Finland celebrates its 95th independence day

by , under Enrique

As Finland celebrates today its 95th anniversary as an independent nation, the noble values of acceptance, respect and inclusion should resonate in the Finnish expat community and in this country, from Helsinki all the way north to Ohcejohka (Utsjoki).  What is the big picture we should strive for as a society in this century? 

English poet W.H. Auden (1907-73) offers us an eloquent answer. He once said civilizations should be measured by ”the degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained.”

This is the exact yardstick that Finland should use to measure its success as a society in the twenty-first century.

While Finland guarantees and promotes cultural diversity in the spirit of its laws, what happens on the ground is unfortunately a different story.

Too many Finns still shun, and are even hostile to, cultural diversity.

If we look at our second- and third-generation Finns, those whose parents or grandparents moved to this country as immigrants or refugees, it becomes evident that we still have a long way to go as a nation when promoting a society based on mutual acceptance and respect.

In many respects, the Russification period (1899-1905 and 1908-1917), when Czar Nicholas II unilaterally  attempted to compromise Finland’s autonomy and its cultural unity, is similar but in a different context to the indifference and hostility that expats, immigrants and visible minorities face today.

Just like Russification aimed at weakening this country, groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), Suomen Sisu, Suomalaisuuden liitto and others are doing the same thing. Their aim is to render useless, destroy and socially exclude new Finns who are and never will be like them.

Not only have these anti-immigration groups declared open war on Finland’s “others,” they have kidnapped our national icons in the process to spread their brand of racism and prejudice.

The good news is that these pro-racism groups will fail because, like with Russification, they will be bitten hard by the very hatred that they promote.

Just like the first phase (1899-1905) of Russification suffered a blow thanks to the defeat of the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War, the modern version of that historical watershed is Anders Breivik. Without the Norwegian mass murderer, the anti-immigration message of those groups that are hostile to immigrants and visible minorities would have gotten stronger and louder in Finland and elsewhere in the Nordic region.

I have confidence in Finland and the Finns to rid themselves of groups that flirt with the most destructive forces that promote racism, far-right ideologies and blind nationalism.

That is why I am celebrating this important date, December 6.

 

  1. Farang

    Funny, since I, as a finn, am celebrating this day hoping exactly the opposite than you 🙂

    But let’s look at the brigt side, that is also a form of diversity, people who want different things.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      Funny, since I, as a finn, am celebrating this day hoping exactly the opposite than you

      So whereas Ricky says:

      I have confidence in Finland and the Finns to rid themselves of groups that flirt with the most destructive forces that promote racism, far-right ideologies and blind nationalism.

      you wish to promote these groups.

      Why are we not surprised?

      But let’s look at the brigt side, that is also a form of diversity, people who want different things.

      So I’m sure you will now go out of your way to defend the freedom of expression of the activists who unfurled a shit-stained Finnish flag over the Route 1 motorway bridge in Salo this morning.

  2. Jssk

    Hmm, what exactly is the problem with Suomalaisuuden Liitto? They dont promote racism, far right ideologies or “blind nationalism”. Maybe you have mistaken.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Suomalaisuuden liitto is another PS-Suomi Sisu bastion to promote its views of what it thinks Finnishness is. The Finnishness it promotes is exclusive and white. Who heads the Suomalaisuuden liitto? Sampo Terho, PS EuroMP.

  3. Jssk

    Suomalaisuuden liitto is another PS-Suomi Sisu bastion to promote its views of what it thinks Finnishness is. The Finnishness it promotes is exclusive and white. Who heads the Suomalaisuuden liitto? Sampo Terho, PS EuroMP.

    Suomalaisuuden Liitto is not related to Suomen Sisu in any relevant way. Its an independent organization that promotes finnish nationalism and language. What comes to Sampo Terho heading the organization, i dont see the problem with that he is from PS. Does that make the organization far right or racist, or a “bastion” for those ideologies? I wont argue about Suomen Sisu being racist or not, but saying that Suomalaisuuden Liitto is a bastion for racism or far-right ideologies is a dubious claim

    • Mark

      Hi Jssk

      I’m not comfortable with Suomalasuuden Liito’s stance on Swedish language and on promoting an excusively ‘Finnish-language’ form of Finnish identity. They are actively working to remove the rights of language minorities in Finland and to offer a one-dimensional and historically inaccurate representation of ‘Finnish identity’. That would put the organisation immediately on the Far Right of the political spectrum. Their very strong emphasis on nationalism and on ‘identity-based politics’ would also put them on the Far Right.

  4. Jssk

    I’m not comfortable with Suomalasuuden Liito’s stance on Swedish language and on promoting an excusively ‘Finnish-language’ form of Finnish identity.

    Well, finnish identity is strongly tied to finnish language.

    They are actively working to remove the rights of language minorities in Finland

    They are against mandatory swedish, not the swedish language or the identity of fennoswedes. I dont see how that is removing the rights of fennoswedes at all. They point out the following

    “Suomen ainoaksi viralliseksi kieleksi määrätään siirtymäajan jälkeen suomi. Historiallisten vähemmistöjen oikeudet omakieliseen kulttuuriin ja omakielisiin palveluihin turvataan alueellisesti ja työpaikkakohtaisesti todellisten tarpeiden mukaisesti”

    http://www.suomalaisuudenliitto.fi/?page_id=327

    offer a one-dimensional and historically inaccurate representation of ‘Finnish identity’. That would put the organisation immediately on the Far Right of the political spectrum.

    Can you point out how the view they offer is historically inaccurate?

    “Their very strong emphasis on nationalism and on ‘identity-based politics’ would also put them on the Far Right.”

    Yes, because its a nationalist organization. But i dont see how that would put them on far right.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Suomalaisuuden liitto (Association of Finnish Culture and Identity) is an appendage of the anti-immigration/anti-cultural diversity hardliners of the PS and others who think alike. Its chairman, Sampo Terho, is a member of the PS and Euro MP.

      If you look at their latest publication, it is evident that one of their main goals is to destroy the Swedish-speaking minority’s rights in this country.

      The fact that the Suomalaisuuden liitto wants to undermine the rights of Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority, reveals a lot about the far-right nationalist world that these people live in. Finnish identity cannot be defined in myopic terms since 1.2 million people emigrated from this land between 1860 and 1999. Moreover, our society is today ever-globalized and ever-culturally diverse.

      In the PS populist spirit, the Suomalaisuuden liitto fuels nationalist sentiment at the cost of other identities living in this country. They are giving you the same rhetoric about what is Finnish identity as Suomen Sisu. Suomalaisuuden liitto founded Suomen Sisu in 1998. Like that extremist association, they see diversity as a threat to white Finnish identity, which is exclusive and has special privileges over other groups.

      While the Suomalaisuuden liitto has done a lot to promote Finnish language and culture, it was done in another context and historical period.

      If there is an social construct engineer, it is Suomalaisuuden liitto since its founding in 1906. Times have changed. Suomalaisuuden liitto should study and promote new manifestations of Finnishness instead of emphasizing Finnish white privilege to undermine the rights of others to embrace this country as theirs and as equals.

  5. Jssk

    The fact that the Suomalaisuuden liitto wants to undermine the rights of Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority, reveals a lot about the far-right nationalist world that these people live in.
    appendage

    I dont see how their opposition to mandatory swedish translates to a will to undermine the rights of fennoswedes. One of their strategies is to ensure the right of historical minorities to their own language, culture and services in their language.

    Finnish identity cannot be defined in myopic terms since 1.2 million people emigrated from this land between 1860 and 1999. Moreover, our society is today ever-globalized and ever-culturally diverse.
    appendage

    I agree with you on this

    They are giving you the same rhetoric about what is Finnish identity as Suomen Sisu. Like that extremist association, they see diversity as a threat to white Finnish identity, which is exclusive and has special privileges.
    appendage

    Not exactly, Suomalaisuuden Liitto has not stated or even implied that diversity or “mixing of cultures” is a threat to finnish identity as far as i know.

    What are the special privileges of being born as a fair skinned finn that you talk about? This country and the welfare state did not just pop out of nowhere – its an earned result, not privilege.

    And to be honest, other identities are exclusive aswell. “Exclusiveness” is not limited to finnish, european or white identities.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Not exactly, Suomalaisuuden Liitto has not stated or even implied that diversity or “mixing of cultures” is a threat to finnish identity as far as i know.

      Who sits on the Suomalaisuuden liitto board (hint: Teemu Lahtinen, among others)? Suomen Sisu was founded by Suomalaisuuden liitto in 1998. Even if the former association separated from the latter, they hold similar ideas about what Finnishiness is and how it should be defended.

      Here’s some background information about the two.

      You can check as well a 2011 edition of their publication to see the “good company” that they have. Some names of MP candidates supported by the Suomalaisuuden liito include: Olavi Mäenpää, James Hirvisaari, Olli Immonen and others.

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