Saturday, October 11, 2008

This hardly makes me proud of being Danish

The Times has an article title Denmark ‘has failed friends too’. It's the story of the Iraqi interpreter Mohammad who worked for first the British troops and later the Danish troops before fleeing to Denmark.

He fled to Denmark with his family earlier this year under protection from the Danish military, whom he had served for 18 months.
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Mohammad, who is 40, expected job opportunities as an English teacher, schooling for his children and, perhaps, a modest home where necessities were a stroll away. Instead he was given a halfway house, granted an 8,000 kroner (£850) monthly government payment and told to sort out the rest of his affairs on his own. “If I had thought life was going to be like this, I would not have come here,” he said in an interview conducted in Arabic. “I would prefer to live in danger in Iraq than to live here.”

I know that among many people, Denmark has a reputation for tolerance, but that's a thing of the past, if it ever held true. The Danish political environment has become more and more anti-immigrant. Not only has parties like Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People's Party) gained more and more influence, but other parties have kept busy trying to catch up on their anti-immigrant politics, to avoid using votes. The current Danish government, is entirely dependent upon the support of Dansk Folkeparti (DF) to stay in power, which has the natural consequence that DF rules the day, when it comes to their core issue - anti-immigration.

I had hopes that the Minister of Refugees, Immigration and Integration, Birthe Rønn Hornbech, would show a little backbone, as she has shown herself to be principled in the past, but it seems that she doesn't have the political courage it takes.

The very fact that we actually have a minister of Refugees, Immigration and Integration, shows how much these issues dominates Danish politics.

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