It is a symptom of the lack of equity in the present world order that the 2009 Climate Summit has been held in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. People across the world are aware of this country as the location from where some cartoons that depicted Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) in a negative light were published. Let it be said that this columnist stands for freedom of expression. In case a few people unaware of the immense benefit to human society done by the Prophet seek to calumniate him, the wisdom and the light shown by him will far overwhelm the effect – if any – of these few. There was, therefore, no need for some misguided people to have issued threats against the cartoonist and his country. Islam is too powerful a force to be affected by its critics, all of them put together. Some who claim to be believers appear to have an inferiority complex about themselves, as evidenced in the way in which they react to criticism of the faith and its revelation. Let there be open debate about Islam, about Christianity, about Buddhism, about Hinduism. Surely the truth will prevail.
When there was an outcry across the Ummah about the cartoons, people in Denmark justified their publication by saying that their country believed in democracy and in freedom of expression. Such people seem to be unaware of the fact that the authorities in Denmark have for long held what is today the biggest remaining colony in the world, Greenland.
This huge land mass is inhabited by the Innuit people, who have been enslaved by the “freedom-loving” Danish state to this day. Amazingly, neither the International Human Rights Tribunal at the Hague nor the European Union, nor indeed the United Nations, says a word about the suppression of the rights of the Greenlandic people, and the horrors that they are undergoing as a result of colonisation.
Any visitor to what should have been the independent republic of Greenland will see how total the control of the Danish colonisers is over the helpless local population. Almost all the key posts – even within Greenland – are held by Danes, who treat the Innuit with scarcely-concealed contempt. Copenhagen has refused to allow the local people to learn any language besides Danish (and of course their own language, Kalaalisut).
The teaching of English is unknown. As a consequence, the Greenlanders are unable to communicate with the outside world, except via their masters in Denmark. More importantly, almost all communication links to the huge – and enslaved – country pass through Denmark. Copenhagen has denied Greenland even direct air links, so that the people of the colony have to pass through that city in order to connect to the outside world, during the rare occasions when they are permitted to do so by the Danish authorities.
Clearly, those who posed as champions of freedom while defending the publication of the cartoons against the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) seem to be putting on a very different face while dealing with the colonised people of Greenland.
Although the authorities in Denmark claim to have given “self-government” to the Innuit islanders, this is as much of a sham as the “self-government” given to Indians by the British Raj. All that has been handed over to the Greenland administration (which is of course controlled by Danes and not Innuit) are the subjects of worker’s insurance, diving (!) and traffic. They have also been asked to take over the health system, although this does not even exist in the colony.
The indigenous people of Greenland suffer from a multitude of illnesses, and escape into alcoholism in order to forget about their plight. Several seek to escape through suicide. The suicide rate among female Greenlanders is more than 24 times that among women in the US, yet till now no European country has come forward to defend the rights of a long-suffering people that remain in chains to this day.
All the tasks normally controlled by a free people are, in the case of Greenland, firmly within the custody of the “freedom-loving” Danes. These include high school education, border controls, immigration, criminal law, police, judiciary, passports, communications, family and personal law, property law, resources and much else. At each turn, the indigenous people of Greenland have to go to their Danish masters for permission to do even the most mundane of tasks.
Of course, the education system is entirely in Danish and Kalaalisut, thus cutting the people off from contact with the outside world. In contrast, the colonising Danish population have increasingly learnt to speak both English and French, a right that they are denying to the Innuit of Greenland, who have the misfortune to be of a different ethnicity from the Danes. Any visitor to Greenland can see for himself or herself the arrogant attitude of the Danish colonisers, as they administer a country that should have been free long ago.
Naturally, little of the profits from the vast natural wealth of Greenland is going to the Innuit. Almost 80% of it goes to Denmark or to the colonial administration. The Danish authorities have given to themselves the freedom to take all vital decisions concerning the future of the people of that country. Indeed, an effort is now ongoing to change the ethnic balance in the island, so that Danes will outnumber the Innuit by 2020, if not earlier.
Interestingly, Copenhagen has decreed that “If there are any disputes between Greenlandic Home Rule and Denmark about areas of sovereignty, then the same will be sent to a Dispute Committee that comprises of two Danes and two Greenlanders, joined by three High Court judges”. What this formulation omits to mention is that the High Court judges are Danes, who will therefore outnumber the islanders five to two on the committee.
Those angered by the Danish cartoons need to point to the Danish record in Greenland. Perhaps a fact-finding delegation from countries across the world can be sent to Greenland, to write a report about the situation and call for the enslaved people of Greenland to be given their independence. It is not by threats of violence or expressions of anger but by holding the Danish authorities to their own protestations of support for freedom and democracy that Denmark needs to be confronted with.
Meanwhile, at the Climate Conference, more than 80% of the delegates and other participants are from the developed world. Who from the poorer peoples can afford to go to the Danish capital, where even an ordinary hotel room can cost $500 a day? Not to mention the fact that few poor people will be given the European Union visa needed to enter Denmark. The hypocrisy of such self-promoting “champions of freedom” need to be exposed. The way to that is to reveal the truth about Greenland.