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The Danish problem

It is no coincidence that Danes are behind doping scandals, fists against a Swedish football player and the attack on the German referee. Something is rotten in the allegedly lovely Denmark.


[scandals] "I hate Germans. Hate them like no other! "

The statement came weeks ago from a stubborn, honest and pearly Danish man of his best age. We were in the middle of the Danish farmer's land. And he proudly told how lucky he was, one of the few selected and perhaps suitable. He had secured tickets for this year's sporting event: the Denmark-Sweden football match in the Sports Park in Copenhagen 2. June. Crucial for joining next year's European Championships.

"Guess who's going there? I! ”He beamed.

I do not know what he's thinking now. But one thing is for sure: It is the whole Danish self-understanding that has been challenged due to two sports scandals in the last couple of weeks: The doping admission from the cycling hero Bjarne Riis. As well as the scandal fight in the Sports Park. Yes, the Danish self-image has been attacked harder now – by the Danes' own Danish folk heroes – than by both the Nazi invasion and last year's caricature crisis.

Saturday's match is unparalleled in world football history: With one minute left in the match – at the position 3-3, after a big pick-up by Denmark – Danish Christian Poulsen strikes a clenched fist straight into the diaphragm of a Swedish player. Which falls over.

Referee Herbert Fandel convicts a penalty and expels Poulsen. To strong Danish protests. Then a drunken Danish supporter storms out onto the field and attacks the referee. The fight is blown off. Sweden is awarded victory with 3-0.

Danish and Norwegian newspapers have described the scandal created by the 29 year old supporter. "An insane spectator's assault on the referee costs Denmark the European Championship," Ekstrabladet claimed. While 58 percent of browsers gave him the main blame. Now he is being killed.

But it is the Danish spirit of the day, today's foundations, which is the driving force of the scandals. The problem is not the 29 year-old, but the guards didn't try to stop him. There were at least two other supporters who also ran into the field: One threw the ball into the Swedish goal, while the Danish stand cheered honestly but primitively. The main scandal is Poulsen's fist. But it is already forgiven by the Danes, which allows him to continue as nothing happened.

A study of the Danish TV commentators 'referee accusations, and the tribune's widespread statements about German Fandel, will probably show that the 29-year-old is a symptom of the compatriots' aggressiveness. As my interlocutor revealed, there is a widespread, irrational German hatred among Danes. In addition to the general contempt for all who are not enough as "them".

The attack on the German judge was not accidental, but an honest expression of Danish feelings. The last days' hateful reactions, explanations and lack of self-settlement among the Danes confirm the following claim: Both the fist and the attack on the German judge was a Freudian "slip of mind". A physical manifestation of the mental state in today's «state of Denmark». ■

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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