The Danish press is looking into Søren Pape´s, the leader of the Danish Conservative People´s Party, statements and actions – all you have to do is to turn to America to see how bad things can go

Looking into Søren Pape´s behavior is relevant – he might be the next Danish Prime Minister

I am not comparing Søren Pape to Donald Trump one to one; their behavior cannot be compared and Pape´s potential misconduct does not match that of Donald Trump´s. But, the principle of the press investigating the worthiness and suitability of the person who has ambitions to lead the country is the same – and that process is important.

I live in the United States and every day the news bring stories revealing Trump’s abuse of power while he was president – and reveal stories about what he has been willing to do for his dictatorial ambitions. Furthermore, Trump put the country’s security and the citizens´ lives at risk after he was out of office.

And that is the part of the story about the leader of the Danish Conservative People´s Party Søren Pape that is interesting. The public needs to know if he has violated any laws or committed actions within the country´s borders and internationally inconsistent with how one behaves as a publicly elected person. If it turns out he has, it needs to be addressed and dealt with – immediately. If we don´t, all one has to do is look to America to see how bad things can go. The Danish population needs to know who they are potentially voting to be the next leader of Denmark before an election.

“when the press smells blood, you have to be able to provide more than a muffled answer to survive in the highest circles of political life – as the saying goes: when you are a public figure, the press will attend both the wedding and the divorce.

It’s a good thing the press is not intimidated but do the research which leads to providing the public with the information they find. Some findings are irrelevant in relation to Pape’s dreams of becoming the next Danish Prime Minister, others may reveal serious incidents. That’s the process. It’s not pretty, but it’s necessary.

It is crucial that the population has a right to know what kind of candidate they are potentially voting into the Prime Minister’s Office – especially if illegal activities have damaged Denmark’s reputation and put the country´s security at risk.

That Pape is so ill-prepared and handles the shitstorm he’s in so completely unmannerly is another matter. He clearly needs his spin doctor to help him prepare his public responses better. But when spin and emotionally distress intertwine, it is clearly difficult for him to utter anything meaningful to the public. A public person like Pape should know that once the press smells blood, you have to be able to give more than a muffled answer to survive in the highest circles of political life – as the saying goes: the press will attend both the wedding and the divorce.

As we have seen countless times with Trump here in the United States, it creates a ground for conspiracy theories and allows the press to gain the upper hand and run the stories in the direction they want when a politician does not want to answer strait to questions from the press.

Søren Pape’s inability to handle the situation is shameful, because his unwillingness to elaborate and answer questions creates uncertainty in relation to his competences as Denmark’s future leader. Hopefully, time will show that he didn´t compromise Denmark’s interests. Time will tell, the press turn every stone and unearth whatever lies below the surface – for the benefit of Denmark and democracy.

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Det er ikke kønt, men det er nødvendigt at gå Pape efter i sømmene – se bare på USA, hvor galt det kan gå

Det er relevant, hvad Søren Pape har foretaget sig – han kan stå på tærsklen til at få overdraget nøglerne til Statsministeriet.

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Stop Russian tourists from strolling around in Denmark and other western countries

Denmark and the rest of Europe is at war with Russia, not just with Putin.

Several Danish politicians argue that we are not at war with Russia. It’s Putin we don’t like, not the country’s citizens, they argue. Therefore, we should not make restrictions on whether Russians can travel to Europe on holiday, they argue.

To this I just have to say: What nonsense!

“Doesn’t it shake the inner moral compass up when we with one hand financially support Ukraine to fight the Russia’s invasion, while with the other let the country´s citizens spend their rubles in the Copenhagen Magasin mall and Harrods ?

The ordinary Russian does not have the means to travel abroad. Those who travel do not speak out against the regime. If they did, their situation would look completely different. Because in Russia it is wisest not to stick your nose out and speak against the system. If you stay silent, you can live well. And although we in the West want to believe that it is only Putin who has imperialist superpower dreams, many Russians support his regime.

Secondly, some voices say it would be a good to continue to allow Russian students to study in the West. Who knows, the argument goes, maybe they’ll go back and spread the ideas of democracy they’ve been introduced to outside of their censorious, authoritarian homeland. Again, it is the children of wealthy Russians who travel abroad to study. And you have to be more than naive if you think that young Vladimir or Anastasia will go home and speak out against the system that has made it possible for their mother and father to send them away – a system that can bring their parents status down if the offspring speaks against the the system.

Either they are extremely naive or cynical when voices in the public arena argue that individual Russians should not pay a price for Putin’s madness. Especially when it is widely known that Russia is keeping captured Ukrainians in camps, using mass rape as a strategic weapon of war, and bomb towns specifically targeting the civilian population.

You can obviously choose to close your eyes to that knowledge. You could also choose to have integrity and stand up for principles instead of choosing to look at the situation from a monetary perspective. It can be difficult to open your eyes. You risk seeing something you don’t want to.

If you have previously taken a position that does not align with the real world, this can be difficult. But that is what gives a person integrity and character – that he or she dares to let his or her worldview be influenced by the real world and not the world we all wish we were living in.

The school year has just started in Denmark. Many new Ukrainian students have arrived, children who struggle every day to fit in and understand the childhood and the world that has changed for them overnight.

Isn’t it a mockery of the many victims of the war that we let rich Russians luxuriate in the same society we have invited Ukrainian citizens to find peace? Doesn’t it shake the inner moral compass when we with one hand financially support Ukraine to fight Russia’s invasion, while with the other let the country´s citizens put their rubles in the Copenhagen Magasin mall and Harrods ?

The West is not only at war with Putin – we are at war with Russia. The leader of Russia is Putin, and his system penetrates everything in Russia. Putin sends his people to war, and many voluntarily go to fight for him. It may be very convenient to want to separate the leader of a country from its people – but this argument is naive semantics. We have to punish collectively.

If the West dares to stand up for common decency, it may start to hurt the privileged sections of the Russian population who travel to the West and pretend the war has nothing to do with them . Maybe that way they will finally get the courrage to remove their terrible leader – if only to get their comfortable life back for and their children into Europe.

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Selvfølgelig skal russiske turister ikke spankulere rundt i Danmark og andre lande, som Rusland er i proxykrig med

Danmark og resten af Europa er i krig med Rusland, ikke kun med Putin.

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Forfattere i USA står op for ytringsfrihed

Hvad siger det om vestlige demokratier, at de ikke beskytter deres borgeres ytringsfrihed?

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Writers in the US are standing up for free speech

What does it say about Western democracies if they do not protect their citizens’ freedom of expression?

This Friday prominent American writers like Paul Auster and his wife Siri Hustvedt gathered on the stairs in front of The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue under the slogan “Stand with Salman: Defend the Freedom to Write.” (“In solidarity with Salman Rushdie: Defend the right to write freely.”)

A week ago, Salman Rushdie was stabbed during a literary event north of New York City when a man jumped on stage and stabbed him several times with a knife. Ironically, Rushdie was about to talk about how the United States is a safe heaven for writers who cannot stay safely in their own countries.

For more than thirty years, Salman Rushdie has lived a life with security guards 24/7 – simply because he did what writers do – used his creativity in a literary work. In one such experiment he played with the idea that the holy book of the Muslim faith, the Koran, was not divinely inspired but rather the result of a whispers from Satan. For that work, The Satanic Verses, he garnered a fatwa from Iran’s top Islamic leader that encouraged any Muslim to murder Rushdie. In addition, a bounty of 3 million dollars was put on his head.

For more than thirty years, Rushdie has lived with the knowledge that radicalized Muslims all over the world had a desire to kill him or would rejoice if others did. Rushdie moved from Europe to the United States, where he, for more than twenty years, was almost able to live a normal life. Until now.

Unfortunately, he is not the only one who has had to move from Europe because he criticized Islam. As Europe becomes more Islamized, several people with inside knowledge of Islam have spoken out and problematized various cultural and value attitudes that are not compatible with Western, free democracies. For their outspokenness, they have received death threats. Several have even paid the ultimate price. In several cases, the European governments have not wanted to spend the financial means needed to protect people who spoke against Islam. For example , Ayaan Hirshi Ali, who is originally from Somalia and became a politician and critic of Islam in the Netherlands, also had to move to the United States because her Dutch homeland could not guarantee her safety.

When an author, journalist, comedian or writer is attacked for what he or she has as a profession, namely his words, what does he have left?

“An attack on a writer, cartoonist, comedian, politician, or public figure because of his or her statements and writing is an attack on each and every one of us who believe in democratic values.

Salman Rushdie has never compromised on his beliefs, but has again and again and again pleaded for the right to express himself freely. He has done this with intellectual depth and quirky humor. Despite living under a constant threat, he has helped other writers and intellectuals who were in vulnerable positions because they spoke out against authoritarian regimes or extreme religious groups. Most recently, he has joined a network that helps Ukrainian writers.

It shouldn’t be necessary to say. But these days, writers and other creative souls cannot freely use their creativity and write without fear. All over the world there is a keen sense of awareness that when you speak out or write critically about totalitarian regimes and Islam, there might be a price of violence to pay.

Our rights and freedoms here in the West are more fragile than we dare to admit. Because if we admit that premise, then we also admit that our societal model and form of government have failed. If we can only feel safe within the borders of our own countries, when we shut down criticism, turn a blind eye, and refuse to speak out on specific subjects, and self-censor ourselves, then the rights we think we have are a hollow illusion.

We are faced with a choice: we can remain silent in fear. Or we can do as the writers who, without face coverings and with their names clearly stated today on the steps in the heart of New York to the library that contains thousands of books – all the result of a creative, free process, refuse to let violence destroy the principles we believe in.

An attack on a writer, cartoonist, comedian, politician or public figure because of his or her statements and writing is an attack on each and every one of us who believe in democratic values in a society with individual liberties.

May the voices that dare to speak against regimes of violence, hatred and religion never remain silent when threatened! May we fight for them to be able to write and say what they wish without fear of reprisals. And may our western democratic states wake up soon, so that you don’t have to be brave to express yourself freely. #StandWithSalman

Muslimske mænd: Mand jer op!

Hvor er vestlige muslimers kamp for afghanske pigers ret til at gå i skole

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Muslim Men: Man Up!

Why are Muslims in Western countries not fighting for Afghan girls’ right to go to school?

It’s been a year since Biden threw in the towel and gave Afghanistan’s girls and women the middle finger. The American exit was a disaster and a scandal, both for the country’s reputation and for the Afghan girls and women who are now caged behind their veils and the walls of their homes. The United States has a responsibility for sure. But what is much worse is that Muslim men in Afghanistan and the rest of the world are not fighting for their Afghan mothers, sisters and daughters – and that is a disgrace worse than the failed US presence in Afghanistan.

A year ago, city after city in Afghanistan fell to the extreme Islamist group, Taliban. For more than 20 years, American soldiers had been present in the country and tried to make a difference in relation to democracy, gender equality, and showing the population an alternative to the Taliban’s regime of violence and terror.

“Where were the Afghan men who reportedly overwhelmingly support girls’ right to school? Why didn’t they form a protective ring around the women?

Faster than anyone could say failed democratization, Afghan men laid down their weapons that should have been used to defend the weakest part of the population, namely women and children. The coward for a president took his billions and fled the country.

We all remember the images of desperate people trying to get out of the country, clinging to the wings of an airplane but ending up dead, while we watched them fall to the ground like little dark specks as the plane took off. In a flash I remembered the towers in New York when they were hit and people jumped off the buildings and straight to their deaths.

Violence, panic, chaos; families that were torn apart; women gave birth on the premises of the base; people died of hunger and thirst in the scorching heat or as a result of violent episodes.

Thousands of Afghans desperately tried to get out of the country when they saw where things were headed. They remembered all too well what the regime of terror by the Taliban. They knew very well that the Taliban speak with a forked tongue. In particular, everyone knew how girls and women were treated.

Imagine how the girls and women who stayed back are doing now – the hell they are living in. Taliban leaders told the West it was only a matter of time before schools would reopen to middle school-age girls. So we waited, and so did the girls in Afghanistan. On the day that was supposed to be the first day of school, they were more than ready. They smiled, there was a spring in their step; this was the day they had been looking forward to. Finally, they could go back to school. But when they showed up, long-bearded, robe-clad cavemen waited for them and told them that they wouldn’t be allowed back to school after all. What a vicious exercise of power, what a dehumanizing humiliating display of power. Since then, the girls have been hidden away and are back in kitchens, doing the laundry, and scrubbing the floors. If they move outside, they risk being beaten or shot.

A few days ago, approximately 40 women demonstrated for equal rights. 40 brave women. One almost get a lump in ones throat. The BBC reported that the demonstration was quickly dissolved when the Taliban regime’s scoundrels shot into the air in a show of force. The message to the women was loud and clear: Go home, or we’ll lower our guns and shoot into your little group.

Where were the Afghan men who reportedly overwhelmingly support girls’ right to go to school? Why didn’t they form a protective ring around the women? Why don’t they speak up for these girls when they clearly have no problem declaring in front of an open screen and in various opinion polls that they most certainly support girls’ right to go to school and absolutely do not agree with the Taliban? And where are the Muslims living in the West when it comes to supporting their fellow Afghan sisters? Here in the West, they live in safety with no threat when they utter their views. Here in the West, in stark contrast to the Afghan girls and young women, their sisters, wives and daughters have all the rights and access to free education they could ever dream of. So why don’t we hear a peep from some of the voices that otherwise shout so loudly that their rights in western democratic countries are not respected?

It is a cheap shot and a double standard to criticize things that you consider not adhering and accommodating Muslim values in countries that are based on Western freedoms, while enjoying these freedoms and simultaneously advocating and demonstrating for more legislative changes that accommodate Muslim values. The fact that you don’t lift a finger, take to the streets, or collect signatures to shout out about and for the rights of women who need the loud shouts more than you need to implement Muslim values into the legislation in western democracies, leaves me with a strong disgust, distaste, and lack of respect. So Muslim men : Man you up!

Pinligt, Danmark! Kravl ned fra den høje hest, og stik i arbejdstøjet – kvinder og minoriteter skal op ad ligestillingsstigen

Danmark ligger på en 32.-plads, når det drejer sig om ligestilling, viser ny rapport.

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What an embarrassment, Denmark! It is time to crawl down from your high horse, and shift into work clothes – so women and minorities can climb up the equality ladder

Denmark is in 32nd place when it comes to gender equality, a new report shows.

” Denmark !?” is the reaction I am often met with when I tell people in the US where I am originally from. “Aren´t you the happiest country in the world with a high degree of gender equality?”

As Danes, we are taught to be proud of our country, our culture, our history, and our model of society. Maybe too proud.

A new report from the World Economic Forum, Gender Ecuality Gap 2022 , states that gender equality is overall declining. The report points out that it will take well over 100 years to achieve gender equality.

No country has full gender equality. But the countries in the top 10 are the ones we usually compare ourselves with – countries like Iceland, which top the list with 90%, Finland, Norway and Sweden, which all have a gender equality percentage of over 80%.

Although many Danes are quite proud when it comes to their country, they have to stop gloating about the degree of gender equality. Because the ranking for Denmark is embarrassingly bad. In fact, it has gone backwards, which is visibly marked by a small minus symbol on the right side of the column next to Denmark in the list of the country’s ranking.

Denmark is no longer a hippie-we-are-all-equal-because-we-burn-our-bras-are-and-our-men-knit-kids-hats-country. Denmark is not as equal as the Danes think. We lag far behind countries like Rwanda and Namibia. If Denmark wants to be in the same league as our Nordic neighbors, several parties must get off their high horse and pull on their work clothes.

This applies to men who do not want to give up their place in politics and business, it applies to men who are board members with an attitude about how a person on a board should look, act and speak. And it applies to women who have an expectation of themselves and their fellow sisters, when they let those with career ambitions feel like they are the worst mothers, if the home does not look like an Ikea catalog , the food is not made from scratch, the mother does not go to every school event, and tuck their kids in every night.

But equality also applies to minorities’ access to high positions in the labor market and in political life. And for those who have the skills but may not have the experience moving in the circles of the well read. People who didn´t grow up in a family with middle class dinner table discussions and therefore speaks a language that makes them seem like strange birds? These groups have a different perspective, different voices – and little duck pond Denmark needs that if the country is to survive in a more globalized world.

A few years ago I went to a panel discussion at the University of Washington in Seattle, where the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anders Samuelsen, and Crown Princess Mary spoke. But the wisest words came from a female grad student. “Give up the chair you are sitting on,” she said. “Only in this way do women and minorities break the glass ceiling.”

Denmark is no longer a hippie-we-are-all-equal-for-we-burn-our-bra-are-and-our-men-knit-kids-hats-country.

Not unexpectedly, the report from the World Economic Forum has shocked the Danes. Today I listened to a podcast called “Debatten” on P1, where the result of Denmark’s ranking in the report was debated. Among the guests was the Danish Minister for Gender Equality, Trine Bramsen, who unfortunately was neither a particularly great communicator nor had a clear message when it came to propose suggestions on what can be done to get more women on the boards and give them the incentive and courage to be self-employed.

I was cursing out loud when I heard her say that one way to address the gender gap is to rethink corporate culture and where meetings are held between 5pm and 8pm, “during tugging-in time”.

Since when can ones partner, no matter how he or she is attached to the relationship, not tug the kiddo in? And since when is it implicitly the role of the mother? And if she’s single, then there’s probably a nanny who can do the bedtime story for one or two nights without the kid being long term harmed by it.

Maybe something is simply fundamentally and structurally wrong with the way we look at the role of a mother, when even Denmark’s Minister for Gender Equality uses words, it seems neither she nor the other guests in the radio studio find disturbing. Words that explicitly express a view of antiquated gender roles. Maybe her way of expressing herself was not a Freudian slip, maybe she was simply expressing a view that permeates the view of family life in large parts of Denmark – and which keeps women in a role of expectation that they have a hard time breaking free from, if they do not wish to be shamed as mothers?

Another reason why Denmark is ranked so incredibly bad in the new gender equality report may have something to do with the way the welfare state is set up. No matter what line of work you have as a Dane, you will be fine. An ordinary job will pay for a house, a car, several holidays, all the material goods you need- why work your butt off – and why stand out in an ambitious dream of reaching the top, when the whole Law of Jante socialization from preeschool through the entire education system teaches you not o stand out?

Of course, it’s perfectly ok to love that view on society – it just does not look good in a gender equality report. Therefore, Denmark must either accept that the price for their model of society comes with a disparity when it comes to exceptionalism and gender equality. Otherwise they have to do something about it and actively fight for equality and against the law of Jante where noone dares standing out for fear of being socially ostracized.

So next time an American asks me a question about happiness and gender equality in Denmark, I might answer: “Yes, Denmark ranks second among the happiest countries in the world – perhaps because we do not expect much. And in fact, the United States ranks higher on the Gender Equality Index than Denmark .”

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.

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.

Læs hele bloggen her:

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.

Kan ro og orden gå hånd i hånd med ytringsfrihed?

Urolighederne i Sverige viser, hvilke enorme udfordringer Europa står over for.

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Is peace and order possible in societies with freedom of speech?

The unrest in Sweden reveal enormous challenges facing Europe.

Are you allowed to spit on a book, step on it, burn it off in a godforsaken rest area in the outskirts of Sweden? Yes, you have the right to do that – even if it is neither very original, nor constructive.

There is no need to discuss what our rights are, we are well aware of them. If you would like to, you could portray Christ with a ginormous boner and gods and prophets with and without bombs in their turbans.

The right and ability to mock politicians, religions, gods and prophets is a way of measuring whether a society is free – it is precisely when freedom of speech is pushing our limits for feeling comfortable that we know it works. It is the cornerstone of a free country. But in a globalized world people with different views move around. And when the majority views freedom of expression differently than countries, in for instance Scandinavia, is it then time to scale back on ideology and keep ones positions on politics, religion etc. to conversations around the dining table within the confined space of our homes?

The Danish model worked because the population was homogeneous and largely based on the same culture and the same values. That is no longer the case. You can mourn it, but it’s the reality. When the demography changes, so must the model of society.

How do we deal with the massive aggressions lurking beneath the surface in many European countries? Around Europe, streets and residential areas are on fire every time religious criticism is perceived as personal persecution.

Something has to give. How should secular nations of atheistic culturally Christians on the one hand and hardcore believers for whom there is no difference between faith and the individual, on the other, live together in the same country?

It is difficult for a Dane to understand the feelings that exist within Islam. And it is a corner stone in Danish identity to seek consensus.

A few years ago, a priest in the United States wanted to burn a Koran in front of his church. The Pentagon asked him not to. For the safety of US forces in the Middle East.

It should be clear at this point in time that in a global world, actions taken in the small Danish town of Skive can reach all the way to Shanghai, Koran burnings at a rest stop in Sweden and drawings in a Danish newspaper can become known throughout the world in an instant.

It should also be clear at this point that it is both ignorant and arrogant to believe that all immigrants from totalitarian regimes who come to Western democracies will naturally embrace the values of western democracies.

We know the conditions in Saudi Arabia, the repression in China, the killings of journalists and political opponents in Russia, Turkey’s mafia methods around Europe on opponents of the president, killings and rapes of women in India, girls’ repression in Afghanistan. The list is long, I have unfortunately only just started. When democracies are attacked by totalitarian powers, and when violence is met with the desire for dialogue, when basic human rights are met with oppression – then resistance is shattered, democracies lose and the dialogue falls silent.

Simply put: The soft fight for freedom of expression, as we have defined it until now, is lost. For the premise of mutual understanding is basically not just skewed, but in a conflicting relationship where the parties can never reach each other. “Freedom of expression is inviolable” faces “nothing critical may be said about Islam”.

Western democracies are fundamentally based on dialogue, exchange of views and compromise. Especially in a democracy like the Danish one, where minority governments have historically been the norm, our approach to resolving disagreements is negotiation, consensus and dialogue.

Denmark is one of the world’s best functioning countries. The Danish model worked because the population was homogeneous and largely based on the same culture and the same values. That is no longer the case. You can mourn it, but it’s the reality. When the demography of a population changes, so must the model of society.

The United States has long debated freedom of speech, and the different states are massively divided on their approach. In general, we have learned to censor what we say and do in public when it comes to religion. There are no Christian holidays here, no Easter egg hunts, and no Christmas decorations in public schools.

That’s fine with me – the less religion takes up space, the better. But for those of us in favor of freedom of expression, the line has been crossed in an attempt to compromise, when books that can be perceived as offensive are censored out of libraries and curricula at educational institutions. The result is young, ignorant and single-minded people.

The balance is difficult, and personal preferences mean that the population groups themselves in enclaves, select schools and educational institutions that meet their beliefs, choose friends with the same ethnicity, culture, and religion. The American society works, but it is divided.

I wonder if Europe will not develop into being more like the ones we have in the United States? How long can European societies last if the streets are constantly set on fire because of hurt feelings before drastic changes have to take place?

If we want a society of peace and order and a peaceful coexistence in a population that is no longer as homogeneous as it once was, freedom of speech and peace and order are opposites.

If we give in and keep quiet, we are compromising the ideology that most of us treasure as absolutely essential to our freedoms, identity and human condition. But if we do not give in and continue as usual, the streets will be on fire again and again and human lives will be lost. None of these to premises are acceptable.

How do we find a different way of living our values than the one that worked in what seems like an antiquated Danish society, where the population shared culture, ethnicity and religion? If we insist on going about religious topics in public space in a way we found healthy and liberating in the 1970s, we risk a divided society.

What did the American priest end up doing? He canceled his Koran burning event – and avoided a reaction of violence and hatred, perhaps even saving the lives of American soldiers in the Middle East. But he did so at the expense of freedom of speech.