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Straight Up | Do they know it's Christmas?

While the rest of the country might be feeling festive, life in the asylum centres is a more bleak affair (Photo: Scanpix / Bax Lindhardt)

December 23, 2013

by Zach Khadudu

Zach Khadudu is a Kenyan by birth and a journalist by choice. He is a commentator and an activist with a passion for refugee and human rights. He may share a heritage with a certain US president, but his heart lies elsewhere – in the written and spoken word.

When you hear Bob Geldof´s 1984 hit song Do They Know It's Christmas you know its Yule time. It creates a feel good mood and sets the tone for Christmas, which in Denmark is a very big deal. From street carols to house decorations and countless Christmas lunches (which seem to be drink-to-near-death-and-kiss-your-colleague types of parties, but I’m digressing). 

But while this pomp and colour is spreading all over, asylum seekers remain holed up in their depressing camps, thanks to political shenanigans that have effectively ensured refugees remain secluded in the camps (and sometimes die there).

And while the rest of us pop bottles in our fancy apartments, just outside our cozy windows a refugee is nursing an acute depression somewhere in Sandholm, another is experiencing a mental breakdown in Auderød, and yet another is at pains to explain to her children why they live in a secluded camp somewhere in Kongelunden. As that happens, the rest of us think “Thank God it is them and not us.” Even with Santa coming to town and the streets glowing bright, the refugee in the camps has nothing to smile about. As we drown in the waters flowing from Carlsberg, the only water the sorry souls in the camps are experience is the bitter sting of tears. 

 READ MORE: Asylum seekers disappear en route to centres

Meanwhile we turn on our television sets and criticise how terribly asylum seekers entering Italy through Lampedusa are treated. We shake our heads at how degrading it is for them to be stripped down and sprayed for scabies by Italian authorities but yet we turn around and say nothing to our authorities. 

The same authorities who continue to seclude the refugees and sometimes lock them up as if they are criminals even though their only crime is bringing their sorrows to the happiest country in the world. Although this segregation of refugees cannot exactly be termed ‘apartheid’, as it does not involve race, its intentions are not any different: separating a group of people simply because they are different.

Exit Mandela, enter Pia K
Speaking of apartheid, 2013 will go down in history as the year when curtains fell on the most celebrated activist of our time. When historians write about the greatest icons of this century, they will winnow down to the greatest of them all, Nelson Mandela. The man who was a hero to many and a terrorist to some (just ask Pia Kjærsgaard), Mandela’s life was filled with drama that followed him all the way through to his death. From the buzz created by President Obama’s selfie with the prime minister, to the fake interpreter and to Kjærsgaard insisting that Madiba´s liberation struggle was an act of terrorism. 

READ MORE: Pia K: Mandela was a terrorist

Africans have a saying: never piss on your enemy’s grave. That is what Kjærsgaard was doing by refusing to budge and sticking to her comments that Mandela was once a terrorist. 

But you see, Kjærsgaard doesn’t shy away from controversy – she enjoys it. And one of her protégés, Christian Langballe, has taken the baton from the grand old lady. What goes on in a terrorist’s mind you can never tell. Same goes for the mind of an Islamophobic politician. Kjærsgaard still believes Mandela was a terrorist, while Langballe believes the only desire for non-Western and Muslim immigrants is to destroy the Danish national fabric. Together, the two deserve some sort of anti-Nobel Prize.

READ MORE: DF says no to more Danish Muslims

But it’s not Kjærsgaard and Langballe’s opinions that are the real problem. No, the real problem is that almost a quarter of the Danish population supports DF’s insanity. Langballe’s opposition to a bill that would grant Danish citizenship to about 1,600 people because the list contained too many Muslim names should be condemned by any right thinking individual. For a man bearing a name Christian, there is nothing Christian or Christ-like in hating people simply because of their religion.

Denmark is one of the greatest countries in the world in many ways, and we should commend it. And that is the more reason why Kjærsgaard, Langballe and their ilk should not be holding any public office.

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