When I arrived in Scandinavia, I was amazed by its value on human right and equality. But perhaps no place in the world is perfect, not even in Denmark. Several months live here and read newspaper in Danish, I began to realize that as a non blonde, non-blue eyes, non white person, there is certain challenge that non-western immigrants have to face. Not because something they necessary have done, but simply because intrinsic values (read: race) which no one can’t even choose to be born as. Well, a classic issue which always stains, no matter what country you are in.
Problem in a welfare state is, many immigrants coming from fragile countries expect to receive economic and social privileges which they aren’t aware about things they needed to contribute back. In Denmark, immigrants are expected to pay quiet high tax, learn to speak Danish, and share the same minds on equality and socialism, just like other Danes. Unfortunately, being one of the hardest language to learn, not so many who are able to cope Danish fast enough. Consequently, it becomes harder for them to get jobs, especially if they are less educated. And narrowing down to muslims coming from conflicting countries and conservative religious tradition, integration has become a politicized agenda and a fresh bait for far-right party such as Danske Folkeparty (DF) which is well-known for its xenophobic attitude to a level that I myself perceive as notoriously tribal and ignorant. The point being is DF and its allies generalize that all immigrants and all non-white Danes as problematic, and ridiculously, as objects to pool their political supports.
If you’re not Danish, at least not white, you stand no chance to be respected by DF people. This party is the loudest one to tell that immigrants have to integrate to their adopted countries. Ironically for them, the same principle does not applied if the Danes are abroad. A week ago, Marie Krarup, a Danish parliament member from DF, along with other parliament members, visited New Zealand for defence co-operation purpose. After being welcomed by Maori cultural dance on the port, Krarup explicitly wrote on Berlinske’s newspaper that it is uncivilized culture of theirs: half-naked men, screaming in haka-baka Maoris, and banging their heads together. She as well arrogantly commented that European-look New Zealanders should have defended European culture, instead of imposing themselves with Maori culture. Read English news here.
It results an uproar both in New Zealand and Denmark. New Zealanders, including its higher people in politics started to criticize her for being rude and ignorant, downgrading other culture, but hers. Danish community in New Zealand reacted almost the same way. Here in Denmark, newspaper started to voice her opinion about this issue. Despite the force from her political party to apologize, she refused to do so, confirming that there was nothing to be apologized from her comments.
Instead, she said “I am sorry that everyone is offended”. This is not an apology! This is a statement that blame others from being different from Danish, and from being sensitive. She should’ve said “I am sorry from being stupid”!.
It doesn’t end there. On her facebook picture in canada, she wrote:
“Niagara Falls is allowed to be white. Here in this multi-culti (multiculture) country, a white person is always have to be seen with a black, brown and yellow, and they all smile so happily as if they want to tell us: Multiculturalism is good. But the waterfall remains white”
Marie Krarup is a daughter of Søren Krarup, a long-time DF party’s member. Seems like her father has influenced her mind so much, and sadly there are many Danes who supported her political view.
Krarup’s attitude doesn’t represent the entire Denmark. There are many Danes who do not support DF xenophobic policies, and many Danes who are actually open-minded than hers. But of course, a person with position like her, should be more educated before voicing her opinion.
I ended my Saturday afternoon by replying to her blog about her interview with DR TV on this New Zealand issue: “Your action and attitude have jeopardized your country’s reputation in front of the world. After hitler (and his hatred policy), do we need a politician like you? No”. It doesn’t surprise me that she never published my comment.
- ‘Sorry’ Dane: Comments lost in translation (nzherald.co.nz)
- Party dismay at anti-Maori comments (stuff.co.nz)
- Danish translator defends work (nzherald.co.nz)