@SaveDenmark and Adopt a Dane, are two of the ironic initiatives that expose the (cruel) Danish, and European in general, policies on refugees.
In fact, Denmark recently approved a bill that authorizes the authorities to seize the refugees’ goods to face the costs for their asylum and increases the estimated time for family reunification. Besides, for over a year now, the government has been releasing commercials in Danish, Lebanese, and Arabic, urging migrants to find accommodation elsewhere, “funds for asylum were cut” and those “who are on our territory will be quickly expelled in case their papers are not found in order.” Translation: stay where you are.
Denmark sheltered a large number of refugees, over 20,000 over the last year, thus becoming one of the countries that commit to asylum policies the most and, like several other States, it is concerned about the costs it faces.
Also US is dominated by fear of migrants, used in the propaganda of some candidates, but “an approach of this kind cannot lead anywhere” – reads a New York Times editorial of a few days ago – “the West should manage the phenomenon in accordance with the international commitments that bind it and in respect of moral rules.”
The true slap comes from Africa, which many people superficially associate to nothing but backwardness and poverty. Here is what recites a provocative commercial produced by a fake humanitarian organization based in the country: “thousands of Danes are writing on Facebook that they spend a lot of money for Africa instead of using them for Danish elderly people. When we heard that, we thought we had to do something. We have to find a place for Ole, whose family never go see him”, says a black young man, the protagonist of the made-up NGO “Danmarks Indsamling“. He pretends to be the creator of the commercial, whereas the Danish Ole is supposed to be an elderly man everyone forgot about.
Touché: is there anyone who can say (s)he has never witnessed a similar situation? “Older people are not a burden but a wonderful gift. In Africa, we love our old people – Nouwah, another video animator continues -. We might have contaminated water, epidemics, and lack electricity, but it seems that old Danes are worse off. Let us take care of them.” Final appeal: “Africa open your hearts to adopt a Dane.”
Bergoglio talked about an antidote to the culture of waste, as he said during the general audience in June 2013: “If you break a computer, it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and the tragedies of so many people end up becoming normal”. In short, in the Pope’s diagnosis, material goods matter more than the emotional ones, precisely as Adopt a Dane highlights.
Denmark, which is used as an emblem of a world driven solely by economic interests in this commercial, is adorned with international bodies, statistics and surveys on happiness as a promised land, yet it hides many dark corners: the welfare State’s poor ability to “foresee” is seldom discussed: in Italy, people retire at age 67 to receive about 450 euros net per month, if they worked for at least 40 years. Whether you are the Queen or a regular employee, the State offers you the same social security services; it is a unique approach which makes people pay taxes in proportion to their salaries, but benefits are the same for everyone, which is true also for retirement pensions. Thus, “the world’s happiest country,” as the commercial of a famous beer produced in Copenhagen recites, becomes the place where old people are poor and lonely, discarded by the ideology of productivity.
That is where an exchange can take place – not in terms of money matters, but in terms of values -, between “developed” nations and developing countries, which are still sensitive to issues that have been declining in the West at least since WWII, when an economic boom began. The consequences of the latter – pushed to the limit – led to the pursuit of productivity at any cost.