Greenland’s activists

Greenland's activists

Aka Hansen is committed to the decolonization of Greenland. Officially, the island is considered an electoral district of Denmark with its own government.

The struggle against colonialism and racism does not stop at Greenland either. “We are being shaken up at the moment,” explains the Greenlandic-Danish filmmaker and activist Aka Hansen. Aka means June 20, when the statue of the Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede in the capital Nuuk was painted with red paint and the words “Decolonize”. The Protestant pastor Hans Egede had left for Greenland on May 12, 1721 to serve the island. He not only translated the Bible into Greenlandic, but also baptized the first Inuit children from 1724.

His statue is perched on the rocks of the city and can be seen from afar. It is almost reminiscent of the Columbus statue in Chicago, which was removed during the protests by Black Lives Matter.

The Greenland activists also demand this, but they face an accusation from the Danish police. Nevertheless, they started voting on the statue. However, of the 1,500 of the 56,000 Greenlanders who took part in the vote, over 900 voted for the preservation of the colonial monument.

“People from our parents’ generation were socialized in a super Christian and Danish way. It is difficult to change their normality,” explains Aka. But the resistance is growing. Young Greenlanders in particular are becoming active. Whether on Instagram or on site. Most recently, Aka protested with a large “Decolonize” banner in front of the high rock walls of the capital.

The 33-year-old has been campaigning for the decolonization of Greenland for years. In 2011 she made the first completely Greenlandic film. From children’s films to the first youth science fiction web series, she creates something revolutionary. “Most,” explains Aka, “have never seen a film or series in their own mother tongue before. It’s like the Danes have to watch German films all their lives.”

Greenland is no longer officially a colony, but an electoral district of Denmark with its own government. Only in 2009 was Greenland’s autonomy expanded and the Greenlandic population recognized as a separate population group. Nevertheless, Denmark is always responsible for violence over the judiciary, the financial market, foreign and security policy and civil rights issues.

“As a young generation, we currently have the means to really change something through social media and the worldwide movement Black Lives Matter,” explains Aka and laughs mischievously.

For them, decolonization means more than the autonomy of Greenland. It is about dealing with the colonial past and racism. She now gives interviews every day and plans protests on site. Because “the revolution”, she firmly states, “can only happen offline and online”.

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