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.

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.

Stålværket i Mariupol bliver en humanitær katastrofe, mens verden ser på

Står vi foran en massakre, der ikke kan løses med diplomatiske midler?

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The steel plant in Mariupol is turning into a humanitarian disaster while the world is watching

Are we facing a massacre that wil not be solved through diplomacy?

Are there new reports about the discovery of new mass graves and more signs of massive human rights violations in Ukraine on today´s news? Is there a new account from a horrified woman with a rushed adrenaline fused voice or the sound of deep grief standing in front of a tv-reporter?

Several times a day I check the news and my podcasts. What’s the latest developments in Ukraine? Where are the Russian forces, how are the Ukrainians doing? I find myself wondering if I am borderline morbid, if it is tasteless to follow a development where people’s lives and horrific circumstances unfold before my eyes, while I intensely follow the development as if I was watching some kind of Netflix series.

Why am I and the rest of the world just sitting here, waiting for what is going to happen next to the surrounded soldiers and civilians at the steel plant in Mariupol ?

I am fairly sure I cannot be the only one feeling this way. If you look at the news coverage of the war in Ukraine, there must be viewers like me following the development closely. The war in Ukraine is covered massively by news outlets, experts of all sorts are brought in to explain the geography and military movement in Ukraine to the viewers while pointing to an electronic map, military experts and politicians are interviewed about the latest development, and every day journalists in Ukraine are ready with a new affected Ukrainian citizen telling his or her personal horror story.

I remember the feeling of constant alert from the first year of the Corona virus. The feeling that it was crucial, a necessity to get the most current details, graphs, personal accounts to better understand and figure out the best way to handle my own life and my family’s situation.

But the truth is, the more I try to understand, the less I actually understand. Of the horrors, of the slow reaction of the Western states, of the human psyche. It should not come as a surprise – it was after all in the high school’s ancient knowledge classes, I became acquainted with the phrase “I know, I know nothing”.

So why do we follow developments so intensely when we are powerless and the only thing many of us can do is to send donations? Why am I and the rest of the world sitting in front of our screens waiting, watching in slow-motion, for what is going to happen to the surrounded soldiers and civilians at the steel plant in Mariupol?

It is an accepted and convenient truth that humanitarian disasters must be resolved through diplomacy. But what happens when one humanitarian corridor after another is either canceled or much smaller than agreed upon? What happens when the Russian forces move closer and closer and hermetically hold women, children and the elderly in an iron grip, where it is only a matter of time before either there is no more food or they are stormed? Is it still, then, up to diplomacy to let the Russian bear call the shots and use the West in their sick manipulatory propaganda program?

As an individual citizen it is hard to to anything about the situation in Mariupol, isn´t it? Think about it. Had it not been for individuals taking the initiative when Russia invaded Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians would have arrived in Poland without a roof over their heads. Before the politicians were done negotiating solutions, individuals in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, and many other countries felt compelled to do something.

The steel plant in Mariupol is what we are all watching these days, watching and waiting for what is going to happen. One one hand side I want to yell: “Do something! The West must send forces and get people out, this ends in a terrible disaster!”

On the other hand, the consequences of what a military intervention from the West would mean for Europe is beyond what I can fathom. Would this be the beginning of a great war in which the western countries, including Denmark, was at war with Russia and its allies?

So here I am, watching. I do believe, everyone can contribute change – if nothing else then with donations and shouting from the rooftops. But when you cannot act in other ways, we in the West have learned to trust a political solution through diplomacy. Let’s hope for a diplomatic solution before a massacre in Mariupol unfold on our screens.

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.

Findes der er en rød linje, Rusland ikke må overtræde, før Vesten griber ind?

Hvis Vesten ikke vil gribe ind, kan Ukraine lige så godt give op nu og skåne sin civilbefolkning for flere lidelser.

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Is there a red line, Russia cannot cross before the West intervenes?

If the West does not want to intervene, Ukraine might as well give up now and spare its civilian population more suffering.

As the Russians relocate their troops, we have watched the results of the atrocities committed by the soldiers in Ukraine.

A man is intertwined in his bicycle. He must have been shot while biking down the street in his village.

A woman shares her story with a journalist. She had to bury her husband in her backyard. He had never held a gun in his life but the Russian soldiers dragged him out of their house and shot him.

A witness shares what he saw. Lines of cars trying to escape with signs taped to them – on the roofs, trunks, and on the sides of the cars. “Children,” the letters said in Cyrillic, clearly visible from the air and from the ground – bombed and left with the dead still trapped in the burned-out cars.

The TV screen shows Ukrainians lying in piles or in mass graves. In some places they are left in the street a few meters apart. Shot and then burned to hide what the Russians did to the Ukrainians. Some bodies have their hands tied behind their backs, some are shot from behind – deprived of life and a dignified burial.

Even in war, there are rules. They appear to have been violated again and again. Russia stubbornly denies this and says in claims the images are a setup with professional actors.

And then there is the disgusting weapon, the attempt to crack women and those who care about them. Rapes, some committed while children and men were forced to watch. Some women were barely left alive, while others were shot and burned.

Violence against women has always been used strategically in war – to break a population, to exercise power, to infiltrate ethnic populations with “foreign” blood when a baby gives off its first cry nine months later.

The world is interconnected. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why we seem to be watching, while Zelenskyj repeatedly begs us to close the airspace and provide more help.

There is no shortage of condemnation from the leaders of the Western world. USA, Germany, UN. Everyone has strong words to reassure the Western and democratically-minded world that Putin’s despicable actions are beyond their comprehension.

One sanction after another hit Putin and his cronies. One load of military hardware after another is being sent towards Ukraine. One country after another, with Poland as the main recipient, opens their borders and hearts to fleeing mothers, children, and the elderly.

Meanwhile, the carpet bombings continue targeting civilians – families in suburbs, hospitals, cultural and religious buildings.

The world is interconnected. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why we seem to be watching, while Zelensky again and again begs us to close the airspace and provide more help.

Brazil is dependent on fertilizers, Europe on oil and gas, etc., etc. The Western world buys much more from Putin than we contribute to Ukraine’s resistance.

No one is interested in a world war. And Putin knows that. But what does it take before the world has to react? What more can Putin do to the Ukrainian people that he has not already done?

If the answer is “nothing,” Ukraine might as well surrender now. The alternative is far too devastating to the civilian population.

Ukrainske mænd kæmper for deres kvinder – hvorfor gør afghanske mænd ikke det samme?

Afghanske kvinder og ukrainske mænd er villige til at sætte livet på spil for frihed.

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Ukrainian men fight for their women – why are Afghan men not doing the same?

Afghan women and Ukrainian men are willing to risk their lives for freedom.

They get their women and children on trains and wave their goodbyes. Then take up arms, for many for the first time in their lives. Or they make sure that wives, mothers, and sisters are safe in shelters deep underground, while heading out to fight against a brutal supremacy.

When journalists ask Ukrainian soldiers what they are fighting for, they reply “peace” and “the future of my children.”

Most of us have been deeply touched by the willingness of Ukrainians to fight for the freedom the country has only known since 1991, when they gained their independence. That is about as long as most of Afghanistan´s women experienced freedom from the oppressing cavemen of Taliban.

“It’s like being in a room that’s too small and too dark,” a young Afghan woman told a journalist on the New York Times podcast The Daily.

Yesterday, the Afghan girls were supposed to be back in schools after being sentenced to months of household chores indoors. The first thing the Taliban did when they took power in August last year, of course, was to cut off girls from education.

The girls’ dreams turned out to be just that – dreams. Because when the excited, happy, giddy girls showed up at their schools, they were sent home again if they went to a higher grade level than 6th grade. BBC World News shows pictures of covered girls with tearstained cheeks collapsing in anguish and others with an expressionless gaze.

The misogyny is devastatingly heartbreaking! Men were waving the girls biggest dreams in front of them, letting them rejoice, letting them get their classrooms ready, wiping chairs and school desks off – and then telling them that they can not get the education they have been looking forward to.

Far from all girls have the opportunity to participate in online learning. But those who do, study foreign languages, art, literature, physics, and chemistry. Some go to the bookstore and buy books, devouring as much learning as they can at home. Others draw, do dance groups with girlfriends, meet secretly.

In short – the girls have a will to fight, even if it is deadly dangerous if discovered that they spend their time on something other than domestic chores, which the Taliban believes is a woman’s ultimate purpose in life.

But the men in Afghanistan underestimate their girls and women if they think they are content with doing the dishes, cleaning, cooking, and give birth. Men have always underestimated women. And women have always had to do the dishes, clean, cook, and give birth – while completing an education.

This generation of Afghan women has access to the Internet – and thus to a knowledge of how women and girls in other parts of the world live. I wonder if they marvel at how men in Ukraine are willing to sacrifice their lives in the fight for their women and girls freedom.

Imagine what Afghanistan would look like, how the country and its citizens could flourish, if the Afghan men put their foot down and went against the Taliban brutality that has forced itself into power in the country. Imagine if the girls were allowed to believe in a future where they can live out their dreams and immense potential!

But since it does not seem to be the case that Afghan men want to fight for their women’s right to a free and peaceful life, like the Ukrainian men are willing to do, Afghan girls and women must fight for themselves. It should not have to be like that, but as I already said, there is nothing new in women having to fight for their rights without the aid of men.

I hope that Afghan women have as much fighting spirit as the Ukrainian men, since Afghan men have proven to be cowards.

Nyttige idioter kræver et velsmurt propagandaapparat – men det fratager ikke den enkelte for ansvar

Hitler, Putin og Jehovas Vidner har alle én ting til fælles: én sandhed og brutale konsekvenser for at bryde med den.

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Useful idiots require a propaganda apparatus – but every individual has a responsibility to be critical thinkers

Hitler, Putin, and Jehovah’s Witnesses – they all have one thing in common: one truth and brutal consequences for breaking it.

“We have the truth – what you hear about us from people outside is false speech, only meant to harm us.” The words sound like Russian propaganda, but they are not. They are uttered every single day in every country around the globe in the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

History shows us the importance of a systematized propaganda apparatus if one wants to gain power over a group of people and control a particular narrative. If you succeed, and at the same time establish a hard-hitting apparatus for those who dare to ask questions of the accepted Truth, you can control even huge crowds. There are multiple examples of this, just look at Nazi Germany, look at Jehovah’s Witnesses and look at Russia’s propaganda that is currently separating families on the Ukrainian and Russian borders.

The last few weeks, we have heard several interviews from citizens in Ukraine who, with sadness and disbelief in their voices, reveal how their immediate family members – fathers, mothers, siblings – refuse to believe that Russia is bombing civilian targets and that a war is being waged against a country that has opted for independence and democracy.

Some Russians may be afraid that they are being surveilled, afraid of the consequences in terms of imprisonment and torture for speaking out against the Russian regime.

But the lack of believing even your own family member could also be a result of decades of brainwashing have become the truth they fully believe in. The mechanisms of the human mind are probably the same, whether you have for years been listening to indoctrination in a Kingdom Hall (the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses) or to a state-run propaganda apparatus in Russia.

You have probably experienced it yourself if you have tried to talk sense with a Jehovah’s Witness knocking on your front door. You think you are having a conversation, but what comes out of their mouths are carefully rehearsed answers they’ve heard over and over and over again. Similarly, Russians have listened to the same messaging on state television and are now being bombarded with the “truth” about what is going on in Ukraine.

Whether you have tried to have a conversation about blood transfusions, the inhumane disfellowship of members, their internal juridical system that covers crimes, the absence of celebrating any holidays, and the organization’s enormous cash flows, it is quite impossible to penetrate the well-dressed witnesses amour of smiles and rehearsed arguments.

Ukrainians who talk to their Russian relatives experience the same as you do when trying to point out even commonly acknowledged truths, with a lowercase t. Both are met with autopilot responses they have heard repeated indefinitely.

Jehovah’s Witnesses learn that they are doing good deeds by telling you what the world really is like. That the world is evil and that you can be saved if you become a member of their organization. The Russians hear on state television that Ukraine is ruled by Nazis and is full of drug addicts, and that Russia’s mission is one of liberation.

The question is what can be expected from the individual´s perspective. Are you completely exempt from responsibility for critical thinking and examining what is really going on as a member of a larger community? Because the truth does exist, all be it with a lower case t.

When the truth is revealed, can you just say that you did not know any better?

Is it enough that you were just a useful idiot in a larger system, where being critical meant consequences not only for you but also for your family?

No, you are not free from an individual responsibility. Nazi lackeys were held accountable after World War II, and Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious fanatics cannot put their common sense into the hands of elders (male) and ignore atrocities committed against their members or deny basic scientific facts.

Nothing changes if the individual does not stand up for truth. Russian citizens have a duty, at a time when it is relatively easy to get news from uncensored sources, to familiarize themselves with what is really going on. Maybe it does not stop their dictator´s dreams of creating an empire and his propaganda apparatus, but at least they will not be his useful idiots.

Er vi på vej mod en tredje verdenskrig?

Europæerne må i uniformen og kæmpe for demokrati og frihed.

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Are we heading for a third world war?

Europeans must be in uniform and fight for democracy and freedom.

My cuticles are bleeding, and so is my heart. My anxiety is sky high and to deal with the stress I have excessively played “Tetris” on the phone until the early hours, while checking the latest news from Ukraine.

In graduate school, I spent a semester in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, where I worked at the Danish Cultural Institute. Never in my life have I experienced cold like that – both physically and mentally.

I did not understand the Estonians’ way of being, their lack of eye contact, their dismissive manner that made the Danish ways I was used to appear like American Southern hospitality. Therefore, in an effort to understand the Estonian history and people´s personal history, I decided to visit a new city every weekend and talk to people from different walks of life.

I’m sad and scared – but I’m also furious. First, we had to deal with Trump and the fear of waking up every morning to check what insane tweets he might have put out during the night putting everyone in danger. Then, Covid hit. Now Putin is showing his iron fist in an attempt to accomplish the first stage of his horrific dream empire.

That decision to travel the country and talk to regular people changed my view of the Estonian people. That´s how it usually goes when you begin to understand where people are coming from and their backgrounds.

I learned about how much the Estonians have suffered. They have suffered to such an extend that their language bears the mark of it. At a reception, I was told that there was only one word for nuts in Estonian. It may sound unimportant, but when you cannot express the word for simple foods in the language, it says something about the level of poverty and oppression a country has been under.

During my conversations with Estonians I heard about families that the Soviet regime had split up who never saw each other again. I heard about families who secretly celebrated Christmas and instructed their children never to tell about the Christmas tree at school. I heard about the lists the Sovjet regime kept and added to when Estonians went to church. I visited cemeteries for Estonians who had given their lives in a geopolitical game they had never asked or wanted to be a part of. I saw a camp, build on a cruel mathematical formula, in which new supplies of forced laborers were brought in every three weeks, the time it took to starve and work a Baltic citizen to death.

I heard about Russians who had fled from military bases in Estonia when the Soviet Union fell – and about the children they left behind that no one would help.

In Estonia, a large part of the population is Russian. Such is the case in the former Soviet territories. Clever, right? When incorporating, occupying, annexing, or whatever word we choose to name it in order to describe a taking over another country, it is an ingenious strategic move to place a huge proportion of citizens from the country taking over the new territory.

I feel a lump in my throat as I watch footage from a basement shelter where a row of children are sitting side by side with their legs dangling over the edge of the top bunk bed. Blue eyes, blonde hair, western clothes. The eyes search their mothers. Some mothers look away, others are mechanically stroking their little one.

I’m sad and scared – but I’m also furious. First, we had to deal with Trump and the fear of waking up every morning to check what insane tweets he might have put out during the night, putting everyone in danger. Then, Covid hit. Now, Putin is showing his iron fist in an attempt to accomplish the first stage of his horrific dream empire.

What happens if China decides to counter Western sanctions and help Russia financially or with military equipment?

It may not be quite as crazy as it sounds. The two countries agree on several things, including that the West is evil, and that former territories must again be brought under their red flags.

The problem with democratic-minded nations is that we in the West believe that negotiations, talks, and discussions are the way forward. That attitude is in stark contrast to authoritarian dictators who dream of great power and in their attempt to accomplish those dreams have no problem storming, shooting, bombing, and occupying to get what they want.

Europe is used to the United States coming to the rescue and sending their young men into the fight for freedom. But the United States is tired of sending their young people – and of getting nothing but criticism for their efforts. The country has buried thousands of their own for the freedom of the West. I do not blame America for wanting Europe to pull their own weight and put on the uniform to fight for its territory and the values they so loudly claim to represent. But I still hope that the United States once again will interfere.

Sanctions, condemnation and other opposition to Russia’s invasion are important. But Ukraine can not wait for the results of these measures. They need boots on the ground, and Europe should move fast to provide that.

“The biggest difference in the refugee flows I have seen so far is that I only see women and children,” the journalist at the border with Poland told CNN News. Women and children are leaving Ukraine. The men stay behind and fight for their country and for their own and their children’s freedom. Hopefully, the next generation of Ukrainians will have a chance to live in the freedom their fathers are fighting for and that the rest of us in the West take for granted.

nyd og vind med samme sind: Rusland blæser på regler for acceptabel opførsel

Så er den olympiske fakkel slukket. Mon ikke Rusland snyder resten af verden, sådan som de gjorde under legene, og åbner ild trods Vestens bøn om diplomati?Så er den olympiske fakkel slukket. Mon ikke Rusland snyder resten af verden, sådan som de gjorde under legene, og åbner ild trods Vestens bøn om diplomati?

Læs hele bloggen her:

Cheat and break the rules to win: Russia’s unacceptable behavior at the Olympic games, and in Ukraine

The Olympic torch has been extinguished. I wonder if Russia plans to deceive the rest of the world, as they did during the Games, and open fire despite the West’s plea for diplomacy?

The Olympic Games in China have been marked by scandals. In particular, the story of the 15-year-old Russian figure skater who tested positive for doping has attracted attention. Despite warnings from the Olympic officials, Russia coldly and cynically repeatedly breaks the rules of accepted behavior without regard to human cost.

Because of doping at the previous Olympic Games, Russia was not allowed to compete as a country at this year’s Olympic Games. Instead, the country’s athletes competed under the name The Russian Olympic Committee. What a charade! They should not have been allowed to compete at all!

Contrary to the intention – namely that Russia would have learned its lesson and competed with clean athletes without illegal drugs in their blood – they have once again been caught red handed.

For weeks, NATO, the EU, and the US have tried through diplomacy to appeal to Russia not to invade Ukraine. To show the world their dominance of the agenda, Russia has used various gimmicks, such as an ultra-long table and, and controlled the discourse when meeting with various diplomats.

I wonder if Putin would dare to act the way he does if the United States had a stronger leader and NATO and the EU, primarily Germany with its foot on the gas brake, sent a stronger signal? A signal that a country’s sovereignty is inviolable – and that the consequences of violating this would be met with other measures than  economic sanctions.

Time and again, leading politicians have pleaded and asked to be in audience with Putin. Reports have been prepared, press conferences have been held. Russia has made one demand after another. Demands that have been treated as if they had any right to be taken seriously; demands that have given Putin time to place his forces strategically while at the same time sending bot messages and paralyzing the digital infrastructure in Ukraine.

The way the West interacts with Putin is fundamentally unacceptable – because Putin is doing exactly the same as the Russian team did around the poor 15-year-old Olympic figure skater –using the system to the extreme to gain time and get his agenda through.

Of course, war should be avoided if possible. But Russia has made the West accommodate his whims and fancies in a way that clearly shows that there is no fear or respect when it comes to the consequences of a potential invasion.

Putin says he is not planning to invade Ukraine and that he has withdrawn his forces – but when it comes to Putin, one must close one’s ears to his propaganda and look at what he is actually doing. I wonder if he at any time actually was open to a diplomatic solution?

I wonder if Putin would dare to act the way he does if the United States had a stronger leader and NATO and the EU, primarily Germany with its foot on the gas brake, sent a stronger signal? A signal that a country’s sovereignty is inviolable – and that the consequences of violating this will be met with other measures than sanctions.

The Olympic torch in China has been extinguished. Once again, Russia left its mark on the “games” – and won medals that for them count more than fair play. I fear that a fire will soon spread in Ukraine, while Putin is deceiving the world: cheating, and breaking the rules to get what he wants.

Børnene er de konservatives næste angrebsmål

Ny lov skal forbyde skoler at tale om kønsidentitet. Men hvorfor kan vores unger ikke være det, de er, uden at vi føler, at vi har en eller anden ret til at vende tommeltotten op eller ned?

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Identity politics: The Republican Party is targeting our children

Florida´s new law will ban schools from talking about gender identity. But why don´t we allow our kids to be who they are without feeling we have a right to judge?

The state of Florida is known for sun, sea, retirees, and Cubans.

Now, the state is introducing of a “Don´t Say Gay”-law which would ban any talk of LGBTQIA+ people, sexual orientation, and gender identity in schools.

Have we learned nothing?

I hate to say it, but even if you close your eyes to something and bury your head in the sand, what you try to not see is still there. If we deny young people an opportunity to share their thoughts, it will have a catastrophic effect on mental health for these vulnerable young people.

All young people need to have an opportunity to talk about and explore their identity. My own teenage daughter is one of them. At her school, there is a Rainbow Club every Thursday after school.

For a long time, my daughter thought she was ace, (asexual). She wore the purple flag, wore purple clothes with sequins on the jacket. I had a feeling it was rooted on the fact that she was not yet ready to talk about the topics that her tween friends were starting to talk about. But I kept that assumption to myself. Instead, we talked about identity and about finding out who you are.

Recently, our daughter told us she is no longer an ace. She now thinks boys are rather interesting. She still attends Rainbow Club, because of the atmosphere and because many of her friends go there.

Why can´t our kids be who they are without us feeling we have a right to judge? And why can we not be open to the fact that their identity is fluid, and that we just have to hang on and follow along on the sidelines? Why is it more important to be able to understand their identity than to make them feel accepted?

It may come as a surprise that Florida is bringing a law like this up when a 2021 Gallup poll shows that 70 percent. of all Americans are in favor of gay marriage.

But the governor of the sunny crocodile state has big political ambitions, and the political climate is such that members of The Republican Party is trying to see who can have the most extreme mindset. Never mind the LGBTQIA+ casualties when trying to bring the discourse of identity back to the 1950s.

A few months ago, I spoke with a Danish friend who lives with her wife and their two daughters in a state in the middle of the United States. »Pearl, Triangle and Square. I don´t understand! Are they dressing up, are they men or women !?”, she asked.

“I had no idea what some of the abbreviations stood for and I did not understand why it was so important. Time and again, I had to say, “Hey, I’m on your team, don´t direct your frustration at me” to my daughter.

“Does it matter?” I replied.

“They are trying to figure themselves out and this way frankly seem pretty harmless to me. Isn´t it amazing the way they are able to talk about identity in a way our generation never was?”

Even for my friend, who, is in the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s hard to understand the identity markers this generation of youth use. As humans, we are weary, maybe even resistant when we encounter something other, we do not understand.

That’s how I felt myself. I still regularly make “mistakes” and then reap a glimpse of contempt from my daughter, who makes me understand that I have messed up. I had no idea what some of the abbreviations stood for and I did not understand why it was so important. Time and again and again I had to say, “Hey, I’m on your team, don´t direct your frustration at med” to my daughter.

But this is important for young people. And it’s deeply personal. For them, it’s about many things, but it’s also about them having a need to see that we as adults respect them as individuals.

We do not have to understand to respect. Our generation does not have to stifle young people’s need to talk about and find their identity – it is not a threat to us. In fact, it is not about us at all.

Children and young people must be met with openness. All children deserve love, empathy, respect, and protection – even if they do not fit into a box we understand. Everything else is heartless.

And yes, it is important what’s going on in Florida. Just like it is important to know that the state of Texas has introduced abortion rules that make it virtually impossible for a woman to terminate her pregnancy.

Because when you little by little systematically deprive citizens of their rights, the strategy starts with minorities. It makes sense: The likelihood of the surrounding society, those with the privileges, likely won´t react.

But even if a law that deprives a group of people of their rights does not affect us personally, we must respond. Because it’s the right thing to do – and because maybe next time it’s our turn to lose a right.