Greenlanders Furious as Trump Expresses Interest in Buying Their Island
President Trump recently confirmed a rumour that he was interested in buying the ice-covered autonomous Danish territory. A Wall Street Journal article had earlier claimed that the US president had “with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest” in purchasing the Island.
According to the report on BBC, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen quickly replied to this news, callingthe president’s idea of buying the island “absurd”. Frederiksen’s reply led President Trump to cancel a state visit to Denmark that had been planned for September, the president accused Frederiksen of being “nasty”.
The people who live in the Greenlands have finally had a chance to process their feelings about the entire debacle and most of them do not find it funny.
‘For me, this is very scary’, “This is a very dangerous idea,” Dines Mikaelsen, a tour operator from East Greenland, told the BBC.
Mikaelsen lamented about the US military presence in Greenland since World War Two. The United States had set up numerous military bases across the island, including a secret Cold War-era nuclear base called Camp Century.
“We have so many [US] military bases that have been left for many many years, and you can see the rust everywhere… they have left so much trash in Greenland,” he said.
Mikaelsen also recalls that in 1953, the indigenous Inughuit community had been given four days to leave their homes to make way for the base’s expansion.
“They also move people without asking them,” he added, describing the expropriation of the Inughuits. “If they [the US] buy Greenland, they would just move people around and build it up with military bases… our population is only 56,000, and for me, this is very scary.”
‘He’s treating us like a good he can purchase’
Greenland’s first female prime minister, Aleqa Hammond tells the BBC that a majority of the Islanders are often skeptical about the presence of the U.S government on the Island.
“The American presence in Greenland is not to the benefit of Greenlanders,” she said. “Even though America said, and Denmark said, that the expansion [of the Thule Air Base in 1953] was just in case there was an attack from Russia… we see it differently. We never asked Americans to come. Denmark allowed them to come and build an airbase.”
“Then, the Americans and Denmark together only gave the Inughuit people four days to move out of their homes, and told them that if they didn’t move out they would demolish their houses – because [they said] it was important that they built the airstrip right then, because the Cold War was going on.
“This is the way Americans have been treating the Greenlanders, and of course, even though it was many years ago, it’s still part of our history with America.”
Other commenters also blamed President Trump for having an arrogant attitude with the Greenlanders.
Aleqa Hammond, former prime minister of Greenland, says the US’s presence in Greenland is “not to the benefit of Greenlanders”. She says the president’sproposal was blunt and not showing any form of sensitivity to history.
“He’s treating us like a good he can purchase,” she said. “He’s not even talking to Greenland – he’s talking to Denmark about buying Greenland.”