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Non-Danes - Denmark's scapegoat

Photograph: iStock

Text: Narcis George Matache

A few centuries ago, Danish peasants were tied down to their place of birth, with no say over their freedom. After a non-Dane paid with his life for telling them about freedom, they received it and went on to build Denmark. Freedom became a trait of Danish society. Like the Danish peasants, we, the non-Danes, left our birthplaces searching for a different life, for something better, or whatever that means. Although our birthplace shouldn't define us as humans, it unfortunately does.

Some politicians in Denmark seem intent on making us pay dearly for leaving our birthplace, for using that freedom. Why? To cover their own failures in government.

Mix "immigrant, foreigners, danish without a western background, refugee, asylum seeker, etc." with "stronger punishments, lower benefits, obligatory job, less education, etc.", and you will get the perfect "get out of jail" card for politicians. It just has to sound like "Non-Danes are not equal to Danes", and you can get a good part of the population to forget about the problem at hand.

However, they seem to forget one thing. Non-Danes are also everyday humans, with fears, hopes and dreams. Do we have to work longer and harder? Yes. Do we have to get used to instability, with rules changing all the time? Yes. Does this make us superheroes? No.

It makes me tired. It makes us all tired. Too tired to pursue our dreams or to even mimic being part of Danish society. You can only take so many beatings, humiliation and cake-celebrated restrictions on our freedom. To cope, you have only one choice – create your own world, where you can feel happy and respected.

"Like me, there are thousands of other Non-Danes that benefited from studying in English and then went on to do great things. Why slowdown this process, by reducing the pool of talent?"

Less education in English in Denmark

Although the ominous Danish People's Party (DF) is almost history and the infamous Inger Støjberg an outcast of Danish politics, they kickstarted a race to the bottom for the mainstream parties. "Who can make life harder for non-Danes in Denmark? Me, me, me." Their latest target? Higher education in English.

I am a product of Danish higher education in English. I arrived in Denmark to study. A decade later, I'm still here. Why? Because I have fallen in love with the meritocracy of the Danish system. With my peasant background, I would never have shined in Romania. Under the stability shield of European law, I was able to rake in thousands of hours in the name of Danish society's service (both in civil society and abroad as an ambassador).

Like me, there are thousands of other examples. Non-Danes benefited from studying in English and then went on to do great things. Why slow down this process by reducing the pool of talent? For money? The Finance Ministry clearly pointed out that non-Danish students bring or produce more than they use, helping the Danish economy.

How do we free the scapegoat?

As non-Danes, we have only one path ahead of us. To obtain stability for our mental health and our children's, we must become part of the Danish system. We need to join the decision-making tables around the country and ensure that we are no longer used as scapegoats. Luckily, the system is built so that anyone who is organised can exercise influence over it.

I know I'm asking you to add yet another heavy stone to your backpack, and it's easier to remain in the comfort zone of your bubble. However, your imagination can help you cope only so much. At some point, the bubble will burst. You should do it, get involved and free the scapegoat.

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