Everyone is freaking out about the new Danish law—passed yesterday—allowing police to seize asylum seekers’ valuables, because it’s so in-your-face disgusting. As former Minister of the Exterior Per Stig Møller from the Conservative Party said a couple of days ago: “Throughout their whole journey they will have encountered human traffickers and thieves and have been robbed, and then they’ll come to the Danish border—and have the rest confiscated”. Nasty images, indeed.
It has been pointed out that this isn’t about actual financial gain (how could it be?), but about sheer humiliation. This is what finally got me to understand the Danish word “svinehund”, after all these years. That sadistic streak that will just rile itself up at the opportunity to kick someone who is already lying down. That part that’s going, “You call yourself a refugee, but you have an iPhone? How dare you. How fucking dare you. Give me that!”, and then proceed to rant about refugees with suitcases full of diamonds.
However, let’s not forget about the other elements of the law that was passed. One of the really grim ones is the fact that refugees will have to wait three years for their right to family reunification. This is from when they are legally recognised as refugees, ie. have been granted asylum, so in reality, the total length of time would be longer than that. But there’s more: Protection will only be granted on a one-year basis. So in reality, people may never reach the magic number three which would allow them to maybe be reunited with their spouse or parent or child in safety, provided they survive that long. There are some disturbing provisions for indefinite detention too.
“You just want the whole world to live in Denmark”, I hear the chorus of cries already. Honey, I don’t even want to live in Denmark. I could and I have, but it’s not currently at the top of my choices. Relax. I think you’ll find that more of the world wants to live in London, which is why our rent is so mental, but that’s another story. (And let’s not even talk about how both the previous Prime Ministers of Denmark have gone on to pursue careers outside of the country—Anders Fogh Rasmussen even while he was still supposed to be in office—practically treating the highest office in your country as just another step on their career ladder.)
My point is, you’re freaking out about made up boogeymen instead of real, actual problems—while being robbed blind elsewhere. You really should watch out for your own money and what the politicians are doing with it instead of getting stiffies over refugees’ jewllery.
Here are a few words from my friend and co-admin in our infamous Facebook group for “pearls” (dear lord, I can’t believe it’s been seven years), the key words being “cuts in social welfare”:
For me it was a bit over two years from the day I set foot on Danish soil until my father did the same. I don’t really want to talk about what that was like. But who knows, maybe the same people currently foaming at the mouth at the thought of refugees’ suitcases full of diamonds would say, “Well, he survived, didn’t he? Probably wasn’t a real refugee anyway.”
P.S. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Please visit this site and take a moment to commemorate the victims of genocide.