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REGIONAL JOURNALISM, GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

Politics

The land of broken dreams

Were you to believe the Danish media, Greenland’s hopes of independence have been put on hold indefinitely. Greenlanders, though, beg to differ
Politics
These colours don’t separate (File photo)

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Greenland’s future, if you follow the Danish media, is a grim one.

Following the release of a report critical of that country’s potential as a minerals exporter, most of the articles, including one on the front page of Politiken, the national paper of record, were variations on the theme “independence dreams shot down”.

The articles, primarily based on the statements of members of the committee that had put together the 50-page report, summarily dismantled Greenland’s goal of becoming an independent state.

Not for all the gold in Greenland
Independence, Greenland’s Self-Rule government has claimed since taking office in March, can be paid for with the country’s mineral wealth. The report, however, concluded the opposite: that the long-term cost of being an independent state was far greater than the value of the country’s proven mineral deposits.

Aleqa Hammond, the premier of the self-governing country, has made no secret that she hopes to see her country become independent “within her lifetime”. She is 48.

To judge from the articles written about the report, and not least the supporting editorials, Hammond has vastly overestimated her expected lifespan.

Politiken’s editorial, ‘Greenland can’t build its future on illusions’, suggested the report should serve as a reality check for Hammond and her people.

“There are a lot of paths Greenland can take, and it is ultimately up to Greenlanders themselves to make the decision. No-one, however, can dream themselves to economic self-sufficiency.”

SEE RELATED: “Not enough” minerals in Greenland to fund independence: report

The word “dream” also made its way into the headlines of a number of other articles, One, and editorial titled ‘The dream of freedom’, published in Information, a left-leaning daily, made it clear that it agreed Greenland was not ready to stand on its own.

“Never before have we seen it spelt out so clearly: Greenland’s dream of becoming independent has no connection to reality.”

There has been little in the way of official political reaction from Copenhagen, whose relationship with Nuuk has been strained by a disagreement over which government has the final say over Greenland’s uranium exports. Telling, though, was the statement by a member of the PM’s Social Democrats, who indicated that he expected Greenland to “make a well-reasoned decision” about independence.

Other lawmakers were less diplomatic. Søren Espersen, a MP for the populist Danish People’s Party, and who has long been critical of Greenland’s move towards autonomy, said the report was the best proof yet that Greenland was better off remaining a part of the Danish Kingdom.

“This should be a sign to them that their dream of independence is a fantasy and that they should wake up,” Espersen told Danish media.

But will it play in Nuuk?
The report had a tougher sell in Greenland, where the official reaction was that it “was a good contribution” to discussions about Greenland’s future, according to Jens-Erik Kirkegaard, the minerals minister.

Kirkegaard, however, said he questioned the report’s ultimate conclusion.

Members of the opposition were less emphatic. They agreed with the report’s point that Greenland needed a diverse economy, yet still argued that independence was not the impossible dream media in the southern part of the kingdom were making it out to be.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that independence is still our goal,” Sara Olsvig, a member of the Greenlandic and Danish parliaments, told the BNB news service. “We’ll get there some day. You just won’t catch me saying which day that will be.”