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The humanist society

2019-04-02 | Denmark, Short read | 1 Comment

Happy Human

My life stance is humanism and my values are based on human rights. This means I belong to a minority in this world since most people are religious. I have not really considered myself being part of a minority before I started my travels and talked to other non-believers.

But we are a minority. In Denmark approximately 1.500 people are members of the Danish Humanist Society and approximately 800 people are members of the Atheist Association – Denmark has 5.8 million citizens. So we are a minority in Denmark even though the country is considered to be one of the least religious in the world.

I’ve been a member of the Danish Humanist Society since it was founded almost 11 years ago. Since then the society has fought to be acknowledged as a life stance organisation to acquire the same rights as faith communities. We are not there yet but hopefully we will get there within a year or two.

I have been active in the society in some years now. It was my involvement in the international work which gave me the idea to Babelfish – it was meeting all the other humanist struggling to get recognised who sparked the idea. Even though I travel I am still active in the political work – you just need your laptop and your phone, and you can work all over the globe.

I have also been involved in planning a lot of events culminating in our 10-year anniversary celebration last year. 2018 was a busy year with a record high number of ceremonies held and a lot of events. Last weekend we had our general assembly where our President Lone Ree Milkaer again was amazed on how far we have gotten and what we manage to do with very few resources.

At the general assembly I was re-elected for the board and will also continue as vice president the next year 😊

London Baby

2019-03-27 | Short read, UK | No Comments

Kew Garden

I’ve just spent four days in London with my family. My daughter Sofie and her boyfriend Rasmus has been living there since August. Both my mom and I have birthdays in March. So, we went there for our birthday celebrations and to spend some time together for once.

I love London. I love the diversity, the bustling streets, the parks, the food. Just walking the streets, looking at people – walk a bit, grab a cup of coffee, walk some more, have lunch and so on. There is always something going on in London.

Phoenix Arts Club

Thursday, we went to the Phoenix Arts Club for The West End’s Theatre open mic night to experience Sofie on stage she is an amazing singer. It was a great evening; the performers are fantastic, and we had a lot of fun. They have open mic night every Thursday.

Friday on my mom’s birthday we visited Kew Gardens, a fantastic botanical garden. Way too big to see in just one day, so we only saw a fraction of it. We also had afternoon tea at the Ivy in Covent Garden – afternoon tea is a must every time I’m in London, love it.

Afternoon tea at the Ivy

Saturday, we went to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park while a million brits was marching for a people vote. It’s hard to understand they are leaving the EU, but on the other hand they don’t really see them selves as Europeans. They always talk about the continent, i.e. Europe.

Kew Garden

It will also affect us as a family because we do not know whether Sofie and Rasmus can stay. Rasmus has just been accepted to one of the universities and will study creative writing the next 3 years – it’s so cool and I’m proud of him.

Sofie has a free scholarship for a musical performance school (MX Masterclass). We saw their show at Charing Cross Theatre on Sunday. Sofie has applied for a master’s in musical performance from this fall. All of this means we follow the Brexit negotiations closely – tension rises each day.

But besides the insecurity we had a great weekend in London – my feet were killing me, and I had to relax all of Tuesday due to the pain.

I’ll be leaving Denmark soon, but the whole family will be together again on Iceland in the beginning of June – a family holiday.

Management by Fear

2019-03-20 | Denmark, Rwanda, Short read | No Comments

Rwanda – Genocide Memorial

I just finalized my next article. Its about my visit to Rwanda and it has been difficult writing it. Its been tough thinking about my visit again, so emotional. I ended up spending several days writing the article, because I needed breaks in between.

Thinking about all those people killed during the genocide. All those lives lost. Looking at history it doesn’t seem like we will ever learn and change our ways. I’ve visited the memorial in Rwanda, I’ve also visited the killing fields in Cambodia – my grandparents were part of the resistance during world war 2. They were imprisoned in a camp in Denmark (Frøslevlejren). They were lucky. They were caught just before the war ended, else they might have ended up in a concentration camp.

Cambodia – Killing Fields

And why do genocides happen – how is it possible for human beings to kill other human beings. How is it possible for human beings to commit those horrible crimes. It is difficult to comprehend.

Looking at history the commonalities to me seems to be when groups of people are dehumanised – either because they are from another tribe, another religion, another race or just something else which differs them from the majority.

Denmark – Froeslevlejren

The dehumanising begins when those in power (or the people who wants to be in power) starts to distinguish us from them. They point out the differences between humans. Next step is to put fear into people, claiming ‘the others’ are bad people. Claiming ‘the others’ want to force you to change your life, your belief or even that they want to kill you, your family and friends.

This is what the Nazis, the Khmer rouge and the Hutus did. This is what happened before all genocides. Fear is a powerful tool – it is a powerful weapon. It is easy to scare people, especially when it comes to the un-known. It requires much more energy for us to have an open mind, look at the facts and be pragmatic.

Everyday we see how fear is spread, fake news and lies are all over the place. It’s a shame because basically all we want as humans is living a good life. We want a good life with friends and family being happy. This is what everybody wants no matter where you live, what colour your skin has or what you believe in.