Thursday, August 13, 2009

Brorsons Church

Call me naive: I don't really care about the political observance of people, but I have always thought that the priority of any political system should be consideration for fellow humans.
I have always felt that this was something we could be proud of in Denmark, where the consideration for the weakest in a society is what I believe has ultimately carried Denmark from being a poor northern warlike tribe, to become a free, rich and prosperous country.

Over the last 20 years or so, Danish society has been more and more influenced by globalization, for good and for bad (but wouldn't we want to face the challenge of globalization by being a dynamic modern society, that adapts and accepts while keeping the best of our society!?). And in the Danish political climate this has had the sad repercussion that the discourse has increasingly become more confrontational, discriminatory and defamatory (governments and opposition alike, very well supported by a sensationalistic media).
In spite of all this, I have remained convinced that Danes in general do have pride of being an open, altruistic and benevolent society.
And I still believe this, although the belief has been shaken lately and came to a head with the situation of the Iraqi refugees in the Brorsons Church in Copenhagen last night.

These refugees have been part of a group that over many years have been in Denmark (including children who have lived most of their life here), but having been denied asylum, were to be forcefully returned to Iraq (a country Denmark is actively participating in occupying). Understandably, the refugees are afraid of returning to Iraq after so many years, so some months ago, they sought refuge in Brorsons Church, and have been living there since, supported by local groups, the church and many people from all layers of society (independently of political observance), to the consternation of Danish authorities and politicians who seem bound by a Orwellesque attachment to laws and procedures that they do not understand should never overshadow our consideration for other human beings.
To the Danish authorities, these Iraqis seem to be mere paper-forms to be processed in the bureaucratic machinery, something that sadly is a sign of a society that increasingly has become a real-world secular technocracy.

The TV pictures of the police operation last night show Danish police in full riot gear leading young men, women and children out of a church (, as well as putting young men who offered no resistance in plastic handcuffs (doesn't the Danish police have normal handcuffs...?) and violently hitting and spraying peaceful demonstrators who were trying to block the way for the police (

I have never felt so shameful to be Danish, and I believe that this is one of the saddest days for our country; the inhuman face of an inhuman system against the peaceful and caring traditions of our heritage.
We seem to be losing the battle, and more than any pseudo-nationalistic populist who believes that Danishness lies in beer, pork-shops, the queen and Dannevirke, the loss of our humanity and care for other people is the greatest threat to our Danish identity today.


  1. A very good writing by Thøger Siedenfaden: