I am in Denmark. I am in Denmark to deal with a situation in my personal life but also to work. I´ve done some speeches, had some meetings, I´ve been writing some stuff. But all of that dosn´t matter.
What is happening in Denmark right now is without comparison one of the weirdest things I have ever seen.
First you need to know about the refugee crisis in Europe.
It began with wars in Syria but originally it actually began with climate change The financial crisis, the climate crisis, the refugees crisis, the crisis in civil society… it´s all connected and that´s what makes it so hard for us. I know. But listen.
Thousands and thousands of people had to flee to survive wars and given some stupid laws they were not allowed to take planes nor travel in other ways than by boat and via human trafficking gangsters to their destinations where they had friends, family or contacts waiting for them. This is a VERY complex situation but the fact of the matter is that suddenly we, here in Europe, had war torn children, women, men walking barefoot on our highways.
I really hope you will watch this short movie (15 minutes) if not for anything else then for the expressions on the faces of the Europeans. Bewilderment. Memories of history. Pure empathy.
A gasp through the nations “has it really come to this?” because we KNEW but we really DIDN`T know… the scope of it.
For the first time we see real actual faces with our real actual eyes. In reality. In the real reality.
I was travelling to Denmark when the refugees came to the southern Danish border.
Crossing the border from Sweden to Denmark was a fundamentally new experience because it made me realize what the border really IS. We never think about. Scandinavians travel freely between Scandinavian borders, the borders have been some sort of reminisces from the past, sculptures, traces in the landscape, “We have no borders”. But we do.
And I felt afraid. For the first time I felt afraid as I crossed the border.
And the highways were flooded with real actual human beings escaping real actual war.
Not emigrants. Not freeloaders, no freeloader would go through that…. real actual human beings, children, crying.
Denmark was unprepared. This really came as a shock to everyone. Nobody knew what to do.
In the beginning the Danish police did what the politicians wanted them to. Locking people up in trains (oh, the memories of history, the memories of history!), trying to capture the refugees and by force moving them to camps. The matter of the fact is that almost none of the refugees wanted to stay in Denmark because we have absurdly hostile laws and practises towards immigrants, refugees, people of different skin color, “outsiders”. The government in Denmark has gone more and more nationalistic so obviously they refugees didn´t want to stay… they were walking towards Sweden, trying to get to Sweden.
Walking on the highways.
Then what happened is historic and without parallel to anything I have ever seen. I was a rise in civil society, it was civil disobedience, it was the PEOPLE solving the problem when the politicians couldn´t.
We began driving towards the refugees, we began to offer them rides. We would take them to Sweden.
So many danes from all levels of society, no matter political stance, no matter the hatred and fear mongering in our society… the danes drove towards the refugees and they helped them, offering them rides, giving them water, food, clothes, medicine.
Everyone was threatened with 2-3 years of prison for doing this. “Human trafficking” it was called and everyone was so afraid… but they did it anyway. They kept on doing it.
In the end the police, faced with the brutality of the law, faced with the human tragedy… stopped doing what they were told to do. They let the refugees go.
They let the refugees go!
“We are here to ensure safety of the people” they said.
This picture went viral. A police officer playing with one of the refugee children.
The danes continued their work. Driving the refugees to Sweden, offering them food, help. An entire movement of resistance was established within days, the entire political scene changed and now more than half of the danes are AGAINST the very politics they voted for. And the politicians? Not really there.
As all of this played out the prime minister was spotting drinking wine with friends at some party. Uproar! Protest!
“Where are our leaders” cried the people but the leaders weren´t there so they did what had to be done themselves.
This of course is only part of the story.
Some danes stood on bridges and spat on the refugees. Social media have been boiling with heated debated for the latest days, celebrities arguing wildly, everyone in some sort of frenzy because what happened is actually simple: We awoke from our slumber. We saw the state of the world. We acted.
It´s been hard for me to speak english for the last couple of days. Strange really but the words are gone. my mother tongue is strong right now, I suppose, I suppose that´s whats happening.
I´ll be in Denmark for another day and then I´ll travel home to my cabin in the wild.
I want to say this: I have been researching and making appointments regarding my travel to the climate conference in Paris, I have done interviews and I have prepared to cover the event, to witness it the best that I can (you can support my alternative reporting from the conference via patreon)
I don´t have much faith in the politicians though. I don´t think climate change will be handled properly from that side. However I have hope in the people.
I havn´t had that, not for the longest while, but I have now and I wanted to tell you.
I think I have hope.