Hvis babyer er små djævleunger, hvordan tror du så, Jehovas Vidner ser på dig?

Jehovas Vidner holder for tiden stævner i Danmark, og det er ikke småting, medlemmerne indoktrineres med.

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If babies are little enemies of God and in effect children of the Devil – how do you think Jehovah’s Witnesses look at you?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are currently holding conventions in Denmark, and members are not indoctrinated with them.

“Pursue Peace!” is the title of Jehovah’s Witnesses convention this year. And that sounds very reliable. But behind the title hides a gloomy message.

Stephen Lett is a member of what Jehovah’s Witnesses call the Governing Body. He gave a talk on how Witnesses should view people outside their organization.

Not only do Jehovah’s Witnesses even have to be very careful about treating unbelievers like us worldly ones, they also have to consider newborn babies – even their own – as devil fry.

The argument goes like this:

Stephen Lett begins by stating the title of his talk “Frindship with God, how possible?” and continues: “If we think about it, we are not born friends of God. We are born of a sinful offspring of Adam. ”

One senses that Lett builds up his argumentation as a multi-stage rocket, where the acceptance of one argument is followed by another. And now it becomes grotesque: “Actually, if you think about it, we are born as enemies of God.”

And then comes the moment when you check your hearing in disbelief. I can´t help thinking about my mother as she sits in her neat church clothes in front of the screen and listens. She gave birth to five children. What is she thinking as she listens to the following words?:

“Sometimes you will hear people say about a little baby: Look at that little angel! But more accurate would be to say:…” and here Stephen Lett pauses dramatically:” Look at that little enemy of God! “

Say, what!? I shouldn´t be surprised, but I guess I have been away from that rhetoric long enough that I am stunned, though not surprised.

Jehovah’s Witnesses learn to fear and hate Satan. Satan is, of course, an enemy of the God they are told they worship by following the rules within the congregation. They are told again and again that that one is born sinful because that story about Adam and Eve, the fruit in the Garden of Eden and all.

If you do not obey God, you will be destroyed in Hamageddon. Obeying their interpretation, that is. Ge’ez, quietly listening to this in the Kingdom Hall Sunday after Sunday as a little girl can make you break out in sweats. Fortunately, everyone is told that the situation is not entirely hopeless because you can become a friend of God. What a relief!

Such is the argument. I know, because I’ve experienced it from the inside of the Kingdom Halls for years.

When Jehovah’s Witnesses bring the good news to your doorstep about the opportunity for you to receive everlasting life in a paradise on earth, there’s a dark side to it. They see everyone as enemies of God. Even newborn, tiny little babies.

“Does that mean I will die if I do not become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” many people ask the pair outside their door.

“That is not up to us to decide,” is the answer they have rehearsed. After all, who wants to tell someone that they will be exterminated in a terrible and bloody battle? Instead they say:”but you have the opportunity to enter into God’s paradise if you follow his rules.”

The fact is, that at their meetings they are told over and over again that yes, everyone, children, the elderly, and the adults will be wiped out in the cruel war if they do not become Jehovah’s Witnesses. Do not think for one second that this is not what they think when they smile at you in their suits and pleated skirts.

The only reason you meet Jehovah’s Witnesses in your daily life is that they have a duty to reach out by either knocking on your door, calling your phone, writing letters, or otherwise preach their message. It is one of the rules that they must preach in order to increase the opportunities to enter their paradise. So sure, they do it to try to save you – but they certainly mostly do it to save themselves. If even their own babies are considered enemies of God how do you think they look at you?

Holy Moley! – I am glad to not be part of a cult that speaks through both sides of their mouths. One side preaches peace and eternal life and the other sees babies, children, and the rest of us out here in the real world as wandering lost enemies and friends of the Devil.

Højesterets udmeldinger i USA er politiske – derfor stritter deres afgørelser i denne uge i øst og vest

En religiøs, amerikansk fodboldtræner bad sammen med spillerne på banen efter kampene – og har nu Højesterets ord for, at det er helt ok.

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In the United States, the Supreme Court’s announcements are political – which is why their decisions this week are all over the place

A religious, American football coach prayed with the players on the field after the matches – and now has the Supreme Court’s word that it is perfectly ok.

The Supreme Court has taken Americans hostage in a right-wing religious propaganda stunt that is dividing the population more than it already is.

Here in my state of Washington, a football coach has become known nationally overnight. The story centers around Joseph Kennedy, who was the coach of the local high school team. After each match, he prayed, often with several of the players. Some have later said they felt obliged to participate – it is after all the coach who chooses which players get to play on the field. When the school district learned about the coach praying on public grounds, they asked him to stop, which he refused. That got him fired from his coaching job.

I imagine the Russian tennis coaches at our local club praying to their orthodox God, after the kids have finished their backhand exercises, I see for my inner eye how my son’s Colombian soccer coach extracts a crucifix from his front pocket instead of a yellow card and gathers the kids around him to some Roman Catholic cheer, I see myself standing for the flag and national anthem at my kids swim meets while being forced to see the coaches standing with their arms up in the air, rocking back and forth, praying as if the Holy Spirit were upon them. You get the point: Jews, Muslims, Hindus and all sorts of other faiths and ways of life that force feed our kids and everyone around them with their religious beliefs.

The football coach in my state of Washington, who felt that his right to practice religion had been violated, took his case to court. Today, the Supreme Court ruled. He and everyone else has the right to practice his religion in public.

The verdict falls on the tail of last week’s Supreme Court announcements that have sent shock waves around the country. Among other things, we learned that Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms in New York and all sorts of other places in the public domain. The following day, we learned that women do not have the right to make decisions over their own bodies. When it comes to choice and family planning, the states have the right to decide that a woman cannot choose to have an abortion. Indeed, The United States Supreme Court is busy these days waging a war on values.

But what if coach Joseph Kennedy´s name had been Yousuf Kamal and he instead of praying to a Christian God had rolled out his prayer rug and invited the players to turn their faces towards Mecca with him after every football game? Would the Supreme Court ruling have ben the same?

If there is one thing Europe is learning quite rapidly these days, it is that religion in the public sphere is a dangerous cocktail. Religion can be an integral part of a culture in our activities at school and in the workplace when the population is homogeneous and most belong to the same culture and religion.

That’s not how it works in the United States. Here the population is one great conglomeration of peoples with vastly different cultures and religions. Unlike in Denmark, it is build into the the American fabric that religion and state must be separated – it does not require a doctorate in either religion or political science to see why that constellation is a good idea if you want a society to function as peacefully as possible. The fact that we in the United States more than ever are moving into a value-based legislation rooted in Christian dogmas is far from the notion most Americans have of the powers of the legal system.

So what happens in an environment where the politically appointed Supreme Court justices are more than busy pursuing rulings based in politics? They may think they are doing what they are set to do by Trump, to please his base, when they announce their ultra-right-wing conservative rulings. But one day, it will not be a right-wing Christian who is praying with the children, but a radical Muslim, a Mormon, or a Jehovah’s Witness. Like Joseph Kennedy they will believe they have the right to practice their religion where ever they are. And they will have the Supreme Court´s ruling to back them up. Maybe it’s a matter of time before young people, and all of us, come to stand as spectators at sporting events, where we are taken hostage in a religious propaganda stunt that can only divide the country more than it already is.

The Supreme Court’s announcements this week point in different directions. We now know, it is more important that an individual has the right to bear arms in the public sphere than the sense of security and safety of the surrounding citizens. Conversely, it is not the individual woman herself who has the right to choose over her own body, it is a decision that elected politicians at the local state level. And in terms of practicing your personal religion and trumpeting it to everyone who is near you, well, then again, it is the individual´s right that stands above people’s sense of discomfort.

So, now this is what I have to look forward to: Being pray to other people’s religious beliefs being forced on me when I just want to see my kids run around and have fun at some sporting event. Land of the free? Well, for those hardcore gun loving, religious fanatics, maybe.

Hvis du kan kontrollere kvindens krop, kan du kontrollere hendes liv

Jeg er på vej til demonstration – nu skal der kæmpes for vores, vores døtres, vores søstres og alle kvinders rettigheder.

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If you can control a woman’s body, you can control her life

I’m on my way to demonstrate in downtown Seattle – we must fight for the rights of all women.

“ Men!, are you capable of being fair? A woman is asking. At least you will allow her that right. Tell me: What gave you the sovereign right to oppress my sex? The man wants to command like a dictator. Given their ignorance, disregard or the disdain of the rights of women we have decided to declare the following rights of women:”

These words could have been written today, but there are from 1791 written by the French activist Olympe de Gouges, who ended her days in the guillotine after writing “The Declaration of the Rights of Women.”

The Supreme Court has overturned the ruling on Roe v Wade, which for 49 years has given women, not the states, the right to decide over their own bodies when it comes to abortion. The rollback that puts states legislation higher than women’s autonomy is a brutal attack that steals women’s right to self-determination. And the theft is committed by none other than the Supreme Court.

Now women are de facto second-class citizens, with men ruling over women’s bodies. It is a crime against humanity, misogynistic and undemocratic.

We knew it was coming. The document about the Supreme Court´s intention to reverse the Roe v Wade ruling was leaked a few months ago. In the reversal, there is no exception for rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger.

“Now women are de facto second-class citizens, with men ruling over women’s bodies. It is a crime against humanity, misogynistic and undemocratic.

The vast majority of Americans are in favor of a woman having an abortion. But the Supreme Court ruling is entirely in Trump’s misogynistic spirit. As you know, Trump nominated three Supreme Court justices to cover his right-winged, religious, ultra-conservative base.

In the United States, church and state are separated – but now all women are force fed a Catholic, right-wing, religious attitude to abortion through legislation.

And why? In order for men to be able to control women through legislation. This desire is certainly not new. Women have had to fight for the right to vote, the right to own real estate and many other things, and as they gained those rights men lost some of their control. With the announcement today, the official United States shows that control over women’s bodies does not belong to women. If you become pregnant, then you must give birth and become a mother – even if it is against your will. This is how men want it.

My mother had an abortion, as did my grandmother’s sister. One through the official healthcare system, the other by a quack. Abortions have always been a way for a woman to assert autonomy over her own body and future – even if or because she was in a difficult situation.

And now we are at it: Where is the focus on the difficult choice women have to make? No woman takes the choice of abortion lightly, but where are the voices focusing on how woman end up in a situation that requires a life-changing decision in the first place? I also hear no talk about what responsibility men bear for the choice the woman has to make.

Imagine if men were told that they could only have sex with women if they used protection, and that there was a life sentence for it if the woman became pregnant – that would surely result in politicians taking action. Until then, we women must be the ones reacting.

Today, I walk with thousands of other women. We must show men that their lust for power stops now. Stop the discrimination, stop the hatred – once and for all!

New York vil ikke have våben i det offentlige rum, men det må de leve med, fastslår en ny Højesteretsafgørelse.

Højesteret trækker i én retning og Senatet i en anden. Imens må vi vænne os til at være levende skydeskiver, hvis vi bevæger os uden for døren.

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New York does not want people carrying weapons in public. But a new Supreme Court ruling states that is against people´s constitutional right.

The Supreme Court pulls in one direction and the Senate in another. Meanwhile, we have to get used to being with live shooters if we move outside the door.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that it is against the “second amendment” (which gives a citizen the right to possess and carry a weapon) if a state tries to make restrictions on whether people can carry a weapon in public space.

A few weeks ago, the United States had a school shooting that was one of the worst in the country’s history. Nineteen children and two adults were killed, most of the children between the ages of eight and ten. The Americans were in shock, parents demanded changes to the gun laws, and politicians in the Democratic Party once again saw an opportunity to try to get tighter gun laws through.

In the United States, Supreme Court justices are appointed politically. Trump elected three judges, all with ultra-conservative, Christian views. Although Trump is no longer in the White House, the reverberations of electing these Supreme Court justices will shape U.S. law and society for generations to come.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my kitchen talking to a man about gun laws in the United States. The mood was respectful even though we were far apart in values and opinions. One of his remarks stood out, and gave me an idea of what people who believe in equality and tighter gun laws are up against.

“You want to have the right to decide over your own bodies. I support that. You can do what you want. I as a man do not have any right to go against that. But at the same time you want to take my right to bear arms away from me. You cannot insist on an individual right on one hand but not on another.”

Rhetorically, it is a rather ingenious argument – even if it does not make sense upon closer inspection. Initially, it makes sense to insist on the individual’s right to own and carry any weapon and as many as possible and compare that directly to a woman’s individual right to make a choice about her body.

“The difference is that you can kill an entire school class in one minute while the woman is not harming anyone,” I replied.

“I would argue otherwise,” the guy said. “She kills too, she kills her child.”

I was dumbfounded for a second. But that´s where we are, that’s where many Republicans stand. The Supreme Court is aware of this, and their role is t stand by the base that Trump has placed them to represent. We now see the consequences of this, because the Supreme Court is currently making a name for itself with controversial announcements.

A short time ago, a document from the Supreme Court was leaked. It made it clear that the court intents to reverse Roe v Wade that ruled that the woman’s right to choose over her own body was higher than the state’s right to make restrictions on her right to an abortion.

Today came another announcement, this time about the right to bear arms in public space. The case was about New York but will have consequences for the whole country.

Both decisions wil make white men feel as if they are in control when they tell women that they can not decide for themselves what they want to do with their body. At the same time, they can strut up and down streets and alleys with their weapons as an extension of the masculinity they so clearly do not possess – and seen in the light of who got the Supreme Court judges appointed, that war on values targets women and minorities.

So dear Danish tourists: Welcome to the wild west. If you’re planning to take a trip to New York, be prepared for that pit in your stomach when you can visibly see people carry guns. And prepare for what every American child knows by heart because they practice it several times a year, namely what you will do if a shooting takes place in the subway, in the mall, or in the public space.

Psykisk mistrivsel skal ikke føre til sænkelse af adgangskrav på videregående uddannelser

Drømmen kan blive til mareridt, hvis de unge kommer ind på deres drømmeuddannelser.

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The mental health crisis in youth should not lead to lowering of admission requirements in higher education

If GPA requirements for students are lowered, their dream could turn into a nightmare instead of a dream educations.

It’s finals time, and students feel the nervous energy. Do you remember the feeling? Did I take the right notes? What did the book say about …, again ? What if I forget everything at the exam table? I hope they will not ask me about…

Young people in Denmark and in many other countries are suffering mentally. Especially during finals time, we hear about young people having difficulty coping. One study after another shows that young people suffer from anxiety and depression. And, indeed, something needs to be done about that.

But the answer is not to lower the requirements for higher education. It is understandable that the generation of power, that coincides in age with the parent generation of students, wants to help. But imagine how these young people will feel in an education they do not have the skills to follow let alone complete – not to mention how they will fair in a workplace after graduating.

“I was certainly not disappointed that my opportunity to end up as chief economist was not in the cards.

I would like to be operated on by a surgeon who knows the anatomy of the body before he puts his scalpel in me, I would like the anesthesiologist to easily calculate my anesthesia or pain relief so that I do not wake up in the middle of surgery. I would like to move in a public space where bridges, buildings and mobile masts stand as they should when it is a bit windy thanks to engineering calculations. And I would like to read articles in the newspaper edited by people who know Danish grammar and can spell most words.

Does this mean that there are young people who do not get into their dream education?

Yes, it does sometimes – and that’s the way it should be. Denmark is a fantastic country where anyone who wants it can get an education. But we do the young people a disservice if we tell them that they can become just anything they want – because only few can.

I graduated my one-year HH with a no-pass grade in accounting – but I was certainly not disappointed that my opportunity to end up as chief economist was not in the cards. On the other hand, I would have liked to have studied rhetoric, but my grade point average was not high enough for that. Denmark is a country that is known for not distinguishing between high and low – a country where the nurse assistant is worth as much as the doctor, where the carpenter can contribute something different than the architect.

Fortunately, there is a difference in competencies – and it is ultimately for the benefit of society, the individual citizen, and those whose grade point average has defined what education they could apply for.

Young people’s mental well-being is a problem that requires solutions and great focus. But even if it seems like a quick solution to young people’s mental health issues to lower the admission requirements for certain educations, it is a short-term solution. The dream could very well turn out to be a nightmare – for them and for society.

I USA er svaret på våben i de forkerte hænder åbenbart våben i gode menneskers hænder

For mange amerikanere er individuelle frihedsrettigheder vigtigere end ønsket om våbenrestriktioner.

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In the United States, the answer to guns in the hands of bad guys is apparently more guns in the hands of good guys

For many Americans, individual liberties are more important than gun restrictions.

‘The children quickly get used to an armed guard at school. After a few days, the older, retired sniper is a part of their everyday life. “

In the United States, we have a pandemic when it comes to shootings. This year alone, we have had more than 250 mass shootings, 38 since the school shooting in Texas two weeks ago that cost 19 children and two adults their lives.

I am struggling to find the right facial expression, not quite sure how to react. A man from a local furnace company is sitting in my kitchen. He is originally from Texas and likes to share his political views while making calculations on various heating options that might be relevant for my home.

“But is it not problematic that we have to have this debate in the first place?”

In the United States, we have a pandemic when it comes to shootings. This year alone, we have had more than 250 mass shootings, 38 since the school shooting in Texas two weeks ago that cost 19 children and two adults their lives.

“There are more weapons in the United States than there are people. They’ll never take our weapons from us.” I do not comment on his use of “they,” because that view on society where the fear of the government as a regulatory monster, I’m not interested in going into.

What I am very interested in is hearing his thoughts on what he thinks should be done about the situation the United States is where mass shootings are part of everyday life.

“It is a right and an honor to carry a gun. When I carry a gun, I have made a decision. I am ready to sacrifice my life if a situation arises where I have to protect myself or my fellow citizens. “

It’s not often I get the opportunity to talk to someone with viewpoints so different from my own. Fortunately, he was more than willing to share his views, and the conversation stretched far and wide with a respect for each other’s views. One thing was clear after our conversation: For many Americans, the right to individual freedom is more important than restrictions.

Not once did he mention calling the police. Instead, he listed quite a few scenarios where I myself would either jump out the window and run away or call the police, but where the natural reaction for him was a confrontation with an automatic weapon.

The conversation made me think about American society in general. Because the conversation was a clear example of why nothing significant is going to change in America´s weapons legislation – even if the media is still dominated by discussions and conversations focusing on what can be done in relation to weapons legislation and access.

Maybe there will be a subordinate change that has no real effect, but we will not see any radical changes – not even after angry actors, grieving mothers, frustrated politicians in favor of restrictions in the legislation, are pleeding and appealing for changes in gun legislation.

The salesman in my kitchen was no cliché Texan with a cowboy hat and bulletproof vest. He was an ordinary, kind, proud American – who fully and firmly believes in the right to bear arms. Also the kind that fires several shots per second.

And he was of the opinion that legislation would mean restrictions for ordinary law-abiding citizens like himself – and if there is one thing individualistic freedom-loving Americans do not want to be a part of – it is to have their freedoms reduced. In fairness, he was open to changing the laws so that 18-year-olds should only be allowed to use an AR-15, the same weapon that the 18-year-old perpetrator used at a Texas school two weeks ago, in the company of an adult.

“Your political survival is subordinate to the survival of our children.” Those words were uttered yesterday by Nancy Pelosi, Democrat and leader of the House of Representatives.

Protect Our Children, is the name of the bill that went through the House and is now going on to the Senate, where it will without a doubt be buried along with all the other bills that seek to implement restrictions on guns.

Every time I visit an office building, I have to go through a security screening before I am allowed to enter.

This is also the case at my children’s schools, where I can not just walk in but have to wait outside before I am buzzed into a middle office, where I then either have to wait for my child to be called from his classroom, or must register to be allowed to enter the school.

Maybe the salesman who was sitting in my kitchen yesterday is right: In a short time, I might be chatting with a visibly armed guard when I pick up my kids at their respective schools? Because in this country, the answer to weapons in the wrong hands is apparently more weapons in the hands of good guys.

Så længe amerikanerne elsker deres våben højere end deres børn, vil vi se skoleskyderier. Igen og igen og igen

En 18-årig købte automatvåben på sin fødselsdag og skød derefter 19 børn og to lærere

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As long as Americans love their guns more than they love their children, we will see school shootings. Again and again and again.

An 18-year-old bought an automatic weapon on his birthday and then shot 19 children and two teachers

“It is with a heavy heart that I receive the news of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.”

The email from the school superintendent at my daughter’s school begins with these words. I did see the email ticking in a few hours ago. “Uvalde, Texas School Shooting,” the subject line read.

But I did not open the email. Could not, had to wait a few hours before I was able to read. Eventually, I couldn’t put it off any longer. What if the email said something I needed to know – for the sake of my own children?

Shortly after our family arrived in the United States, a school shooting that is now known as the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, took place at a school for students from 0.-5. grade. 20 children and 6 adults were mowed down by a man with an automatic weapon. The school’s internal system had quickly announced that there was an “active shooter”at the school, and the teachers followed the safety protocols that they and the children had regularly practiced, and hid in closets, barricaded doors to classrooms, and stayed away from windows and doors. They did everything they could. And still, they were hit by tragegy.

I especially remember the Sandy Hook school shooting more clearly than others. Partly because it caused very young children their lives, partly because that day changed something fundamental in me that had to do with grief and anger over what defines how Americans relate to principles and common sense.

Today, I again find myself in a state of shock. I am overwhelmed with grief. It’s something different to experience the news when you live here in the United States and have children who go to a similar school and watching the TV screen show the pictures over and over again than it is to sit on the other side of the globe in Europe and read about an incomprehensible American system that makes such tragedies possible.

I thought for a long time that I had such a hard time understanding the relationship to weapons here in the US because I was Danish. But many Americans share my disgust for a hardcore, antiquated cowboy approach to what is here known as “the Second Amendment,” which is about Americans’ right to bear arms. The fanatical religious approach to the wording of the constitution is nauseating – and puts politicians backed by the arms lobbies and arms manufacturers higher than the lives of children and citizens.

If you think that tragedies like the one that Americans go through every single week cause Americans to buy fewer weapons, you are wrong. Every time a shooting finds its way to the media and people are afraid that there will be regulations in the right to bear arms, there is a queue in front of the arms shops.

And what happens now? Absolutely nothing, of course. Joe Biden has condemned the atrocity, asked the Americans when enough is enough. But he has no real power to do anything. Texas’ governor and prominent Texas politicians such as Ted Cruise are repeating the old phrases about the right of the individual and that it is not the way forward to ban the carrying and buying of weapons. Perhaps Ted Cruise is signaling to the nation’s largest arms lobby, the NRA (National Rifle Association), that everything will continue as planned when they gather for a conference this coming weekend – in Texas.

The man who completed his insane shooting yesterday was 18 years old. As a birthday present, he gave himself various weapons, including an automatic weapon and ammunition. But the mass shooting yesterday is far from the only one that has taken place in the United States this year. In this country, we do not hear about all the mass shootings that take place. If that was the case, the media would spend all their air time reporting on than that. Only a few mass shootings break through to the media, but this year alone, not even halfway into 2022, more than 200 mass shootings have taken place in America.

However, when school shootings involve young children the media reports on it. It’s the same process every time: News hosts with deep sympathizing voices interviewing crying relatives, audio recordings where we hear screams and shooting, pictures of children running scared from buildings, according to the drills they have trained for, and politicians saying they are praying for the victims and their families. Republicans who do not want to change the law and introduce stricter gun control. Democrats who highlight the bloody and morbid relationship by the United States to legislation that gives Americans the right to bear arms in a country that has more weapons than residents.

And meanwhile, in my children’s schools, drills are being carried out every month. Drills that teach them what to do in the event of an earthquake or how to react if there is a bear in the area. I’m fine with those drills. But on the same day as the school shooting in Texas took place, my daughter had an “active threat drill” which is about how students should behave if there is a school shooting at their school. I have not yet learned to relate to these drills in a levelheaded way.

And if you think that tragedies like the one that Americans go through every single week cause Americans to buy fewer weapons, you’re wrong. Every time a shooting finds its way to the media and people are afraid that there will be regulations in the right to bear arms, there is a queue in front of the arms shops. Sales are rising, more deadly weapons are finding their way into American hands.

And what do you do after reading the email from the school superintendent? You talk to your children. If they want to. Because when I gently told my daughter that there might be some at her school who would mention a school shooting, she let me know with her short “okay” that she did not want to talk about it. I check again, prompting another way to engage. “Okay,” she says again with the same dismissive tone. And that’s a human way of reacting, too. By closing off. Because this is her everyday life. She must always be on alert, navigating a reality where she knows a school shooting could at any time happen. I understand her way of shutting this fact out of her life. She is powerless, has no say when it comes to the adults’ mindlessly incomprehensible priorities. Because as long as Americans value their right to bear arms more than the safety of their children, school shootings will take place – over and over and over again.

Over en million er døde af corona i USA – men amerikanerne er ligeglade

Metaltræthed præger coronadebatten, selv om hospitalsindlæggelserne igen stiger.

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More than 1 million Americans have died from the Corona virus but nobody seems to care.

Corona fatigue characterizes the debate, although hospital admissions are rising.

It’s Wednesday morning, the clock shows 5:45 am. I reach for my my cell phone. A text in red lights up on the screen: “You have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.” This is the first time I receive such a message, but I came back from Denmark three days ago, so the message does not surprise me.

“In Denmark, confidence in public authorities and health experts is fortunately much greater than it is in America. The Danish population has not experienced the same heartbreaking consequences as we see in the US, where people react to Covid as a political disease

On my first trip to Denmark in almost two years, not many people were wearing masks on the plane from Seattle to Iceland. From Iceland to Copenhagen, I was the only one out of a handful, and in the metro, wearing my KN95 mask made me stand out to the extend that I got an answer in English when I asked a Danish fellow passenger in Danish for directions.

“Prepare for more waves,” the White House warns, while I blink dully in front of my TV screen. I do not notice any reaction from the journalists in the conference room either.

In the last three months, 100,000 Americans have died from the Corona virus and the media talks about crossing a milestone of a total of over 1 million dead Americans from the virus. The truth is, however, that according to the University of Washington, America already passed this grim number last year if you include direct and indirect courses to Covid-19.

1 in 330 Americans have died, everyone knows or has heard of someone who has had the virus. The long-term effects of Covid have hit thousands of people struggling to hold on to their daily lives in a country where the fear of losing everything over night always lurks just below the surface. It is completely unfathomable that so many have died in the world’s richest country, where everyone over 12 has access to the vaccine. More than 300,000 Americans did not have to pay the ultimate price had they chosen to get vaccinated. But when it comes to public health policy, vaccines and masks have become an expression of political stance.

In Denmark, confidence in public authorities and health experts is fortunately much greater than it is in America. The Danish population has not experienced the same heartbreaking consequences as we see in the US, where people react to Covid as a political disease rather than a public health issue. During my ten days in Copenhagen and Aarhus, I sat in the metro and on busses, in cafes, restaurants, and bars, and everyone went about their lives as if Covid was a thing of the past. The Danes shrug when they hear of raising positive cases. They are vaccinated and know that if they get infected, they will most likely have mild symptoms.

Joe Biden has a reputation for being empathetic when it comes to talking about loss. More than anyone, he knows what loss does to a human being. But he, too, sounds rehearsed and tired when he softly whispers: “We must not become numb to loss.”

The truth is, we have become numb. The shock we felt in the beginning of the pandemic has subsided. The horror of the death toll from countries like Brazil, Italy, England, and the United States, where we saw quickly erected tents with people lying in a row in knock-out-beds in uneven bedding, the sound of pumping machines, coughing and rasping voices, have subsided. The news on tv no longer show such images but reports dryly about millions in isolation in Chinese cities, millions of unvaccinated positive cases in North Korea, and about a new virus wave in South Africa caused by a new variant, it is impossible to remember the name of. And in the meantime, I shake off the words from the news anchor, focus my attention on Ukraine and the debate on Roe v Wade – and embrace the world around me, even though the infection rates are higher than they have been for months.

Today was my son’s birthday. So I put the cellphone away and set the breakfast table with Danish flags and flowers by his plate as is custom. When he ran off to catch the school bus, I found a home Covid test. One strip told me, the test was negative. Some day there will be two strips showing me that I have tested positive. But until then, I choose to let the Danish side of my brain take over and let life feel a little lighter than it has the last few years.

Ingen kvinde, homoseksuel eller minoritet kan vide sig sikker i USA

Den amerikanske højesteret tager politisk standpunkt imod kvinders rettigheder. Tiden er ikke til at fortvivle, den er til at kæmpe – for kvinder, minoriteter og sociale udsatte gruppers rettigheder.

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No woman, gay, or minority should feel safe and protected in the United States

The US Supreme Court takes a political stand against women’s rights. The time is not to despair, it is to fight – for the rights of women, minorities and socially disadvantaged groups.

“Keep your fingers from my uterus!”, “My body, my choice!” and “Abortion is a matter between a woman and her doctor,” are some of the statements on the banners the demonstrators carry. For the last few days, I have been following the debate about the leaked document from the Supreme Court and the intent to reverse Roe vs. Wade. The population in the United States is shocked about this news. My shock goes deeper than just shaking my head when it comes to the polarized stands in America on weapons, politics and abortion.

The hatred, the lies, the desire for power and oppression leave me with a sad uneasiness and feeling of having been manipulated and misled- even though I was aware that Trump’s appointment of no less than three Supreme Court justices could have fatal consequences, beyond his time in the White House.

Nearly 50 years ago, a case was settled in the U.S. Supreme Court that grants a woman the right to abortion. The law is known as Roe vs. Wade – a woman sued the state of Texas because the state banned abortion unless the woman’s life was at stake. The case ended before the Supreme Court, which ruled that the individual woman’s right to choose abortion is above a state’s abortion law.

Maybe we should do something about the structural reasons for why a reversal of abortion legislation will disproportionately affect the weakest in society instead of making life harder for them?

Since then, the debate has been heated. In recent months, several states have enacted legislation on abortion that makes it virtually impossible for a woman to detect that she is pregnant before the time limit for having an abortion is exceeded.

There are, of course, many arguments from both the pro life and the pro choise sides shouting and waving their banners. That´s how it is in the United States, especially when it comes to highly contested political views.

What I do not understand is why pro lifers can not just be against abortion – for themselves. Why can´t they let other women decide what is right for them? How can you be so self-righteous in your indignation that you feel you have the right to judge another human being who may or may not have a thousand reasons for her choise? Freedom for all, is something America pride itself of, apparently that does not apply to a woman’s right to decide over her own body.

For when self-righteous, often white, ultra-religious with privileges and access to health care feel they have the right to impose their anti-abortion message to vulnerable women, it honestly makes me sick to see their desire for self-assertion and lack of empathy.

This is America, and here, as opposed to Denmark, you do not have access to the health care system when you need it, without having to pay for it. It is primarily black and Latina women who need an abortion – and there are many reasons for this.

Maybe we should do something about the structural reasons for why a reversal of abortion legislation will disproportionately affect the weakest in society instead of making life harder for them? How anyone can think they have the right to harass and persecute others with their arrogant, cynical stance on something that should be a private matter between a patient and her doctor, I fail to understand.

One of the Supreme Court judges’ argues that Roe vs. Wade should never have been in favor of the individual woman’s right in the first place – because the Constitution does not mention abortion. There is quite a lot of our current way of life that is not mentioned in the American Constitution of 1788. If the argument is stretched, then what implications does it have for gay marriages just to name one example?

Several states are ready to introduce legislation that makes it illegal to have an abortion. Other states have indicated that they will help women with the procedure who cannot have an abortion legally in their own state. The United States is more divided than it has been for decades, and women’s rights are now an active part of a larger movement that divides the country even further.

Wanting to control and oppress women is nothing new, men have always wanted to dominate women and their right to control their own bodies. But if you think they will stop at women’s bodies, you are wrong.

In a society with racial, cultural and religious diversity and with a disparity between rich and poor, sontrol and oppression of the vulnerable and minorities is what keeps you in power.

The time is not to despair, it is to fight – for the rights of women, minorities, and socially disadvantaged groups.

Fuck, de unge taler grimt!

De unge markerer identitet gennem sproget.

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Why the fuck do young people swear so much?

Young people show identity through their use of language.

“Fuck ! Shit! Nederen, LOL´eren, the chiller, meganeder”- I am watching a Danish dating show with my teenage daughter and can not quite find a facial expression suited for the situation. We are watching Wild Love on DR (Danish public service tv network)- for fun and because I want to introduce my daughter in a variety of ways to her Danish culture.

My daughter´s eyes are wide, and every now and then she side glances at me. I feel like a dinosaur. The way the Danish language is used has changed a lot both since I was young and since I lived in Denmark.

My daughter is shocked, but she is also fascinated. In the US, you get in trouble if you drop the f-bomb in school . On my end, I am both repulsed by the young people’s language at the same time rejoicing that they so clearly express identity. Because if there is one thing that is an identity marker, it is how we use language.

“I must say they swear a lot in Denmark,” my daughter states. The next day she starts to imitate the language she has been introduced to. “Fuck, I xxx,” “shit, I xxx…” first, I explain linguistically to her in which context you can use the words she is experimenting with and in which situations they are out of place – I am after all a former Danish Lecturer.

And so she starts experimenting. I sense that she thinks that part of her Danish heritage is exotically repulsive and attractive at the same time. Occasionally, she says something that clearly shows us that she is in the process of figuring out how far she can go before we as adults ask her to tone it down a bit.

My experience is that Danish kids and young adults use the f- and s-bomb in every other sentence and that it is a completely normal and accepted use of language. But here in the United States it is completely and utterly unheard of.

Friends regularly visit us from Denmark. They generally think it is immensely fun to blurt out the words in public I am trying to explain are not equally as accepted here as they are in Denmark.

And here is why. All though, in Denmark cursing expresses identity and has almost at present become a form of adjective and noun in line with any other, the use of the English words shit and fuck is culturally unacceptable here. Danes have a hard time understanding this – perhaps because they think that English swear words work here in the US since they are, after all, English.

Identity can be marked in many ways, but wanting to mark it presupposes that you are aware of which cultural codes you may be breaking – otherwise there is no point in the marker.

“You can not say that!” We exclaimed on the first semester of college to our professor at KUA (University of Copenhagen, Amager). And: “It’s not the correct use of Danish!” He had so much fun as he called us “old farts” and compared us to people who contacted tv and newspaper stations to complain about the journalists use of what they perceived as bad language. That semester, we learned that there is a difference between how people use language and in what situations – and that people do it to mark their identity.

So even though the old fart in me would like to be outraged at what honestly in my ears sounds rather simplistic and ridiculous, especially when English words are pronounced with excessive Danish pronunciation, I must at the same time rejoice that young people do what young people are best at – experimenting with who they are in the world and poking their fingers at the rest of us while doing so.