Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark: Robbing from Refugees

According to The New York Times,

A law approved by the Danish legislators allows immigration authorities to seize valuable items, including jewelry and cash, to offset the cost of resettling them.

Move over, Nazis. I thought the Danes were the good guys. I thought most Scandinavian countries were the good guys in the Syrian resettlement saga. Sweden, until recently, did what the Statue of Liberty was always supposed to do: welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses trying to get away from terror. 
The Danish justification for its policy of seizing the personal belongings of refugees is that the refugees should not get a better deal than Danish citizens who happen to be on welfare, because such unfortunate citizens are not allowed to possess assets valuable enough to make welfare payments unnecessary. 
If you're running from watching your mother choke her life away on poison gas, or your child beheaded while still clutching her doll, or your city reduced to rubble, and you manage to grab grandma's pearls on the way out of the building that's crumbling as you leave it, you're supposed to hand the necklace over? If you've spent days on a leaky boat, then half- froze to death crossing Eastern Europe while Hungarians throw expletives, or worse, at you--you're supposed to hand over the wad of cash you grabbed off the table before you left? Your credit card? The deed to the house that might still be standing if you get to go back? Your grandmother's fur coat? If a refugee walked across the border with the Syrian equivalent of the Hope diamond in her pocket, she should keep it.  What Denmark is doing now is a form of rape--ripping away memory and identity from people who have already been robbed of everything worth having. Plus, the Danish government reserves the right to strip-search. More rape.
Supposing you'd been at the top of the doomed tower on September 11, 2001 and you'd grabbed your pocketbook on the way downstairs. Would the city of New York have had a right to take your pocketbook to pay for the mess the terrorists made? 
Denmark is expected to know better. Bad Karma, Denmark--this policy will, in the end, harm you, is harming you right now.

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