Comment: Thanks and Thoughts for the New Year

by Mingming Shi

I am thankful for our readers, especially given that in this information age where surges of news are appearing around everyone, many of us have been scrolling up and down the screens of our mobiles and computers more frequently, given the current pandemic. Every hit on our articles matters, which has fuelled our volunteer (equivalent to ‘unpaid’!) editors’ inspirations for our next news topics. Besides, it is a great pleasure and honor to be told online and in person that our writings are useful in others’ studies and research.

Among all my work this year, the article From Denmark to Greenland: A Long-awaited Apology is one of my favorites. I had been gathering data on this issue for a while before a belated official apology from the Government of Denmark. The message from Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, sparked my determination to complete of this article. A Danish phrase was appearing many times while I was reviewing the materials of this historical tragedy: gode intentioner, meaning ‘good intentions’. I am not arguing that the planners meant to mistreat the Greenlandic children. However, I am not persuaded that this phrase is supposed to be the most appropriate way that we should look at the past, in this period, when colonialism seems to be far behind. Well-intended colonialism is/was still colonialism, no matter how gentle and subtle it presents/ed itself.

There is no secret to composing these articles, where searching and gathering for materials, reading, discussing, rethinking and rewriting have repeated themselves numerous times. It requires a great quantity of extra caution when it comes to a language which I am not fluent in, such as Danish. Friends and colleagues have also given a helpful hand to make helpful comments and kind suggestions. I would especially like to thank Mikkel Schøler and Marc Lanteigne in particular, without whom, my work would not have found such a wonderful audience!

I am very proud to say that 2021 is a special year in my personal life, as I have a full time job working at a fast food place while keeping up publishing on the blog. Making a living through hospitality and customer service is a great contributor to my deepening understanding of Iceland, an Arctic state. 

The Arctic, and the greater circumpolar regions, are of course the core of our blog and one of the major fields of research in my (part-time) academic career. However, I also want to raise some questions for all of us, for example, do we care about people and other creatures inhabiting the high north and other parts of the globe? Are they simply numbers and data in our publications? How else can we better comprehend this world? Is there anything more profound to experience in life than just academia and writing?

2022 will be an historical phase with an uncertain future, and I genuinely wish everybody a safe and sound New Year and look forward to communicating via our writings and other occasions. –M.S.