[Published on Global Voices Online]
Facebook came to life on Denmark’s streets in 2010 through a number of events and groups organised via the social networking site.
Creativity characterised Facebook in ‘real life’, whilst motives have been both political and benevolent, and supporters enthusiastic.
Denmark’s Top 3 Real Life Facebook Events
- Love Demonstration (Kærlighedsdemonstration)
An initiative called ‘Love Without Limits’ (Kærlighed uden grænser) arranged a demonstration on 8 December, 2010, against a new law to further restrict Danish immigration policy. International couples – of Danish and foreign origin – now face various legal challenges against sharing a life together in Denmark.
The ‘Love Without Limits’ Facebook page [da] has around 17,000 supporters, and more than 7,000 people took to the streets [da] to show their frustrations regarding the policy.
- Make a Lasagne for the Homeless (Lav en lasagne til de hjemløse)
Christmas is freezing cold in Denmark and an extremely hard time for the country’s homeless. This Facebook event [da] gathered 572 activists to share a lasagne they had made with a homeless person.
This unusual initiative certainly made at least one Copenhagen street corner smell – and feel – a little better than usual.
- Send a Lemon Cake to the Danish People’s Party (Send en citronmåne til Dansk folkeparti)
On 16 November, 2010, the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti – DF) political group received more than 400 lemon cakes as part of a Facebook event [da].
At the time of writing, 17,273 people had chosen to virtually ‘attend’ or support the event, to protest a statement in the Party’s membership magazine which blamed ‘immigrants’ greed’ to be the reason why hospitals and doctors’ waiting rooms no longer offer complimentary cake and lemonade [da].
Let Them (Not) Eat Cake
The Danish People’s Party is a right wing, nationalist and anti-immigration party with great influence as a result of the existing coalition with the ruling Liberal Party of Denmark.
The cake in question is not just any cake; the ‘Lemon Moon’ (Citronmåne) is a sponge cake manufactured by Danish company Dan Cake, which has been a familiar fixture on the shelves of Northern European convenience stores since the 1960s. In Danish homes it is a longstanding accompaniment to a cup of coffee.
The Dan Cake marketing department calls the Lemon Moon a “national symbol” [da], a Facebook fan calls it the “taste of her childhood” [da], and in the UK it has been nicknamed ‘caravan cake’ due to its perennial presence on camping holidays.
The cake is also emblematic of police officers; it was used in both online [da] and offline [da] protests back in 2007, when an underground venue and communal space that had played host to young left-wing groups since 1982, was torn down in Copenhagen [da].
Regarding the cake’s recent use against the Danish People’s Party, European online magazine cafebabel.com finds it ironic that “the crescent shape of the ‘lemon half-moon’ is also a [M]uslim symbol – a perfect gift on the eve of Ramadan?”. The site also offers a recipe for readers to bake their own Lemon Moon and send it to their local far-right politician.
Danish hospital director Ib Steen Mikkelsen explains that immigrant families do often have more visitors when hospitalised compared to other Danish patients, but that the only remarkable thing is that it is nice for the patient to have more guests.
Blogger Mina on atherosclerosis meanwhile, is puzzled by the comments; she has worked in hospitals in Denmark and does not recall any cakes.
Call for Action
Unfounded or not, supporters of the Lemon Moon Facebook event found the Danish People’s Party’s comments resentful and petty, which resulted in the call for action.
The Party is however, no stranger to controversy and some commentators have suggested the Facebook event may have had the opposite effect to the one intended, by raising the political group’s profile. Twitter user @idabrixtofte, used the hash tag #ignorerdemdog, meaning “just ignore them”.
@idabrixtofte writes via Twitter:
projekt citronmåne er vand på DF’s mølle, og bliver sandsynligvis spinnet til egen vinding i sidste ende #ignorererdemdog #saftgate
Project Lemon Moon is water for DF’s [Danish People’s Party’s] mill, and will probably be used for [the Party’s] own gains in the end
@jakobandresen, a journalist student, tweeted:
finder det morsomt, at citronmåne-aktivisterne intetanende hjælper #DF med at profilere sig som partiet med humor og overskud. #Selvmål!
Find it funny that Lemon Moon-activists are unsuspectedly helping #DF [Danish People’s Party] to profile themselves as a party of humour and energy
Less concerned Twitter observers chose to see the funny side. Danish Parliamentary candidate @EmilDyred wrote:
klukker af grin over Send en citronmåne til Dansk Folkeparti! og håber, at appetitten er god på DF’s gang på Christiansborg.
Chuckling with laughter over Send a Lemon Moon to the ‘Danish People’s Party! Hope that appetites are good at DF’s [Danish People’s Party] office in Christiansborg
[the seat of the Danish parliament]
Har grineren på over kageindsamlingen til Dansk Folkeparti. Kunne være jeg selv skulle smutte forbi med en citronmåne. De har fortjent den
Laughing about the cake collection for the Danish People’s Party. If I could I would have stopped by with a Lemon Moon. They deserved it
The Party itself states on its website:
Dansk Folkeparti tager kageaktionen med et smil og sætter pris på, at danskerne heldigvis har så meget humor, så man stadig kan føre demonstrationer med noget så harmløst som citronmåner.
The Danish People’s Party takes the cake action with a smile, and appreciates that the Danes have such a great sense of humour that one can lead demonstrations with something as harmless as Lemon Moons.
They go on to explain their intention to hand out the many cakes received to homeless people or nursing homes. The party also added an ‘online scratch card’ game (now offline) to their website’s response, whereby readers could win two cinema tickets if they got three Lemon Moons on their card.
The producer of the Lemon Moon, Dan Cake, appreciated the publicity generated by the Facebook event, with its marketing department commenting that the cake had now reached the proper status it deserved.