Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Dubye bye - Mojn South Slesvig

I landed in Hamburg, Germany, on April 6th and was picked up by my parents from where we went to their home in the border region South Slesvig. The slightly cheesy headline refers to the common greeting of "Mojn" which is used by both Germans and Danes on both sides of the border, but is unique to this region.

I had timed my homecoming, so that I would be home for my brother's 14th birthday. Here he is blowing out the candles of his traditional Danish birthday cake (It is also an old tradition to tease the children by saying that they have the same number of girlfriends/boyfriends as the amount of candles they are unable to blow out in one try - my brother had 1 left). In the background you can see my father and my paternal grandmother.

Here the cake is seen up close. The text written in chocolate says "Ole 14 years". Notice the Danish flags (named Dannebrog) on the cake. In Denmark the national flag is invariably tied to celebrations, much more than to politics. Traditionally it has been used for birthdays, christmas, anniversaries and similar joyful events rather than for political rallies or random displays of national pride. Unfortunately a new right wing party (Dansk Folkeparti) has tried eagerly to change that tradition since the mid-90s, when they started using the Danish national flag as a symbol of their ultra-nationalistic anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-EU agenda. Fortunately most Danes refuse to let these people monopolise the use of one of our most important national symbols for this narrow minded campaign.

To my great joy my big brother's family came to the birthday party, which also meant I got to see my little niece and nephew for the first time since I departed for India, more than 8 months ago. Unfortunately little Johanne, 4 years of age, was ill, and thus not very energetic. But she is still very adorable as this picture shows.

Here Ole is playing Nintendo with our 6 year old nephew Asbjørn. Asbjørn prefers to watch his uncle play, rather than play himself as he can't quite control the various characters on screen yet.

Since I haven't earlier shown a picture of my older brother, Morten, I risk it here. He was constantly checking for golf scores on the computer, so this was the only pose I was able to catch him in...

On the table in front of him is the book I'm currently reading: "Clash of Fundamentalisms" by the Pakistani-British writer Tariq Ali. I don't agree with all the book's points, but his historical analysis of the causes and development (including the heavy western responsibility) of militant Islam is superb.

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