Code of Conduct for Foreigners

Years ago, when I set up the Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club, I wanted to formulate a Code of Conduct for members of the club, foreigners living in Serbia. I never did, but here is the list I came up with. It is a flawed list, sure, but it has served me well living almost my entire adult life  as an immigrant in multiple countries.

  1. Obey the laws – Obey the laws of the land, even the petty bureaucratic laws
  2. Contribute – Give something back economically, socially and culturally
  3. Be positive– Focus on the positives of your new home
  4. Be loyal – Be as loyal as you can to your host country
  5. Learn the language – Make an effort to learn at least the basics of the language
  6. Learn the history – Learn about the history of the country and its peoples
  7. Be neutral – Try and be as neutral as possible on contentious local matters or conflicts
  8. Try not to judge – Try not to be too judgemental about local negatives. Nowhere is perfect
  9. Show, don’t tell – Do not lecture the locals about how to be, act, think. Teach by example, not complaint
  10. If you hate the place, leave – If you hate the place, do not inflict your misery on others, be brave and leave

Brutal attack kicks off Danish immigration debate

Nanna Skovmand - Juleaften

[Preamble: I am an Irish immigrant living in Copenhagen, Denmark]

A Danish woman and her boyfriend were attacked on Christmas even in Vesterbro, Copenhagen (the neighbourhood being promoted in the most cringe worthy tourist video of all time).

According to one of the victims of the attack, Nana Scovmand,  the couple were walking home when a young man described as a second generation Somali immigrant started verbally abusing them. The attacker then hit her boyfriend on the head with a bottle. He was then joined by several more immigrants who beat the couple with bike chains. The girl suffered horrific injuries: a tooth knocked out, several teeth loosened, her lip split up to her nose, severe bruising, cuts all over her head and face. She will have to wear an anti-scar patch for a year.

One hears about these sorts of attacks all the time here in Denmark, both in the media and socially. I have not looked into the official figures, but I hear from speaking to Danes that immigrant gang violence targeting ethnic Danes is a large and growing problem. Many claim it is one of the factors contributing to the explosive growth of the right-wing Danish People’s Party. Somalis in particular are massively overrepresented in the Danish justice system:

"In 2012, people with Somali citizenship were convicted of violations of criminal law almost ten times more often than people with Danish citizenship,  taking into account the relevant population sizes.  For every 1000 Somali nationals ,  114 were convicted of violations of the Penal Code. The same figures for Danish citizens is 13 out 1000, while 54 out of 1000 citizens from other countries were convicted.

From: (own translation)

I have witnessed an incident myself. Several years ago whilst briefly living in a small town in southern Denmark,  I saw an immigrant gang savagely beat two young ethnic Danes. The Danes were outnumbered 10 to 1 but luckily rescued by the police . When I asked some local people about it, they all reported something similar. Here is one comment we heard from an elderly babysitter:

"Oh yes, the gangs come down from [nearby city] looking for trouble. They target a town, arrive in force in a convoy and terrorize the place, beating up locals. The local police are also outnumbered and have to frantically call for backup from neighbouring towns. "

The victim of this Vesterbro attack, Nana Scovmand, posted the pictures of her injuries and a description of the attack on her Facebook page. It is worth a read, even with Bing’s rough translation, it is shocking. She ended the post with this passage (forgive my poor translation):

I sit back with a lot of questions, why? Why us? What is the meaning of this gross violence? What  is going on in the minds of those immigrants when they beat up lovers on their way back from Christmas eve?  I am filled with hatred, frustration and very upset. I do not want them in my neighbourhood, in my town or my country. I would never want this to happen to anyone. Never.

This passage stirred lots of controversy and led several Danish leftists commenting on this post on Facebook to blame the victims, insinuating that she was probably a Danish People’s Party voter who somehow deserved the beating. She was even accused of being racist for posting the comments above whilst her boyfriend’s "Proud to be Danish" Facebook background was touted as proof of his depravity (by employees at DR, the Danish equivalent of the BBC).

That is absurd. It is a pretty understandable response to being grievously wounded in a possibly racist attack. I also want to know what was going through their minds. I also don’t want people like that in my neighbourhood, town or country. I also would not wish that on anyone.

One example of the leftist response to the story is that of journalist Rune Skyum-Neilsen, who writing on Facebook before the story was confirmed said:

"Right now there is a story spreading on Facebook about a young blond Danish woman who was allegedly beaten up by a group of young men of foreign appearance – while she was on her way home from Christmas Eve with her boyfriend, who incidentally flashes a "Proud to be Danish "graphics as a backdrop to their profile. Hmmm.

…It does not matter whether the story if true or not. We cannot leave unanswered the deeply racist and highly ignorant Neanderthal comments accompanying the many [Facebook] shares of the story. They are horrible. An echo of a dark time in Europe,  which dozens of generations should have learned from. What has happened to our humanity? Our urge to point fingers at others and generalize? Our decency?

This is what really sows divisions not 3 to 4 possible violent psychopaths, who obviously must be held accountable if they exist. We all have a duty to persuade people who write things like below, to reason. At least make the attempt. Otherwise Christmas is no longer blessed. It has become something you can poison with very simple means and bleak prospects.

According to Rune, we should be less about immigrant gangs knocking out women’s teeth, than the racist comments about the incident on social media.

This is a pretty typical leftist response to minority crime and violence. The crime – even if it may be racist – is not the concern, the racist reaction is the real issue. Another tactic from the leftist playbook is vilification the the victims. The theme is that they must be to blame somehow, they probably deserved it somehow, the attackers must have been provoked. You see examples of this in the comments on Rune’s Facebook post.

Maybe being white and blonde is  "provocation" or being a proud Dane? Hmmm…

Rune and his claque were rounded on by several commentators, sparking a healthy debate. In fairness to Rune and the other people decrying the racist comments, they really are unacceptable and we should confront those who post them. That said, just as Rune was concerned by racist comments on the victim’s post, he should also be concerned by comments on his own post that vilified and blamed the victims.  It is also disgusting to blame the victim, cast aspersions on their character and imply they deserved it. If Nana were a rape victim, leftists would rightly be outraged by any suggestion she provoked her own violation, yet because she is white and her attackers immigrants, the some leftists did exactly that.

Rune is welcome to be more concerned by racist Facebook comments than violent, possibly racist,  street attacks but the rapid rise of the Danish People’s Party tells me he may be representing a minority opinion on this one. From what I can see here in Copenhagen,  we have a growing problem of racist violence against ethnic Danes committed by immigrants and that should be a major concern for all of us, as should any racist backlash this violence may cause.

As we have seen in almost every country where there is ethnic and racial conflict, interracial crime is a major aggravator of racism and ethnic tension. As we learned from the disgraceful child sex grooming scandal in the UK , trying to cover it up and "spin" it makes it worse. It makes the right-wing parties look like truth-sayers and the political establishment look like liars covering up the failures of multiculturalism and mass immigration.

So go ahead and challenge racism on Facebook and the streets, but challenge all racism, including minority racism, especially where it is leading to brutal attacks like that on Nana Scovmand and her boyfriend.

Update 14 Jan 2015: The attackers have been arrested and charged. Get this. The prosecutor has declared that his was not a hate crime, that there was “no racist motive” behind the attack. How can he know that? The men made no comment during the preliminary hearing – which was unusually held in camera – except to deny guilt. Once again we have a great example of authorities jumping though hoops to deny a racist motive where the victims are white. Is it conceivable that if a black couple were beaten by a white gang, the prosecutor would just dismiss the possibility of it being a race crime so quickly. This was his statement, which is an accurate translation but makes no sense:

Prosecutor Tomas Hugger rejects, however, that there are racist motives behind the attack.

"There is no hate crime or anything racist in this matter at all. There is a very brutal attack on two people that were on their way home on Christmas Eve. What was unmotivated about this was that the perpetrators just jump on them. It seems as though they been looking for a fight without any prior planning. However, we believe that the assault happens in mutual understanding" he said.

Mutual understanding? Between the attackers and the victims (i.e. they were both on for the fight) OR that the attackers, not all of whom were know to each other previously, found common cause to attack the couple? If it is the latter, then a group of immigrants had a “mutual understanding” to spontaneously attack the white couple, yet Tomas  knows, that there was no racist motive?

See also:

Mindfulness and it’s friends

[Another forgotten, unfinished post from the draft folder from June 2001. All I wrote was the following list, but I can claim I was into mindfulness before it became a thing 🙂  ]

“Mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy , concentration, tranquillity and equanimity.”

Conformity Enforcers are The Resistance

[Another forgotten post from the draft folder from Sep 2010]

This was an insight that Howard Bloom’s Conformity Enforcers and Stephen Pressfield’s concept of The Resistance are linked, or at least serve the same ends.

Ah Pook, randomness, tectonics of events and illusion of control

[Another post from the draft folder from June 2009]

Cannot recall what this was supposed to be, but the tectonics of events is an intellectual theme of mine. It refers to people, places and things getting caught – crushed – between the tectonics of events – the big movement of history, geography and physics.