I do not like the Dansk Folkeparti, but yesterday evening they have actually done something that I can understand and support. FINALLY! (Remember: Dansk Folkeparti is one of Denmark´s strongest political parties and most of their decisions are very anti-foreigners.)
De lavede en ny politik for at hjælp flygtninger som er kommet til Danmark for at bo men har opdaget at de kan ikke (eller vil ikke) integrere indtil det danske samfund. De tilbyde 100,000 kroner til flygtninger som vil flytte fra Danmark og give op deres tilladelse at bo her. 100,000 kroner er for at hjælpe dem begynder igen i andet land.
They made a new policy last night to help refugees who have come to Denmark to live, but have discovered that they cannot (or do not want to) integrate into the Danish society. They are offering 100,000 kroner to these refugees if they choose to move from Denmark and forfeit their permit to live here. The money would help them to start over again in another country.
Masser udlændinger er meget vred om politik men jeg synes at det er godt. Jeg synes at du skulle bo i et land hvor du skal integrere og blive del af samfundet og jeg indser at Danmark er ikke til alle. Mange udlændinger er meget lykkelig i Danmark fordi de har lært hvor at bo i Danmark, at integrere indtil det danske samfund, OG holder til deres egen nationel identitet. Andre vælger ikke det så Danskefolkeparti har lavet et tilbud til dem så de kan bo i et land hvor de vil integrere.
Lots of foreigners are very upset about this policy, but I truly believe that it is positive thing. I think you should live in a place where you will actually integrate and become a contributing part of society, and I realize that Denmark is not for everyone. Many foreigners are quite happy in Denmark because they understand how to live here, integrate into the society, AND maintain their own cultural identity. Others choose not to, so the Danske Folkeparti has created an offer that will help them relocate to a place where they will actually attempt to integrate.
Hvorfor tror jeg det? Fordi jeg synes at integration skaber enighed og uden integration, kan samfundet ikke overleve. Integration er om OS, ikke om JEG eller DEM. Jeg er en amerikansk som bor i Danmark og jeg vælger at blive del af den "OS" i samfundet. Danskefolkeparti taler ikke til mig vedr. deres politik fordi jeg er medlem af samfundet som give tilbage hverdage. Måske er det hvorfor jeg ser politik som positiv i stedet for negativ.
And why do I believe this? Because I truly believe that integration creates unity and without it , society has no chance of surviving. Integration is about US, not I and THEM. I am an American, living in Denmark, and I choose to be a part of the US in society. The Dansk Folkeparti is not talking to me with reference to their policy because I choose to be a contributing member of Danish society. Maybe that is why I see the policy as a positive thing?
A clarification to my post based on what the law says: This only applies to the group of people who came to DK under the Asylum System (and their families that later reunified with them). That is why it states non-western countries -There are Asylum seekers here in DK from places like Bosnia & Serbia, but now that those countries are part of the EU, these refugees are not eligible for the offer. In 2008, the majority of asylum seekers residing in DK came from Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq & Iran.
I was once told that I am not considered a "foreigner" here in Norway, it's the people who come from the middle east and africa who are the foreigners" and often those people do not want to intergrate, they bring their religious tempels and grocery stores, they want their kids to learn their language in Norwegian schools, so they aren't looking to intergrate thy just want a place that is better then where they came from which is ofen war torn places. The Danish government offering to pay them to live elsewhere sounds like the Danes way of keeping these unwanted out...I guess some people could look at that as positive. I don't know what I'd think of it, but I will say this, I've never experienced so much racism in my life until I came to Norway. It's sad I think...
Kelli, I am sorry but I have to disagree with you on this. This ruling doesnt affect me in personally either because a) I am not a resident b) i still have a home and still running business I can go back should i want to leave. I think you are not looking beyond the personal. The policy is clearly targeted at immigrants from Non western countries I hope you are against xenophobia. Also more than the effect the message the policy sends out is "we dont ned you here" how are new immigrants suppossed to feel welcome in light of this situation?
I am against this policy for the message it sends out and for the people it will affect EVEN IF IT DOES NOT APPLY TO ME.
It is not a positive thing.
And to be quite honest I think that you only serve to further alienate people by expressing any kind of support for any policy relating to foreigners that the Danske Folke Parti are pushing.
I really am very sorry about this, as I had thought there could be some common ground, but this is my personal limit.
From the Danes' perspective, integration is a bad thing. It doesn't create unity, it creates divisiveness. Their unity is in their homogeneity and if that is diluted, the essence of this society will be lost. Hence the lack of interest/outright hostility to assimilating foreigners.
This is only for people who have seeked for asylum in Denmark - in other words people who have fled from their home country because of war, torture or if you have been persecuted because of your race, religion or political point of view etc. You have to know that this is only an offer that the Danish government is providing to those who will be interested in moving back to their home country and the 100,000 kr. is for these people, so they can have a good and new start for their lives. This in NOT something that people with asylum HAVE to do, but just an offer if they choose to move back to their home country and have a good foundation to have a new start.
And from a Dane's point of view, integration is a very positive way of getting cultures and religions together so that we can understand one another on a deeper level. Danes DESIRE that the foreigners who move here will integrate so that we can learn from each other; we are not afraid of things that are different from us because we realize the opportunities for learning are so vast..... I have learned in my many experiences with foreigners in DK that the shortest distance between two people (regardless of race or culture) is a smile (as said by Victor Borge many years ago!)
As always in these discussions over integrations...we fail to define what integration is. For DF integration is assimilation - not about mutual understanding and US togetherness. This is a pay off to restore homogeneity and it is - to me - a sign of desperation and determination not to face realities; the world is changing and some people want to keep DK in a time warp. They are merely delaying the inevitable.
I know what integration means to me and I know that DF and those who support this policy do not share the same definition.
This is a backwards policy and DF is ironically the least "Danish" party of them all (they are utterly hierarchical to say the least). If you ask me, DF should learn to integrate with Danish society. This policy is pathetic!
i think the money would be better spent on pro-active programs to integrate the foreigners, or at least activate them. Like www.trampolinehouse.dk, which some friends started. Or the paper, vis á vis, which is in the same thread.
But this measure... it's just so obvious "at de har spillet fallit". It's a crying shame, it really is.
The US has always looked upon its immigrants as a strength, not a liability. Denmark needs to get over its homogenic self, and embrace the world as it is, and indeed how Denmark has helped make it by being a rich Western country.
Also - that wasn't to say that I can't see how you'd think this was a positive idea. But it's the way it's served that discloses it as a proper crock of s**t from DF. Imagine, if people went back to their own country, and upon leaving were presented with a bit of money to help them along, without it being a publicly known thing - THEN we'd be talking. This overt attempt from the DF to attract as many as possible to leave the country is what is leaving the bad taste in my mouth. It's in very bad taste.
How about those refugees who can't go back to their home country because they've been kicked out? Can they take the money and go somewhere else?
It's just a questions as my classmates have spoke about how easy it is to live in an English speaking country.
I'm not here to offend anyone.
I get that you want to clarify a point.
But do you really believe that this is 'helping' immigrants and is what was behind the DFP and the government's involvement in this idea?
And can you not see that this is just a way to encourage people to leave?
And can you not see that this is a cheap way to 'sort' the increasing problem of foreigners here who are basically lost, lost within the culture, and lost within their own lives?
And is this not unlike what the US army does, targeting areas of unemployment in the US to recruit, knowing that people with few options who have yet to feel a fit in society will jump at any chance, however cheap the offer?
The pittance of the money goes nowhere to establishing a new life, but those who are desperate, young or unhinged may indeed be relieving Denmark of their presence in the near future if this offer is extended to them.
It is a lot cheaper to give US a first class one way ticket out of here rather than to support us within the system, and in a system that because of it's participants attitudes leaves very little space for anyone but the people who call themselve Danish to be fully part of!
Sorry, but their are major holes in your argument. You are missing something major. My sense is that you probably know less than a handful of people who are the 'sort' of people who would be offered this ticket. And I wonder if you have ever gotten close and heard the real life histories of people who ended up coming here.
Quite a few people who ran here wanted to be somewhere else, their home country or London even, some people were sent to Sweden, but wanted to be in Denmark. If you have ever experienced being in flight you will know that there isn't a lot of choice in where you are given refuge.
What bothers me is that this post and the amendments seems to be lauding the fact that a FINALLY something good can come out of the DFP.
I am not arguing with your opinion that you have found something good in this seam yourself, but I will, most vehemently argue that this move by the DFP (let's just lump Venstre in with them) has been done in good spirit.
As with every thing that smells sweet on the surface, it is worth finding out if it is growing out of *bleeeep*!
Kelli, I have this to say. I think you are entitled to having an opinion. It runs contrary to mine, but I will respect your stance. I was just so surprised and caught off-guard in the beginning, so I apologize for my response. I see what you are trying to say- but I cant help feeling very uncomfortable when I find that I am actually eligible for the pay-off too. I think only time will unravel whats really going on here in DK. Something about this doesnt feel right to me.
Obviously, I don't see this from a Danish perspective, but I try to see it from my own middle-American perspective and I think I agree. I don't want anyone to lose his or her heritage. I don't want anyone to lose his culture. But I am so tired of my own neighbors who have been here 20 years and can't/won't attempt to speak English, who live on food stamps but can't work because they don't speak the language, who bring a relative in to yell at my doctor because he speaks only English (while medicaid pays the bill), and who constantly tells me that America is a terrible place to live and nothing like the paradise they left. I genuinely feel that if that person is offered money by the government to go "home," it's a very generous offer.
I applaud Kelli for her honesty, and for providing a wonderful blog that is very upbeat, candid and positive. Moving to a new country is never easy, and I really admire Kelli's strength and positive outlook. Thank you Kelli for the blog and your time, and thank you Mads for clarifying things in this post.
IMHO, I feel that there are some asylum seekers who will jump at this offer from the government, especially those who may have previously been planning to leave Denmark before this offer was even announced. They may have been planning to return home, especially if things have improved in their homeland; or may have been planning to leave Denmark for a third country where their extended family may already be, or where a job is waiting for them in a career that they may have not been able to continue with in Denmark.
Like Mads said, it's up to the people if they want to take the offer, and it gives them a good start to the next new stage in their lives. No one is forcing them out.
So refugees are lesser human beings? Why give them asylum when you want to pay them to leave anyway.
You gave the justification that the policy only applies to SOME people. I respect you Kelli, I have known from people we know in common about how you can be a good friend. Where I differ with you is that you seem to justify policies as long as they dont affect YOU. Whereas, I think standing up for rights of who and what dont affect you personally is doing a greater good to humankind. You have cribbed about not getting peanut effing butter, it saddens me to know that you think it is ok for president obama to bring you peanut butter and ok for a country to ask people to get out.
Just for the record...the blog about Obama bringing me Peanut Butter was a joke and I am pretty sure just about everyone knew that.
And I do think it is ok for a country to ask people to leave if those people are doing nothing to be a part of that country. Do they speak the language, do they work, do they pay taxes, and do they truly make a contribution to society? Or do they refuse to speak the language, hence rendering them unable to work, hence causing them to need govt assistance, hence cause them to use the society rather than contribute to it? And do they truly not agree with (or even hate) the Danish way of life? Whether they were in Texas or Denmark...if that is the case, then I do think they should be given the opportunity to go somewhere else. No one is forcing them out but yet telling them that if this is not the place for you, here is a chance to go somewhere else and start again.
DK is a socialized country, we all knew that when we came. This means that the country will often make decisions based on the greater good (what is best for DENMARK, not foreigners or refugees, etc), not the decisions which are necessarily best for the individual. I may not agree with that philosophy, but they never hid their feelings before I got here and it is not my right to come here and expect those philosophies to change. Denmark was like this ten years ago before most of us expats came, but yet we all fell in love with a Dane and chose to come here.
And even though this policy does not affect me personally, the ramifications of a life without policies do affect me as a tax paying resident of this country, and as a foreigner who actually DOES work to integrate on a daily basis , but who is by default, lumped into the category of all foreigners.
Danes are not xenophobic in my opinion. They are defensive because all they ever get is criticism and complaint from those that they have granted residency to. It does not make them afraid of what is foreign, it makes them leery and with just cause. "We" did this to ourselves.
Ummmm..you were NOT being serious about the president of the U.S. bringing you peanut butter???? What type of blogger are you if things you write cant be taken literally??? ( Eye Roll)
I COMPLETLEY back you up on your reply to peoples comments.
Denmark is Denmark because it is DENMARK!!!! Not a big melting pot like the United States. I dont like the idea of people who want to leave their home country to move to a different one and then get upset that , that country doesnt "cater" to them to the fullest extent. If you plan living the rest of your life some other place other than your mother land....you should be willing to try and intergrate yourself into that country as much as possible.
speaking the language? you know how difficult it is to speak the language? What do the Danes mean when the foreigners must speak the language?
As far as I know we are NEVER good enough in the eyes of Danes when it comes to the language. I don't want to boast but I speak PRETTY DAMN GOOD Danish without accent but yet people still look down on me because I am not white like you and the rest.
It's easy to say - well I hate my neighbours in US who can't speak English for the last 20 years, it's English for god sake. Does anyone ever realise that the government will always use the language card to ridicule foreigners who can't properly say roed groed med flode?
..and to tell you the truth Kelli. I haven't met you and I don't know how GOOD you speak Danish but I am pretty sure that you don't speak Danish like the Danes. Texas accent, perhaps?
Just like someone left a comment in my blog saying: I know these targeted immigrants, who struggle to learn the language (but will never MASTER it because Danish is almost impossible to master), pay taxes and takes shitty job but they will be the one who get kicked out from the country.
because they are considered UTILPASSEDE. My question is what is the criteria of utilpassede? That I WANT TO KNOW
@Jennie: There is actually already a system in place for foreigners to get financial help to return home and to help them get settled, and since no-one has mentioned it, I'm assuming it's not publicly known :)
I'm a Dane, but I also see DF's newest initiative as a negative "get out, we don't want you here" bribe, especially because of the already exsisting possibility to apply for financial help. Not to mention how typical it is for DF to come up with something like this right before an election.
That said, I can still see where Mads and Kelli are coming from and they do make some good points, even though I might not necessarily agree with all of them, and I have to say that some of the personal comments aimed at them are way out of line.
Anyway, just wanted to post the link and I guess it's rather telling of the tone of this discussion that I, based solely on my nationality, felt forced to show which side of the fence I'm sitting on.
I don't want to get drawn further into this, because it's getting ugly and non-constructive, so this will be all from me on this topic.
"Denmark was like this ten years ago before most of us expats came"
No. That is not right. You have no idea what Denmark was like ten years ago. Asking someone who doesn't know from the outside is not going to give you a balanced answer either.
Denmark has changed a lot in the last ten years.
ESPECIALLY in the last ten years.
You speak with authority, and you really cannot on this. My major gripe about Denmark has been that it has changed so so much.
And Kelli, you should have been here ten years ago, even twenty...it was great then, and there were no disintegrating expats to complain because there was less to complain about, seriously.
Perhaps you can put the levels of dissatisfaction here down to the misbehaving immigrants you so clearly elevate yourself and others who 'knew the score' above.
'not a big melting pot like in the states' ?
Look at some of the comments in your defense Kelli!
You know, this was a benign blog, it seemed to be working on behalf of the tourist board, chatting about windmills and kitchen utensils, not a lot to find offensive there, but if you branch into the politics of integration here, and start speaking as if you have more right than anyone else, it does make people wonder: you have sacrificed a lot to come here, as all people do when they leave the place they grew up, their family to start again on the other side of the world....and I am sorry that you have come to a place where there is so much to be done, and little way of avoiding the conflicts forever.
Perhaps the only way to carry on is to separate yourself from the 'unwieldy' immigrants and see yourself as having some hope of integrating here.
There is a conflict: the conflict is about who is worthy and who is not.
You appear to be saying that you are worthy because you reckon you are doing what it takes, and there are 'others' who are not because you reckon they are not doing what it takes.
You can basically lump nearly 90% of the people you blog with in Denmark in the category of refusing or unable to integrate, where does that leave you? With only Danish friends who are 100& integrated? Tell us about these Danish friends. I seriously doubt you have found it easy to make bosom buddies in Denmark, because the only convincingly integrated internationals I know tend to not need international contacts.
The first step to integration in Denmark is to court the company of Danes more than internationals. You simply cannot get a convincing Danish accent if you are mixing with foreigners and speaking in your own language.
My belief is that you don't know what it is like to be integrated but you are trying.
Well, good for you, but spare a thought for those of us who chose not to and reserve the right to stay here.
'Melting Pot'! *goes away muttering and vowing not to check this comment thread again,but knowing it's futile*
I am sorry, but i keep trying to think around what you are telling your 'readership' but it doesn't get any better.
I personally can't get past the way you are classifying different types of immigrant. But you cannot explain it any clearer than you already have.
I think the thing about the peanut butter may have been a little misunderstood though, the joke wasn't obvious, LOL.
Kelli, one problem is the sheer awful racism. But what people mean by 'integration' is the problem. They don't mean integration, they mean assimilation. They mean total adherence to Danish norms and values and secularism and language *at home*. They do not mean learning to speak Danish, getting a job and fitting in with people and getting on with being different privately, at home. That is not what the Danish integration. Look at it, look it up and see. The integration idea is about losing your mother culture entirely. No additional mother-tongue education, no 'írrational' religious practices. Religious freedom is one of the points in the Grundlov. But the integration agenda does not conform with this. The DF have tried to get fasting in Ramadan made illegal for school children (it's nothing to do with protecting children, believe me - I've experienced responsible management of children fasting in Egypt). What does the great fuss about the yet-to-be constructed Copenhagen and Aarhus mosques tell you? Is that in accordance with religious freedom? Have you thought this through?
That is not how minorities have been successfully dovetailed into societies without resentment and violence. Look up minority literature. That is what the French did to the Basques and Corsicans, among many examples.
Fitting in isn't the same as integration here in Denmark. It should actually be called assimilation, because that is what the policy is.
This is a policy against tolerance. A national policy in a European country against tolerance. Yes, Danes feel threatened right now, but they shouldn't respond with this kind of thing.
Kelli, we choose to contribute to Danish society too, while we are here. Out there in the social/public domain. But at home we are something else. We have our own culture which we will never, never do anything to jeopardize.
For a start, this view is that of one (rather minor) political party only and aimed at ‘anti-social’ (although that is not explained in detail) and, obviously, ‘certain people’.
I’ve put off commenting on these sorts of posts because of the vehement views. But I will say this: I come from a colonised country that long held a bigoted ‘white only’ policy, despite the original inhabitants being anything but white.
In time, this changed and after extreme trepidation, people began to welcome others from just about everywhere. This turned out to be a good thing in a number of ways and every group seemed to integrate, become Australian and yet still keep their identity.
I think what seems to be the sticking point now – just about everywhere, is interpretations of Islam – which many seem too afraid to mention. And because we’re talking religion – and polarised ways of life – rather than simply nationality issues, that makes it different, with no simple solution.
But if we’re going to be open about this, let’s face a few facts: no other migrant communities in settled countries have come out demanding their own law be implemented in their adopted country. Thais proudly put up pictures of their beloved king, Greeks celebrate Easter at a different time, Italians particularly adore the Pope etc., but nothing unreasonable.
Nor can I think of any other communities who seem to think it right to kill their daughters who dare flirt or go out with someone ‘not like them’. Danes – and other nationalities - don’t do this.
And what gives someone the right to go to a country and not try to integrate? No one has that. Should Denmark embrace multiculturalism? Not if the majority don’t want to.
Sorry, but the only ones I feel really heart-wrenchingly sorry for in this situation are the kids. Kids stuck between two totally different worlds, whether they’re in Denmark, the UK, France or the US. At home they’re forced to follow the ‘old ways’ either by well-meaning but unimaginative parents, or simply parents who are just idiots, believing it’s their right to place their children in a no-win situation. And it’s because of this, and because nothing is done to address their plight that we see what we have done in the UK bombings and, possibly, the carnage in the US last week.
So I would say there is much more underlying this policy of one little political party jamming it up some ‘poor refugees’. It’s not about stocking vindaloo, couscous and satay sauce in Føtex. It has some really heavy implications that are not being addressed anywhere.
@May - well that proves my point I suppose. That makes this new proposal a blatant message to take the money and get out.
@Geoff - You wrote "Should Denmark embrace multiculturalism? Not if the majority don’t want to."
There is a problem with that though, even if the majority doesn't want to. They still want to fly several times a year to distant places and enjoy the different cultures there. They still want to import goods from the world and enjoy them here. They want, for all intents in purpose, to live in a globalized planet, but to keep their own "andedam" (pond) a homogenic Morten Korch's idyll. And that just defies reality, to be honest.
I would say they'd have to give up some of those elements if they really mean it, lol, but god knows they love their McD, electronics, and thai food. You know what I mean. :-)
KHAWAGA & NQD - thanks for bringing in other layers of complexity. This is the meat and potatoes of why being light-hearted about immigration policies doesn't work. We are talking about the stuff that makes people fighting mad and defensive. Policy changes with policy makers and right now the policy makers in DK (those with the largest power margin) are some of the most narrow-minded. We can be sure that they have not thought through the historical legacy of similar policies nor the short-sidedness of not considering what is really at stake (children, etc).
More upsetting in all of this is that our opinion doesn't count for much. We need those in Christiansborg to start to throw their intellectual net out a little wider. It's a shame that most people who run for Student Gov't (as I've seen from school) are the ones who want to boil things down to their simplest and most common denominator. Those folks go on to public office with similar approaches. None of this is simple.
@ Jennie. Maybe you're right. I will have to think that through for a while. I know there are lots of other countries who don't mind whose citizens travel madly and eat foreign exports but want nothing foreign in their day-to-day life.
Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
You can argue points of view - but getting personal is absolutely out of line in a discussion on somebodys blog.
This discussion is really emotional and could have been very interesting but - in the end it doesn't leave me with a lot of hope for mutual understanding between people or cultures seeing how unpleasantly personal some opposing bloggers get. We all have a right to our opinions. We all have the SAME right!
How did it ever get to be within reason to comment on whether or not a person is nice, "a good friend" or otherwise a part of a community, for having an opinion that opposes to your own?
What makes political differences different from that of your religion, skin color or spoken language?
Hello Kelli (and Mads), it took me some days to find the right way to answer to this post and finally yesterday I got inspiered watching on TV a show on an English couple who was building their Dream's House in the South of France.
First of all it is important to understad what an Asylum seeker is, giurically speaking. For my studies I remember that they have a special giuridical status with specific and restricted rights/duties.
I have also heard somewhere that Asylum seekers can be sent back to their contries as soon as the situation there comes back to normality: If that's the case, if I were an Asylum seeker, I'd rather take 100.000 DKK and go back home instead of waiting the governament to send me back with O (ZERO, NOL, NADA) DKK.
DFP has a goal: to send as much Muslims as possible out of the country. When they refer to foreigners we all know that they mean Muslims.
My personal opinion is that this time DFP has done a very good offer, but only if it is true that Asylum seekers can be sent back home as soon as there is peace in their Home country.
Regarding the idea of Integration, I want to believe that anybody who moves to a new country knows that the new country would NEVER be as their home one.
Moving to a new country, it is normal that immigrants HAVE TO and MUST learn the language and follow the rules and laws of that country. They decided to go there, they cannot pretend that the whole population and political, social, juridical and medical system chance because of the old uses of the immigrants.
Off course the local system can be developed and improved in order to allow all the different cultures to live in peace and freedom, but to the Immigrants who moved to Denmark and do not learn the language, do not accept how things work here, do not accept the way of life here, do not accept the way of working here, I have only one thing to say: Go back where you come from, nobody forces you to stay here!!!
For the record, I am from Italy and moved here 5 years ago. I had to learn the language and I love Denmark, I am incredibly glad that my daugther has the opportunity to grow up in such a great and civilized society.
The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.
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