Die Zeit on ‘Fortress Denmark’

Die Zeit on ‘Fortress Denmark’ March 11, 2006

Germany’s Die Zeit weekly has just run a series of withering pieces on Denmark’s rising xenophobia,  "In der Festung Dänemark"
(which I’m pretty sure means "In Fortress Denmark").

The Danish newspaper Politiken has a summary of the coverage in Danish (appropriately entitled "Tysk magasin hudfletter Danmark", German magazine flays Denmark). 

Haven’t found a summary in English yet.

Some interesting points:

I’ve noted before how I suspected that few Danes realized how much of a barrier their language is to successful integration into Danish society.  The author, Wolfgang Zank, makes a similiar point:

"To non-Danes, the Danish language seems designed to be as difficult as possible to be learned.  It overflows with irregular and illogical prepositions.  For example, Danes don’t spend time ‘in’ but ‘on’ the hospital."

One particulary shocking detail:  Danish citizenship laws have been revised in recent years making in effect two tiers of citizenship.  Those who are not of Danish descent and have resided in Denmark for less than 28 years (!) cannot bring a foreign spouse into the country.  Brown people are, when it comes to immigration and family reunion, literally "second-class citizens".

Zank points out the hollowness of Rasmussen’s "we’re not responsible for those cartoons" defense, pointing out how the political establishment is complicit in these phenomenon by its refusal to speak out when Danish extremists preach hatred:

The reason Denmark  is unique among European nations for the political latitude it allows xenophobia is that the Social Democrats remain silent every time the topic of foreigners comes up, says Zank.

He also notes that before the cartoon crisis Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen had never distanced the government from the anti-Islamic tirades of members of the Danish People’s Party.

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