Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Standing by Kojo McPherson

Standing from Kojo McPherson on Vimeo.
Standing from Kojo McPherson on Vimeo.


I love independent expressions - nothing says freedom to me more than an artist creating. Here's a powerful short by  from Guyana. I loved everything about this: the cinematography, the narrative, the setting (reminds me of Trinidad) and the imagery.

This is the story of the ordinary citizen, John, who must choose between living life as usual or resistance. When John chooses to resist he is apprehended by shadowy figures for execution. All seems lost. However, the power of many - people power - proves stronger than the power of those who would suppress dissent.



https://vimeo.com/129322570

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Justice for Sheku "Shek" Bayoh - Scotland


Kadija George of Sable Lit Magazine recently posted this. I was lucky enough to meet Kadija George years back when I visited London. I am so sorry to hear the news that she describes below. Please read, sign and share. This is a global problem.  
My cousin Sheku Bayoh was detained in police custody in Kircaldy, near Edinburgh, Scotland on Sunday 3 May. He did not leave police custody alive.
Following is a statement from the Bayoh family:
"Our son and brother Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh  was only 31 years old when he was suddenly and cruelly taken from us. His mother and three sisters are devastated and still in shock. He has also left 2 small sons aged 3 and 3 months and a loving partner. Their loss along with ours is great.
‘Shek’ as he was fondly known was a warm friendly and gentle person.  Just a few hours earlier he was at his niece’s [niece’s]birthday party and sending his big sister a text message to wish her Happy Birthday. She didn’t know that would also be the last time she would hear from him.
We still do not know how Shek died. All we know is that he was taken into police custody in the early hours of Sunday morning. Now he is dead . His family and friends want to know how and why. We are disappointed, hurt and upset that the police refuse to give us clear information of what occurred. We need Shek  to rest and then his family can also begin to heal. We cannot do this until the truth is known.
No family ever thinks that this will happen to them. We cannot have Shek back in our lives. Now that he is gone all we want now is to know the truth and to have justice for Shek. We, his family and friends, everyone who loved him deserves that.
We all have grave concerns at the role of Police Scotland and are asking the Lord Advocate and the PIRC to help us get the truth.
In demanding justice for Shek, we hope that justice can also be had for other families who have suffered in similar ways. Our strength is the love of his family and friends. We will continue to fight for justice and the truth."
The Bayoh family see no other option right now than to pursue a private investigation. The police in their statement during the press conference (Thursday 14 May) were adamant ‘we have nothing to apologise for’ yet they cannot even apologise for not being able to give the family what they deserve. The Truth - how difficult can that be?
Please sign the petition demanding justice for Sheku Bayoh; all we want is the truth.
 Thank you.
p.s. There are various newspaper stories on line, if you want to read about this further,  here are two
but we think it is important that you read the statement  directly from the family. Please sign the petition here: 
https://www.change.org/p/police-scotland-we-demand-justice-for-sheku-bayoh-we-demand-to-know-the-truth

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Simpler Life

fruit bowl in the kitchen


I was re-visiting previous posts and realized that I hadn't completely updated you with the state of affairs on Mars. Well, I mentioned in a previous post that I was moving out of my apartment on Amager and about to move in with my friend from Brooklyn, Paulette. Well, I ended up moving to Vesterbro- as also mentioned before.
Vesterbro is the neighborhood I first moved to when I moved to Copenhagen, so coming back here is a trip. Walking down its streets takes me back to the days when I Kai was just a baby. I began my journey into motherhood here - and with Kai growing up so fast, the memories are quite welcome.
Vesterbro is an interesting neighborhood to say the least. The other morning I awoke the the sound of a john arguing with a prostitute about money. Sigh. Last night as I walked down Istedgade in the rain, I passed a group of men in front of the fixing room (for the heroin users) playing music and dancing. I also passed a young lady standing on a corner, huddling under an umbrella. This is the prostitute capital of Denmark.
I moved in with my friend Bente. I first met Bente in 1998 when she came to stay with Flux in Williamsburgh. When we met, I had already met Kai's father and I was early into my pregnancy. After moving to Denmark it was great to already have a couple of friends here from beforehand.
Bente is a photographer and originally from Norway. She has a beautiful apartment and we're both getting along quite well. It's really nice being around another mother and Kai loves it here.
As for the status of my getting rid of my stuff - that has actually gone quite well. My belongings - which once filled an entire apartment have been whittled down to fit in my room. I have managed to let go of a few of my books (round of applause), lots of clothes, furniture and other items such as jewelry. My plan is to keep it simple.

Here's my latest piece from the Murmur http://murmur.dk/articles/denmark-s-real-national-treasures.290.html

farvel,
the lab

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Erotic as Power

Viking Throwdown

Last Friday my son and I attended a "Nonfirmation" i.e. a Confirmation that was not tied to any religion. Confirmations tend to be huge here - but for many families who do not abide by the church - the "Nonfirmation" was invented so that there is a reason for loved ones to convene for the celebration of the child who is on her way to adulthood.

Sune and Sofie (the parents) moved to the town of Køge from Copenhagen some years ago and every time I visit I often wonder at the natural beauty that surrounds me. Denmark's countryside is amazing- especially when the sun decides to shine. As mentioned in my earlier post, the fields are ablaze with yellow.

I have known this family since first moving to Copenhagen 16 years ago - and Nikola - for whom the "confirmation" was thrown was born just a few months before my own son.

Everyone had to drink Viking beer! 



The family! 

Marcus 

In typical Danish style there were songs, toasts (skål!), games and great company.

Hurrah for the Vikings!

farvel,
Lesley-Ann

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Langeland

I enjoy seasons. I enjoy being able to notice the subtle shifts in the air, changing of foliage and light that accompanies the changing of the seasons. All around Denmark right now, outside the cities, are the most spectacular fields of yellow. The landscape has now fully awakened, seemingly overnight. There is no slow changing of the seasons here - or perhaps it is the fact that it is so slow that it feels as if the change is not happening at all, when all of a sudden - viola - a new season is upon us.

In Denmark in the summertime we get an almost midnight sun, meaning that on the longest day of the year we have sunlight well after 11pm. And although I like living in a temperate country, I don't enjoy not getting sunlight in the winter here so in the summer, I along with everyone else do our best to be outside to soak up the rays.

This Monday I had the opportunity to leave Copenhagen and visit one of Denmark's 443 islands - Langeland, which means if translated literally "long country". It's a long thin island about two hours from Copenhagen.  I enjoy being on the move - whether it is in a car, a train, a plain. I especially appreciated begin able to get out of the city and visit some place new. I was happy for the opportunity as I had been wanting to go to the countryside for a while and that morning I was awakened by an argument outside my window between a john and a prostitute about payment. It was a reminder indeed that my time was near.

I spent a couple of days there visiting someone who is in the midst of building a community/vacation spot. I slept in a trailer the last couple of days and I have to admit I enjoy the simplicity and immediacy that such accommodations provide. Like a bird preparing to nest - I am seeking that spot where I can call my own, a garden to tend as I continue to unfold my many stories.

Happy Spring!
farvel,
Lesley-Ann

Monday, May 04, 2015

Spring Sprang


One day I walked into a library in Amager. It was under construction so I wasn't encouraged to browse the shelves as I usually do. Instead, I walked over to the section with the newspapers and magazines. I looked around, not really expecting anything and then I came across this newspaper - The Murmur. It looked good - I mean, aesthetically. I flipped through the pages and dug what I saw. I liked the quality and focus of the articles. The caption read, "Danish news internationally". What a brilliant concept, I thought, as I excitedly flipped to the masthead to see the team responsible for this gem.
Okay - if you're an English speaker in Denmark - it really narrows your options in attempting to decipher the Danish code of incomprehensible muttering. There are a few outlets out there - but nothing that really grabbed me by the collar and demanded - write for these guys!
Then some months passed. One night, it was a full moon - I slept with my intentions clear. I awoke around 6am and decided to visit Kierkagaard's grave. I mean. I live in a country where you could go see Søren Kirkegaard's grave - and you know what? I had never seen it. So I decided to that morning. I biked over there enjoying the quiet of the early weekend morning in Copenhagen. I go to the cemetery- I have been there many times before - in fact, people use it as a park and hang out topless drinking beer there. It's a beautiful cemetery with the likes of Ben Webster and Hans Christian Andersen resting in peace. Anyway, I see the grave. Check out all his relatives. Shed a tear - it was really cool to be standing there at his grave. I mean. The guy died a LONG time ago. And it's KIRKEGAARD. After hanging out a bit with him I hop on my bike and proceed to leave. On my way out of the cemetery who do I bump into? The editor of the Murmur, Peter Stanners. Like really early in the morning.
And it happened. He took me onboard. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to work with this team and proud of the work that I have managed to produce with the excellent support of Peter who is a pretty strong editor.

So if you haven't checked out the Murmur yet - I suggest you do. www.murmur.dk. And if you would like to read my most recent pieces collected on one site you can go here www.lesleyannbrownwrites.wordpress.com --

This month's cover story about Henrik Vibskov - one of my favorite designers - is mine! Peter Stanners, the editor sums up some of what you can expect in this month's issue at http://murmur.dk/articles/pervasive-technology-a-danish-design-great-and-the-worrying-epidemic-of-male-suicide.293.html

Last night was a blast. I got blanked by my son to go to the Jungle Brothers concert because he "had an exam" -- that was my Absolutely Fabulous moment with him. Of course I swelled with pride when he told me that - my baby is responsible and mature! Not that I think having a few hours of pure New York City hip hop would have hurt anybody - but I get it! And these things have reasons for happening, of course.



Ms. Paulette hanging out with her former schoolmates

there are two members of the jungle brothers in this picture.
can you find them?  trippy picture...indeed.


Like when my friend Paulette jumps in and saves the day and says, "I know those guys. I went to high school with them!" And then I called my old friend V - whom I haven't seen in ages. And we danced. And had fun. And it was a great concert! And then they pulled Paulette up on stage- and we ended up chilling.  The Jungle Brothers were all there, looking good, gave a GREAT concert and showed the sisters mad love!

The night before we ended up at Kimia's.  Well, I was supposed to read my poetry but things didn't go as planned and the lime (as we say in Trinidad) was pretty good. I adore Kimia and it's owner - who I also had the pleasure of hanging out with last night at the concert. She's one of those Persian sisters that is wide awake.

I also saw Lola Lala - my Puerto Rican friend who isn't really Puerto Rican - she's half Indian - and whenever I see her we do have a good laugh and it is like being in New York, a feeling that Viana manages to conjure as well. Viana - a Greenwich village woman- has New York sapping out of her pores.  It was great to experience that although we hadn't seen each other in years, our banter took on a familiar rhythm and humor. For example at one point, she threatened to get up on the stage. I said, "settle down Darcel." And she cracked up. Only Solid Gold viewers would know about that!

Claudius' Instagram pic from yesterday at Kødbyen


Viana just started a Jamaican food stall and I went by to offer our support. She looks so happy and with a brain like hers - she can go quite far with this idea here in Denmark. Claudius just came back from his tour in Germany and we talked about our usual topics of discussion: being an independent artist here in Denmark. Always refreshing and inspiring to catch up with these folks.

There's a lot to be thankful for. I just finished up a book translation which I greatly enjoyed and feel honored to be a part of. I have my NBC gig which I'm gearing up more content for. And then there's the work that I have produced for the Murmur and hope to continue-  the paper has definitely given me much to be proud about.

May your spring be full of blossoms - professional and personal ones for sure!

farvel. adeiu. caio.

blackgirl on mars reporting
from copenhagen.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ENAR Steering Group on Afrophobia- Code Orange




On Friday April 10th about 20 people gathered in Brussels, Belgium.  We were from all over Europe: Hungary, Slovenia, Germany, Ireland, London, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Belgium and Denmark and we came together to move towards a EU framework for national strategies to combat Afrophobia and promote the inclusion of people of African descent and Black Europeans.

Afrophobia  (a term that rightfully warrants a thorough discussion on the merits of using such a term in the first place) attempts to put a name to a force that many people of African descent have all too commonly had to face around the world: of living within an oppressive sometimes subliminally, sometimes more openly, racist society. The failure of many to see the direct relationship between the way in which the policy of racism privileges a certain group and disenfranchises many others is strange to me. What is startling is that anti-Black racism as a phenomenon per se is not even officially recognized in many European countries, despite the fact that this is the continent that created it. Like I have said many times before, I would like to shake the person's hand who came up with racism. But that would be to assume that it was just one person.

The steering group was coordinated by the European Network Against Racism, an organization that is behind two important publications, Recycling Hatred: Racism(s) in Europe Today in 2013 that asks the vital question, "How do older and emerging forms of racism coexist and manifest themselves in Europe today? What is the impact of the communities affected? How can we influence racist and xenophobic attitudes and discourses and develop policies to counter them? and in 2014 Invisible Visible Minority: Confronting Afrophobia and Advancing Equality for People of African Descent and Black Europeans in Europe which looks into the issues impacting the lives of Black Europeans and people of African descent in Europe?  What are their experiences, and which specific stereotypes and prejudice do they face?"

I simply do not understand how it can be allowed that a mentality that has so almost inalterably changed the world knows so little about the nuances of the effects of this,  in a larger global and human context.  It seems odd that racism towards Blacks is not officially recognized when we have been the only race in the world that has had a PR campaign against our humanity ever since Bartolemet de Las Casas suggested our use instead of the Indigenous Indians, for whose cause he so gallantly defended.  Forgive me if this is written in error here -it is something I learned in school and if you know otherwise, do correct me. But Bartolemet de Las Casas is often considered to be the world's first human rights activist. Isn't it interesting that a man who encouraged African slavery is still looked upon as a hero to many? Tell me world, since when has such hypocrisy become acceptable?

a tree showing the racial hierarchy as taught by Europe


How can it be that a continuity of control (which is still in place) and that was founded on the premise of exploitation justified by race (profit could not be made without the peculiar institution of slavery, the European Industrial Revolution could not have taken place without slave labor- of both her own people and Africans) and that required the best PR mechanism ever- the media, deny a people that was/is integral to this system's success claim of racism towards them?

Let me slow down for a moment. Human beings I believe can be beautiful and kind. We can also be quite messed up. Usually, when we're being messed up, it's because we're not feeling good. We're tired. Stressed. Afraid. When we make decisions out of these spaces, it's not usually generating more positive energy. In fact, it only joins a whirlpool of all the other shit that's happening in the world. As human beings though, we have the capacity to change that.

But it's hard to change that when we walk around believing that something is acceptable when it's actually not. There's so much stuff in that whirlpool of shit and there's a lot of external factors that's influencing what we end up believing.  Many know that war is wrong, for example. But many also believe there are justifiable reasons for going to war. Protecting your own country for example. So if you could convince a lot of people that a war was about protecting your own country, you'd get a lot of people to support your war, even if, in the end, the war is about controlling another country's resources and people.

Now this is the same logic with race. The fact of the matter is that besides the military, the U.S.'s biggest global export is Hollywood. Hollywood is worth a lot of money- no shit, right? When you look at the budgets of some of these movies, it's like holy moley! Right? And Hollywood is good at making movies - sure it might require suspending your better judgement sometimes, but it's done so well - visually it's delicious. It pulls you in and you take a break from the general whirlpool of shit. You're relaxing and watching a movie and get transported into a story and for a while you are transported smack into the middle of a superhero's life or the orange uniform of a prisoner ...

Orange is the New Black is the name of a popular American series that takes viewers into the world of the U.S. prison system where about 2 million Americans live, everyday.  Out of this 2 million, about 1 million of them are Black.  The U.S. is in actuality the country who locks up the most people in the world (25%) despite only comprising about 5% of the entire world's population. Orange was the color adopted by the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 to declare a "high risk" terror attack- just one color shy from red which was of course a "severe risk."

I've traveled a lot. I have been extremely privileged to have lived in Brooklyn, Trinidad, New York, Maui and Copenhagen during the times I did. I also have been to countless other cities and countries and there is something that always manages to get my attention. And that is that no matter where I go I meet other people of African descent who express much concern over the state of affairs no matter where we find ourselves.  There is a consistent form of micro-racism that at its very best is taunting in its defiance of being called out.

in this well-intended response to a currently appalling campaign poster that equates Islam with Nazism- this person doesn't even put a person of African descent despite it being an "Anti-racism" poster. 


And the only way that this can exist is through a belief that it is not all who are worthy, it is not all who are deemed equal and it is not all who deserves to live. Otherwise how can it be that footage of killing unarmed Black men seems to have become the national pastime? Images are powerful, more powerful than words. And they travel at the speed of light.

I met a UN Official the other day, who worked in various borders around the world. He told me that many of the guards who work in many of these borders, usually have a preconceived notion of who the people they are dealing with at these borders are. He said that many didn't seem to be aware that it was their job to protect these people, not imprison them. Europe has a refugee issue and it will be interesting to follow how this will be solved. Considering the wealth that Europe has gained from the world's resources, it seems a mere pittance on what is being offered in return. But again, if we don't think there is enough then we act like there's not enough. And we get stressed. And hold on tighter to what we have. Because hey, there's not enough and I have to look out for me.

I'm also afraid to report that what we see happening within the U.S. prison system can be paralleled to the detention camps here. Many people say that you can't compare what is happening in the States to what happens in Europe but my answer is, who is comparing? We're adding another piece of the picture and the picture should be complete: We must be in a position where we better understand the forces that are behind the many migrations that continue to flow out of the motherland and the devastation politically/economically that colonialism and neocolonialism has wrought, so that we can address them and ensure that there is better protection in place for a groups of people who although are spread throughout the world, proudly claim a common ancestry to a land and a people, and are clearly under attack.  How many Africans are currently in refugee camps in Europe?

Angola still has not recovered it's pre-slavery population - to just give an idea of the extent of the Atlantic Slave trade on Africa and her people. The African holocaust is real. The wiki on Angola is interesting, because reading it reminds us that there were many cultures and people whom the European encountered in Africa. Treasure is usually buried and so is it with history as well. I learned a long time ago that the gems of history is not readily given to you. You have to search for it. And when you do history comes alive in a way that teaches you, alerts you, prepares you and most importantly truly tell about the rich diversity of human beings.


Human beings have been traveling the world forever. You don't really believe that Christopher Columbus was the first European to sail to the so-called New World, do you? If Nordic accounts are correct then we all know the Vikings did it first. Or the Chinese. Or Africans. Point is we have been traveling way before Columbus. The difference is folks didn't conquer each other on the scale he would usher in, the dawn of this age in which we are in now, the dawn of the power of the Son/sun.

But what's all this about paper anyway? Do we really believe, in the end that the truth is always written down? And if so - that they are still in existence? But if your imagination cannot stretch that far, there are accounts - balanced accounts from different perspectives that prove that imagery has always and continues to be used as a tool to dehumanize others so as to exploit them or even get them out of your way.

It's a bit of a conundrum to have to speak about human rights because the existence of such an idea is also based on the idea that for some, there are none or very few. Aide has, like everything else including water, been rendered a commodity. This means that causes, if they are to be successful, must be connected to a purse.  This in turn means that just like any other commodity - the cause itself has to make itself sexy to attract those funds. What is sexy is what is current. And the media is good at telling us the sexier causes than the ones that crack the idea of what we think the world is all about. If Europe wishes to sustain an image as a champion of human rights - it means being accountable. And part of being accountable is recognizing the unique history that many of her member nations have had with countries all over the world, and dealing with the consequences of these relationships.  One of these relationships is the one that was forged with the continent of Africa and her involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the money that has been gained from this. It would mean recognizing that although not every one of African descent did not descend from slavery, there is still a common thread of homeland that ought to be on every one of our minds, and a serious questioning of the state of things now and how they are connected to the past in order to truly understanding how we can move forward.

There was an attack on a Jewish store here the other day. It made me very sad. There seems to be a historical amnesia going on, an Alzheimer's like state where many have forgotten that it was not that long ago that Bosnia happened and before that, the Nazi concentration camps and the German occupation of Denmark. The only way concentration camps could have ever occurred was through the idea that the people in them were not worthy enough to be out of them. If that was not the case there would never have been camps to begin with. The only way a group of people could be targeted is if there is a belief that these people are less than human. This is why in the end many didn't find the Mohammed drawings all that funny - there was an anti-human element to it. It was dehumanizing. Most of all for the creator of it, I believe. However we must remember. We cannot afford to forget. The facts may be  uncomfortable but some lessons unfortunately are. We can't hide from the truth. And the only way forward includes the necessary step of Europe acknowledging her unique relationship to the continent known as Africa and her people, and that this relationship is the backbone of Europe's success and this success was dependent on one of the most successful dehumanization campaigns undertaken ever. That a institutionalized racism was enacted that although may have been erased from most books of law are allowed to thrive in dubious interpretations and faulty logic. If Europe is to fight racism then she must reckon with the mother of all racisms: and that her its relationship to people of African descent and Black Europeans.

It is only until she has done so that she can claim that she is free. And if you look back in the annals of history, there truly was a time when she was.



Thank you to all of the participants of this steering committee, ENAR and the African Empowerment Center of Denmark.

farvel,
Lesley-Ann Brown



Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Berlin

YAAM in Berlin

This Easter found me in Berlin - which is an approximately 6 hour train ride from Copenhagen's Central Station. Kids are free until 16 years of age - and with the Central Station a mere few blocks away from my home, Kai and I decided to take a train to another country.  It was great because the last time
I met up with Dina Krasman, a former roommate at Flux in Williamsburgh. Dina is from Portugal and Germany and she's now living in Berlin.  She was one of the many visitors we had from around the world in the old feather factory in Williamsburgh that a lot of us called home. The building on Kent and Metropolitan - 210A Kent Avenue - isn't there any more, but it will always be a part of our lives.
When I in New York last winter, I had the opportunity to stay in Williamsburgh - and to say that it has changed is an understatement.  I'm thankful to have been there the period that I was and to have spent the time spent there.  If it's one that that Flux was good at was attracting a diverse group of folks - there was no one racial majority - and this wasn't even by design. There were folks from Japan, Korea, Los Angeles, Portugal, Holland - all coming together in that place.
Anyway, the last time I saw Dina was when I was pregnant with Kai - in Brooklyn. Let's just say he grew up a lot since then. ;-)
Most of the time was spent chilling - I like Berlin. That was my 3rd time there and by the sheer size of it it will take me a while to get to know it. But there is a creative vibe there - an energy that inspires, and I like that. While there we went to a Vegan market that had amazing food and vibes where we met Marco - an Italian cyclist and we talked about the environment and having ecologically-sound products.  We also checked out YAAM - where I bumped into a Trinidadian who's making a food stall there. That's enough to get me to go back to Berlin- which I will be doing sooner than later. But first - on to Brussels. More later.
farvel,
the lab

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mr. Rob Visits

Karina & Mr. Clint 
future pharmacist and engineer
One of the many things I have done during my life here in Denmark was work as a teacher at Copenhagen Euro School. It's a school in Vesterbro - and when I first walked into that school about 11 years ago - I fell in love with it. It didn't matter that the school was small, or that the building looked like it was about to fall to the ground. No. What mattered were the kids - a lively bunch of diversity and love and challenges. I had always wanted to teach there and was delighted when some years later, on the recommendation of a teacher there, I was headhunted to teach Middle School English. I taught English to 5th, 6th and 7th graders - and it was not only one of the most challenging jobs I have ever had - but the most rewarding.
I left teaching a couple of years ago, about the same time that the leader of the school at the time, Robert Barrett decided to end his 16 year tenure there. Rob is originally from Canada - and he taught 8th and 9th grade English there.

Since leaving Rob did what many other expats dream of doing - he went back to his home country.  Many wish to do so but whether it's due to children or a sense of not knowing, many decide to stay. I too dream of returning to the States, or Trinidad even. But as of this moment - like so many others with children - I know in my heart that this is the place for me to be. This doesn't mean that it's not without its challenges, but I've been blessed with a pretty cool network of folks - from Danes to other expats and not to mention my former students. Denmark has its challenges and I'm determined to be a part of the solution - my son is Danish - and I want to do all that I can to help create a stronger Denmark.
Part of creating this stronger Denmark are the students of this school. This past weekend I held an open house - Rob is in town visiting after a year and a half abroad - and it was heartwarming to see them. Some are still in High School, others studying medicine, law, sports journalism. Some are becoming politically active, while others are flexing their pens to become an even stronger, more empowered presence here in Denmark.
Lea, Kristine and Juana - all former students of mine shining their light out into the world. 
Listening attentively to Mr. Rob. 
In America if you are born there you are American. In Denmark this is not necessarily the perceived case. Many of these kids are born here - even their parents, but they are still referred to hyphenated Danes. When and if they return to the country of their or their parents' birth - they are however Danish. I have always encouraged my students to see the strength in this - of seeing both from the outside in - and using their voices and talents in hammering home the diversity that Denmark is.  I don't see these kids represented in the dominant narrative here - but it is my sincerest hope that by their sheer presence and intelligence that this begins to change.
It's akin to Black representation in the States although personally, I think there is more room for advancement in the States - for all the crippling racial issues that are present.  A comparison however is perhaps not valid here - but hopefully it gives some sort of idea of what these young adults are up against.
future doctors in the house! 

What inspires me the most are their attitudes. They are hopeful and work hard. They see themselves as being a part of this society - and having a right to pursuing a high quality of life just as many others. Many left Copenhagen Euro school to go on to  Danish schools and have expressed the cultural shock (Copenhagen Euro School was an oasis of sorts, where difference was a part of the landscape) - and for me to hear their heroic stories of how they chose to rise above these challenges is  inspiring.
Here are some pictures that will give you an idea of what the face of Denmark includes.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear | The Nation

No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear | The Nation

"We may also delude ourselves into thinking that our efforts to “civilize” or “pacify” other countries are not about money. Slavery was always about money: free labor producing money for owners and industries." 

Smart Dane...Dumb Dane


Dear World. This is a picture of a Smart Dane:


He makes fashion. Music. Installation. He doesn't believe in bullying other people. 
You can read more about him in an upcoming interview. 
He makes art like this:



His name is Henrik Vibskov.

But this Guy. 


He's a member of Parliament.
His name is Thomas Danielsen.
He receives my tax kroner. 

And he makes posters like this: 


Thomas Danielsen is a GREAT example of a DUMB DANE. 
The poster reads: "If you Come to Denmark, you have to use your education".

Now, not all Danes are dumb. But I trust you will now be able to recognize the difference. 

This concludes our lesson on Smart Dane, Dumb Dane for today. 

farvel, 
the lab




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