Monday, November 20, 2006

Immigrant Song

My maternal grandfather came to the United States over 50 years ago barely speaking a word of English. "Allo," "Spaghetti," "Thank you" and "No" probably rounded out his vocabulary at the time. Not that it stopped him.

He didn't ask for hand-outs, nor did he expect any. Rather, my grandfather knew he would see results for every ounce of effort he applied in the land of opportunity. And that's exactly what he got. Working hard, he raised a family, and assimilated into his new country, slowly learning the language and customs.

Now, I don't mean to dupe the reader into thinking my grandfather somehow transformed into a good 'ol boy who lives for the World Series, double-fists Bud Light, and polishes his red pick-up truck on Sundays. But if there ever was an immigrant story of success, I can proudly point to my grandfather's accomplishments as a symbol of the best that the American Dream has to offer.

Yet another immigrant story awaits us across the pond in Denmark. NPR recently aired a piece entitled "Danes' Anti-Immigrant Backlash Marks Radical Shift." (I don't know about "radical," maybe more like "sensible.")

For years, the Danes, like many other European socialist countries, have doled out a free ride to immigrants in their welfare state. It's common knowledge that anyone with a ticket, a family member or a little luck can collect a government paycheck, courtesy the Kingdom of Denmark.

Well... it seems the free ride is over.

This sea change in Danish immigration policy is evidenced in a new book by Karen Jespersen, [pictured here] entitled "Islamists and Naivists" and in a series of strict new anti-immigration Laws by Denmark's now conservative government.

In her book, Jespersen argues that Islamic radicals have a goal to Islamicize Europe (and, eventually, take it over). She is telling Danes what Americans already know, and what the rest of Europe is perhaps (too) slowly realizing. For more about the rest of Europe, see here.

The Danes' action is a refreshing change from Europeans' typical stance of bending over and taking it from their, poor, hostile, minority Muslim population.

Finally, the suppressed Viking spirit is beginning to shine through. It's about time one of the Scandinavian countries decided they weren't going to take it laying down anymore, or on the chin like the French.

It is now increasingly difficult to get by on government money if you are an unemployed foreigner in Europe. However, things could be much worse, after all; because although Muslim immigrants now wake up to a Europe that is less inviting and less inclined to freely give of its wealth, they should consider themselves lucky. Despite the monetary funds and special privileges that will diminish, Muslims can be fairly confident of one thing: There will be little reason to worry that a horde of Viking Long ships, armed to the teeth with hungry, violent, berzerkers will crash upon their shores to pillage their country of its own wealth, resources and way of life.

But the same may not be said for the homelands of these European Muslim immigrants. They can now see the consequences of war, intolerance, corruption and terrorism from the outside looking in. If European Muslims cannot learn to better conform in their new countries, and adapt to Western living like millions of immigrants before them, they may provoke a less benign response.

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