What would you get if you crossed the early 1990s urban themed variety show "In Living Color" with the UK’s Muppets-style political parody show "The Spitting Image" and then plopped it in the middle of Scandinavia? It might look something like "Yallahrup Færgeby". [HT: Islam in Europe]
The program follows the misadventures of two dimwitted boys of Middle
Eastern background in the fictional Danish ghetto suburb neighborhood of
Yallahrup Færgeby. The eponymous neighborhood is a play on words that mixes the Arabic exclaimation Yalla! and the Islamic name for God with commonplace place names (in Danish -rup and -by are a bit like -ton or -ville in English).
Yallahrup Færgeby, DR2’s Christmas show, is about two immigrant boys, Ali (Palestinian, 12) and Hassan (Moroccan, 13). The two, who live in a suburb called Yallahrup Færgeby, dream of being gangsters. They love to rap Tupac Shakur, started a [marijuana –Svend] smoking club and in general refer to girls as "whores".
The series, which is rated for 15 and up, has received quite a lot of criticism about their portrayal of Danish immigrant youth.
It’s a caustic, crude and at times sidesplitting funny puppet show lampooning Danish multiculturalism from the right. I’m not comfortable with the offensive way it portrays immigrants or Islam, but I’m not all that surprised given current events, and it certainly gives you a window into the stereotypes that prevail in Danish society.
Denmark, like the rest of northern Europe in my experience, can be to be a bit less sensitive about multicultural sensitivities–I remember a cousin in Jutland chiding me for being "politisk korrekt" when I expressed horror at her reference to a child with Downs Syndrome as a mongoler ("mongol")–than the US, so it comes as no surprise that the show freely resorts to stereotypes (e.g., the Pakistani mullah singing the song mentions 72 virgins after the bomb goes off). And risquÃ© by American standards.
Below is the YouTube video of their music number "En krammer til Osama" ("A hug for Osama"). I’ve translated its lyrics quickly, not that it probably adds much to the experience given how the lyrics are so random as to almost be incoherent. The focus is clearly on goofy rhymes. (It all rhymes humorously in Danish.)
Unfortunately for most of you, everything’s in Danish. Which is a shame, as the dialog and foreign accents can be wickedly funny. And the satire is quite biting at times.
But you don’t need to understand Danish to pick up on the following important dynamics if you watch some episodes on their website:
- Minority youths in Denmark, like in many places, identify instinctively and passionately with hip-hop culture. (Wanna see an example?)
- Like in much of Europe–and unlike in the USA–in Denmark the issue of immigration and assimilation is inextricably intertwined in the popular consciousness with Muslims and Islam. If in America, African-American men are the feared Other of urban life, in Denmark and much of Europe that dubious honor is held by Muslim men (and, increasingly, even Muslim women).
- English and American popular culture permeate Danish life. (One skit features a Tupac Shakur puppet rapping in agonizingly American-accented Danish.)
Der er så mange der tror at man er sur og trist bare fordi man nu tilfældigvis er fundamentalist . Der er nu ingenting der ku være mere forkert Kom til mig små drenge, I skal ikke være genert
Bare fordi man har giftet sig med Allah
OMKVÆD: Hvis du ser Osama, giv ham en krammer ikke et gok med en hammer eller lænker der strammer Det er noget der fremmer glæden med det samme og hiver smilet frem
En krammer til Osama x 3
Der er så mange der tror man er alvorlig
Er du klar over hvor lang tid jeg har brugt
Jeg står nu frem — og beder om et kram
Bim bam bum, den vantro han er dum
| Many think yo’re mad and sad just because you happen to be a fundamentalist. Nothing could be more wrong. Come to me, little boys, donât be shy.|
Just because you’re married to Allah, it doesn’t mean you’re ugly and go around with glasses. You can easily make something of yourself, even though you have to go out and kill some innocent person.
CHORUS: If you see Osama, give him a hug and not a knock with a hammer or chains that are tight.
Itâs something that brings happiness and a smile out right away. Give a hug.
Give a hug to Osama (x 3)
Many think we’re serious. That we never bathe and smell bad. I think, haha, if only they knew how much fun you have when youâre fundamentalist.
Do you know how much time I’ve spent to shave my body so pretty. A little red on the cheeks and a little gloss. Itâ’s nice to look hot when youâre heading out for a fight.
I come forward and ask for a hug, so come here my friend and count down from 5, 4, 2, [BOOM] 1!
Bim bam bum, that infidel he’s dumb.
Update (2008-01-12): A few stylistic tweaks and edits.