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.

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.

Hvor længe vil verden se på, at Rusland og Kina systematisk smadrer enhver demokratisk proces?

Ruslands og Kinas stormagtsintentioner bør få omverdenen til at reagere.

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How long will the world watch while Russia and China systematically crack down on any democratic process?

Russia and China’s aspirations for being superpowers ought to make the world react.

These are dark times for democracy in Russia and in China. Every day the systems use their tight grips to ensure that people are forced into a life without the right to think, believe, and express themselves freely.

Yesterday, it was announced that Russia is closing Memorial International, an organization that maps human rights violations. The organization has been seen as a key part of Russia’s development in a democratic process.

Russia takes down and poisons political opponents, but they do not refrain from attacking critics of their system within their own borders. We regularly hear that advocates of freedom of speech are poisoned in European countries, such as Germany and England.

China exposes its people to one monstrosity after another. Forced sterilization, labor camps for groups that believe and think something other than the communist regime wants them to, known and lesser known women and men who disappear from one day to the next, etc.

But China has also given the world a prime example of how to introduce totalitarianism in record time.

Developments in Hong Kong give a clear picture. In 11 months, more than 50 organizations, political parties, media groups, churches, youth organizations, pro-democracy movements, etc. have been dissolved. Even Amnesty International has had to close down.

What got to me was a story about an organization of lawyers who have been working to promote democracy since 2007 are among the groups that have had to close down this year. Why? Because this clearly shows that China’s methods are systematically aimed at groups that can provide support to those who work for democracy.

The formula works, China keeps on pushing their agenda. Russia does the same. If I was Taiwan or Ukraine, I would be very nervous – especially since there is no indication that the rest of the world intends to respond to either China’s or Russia’s aggressions.

The United States, the United Nations and several European countries have condemned the two countries behavior and imposed diplomatic boycotts. But is that enough? Diplomatic boycott is a clear symbolic tool, but it is far from enough when powerful nations use their anti-democratic muscles and hammer peaceful measures into the ground.

So is it not rather naive of the surrounding world to think that two huge nations with dreams of great power will stop and ´only´ force measures through, that is aimed at their own populations?

China and Russia have enormous economic and resource power. Is that why the world does not dare to react? Or do democracy and human rights not really mean much to us, as long as we ourselves enjoy living in free conditions? That is a dangerous attitude, because developments in China and Russia have shown that the rights we take for granted can disappear from one day to the next.

How long has the world been going to look at anything more than a shrug?

Danmark bør følge USA og lave en diplomatisk boykot af OL i Kina

Sport og politik har altid været blandet sammen; at påstå det modsatte er et privilegeret og mageligt standpunkt.

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Denmark should follow the United States and make a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China

Sports and politics have always been mixed together; to claim the opposite is a privileged and leisurely position.

You are overreacting – that´s never going to happen!

That was the reaction I was met with in Denmark a few years ago. I was on vacation in Denmark and the discussion I was engaging in took place in a Copenhagen kitchen – far from China and the USA. I claimed that China was dangerous and would soon gain economic power to the extend that the world would not dare to go against the country when it violated human rights.

And here we are. The United States and other nations has announced a diplomatic boycot of the country – they will cheer for their athletes but will do so from home. That decission is the right thing to do. I would prefer that the Olympics were not held in China at all, that the whole world would boycott the event. But that is not going to happen, so the next best thing – a diplomatic boycott – is an important strategic signal. For China is not part of the club when it comes to human rights, and Western democracies must dare to say thta out loud.

The United States is signaling that China’s views on human rights and the treatment of its own citizens are unacceptable. America refuses to send an official diplomatic signal that would legitimize the regime. It may result in consequences in relation to trade agreements, environmental negotiations, etc., but it is a question of integrity – and Denmark and Europe aught to stand up for the human rights they claim to fight for.

The sports world is full of corruption. Again and again we learn about shady deals, where huge sums of money change hands, and holding sporting events are dependent on what sums a country is willing to slip into the pockets of a decision maker. That is unfortunately the way things are, and if we are being honest, we know it – even if we would rather close our eyes and comfortably sit back on the sofa in front of the TV screen while watching the athletes.

To claim that sports and politics have nothing to do with each other is a privileged stand point. And what’s more, it’s so unsympathetic and distasteful that I have a hard time finding a vocabulary suitable for the printed press to describe it.

Because if you claim that you “just” want to sit and scroll in front of the screen and enjoy watching your sport without supporting a diplomatic boycott, you are de facto supporting a regime that has millions of human lives on its conscience. People who, for one reason or another, do not agree with the regime – and pay a hefty price for their desire to think, speak, and believe freely. If you do not take a stand, you are essentially contributing and supporting and thus partly responsible.

But if it does not worry you or touch a string in your human right spoiled universe far from a world where athletes disappear and people are sent to labor camps if they do not show the right loyalty to the Chinese government, then just take a bite out of your pizza slice and down it with a sip of microbrew beer while cheering on your Danish homeland.

We have a responsibility, and we can not just turn our backs because it is convenient for us. Denmark has not yet sided with democracy and human rights in the issue of the Olympics in China. Who knows, maybe the country will one of the next few days – but I wonder if the politicians would have given it a second thought at all, had it not been for the United States stand?

Until a decision is made, Denmark signals no hesitation in sending princes, politicians and diplomats to a dictatorship without respect for human life and the rights of the individual.