. The Danish state say it is an animal welfare decision. But animal welfare in Denmark is pretty shit. Animal welfare organisations complain regularly about how pigs are treated in Denmark. Mink farms are a disgrace. Zoophilia is legal. Not to mention their bloody zoos.

My friends in other countries prefer to discuss the philosophy of putting animal welfare above religious considerations. That’s fine.

But this decision is not about animal welfare. It is about getting at the Muslims. Sure, they can get their meat elsewhere/go vegetarian but what about the people working in the halal meat trade? They are mostly Muslims and now what will they do? Drive a bus?? Become a SOSU?

The conventionally slaughtered Danish meat industry didn’t like the ‘Other’ encroaching on their territory. And they were sure as shit not going to go to the expense of labelling halal meat. Hardly any non-Muslim Danes will be bothered about how the Muslims are treated. It’s a win-win for legislators: look good on animal welfare+ kick the Muslims.

Meanwhile, I have to put up with people saying that animal welfare trumps religious sensibilities, all the while continuing to eat conventionally slaughtered meat products. If Denmark had tightened animal welfare legislation in general, raising the welfare standards of meat production in general and ooops! that means no halal/kosher slaughter, I’d be less cynical. If more Danes were vegetarian or vegan, I’d be less cynical. If it were possible to get ‘happy meat’ easily in Danish supermarkets, I’d be less cynical.

If I were a sheep or a cow, I’m not sure I’d prefer a conventional Danish slaughterhouse. If I had to choose, you understand.

This week in ‘eff you, headline writers’


Metro xpress used to be cool.

Here is a translation of their front page article “The children of immigrants becoming more criminal”

Problems with gang criminality, break ins and violence is massive amongst the descendants of immigrants. The number of male second generation immigrants from non-western countries who have been prosecuted for criminality has a big increase since 2007, where 1028 descendants have been prosecuted for criminality. In 2012, the numbers rose 60% to 1661. The Justice Ministry would amongst other measures like to start withdrawing child support from the parents.

Some context for those not used to Danish news conventions.
‘Descendants’ is a word only for the children and grandchildren of people of colour. The children and grandchildren of white immigrants are pretty much called ‘Danes’
However, the statistics don’t make the distinction between these groups so the phrase
‘Non-western’ is used. This has nothing to do with the position of countries on the globe.

South America and the Carribbean: non western. North America: Western

India and Pakistan: non western. Korea and Japan: Western

Turkey: non western. Ukraine: Western.

It’s just a dog whistle for ‘brown’.

Here’s their page 3
“Criminality booming amongst immigrant youth”

COPENHAGEN. The number of prosecuted second generation immigrants has risen 60% in five years. Ministers are worried and want to withdraw child support.

When the hammer falls in court, the defendant is still more often a second generation immigrant.
The number of male second generation immigrants from non-western countries who were prosecuted for criminality has risen since 2007 in relation to the corresponding figures for ethnic Danes.
In 2007, 1028 descendants were prosecuted for criminality. In 2012, this rose by 60% to 1661.
Descendants were overrepresented in Danmarks Statistik figures by 131% in comparison with the Danes, even taking into account income and residence. Descendants are especially prosecuted for violence and break ins, shows the report ‘Immigrants in Denmark 2013’
It is especially second generation immigrants in the age range 20-29 that are most often criminal.
According to the research chief for Rockwool Funden, there has been a rise in the last year after many years of falling numbers.
“It is the descendants who are increasingly more often taken for criminality and for them there has also been a noticeable rise in the last year. Obviously the financial crisis is playing a part- immigrant families are economically hard hit” he said.
The Justice Minister Karen Hækkerup (S) also said the increase is the fault of rising problems with immigrant gangs.
“The increase is worrying. We are trying to get kommunes and the police to grab the collar of young people earlier. Amongst other measures, we have made a parent pack where we can withdraw child support if young people do not go to school and end up in criminality again,” she said.

Numbers of prosecuted in 2012
This many between the ages of 15-79 were found guilty in 2012
* Criminal code: 3578 immigrants, 1661 descendants. 17426 of Danish origin.
* Violence: 920 immigrants. 466 descendants. 4585 of Danish origin.

My main problem with this article is that last bit. Sure, 10x of the crime is committed by “ethnic Danes” and the number of “descendants” compared with ethnic Danes isn’t a tenth.
But. Ten times as much crime is committed by Danes and no one is withdrawing the child support of at risk Danish families.

Another problem I have is that the crimes are being committed by adults. How is sanctions against parents thought of a solution? Especially when poverty is cited as a cause of this increase.

Another issue is: they were born here. Putting their criminality at the door of their culture is very rich. Especially when the criminality of Danes is just shit that happens.

And then there is the issue of boiling it down to the essential point – male children of immigrants of colour are more criminal.
I don’t have the stats handy but if 1661 descendants were found guilty, the overwhelming majority of that group are not involved in criminal activity.

But good luck getting a job, guys. People have been persuaded you’re all wronguns.