Sunday, March 26, 2006

Xenophobic nation closing in on itself

(Source: Gallup Institute for Berlingske Tidende)

The cartoons case has made a small landslide in the Danish electorate. The Danish People's party (DPP) stands to get more than 15 per cent of the votes according to the latest Gallup poll. And the Social Democrats go back in electoral support.

The DPP has even scored higher. At the height of the Cartoons crisis the party reached 17-18 per cent in polls. This mild reduction seems to have caused panic in the DPP headquarters. That seems to be the only explanation why Kjaersgaard offends muslims yet again by calling the prophet a "robber" (previous post). It is a deliberate provocation, because a historical person's acts cannot be taken out of the historical context in such a way.

In ancient time the bedouin tribes of Arabia made routine razzias against each other. It was a sudden armed attack on the members of another tribe to make booty or to chase camels off one's turf. Normally the razzias did not cause much bloodshed. It was not dishonorable to run away if you were attacked. Mohammed and his adherents in Medina also made razzias. That may be the background for Kjaersgaard's characterisation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you interpret this opinion poll so that the Danes are a xenophobic nation?

3:13 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

The advance of the Danish People's Party, which I consider a xenophobic political party.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Sophia said...

razzias were an integral part of life at the time of the prophet. All rules in society were organized around them. However, it is gross ignorance to call the prophet a 'robber' because Muhammad's Islam was meant to bring more humanitarian rules in his society to the extent of what was needed by these societies at that time. For example society at that time was not sedentary, used to rely on seasonal resources and used to bury alive some of its infants girls because these girls were kidnapped and raped during razzias, they couldn't join fighters when adults so they represented a danger and a liability and the rule was meant to regulate their number. The peophet called for an end to this practice and condemned whoever buried girls alive. Moreover, resources were manipulated by few people, a bourgeoisie; although, the prophet was part of this bourgeoisie, he called for social egalitarianism. Social egalitarianism is very strong and central to the doctrine of Islam and this is what helped them convert balck muslims in the states and also hindous from lower caste. Equally in Islam occupoied Spain, christians and jews had a special status, flourished as communities, beside islam, all this thanks to the prophet's doctrine odf social egalitarianism.

Instead of having partcipated to razzias, th prophet was a socila reformer who fought against the archaic practices pf his society. Calling him a 'robber' stems from ignorance.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you call an entire nation xenophobic because one in six voters might vote for right wing populists? Note, more than 80% still wouldn't. You can't judge an entire nation (which includes yourself) by the thoughts of a small minority. It's like, for example, calling Canada a French-speaking nation because a proportion of the people speak French, ignoring that most don't. Or South Africa a white country. Or whatever.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...


If you look at the archives on this blog you'll find a lot of documentation in the words of DPP politicians ("pest over Europe", "the enemy within", etc.). The last example said by the 2nd most powerful politician in Denmark. The minister of culture talked of a "cultural battle" against islam and "our own country". Add on top of that the most restrictive immigration legislation in Europe. Then we come pretty close to the characterisation.

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Constant opposition said...

It doesn't quite matter what some DPP politicians say. I don't like their kind of argumentation either, yet two, or three comments. (Proofreading this I realized it turned out to be four in fact...)

1. Not all DPP politcians and voters are xenophobes. Many surely vote for other reasons, like them being an alternative to whatever, or angered by the cartoon hysteria.

2. Xenophobia is not restricted to right wing populists. There are xenophobe communists, social democrats, liberals and conservatives as well. Think of all European left-wing politicians who have so far banned or restricted the flow of CEE citizens to their countries, thus unabling them to seek jobs abroad on correct terms and instead putting them in the mercy of dubious dealers.

3. Whatever some DPP politicians say, Denmark is globally seen still a very tolerant country, both in theory and practise. Compare Danish legislation and politicians' opinions with any Arab or Muslim country for example and I hope you start seeing the light.

Last but not least,

4. An entire group of people can never be comndemned - or praised - based on what the minority thinks or does. Labelling 5 million Danes as xenophobes because of the DPP (the overwhelming majority of Danes would never vote for, and globally seen DPP is still a moderate and correct party) is akin to such anti-Semitic claims as "Jews own the world" (there are some rich and influential Jews) or "Communism was a Jewish invention" (some Jews have a prominent place in the history of communism). Both examples above are nonsense to me, as is the labelling of Danes as xenophobes.

BTW, I've been behind most of the anonymous comments in your blog. I think it's high time for me to be named something already... As I seem to have a different opinion to practically everything you write, I'm calling myself Constant opposition now :-). From now on, anonymous comments are by someone else.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

Constant opposition.

Of course I have to concede that you're partly right. It's unreasonable to call all Danes xenophobes. It's a "journalistic title" that was chosen for the post, making it a bit sensational.

On the other hand, I maintain that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark". The two most powerful politicians in Denmark are Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Pia Kjaersgaard, and they have ganged up against the rest in a xenophobic duo, - or let's be fair and say that half the duo is xenophobic. But this half has a disproportionale influence on government policy.

This morning a parliamentarian of the Greens in Sweden had a comment in Danish paper Politiken, in which he argues for a boycott against Danish goods as an answer to the politicies of the Danish government.

4:38 AM  

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