Monday May 29, 2017

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REGIONAL JOURNALISM, GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

The View from Copenhagen
Michael Keldsen
Opinion
The View from Copenhagen

‘Tis more important to lead than to legislate

Elected officials have a duty to serve as moral role models that can help our society head in the right direction
Opinion
Leading from the rear is not an option

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If we are to understand ourselves and the world we live in, we must know our history and be aware of the world around us.

Before you get the wrong idea, this is not going to be a column attacking the educational system for failing to teach history, or schoolchildren for being ignorant of geography.

It’s actually addressed to our lawmakers and to the rest of society as a reminder that we shouldn’t forget where we’re coming from. For example, those who worry that Denmark is becoming a multi-cultural society, and that by allowing in immigrants we reject our Danish heritage and undermine our 1,000-year Christian history, base their arguments on the belief that Danish society as we know it can only continue if we maintain a homogenous population that shares a common history.

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The opponents of this argument say that, in a globalised world, becoming multi-cultural is the only way for a society to survive and continue to serve the people who belong to it in the way they expect.

Either argument could turn out to be right. Only time will tell. But this does not free lawmakers and the electorate from their obligation to take a position on the matter. This is vital, because one could lead to stagnation and the to progress, and eventually, we’ll find ourselves at a crossroad and making a decision will be unavoidable.

Such a decision is one that Greenland, too, will need to make at some point. The question is whether that point has already arrived, and what options the country has.

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Immigration is a reality in Greenland. It’s been a reality for centuries. So, the question isn’t so much whether it should accept immigrants, but how the immigrants that live there (be they Inuit or Dane) can come together as part of a cultural fellowship based on language, way of life, norms, education, approach to public administration or religion, and which would benefit the further development of society. The alternative is a process of division, in which part of the cultural fellowship is intentionally marginalised (with the goal of eventually eliminating it) in the belief that this would lead to a more homogenous, more tightly-knit society.

And this is before we even begin to consider things like the economy, the EU or the annual payment from Copenhagen.

Regular readers of my columns will be able to guess my opinion of how we should approach this situation. Inclusion is better than exclusion. Cultural diversity is better than isolation, because the benefit of variety is that it provides new influences on our way of life. And living together in peace is a goal more worth pursuing than segregating others and hating them.

Our elected leaders shoulder the heavy burden of ensuring that our society moves fora. It is not enough just to pass laws and look out for constituents’ interests. You must also be examples of morality and decency.

Let’s get to work. There’s plenty to do.

The author is a Danish barrister and a columnist for Sermtisiaq newspaper, which is owned by this website’s parent company.