Opinion

Immigrating to the Faroe Islands is especially difficult

Immigrating to the Faroe Islands is especially difficult. Those that achieve even partial success have done so through determination and patience. Every immigrant that has learned any significant level of Faroese, I promise you, has had to deal with conflicts they never expected, and suffered frustrations over a seemingly endless circle of answers and questions. Many that have tried, failed, and left (the Faroe Islands), did so because they are blind to the rules of the Faroese society, and here is my confession; I too am blind to the rules of the Faroese society.

This ignorance of how the rules of the system in place work, is not due to lack of effort but a constant conflict between rules we are told exist, or discordance between what we think is offered to us, and the effort immigrants must exert to take advantage of these offers. We know what we are told about the rules, but we do not understand how these rules fit together, or even if they fit together at all.

When we do succeed in understanding the rules, it is often due to a strong family, a strong community and a welcoming society. A strong family that knows the rules is the best education an immigrant can ever receive about the Faroe Islands. A strong community that can examine and evaluate the information presented to us is the best text book available. However, both a strong family and strong community relies on a welcoming society, that wants to ensure the information presented is always correct, and any mistakes made are corrected without compulsion or prejudice.

It is when the welcoming society doesn’t want to ensure the information presented is correct we experience the greatest frustrations, setbacks, and sorrows associated with integration on the Faroe Islands. I myself did not know when to tell my employer to stop, to demand my employer respect my rights, and before I realized I could say stop, all evidence of wrong doing was long gone. My experience is not unique. Other immigrants have been lied to, regarding vacation allowances, pension payments, their rights as parents, or their rights to commercial services.

To be silent when one is witness to the abuse of this ignorance is to give tacit approval of the abuse. It is my opinion, to state what one has witnessed is not to get involved in conflicts, nor is it to get involved by correcting disinformation. It is a moral obligation to state what one has witnessed, and it is a moral obligation to prevent disinformation from harming the people you interact with. To say Faroese people are cold or hostile is not a true statement, but the few that are cold and hostile seem to steal the spotlight, and are rarely stopped from causing harm to immigrants with disinformation. Perhaps, it is most truthful to say, ‘at some point’ tacit approval is given by society.

Will you remain silent?

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