Finland’s multicultural challenge in the 21st century

by , under All categories, Enrique

Just like when Finland won its independence from the former Soviet Union in the last century, the country will face new challenges to its cultural identity.

In the 20th century, after December 6, 1917, when Finland gained its cherished independence, there was a lot of work done to exert Finnish culture and wipe out the symbols of Russian culture.

Finland almost succeeded at becoming a near-homogeneous society in the last century. By the 1960s, the number of foreigners had dwindled to a mere 6,000. Presently, there are over 100,000 foreigners that live in Finland. Some Finns see “multiculturalism” as a threat to what was achieved culturally in the past century.

Multiculturalism is not a new concept. Since the dawn of time, when primates became bipedal, different tribes and groups have integrated with each other with varying results. The Canadian concept of multiculturalism aims to teach all nationalities and people with different cultural backgrounds to live side by side in harmony.

Finnish culture was never monocultural nor homogeneous. We were taught to think that way by keeping our definition very tight and inflexible on Finnish culture.

Some may ask about the outlandish things that the former Soviet Union did to Finland during the Second World War. Nobody cannot deny that the injustices that Finland endured at the hands of an autocratic communist regime were terrible.

I am in favor that the the Karelian Isthmus, Viena Karelia, Salla and Petsamo should be one day returned to Finland. I understand, however, that we can never aspire to rejoin these territories as purely Finnish regions but with other minorities such as Russian speakers. Taking into account our upbringing, history with Russia and cultural intransigence, it would be a too difficult pill for some Finns to swallow.

While multiculturalism is no magic cure for all, it offers us better chances to live side by side other cultures and possibly even find solutions to old territorial disputes such as Karelia.

Owing to the rapidly aging Finnish population, which is a real threat to our culture and economic livelihood, multiculturalism will help us resolve many difficult challenges in the future.

If Finland’s aim was to build a near-homogeneous culture in the last century, it’s greatest challenge will be to build a multicultural Finnish society in this century.

  1. Onkko

    What about tatars, judes, gypsies, russians and lapplandians in our culture?
    We see culture as “one who obey set of rules” not face, religion or language. Call it monoculture if you want but it isnt.
    Seek tatars on history, got freedom of religion 19?? in finland.
    Main thing is that they obey set of rules and because of that they are accepted as finnish.
    Check Savolainen, lappalainen, tamperelainen etc… different but same by “set of rules”.
    And we dont need multicultural finland, there is rules how to live and we dont want foreigners to come and try change those.
    Multicultural means you want change rules.

  2. Enrique

    Hi Onkko, thank you for posting your ideas.
    What are the rules that you are talking about? What rules would change in your opinion? Could you specify some?

  3. DeTant Blomhat

    Ah Enrique, you just missed the world news. What just happens in South Ossetia. Remember last year – what happened in Estonia? You think the Finns would embrace the idea having an ethnic Russian minority with no Finnish identity? The Finn-Swedes have a “Finnish identity” and they have – if possible – a stronger cultural identity.

    And Canada must be the last place to look for an example – it is a horrible failure according to the foreigners living there http://www.notcanada.com

  4. Jonas

    Yes, we always have trouble explaining our identity to foreigners (including people from Sweden). We’re Finnish but just with a bit of added extra… Sort of multifacited identity.

    But to be fair, I think that’s a good model for immigrants to adopt. You don’t have to restrict yourself to one cultural realm. You can go to the sauna every Saturday night and still dance around the midsummer pole on midsummer eve. You can get your tv news from TV-nytt and still subscribe to Hesari. You can feel equally patriotic reading the works of Runeberg in the original as you do reading the mysticism of Kalevala in its original. You can even spend a lot of time with your tv tuned to Sveriges TV and read magazines shipped in from Stockholm without becoming any less Finnish. Of course, Finland-Swedish culture is so old and established that it is an intrinsicly a Finnish “thing”. Indeed, it’s heavily influenced Finnish culture in general (and vice-versa). But no doubt when the first Swedes came to Finland, the Finnish-speakers and Sami people thought they were a strange bunch with odd habits. Hopefully, in time, we will learn that this is not the reaction to jump on for our current migrants.

    As for the return of the eastern land lost to Russia – it’s never going to happen for so many reasons, not least the one DeTant alludes to above. We see right now how Russia can use its “citizens in the near abroad” for an excuse for getting belligerent. Do we want to expose ourselves to be in such a position? No. It would require a complete reevaluation of our defence policies. But anyway, we see that even if the Finnish public opinion and government were in favour, the Russian bear doesn’t do giving up territory.

  5. Onkko

    Rules are hard to explain because they just are, you born with rules and live with rules.
    For example “dont be to near to other” is rule, “dont talk to stranger” is rule, “dont cause distress” is rule, dont get offended is rule. There is “rules” what makes us behave like finnish and if someone dont behave like that then he is foreign to us.
    If you behave like society tells youre finnish.

  6. Enrique

    Hi DeTant, I know it has not been easy pickings. What is happening is a terrible reminder of conflicts due to culture. I would not buy that the Swedish-speaking Finns have a stronger identity than the Finnish speakers. How do you measure it? It is interesting, however, how a nation like Finland has built a national identity.

  7. Enrique

    Jonas, if we look at Finnish history and scrape a bit on the identity surface, we will probably see things that we never though imaginable before. One of the possible discoveries is that we have been a country comprised of many cultures. Our definition and who we accept as Finns may be very strict because our culture has felt threatened in the past. Is it time to cast these fears aside? Should we think of ways of how Finnish culture can accept outsiders as a part of our society and not keep them parked in some transit lounge for generations as outsiders?

  8. Enrique

    Onkko, I wish it were that easy as you say. I wonder what others say about your observation: if you behave like society tells you, you’re a Finn.

  9. Jonas

    I don’t know, in some ways I would say we have a stronger cultural identity – or perhaps, more correctly, it’s more important to us as a tie and badge of identity. Per capita, there is certainly a higher level of participation in cultural associations etc amongst Swedish-speakers. So, there may be something in it. It’s probably due to being a minority – it probably makes it feel more necessary to be assertive about such things. There is also a sort of raising of the status of the Swedish language to something more ‘special’ than the Finnish language is seen to Finnish speakers. Again, probably because Finnish is not under any threat etc, so the Finnish speakers can just take Finnish for granted. For instance, even the song sang at public events of a Swedish-speaking nature (alongside the national anthem) is called Modersmålets sång. So, even the hymn is a sort of personification of the language.

  10. DeTant Blomhat

    No, Enrique – ” if you behave like society tells you, you’re a Nordic”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/15/denmark.norway

    ****
    On successive visits to Denmark, Norway and now, just back from two weeks in Finland, I’ve kept bumping up against the same puzzling phenomenon: a kind of unquestioning assumption of how things should be, a form of social control about the way to behave and one’s responsibilities to others. The point when it became starkly apparent in Finland was at Sunday family lunch in a country barn restaurant; every table was full but all you could hear were murmured whispers and the scrape of cutlery on china – until our families arrived, anarchic, squabbling and full of chatter, despite my Finnish friend’s attempts to get us to be quiet.

    “Everyone knows exactly what you have to do in every circumstance, everyone tries to do it, confident that everyone else is doing it and anyone who fails will be subjected to the justified scorn of everybody,” says Andrew Brown of the remarkable degree of mutual trust and expectation that characterises Scandinavian social relations.
    ****

    See now thats the key – mutual trust and expectations. If the foreigner insists of acting… unexpectedly – then also the foreigner is not trusted in other things. It isn’t a thing you can just grab and paint and paint purple. All the countries have their own flairs in doing things. Denmark has a laissez-faire policy as long as there is no challenge. Finland allows more conflict than the consensus-seeking Swedes… but in all of these there is the “doors open in the countryside” kind of mentality. As nobody would imagine going in uninvited…

  11. Tiwaz

    As I have said in other places…

    How can multicultural system work?

    What if my cultural norms say this and guy next to me says another thing about same issue?

    As example, again from my other postings elsewhere. Shame on me for not being creative…

    I have this loved co-habitant/wife/girlfriend.

    Guy next door is hardcore muslim from say Somalia and we live in Finland.

    He wants to see her covered in burkha, because that is his cultural norm.

    I want to see her in tight jeans, nice top. This is my cultural norm.

    Which norm would be followed? Both are impossible to coexist as she cannot wear burkha and not wear burkha at same time. She is not schrödingers girlfriend.

    One norm has to be forfeited in favour of another.

    Would this norm be one of immigrants or other minorities?
    Or one of natives and majority?

    There must be one culture which sets the norms for what is not acceptable and what is.
    If your cultural norms are not in violation of this, you can follow your own culture.

    If your cultural norms are in violation, you trying to follow them would disturb the society and cause serious problems.

    Problem Finland faces is not multiculturalism, but making immigrants understand that they must integrate to society they move into. And this includes learning to behave according to local cultural norms.

  12. Enrique

    Hi Tiwaz, I don’t think that any norm has to be forfeited for the other. That is the idea of living in a multinational and multicultural setting. We are tolerant of each other’s culture. Compared to some other cultures, we in the west have choices. We can dress as Muslims or as westerners. It does not matter. Variety is part of our daily cultural scene.
    While I agree with you about integration, which is also a choice, this is where the problems begin. People who move to a country must follow the laws of the country. I don’t think that there are, however, any laws that force people to integrate culturally. This, I believe, is a democratic choice that countries such as Finland offer. And anyway, can you tell me how you can force a person from another culture to take on the values of another culture? How is it done? And specifically are you just talking about dress codes? Could you be more specific?

  13. Tiwaz

    No, but here we have this situation that one or another HAS to go.

    She cannot wear burkha and not wear burkha at same time.

    I say she has jeans and top, my hardcore muslim neighbour says she must have burkha.

    See, that is problem. If that hardcore muslim would stick to himself and wear whatever he wanted…. I have no problem. But far too many immigrants, and sadly this group has rather large number of islamic background representatives (for record, I do not say all muslims are like this and I have had in my life muslim friends who were just great), want THEIR cultural norms to apply to whole society.

    This is not limited to any particular group though. Immigrants of every background tend to complain “why they behave like that” when facing issue of different cultural norms. They would want everyone behave like they do, failing to grasp that they are minority and alien to nation in question.

    Different cultures just do not mix. Sooner or later there will be issues due to it. So for functionality of society, there has to be single culture which sets the benchmark.

    As said, as long as your norms are not at odds with this culture, you can continue living as you were. But if they are…

    It honestly is unreasonable that NATIVE culture is one that has to bend. It must be immigrant who changes their attitude. They can think or believe what they want, but their behavior in public must be in accordance with local cultural norms.

    You cannot exist without problems in society without culturally integrating. Society is built around that culture, and if you go against it with your behavior you are disturbing the society. Which in turn is disadvantageous to you and everyone else.

    Specially for you, because your bad and unproper behavior casts negative shadow on all immigrants.

    And no, I am not speaking of just dress codes.

    As politically incorrect as this might be…. There are certain immigrant groups who are for example in rape statistics way overrepresented. This is at least partially due to their cultural norms having completely different from for example finnish, swedish or norwegian. Because these immigrants do not adjust their thinking and behavior to local norms, they become more often rapists. Not all of them, but amount which does is higher than it should be considering their amount.

    Multicultural society just does no work. Every nation and society needs something that binds it together. And that thing is culture. Without cultural bond within population, you will have multitude of smaller blocks who sooner or later will be in hostile conflict.

    You see this in Sudan and Yugoslavia and Iraq. None of these have single, unifying cultural identity. As result, local different cultural groups are at each others throats because others “behave wrong”.

  14. Enrique

    As I mentioned previously, the Muslim should respect your cultural norms as you should respect his. I don’t think that “different groups of foreigners” expect that all Finns should become Muslims. Moreover, the great majority of societies are multicultural to begin with. Some good examples of successful multicultural societies are Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Holland and others.
    The problem with Sudan, Yugoslavia and Iraq is exactly what happens when one culture imposes by force its norms on other groups. These are societies with little tolerance for other cultures. This is not the road Finland or any other developed should should take.

  15. Tiwaz

    As I said, I hope, it is slightly exaggerated example.

    But reality is, there has to be proper code of conduct, and there can only be one proper code of conduct. Generally it is unwritten principles of society and thus culture.

    You DO find it in Canada. Canadians find doing stuff in some ways to be “bad behavior”.
    You will find it in Brazil and so forth.

    And it exists in Finland. Only “problem”, though it is not one, is that our society and culture is far different from others. In a way rather unique.

    Thus, you people feel that we, natives, behave “wrong” because our culture shares little to no connection with overall european cultures (which are in turn exported to countries you mention. None of your list has NATIVE culture, instead they are offshoots of english, spanish, portugese and so forth cultures).

    Or horrible mess like UK and Netherlands, where we can actually start to see backlash on “multiculturalism” in rise of far right. People have had it with trampling of their culture, and unless someone gets smart soon enough… I predict blood will flow on European streets.

    Again, as said. Problem is manyfold. I notice you have not noticed the part about overrepresented immigrants in rape statistics.

    And since even inside immigrants this group is in another smaller section of immigrants, it is obvious that their cultural norms are partially to blame for this.
    Simply put, they do not respect finnish culture. They try to behave as if they were back at home.

  16. Enrique

    Hi Tiwaz, could you tell me in which society rape is permitted and accepted as the norm. We had some debate about these statistics that you mentioned and one should keep in mind that people are individuals NOT countries. There are certain in Finland and if you break them you have to pay for your crimes.
    I disagree that Finnish culture is unique. Finnish culture is unique in that it speaks a unique language but its cultural roots are deeply ingrained in Europe. And, anyway, Finland is located in Europe.
    In my opinion, your arguments about “blood flowing on the streets” are exaggerated. As I mentioned, only countries where “a single proper code of conduct” has been imposed on minorities, that is where we have had racial strife. There are more examples of successful multicultural societies than successful “monocultural” societies such as Albania and North Korea. Throughout time people from different cultures have always interacted and learned from each other.

  17. Tiwaz

    Muslim societies view rape and crime in it very differently. They are by history patriarchal societies, where woman has far inferior position compared to man.

    While rape in those societies is not necessarily accepted, there is sad trend that in such case woman may be punished more severely for it than man. Often these nations have bit flawed rape statistics as they are not reported. Women do not want to be punished.

    And point here is, people coming from these countries with this culture do not adjust to finnish society. They think and behave as if the were still in their country of origin. Women are property, dressing in miniskirt and tight top equals whore or invitation to sex. Or both.

    And finnish culture is european, but it is not like other european cultures. You clearly do not know history. Britain, France, Germany, Italy… All those countries and more have had VERY active contact. Their cultures have been influenced by conquests and other such activities. Finland has been isolated, biggest contribution to our culture came from Sweden. And even that mainly involved legal systems. Culture itself was not touched very much.

    So, finnish culture has been born and grown with far less outside “interference” thus it is nothing like ones in other nations.

    And again, multicultural nations have ONE culture which dominates. Or can you show stable society where there is no unifying factor involved? No you can’t. I tell you that already. Canada is not multicultural at heart, canadians still behave (and expect others to behave) like canadians. Put someone with totally alien way to behave there and they show how little multiculturalism there is in their society.

    It is just that majority of immigrants in lists you mention tend to be from areas which are not culturally that different. Small amounts of truly different cultures disappear into that mass.

    In Finland, our culture and behavior is too unique for that.

    Blood will flow on the streets. Unless issue of refusal to integrate are dealt with, french riots will end up looking like minor unrest. People do not appriciate foreigners coming and telling them how to live in their native country. Pressure is building up (as you see with increased popularity of rightwing politicians) and eventually it will burst.

  18. Tiwaz

    Your view on multiculturalism appears to be that people should be permitted live their life as they please as long as they do not cause disturbance.

    In this sense, Finland is one of the most multicultural societies in world. As long as you do not violate those unwritten rules of behavior… (which stem from our culture)

    We just do not care. I do not care if you are black, blue or green. Just behave like people are expected to behave in Finland and I do not care.

    Behave as if you were still in Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, USA or whateveristan… I will definitely have and issue with you because this is not Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, USA or whateveristan.

    This is Finland. There is right way to do stuff, and wrong way. And we say which is the right way.

    It is absolute minimum to show courtesy towards native culture to obey their cultural rules. You do not have to like them, but you have to obey them.

    If someone fails to show this respect towards Finns, why would anyone presume Finns to show any respects towards them?

  19. Enrique

    I understand your point of view but I do not think it is an effective way of integrating others. One of the great things about society like the United States, which have many great faults, is that people are allowed to keep their cultural heritage and belong to society.
    There are right and wrong ways to do in Finland. There are laws and these must be followed. That is not in question. What we are talking about, however, are cultural norms that are not laws.

  20. JL

    Jonas, it’s mind-boggling that you think that Svenskfinland is a good model for immigrant groups to adopt. Svenskfinland is maintained with Finnish-speaking taxpayers’ money. What would happen if similar policies were adopted in benefit of other minorities? Would everybody be forced to learn Russian, Somali, Arabic, whatever? Would we have different schools and universities for each ethnicity? Would every ethnic group have its own political party devoted to zero-sum games against the majority? It would be a catastrophe for Finland.

    Enrique, multiculturalism is in fact a new concept, not more than a few decaded old. There have always been multicultural societies, but the ideology of multiculturalism — i.e. the idea that ethnic diversity is a good thing in itself, and that all ethnicities are equal — is recent.

  21. Enrique

    HI JL, nice to hear from you again. By multiculturalism, lots of people refer to the Canadian model. What I was pointing to is that societies that have accepted immigrants or who have had cultural minorities within their ranks are already multicultural, or multinational, culturally pluralistic societies. Countries such as Argentina promoted immigration and wanted to have foreigners because it was seen as an effective way of populating the country. There are many other examples I could list.
    WIth respect to Tiwaz’ comment I would like to add: Could not Finnish society teach other national groups that it pays to be tolerant. Certainly, with such examples they could change their countries. If we teach them that we are intolerant of their cultures, we are only reinforcing their stereotypes about themselves and that it is ok to be this way.

  22. Jonas

    JL, No, that is clearly not want I meant. Swedish-speaking Finns are not maintained by Finnish-speaking tax payers´ money. Tax money is not received with any linguistic colouring. Such an argument is the same as those who argue for Finland becoming a more American society – i.e. I didn’t go to university / need an operation, so why should my tax money go to the universities / hospitals. Our society doesn’t work in that way.

    What I was highlighting is the ability to exist within more than one culture at the same time. Obviously, it’s not a perfect example that can be taken as a carbon copy and implemented in exact replica by immigrant groups from outside of the country. Especially, as the traditions that are specifically Finland-Swedish are not extremely different (or wouldn’t seem that unusual to) those that are more Finnish-speaking. But the aspect of the ability to respect and maintain more than one tradition is something that is entirely possible. That’s all I meant.

  23. Enrique

    When Finland adopted its present flag it did so because it wanted to be identified as a Nordic country. This meant that encourage and protect the Swedish speakers. This so-called “bicultural” policy has only benefited Finland. Finland also respects the cultural integrity of other groups such as the Saami. The Finns did not force the Roma to throw away their culture and become Finns, even if they are Finns through their own culture. I could give the same example of the English language, which, as you know, has had influences from many languages. Has it made the English language weaker? No. On the contrary — it has made it stronger. Finnish culture could benefit from the same way as it has with the Swedes. Nothing has been lost — Finland has become a stronger culture because of it. Culture, as I have mentioned before, changes all the time. It is a tool to survive in a culture. By accepting other cultures, we can learn — as they can learn — to find novel ways of solving problems and building a stronger society. Some may claim that this is naive way of looking at things. But I have seen it in places where I have lived and it is not impossible for people from diverse backgrounds to live together in harmony and, what is important, for the good of society.

  24. DeTant Blomhat

    – Could you tell me in which society rape is permitted and accepted as the norm.

    Italy for example, a woman wearing jeans cannot be raped.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/277263.stm

    Its the Finnish norm a women can wear whatever she pleases and she isn’t “available” for everyone. Which might be a shock for people from countries where you get caned for even talking in public and schools are segregated. And we don’t have segregated schools and women are equal so if someone does not want that then they can go back to wherever they want to enslave women – but we are not going to enslave our women or let them enslave theirs just because of “multiculturalism”. Thats the point you have a hard time understanding. If we give way in one thing how can we then draw the line? If you give the devil the little finger he takes the whole hand.

  25. DeTant Blomhat

    – Countries such as Argentina promoted immigration and wanted to have foreigners because it was seen as an effective way of populating the country.

    Yes well
    a) nobody asked the natives if they wanted their country populated with spaniards and their slaves. I think they might have objected in 1516… but they were killed

    b) Finland doesn’t need to be populated, and we as natives have a voice to object.

    If you imperialists want to populate a country you can go somewhere thats available. Sorry, Argentina and Canada are bad examples.

  26. JL

    Jonas, it is not possible to maintain more than one tradition if there are no funds and institutional support for it. Svenkfinland has plenty of funds, and common institutions–some private (e.g. Svenska kulturfonden), some funded by the state or the general population (Åbo Akademi, Hanken, Soc&kom, FST, essentially SFP etc.). Moreover, Swedish is an official language in Finland, which means everybody must learn Swedish so that Swedish-speakers can get their services, schooling, official documents, etc. in Swedish.

    What would happen if Finnish-speaking citizens stopped subsidizing Svenskfinland? It would become financially burdensome to be a Swedish-speaker in Finland, and lots of people would switch to speaking Finnish, raising their children as Finnish-speakers. Compare this to a typical immigrant population: there is no institutional support for their language and culture, no tax funds are allotted to their ethnic survival — inevitably such people assimilate into the native population, which is fine by me. (Well ok, the welfare state does make it possible to maintain a different identity in a way: one traditional and a few new minority groups in Finland have chosen to separate themselves from the mainstream, living on handouts from the state.)

    Finland may afford to subsidize Swedish-speakers, but it cannot finance the survival of all the immigrant cultures. Nor would it be desirable to balkanize the country that way. The thought of a strong, politicized Russian minority in Finland making demands with support from Kreml is scary.

  27. Jonas

    JL, of course it is possible. No fund or association makes my family, relatives, friends and neighbours get together on midsummer’s eve and dance around a pole after having sung snaps songs. No association tells Mrs Jonas to subscribe to a Swedish woman’s magazine (as in from Sweden). No fund supports our subscription to SVT and Swedish TV4. No one from Svenska folkpartiet, Hanken, Åbo akademi, Kulturfonden or anywhere else comes into my room to tell me to pass by Aftonbladet.se when I’m surfing the net and want to know what is going on in Peking olympics.

    Again, as you said, Swedish is an official language in Finland. So, Swedish-speakers are integrated into Finland as much as Finnish-speakers. They are, with the Sami, part of the native populations. Let’s not make this discussion into another one of your diatribes against anything that involves Swedish-speaking Finns or the Swedish language. The place for that is here: http://keskustelu.suomi24.fi/show.fcgi?category=110&conference=1500000000000129&subcat=539.

    Let’s show some respect for Enrique’s blog. We’re talking about immigrants. All my example was meant to say is that it is fully possible to be a part of society whilst maintaining your own traditions. Obviously, an immigrant to Finland needs to learn Finnish or Swedish (depending on where they are) and they need to integrate into Finnish society. But that does not mean that they need to also abandon their own traditions or relgion etc because they are now also taking on Finnish ones.

  28. DeTant Blomhat

    – Compare this to a typical immigrant population: there is no institutional support for their language and culture, no tax funds are allotted to their ethnic survival

    Excuse me? Everyone in the Finnish school system is entitled to their “mother tongue” education and also religion classes (if theres a big enough group) also. Maybe not that much to become a Bendoveristan – but much more than in some other “multicultural” countries.

    – But that does not mean that they need to also abandon their own traditions or relgion

    No, but for example the muslims whine there is no mosque… well nobody is stopping anyone from building one. The Thai Buddhists bought a house in Kirkkonummi and have a Wat. The Mormons who number a few thousands saved money and built a consecrated Temple. Even the Sikh have a guruwara… But it is “racism and xenophobia blaa blaa blaa” as if it was the taxpayers responsibility to build one for them – and then probably all the sects would fight over its occupation as in the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. They could buy some abandoned church like in the UK and remake it into a mosque – theres one remade into a night club so whats the problem?

    – The thought of a strong, politicized Russian minority in Finland making demands with support from Kreml is scary.

    Indeed. But thats racism and xenophobia and blaa blaa blaa if you say that in public.

  29. DeTant Blomhat

    – I am in favor that the the Karelian Isthmus, Viena Karelia, Salla and Petsamo should be one day returned to Finland.

    Enrique, Viena and “Russian Karelia” were never a part of Finland. Even the East-Karelia Military Government never integrated those areas to Finland. I’d rather seen them as an independent nation – but the Russian immigration in the 1600’s and 1700’s to the “empty” Karelian backwoods changed the ethnic mix. Well, in 1600’s the area of what is now St.Petersburg was 100% “Finnic”…. but not “Finnish”.

    I’d be in the “returning of Karelia” i.e. the stolen areas on the isthmus (maybe with Stalins original redraw suggestion) and the Finnish Ladoga Karelia.. but “in the condition it was” i.e. without population. Oh, and to accept back Vyborg we would require… 535 ships, 52500 electric motors, 1140 transformer stations, 30 industrial complexes with power stations… and 473 narrow gage steam locomotives… to start with…

    Then again I’ve a few times said that the “Finnish Occupied Karelia” could be made into an independent state, and a free range immigration and multiculturalism could be implemented – make it another HongKong or Singapore… tax-free enclave and such. Russia has Kaliningrad stolen from the Germans they could have done this with already. Another Jersey or Cayman Islands…

    Oh, and to take back Vyborg we would require… 535 ships, 52500 electric motors, 1140 transformer stations, 30 industrial complexes with power stations… and 473 narrow gage steam locomotives…

  30. DeTant Blomhat

    – Swedish is an official language in Finland. So, Swedish-speakers are integrated into Finland as much as Finnish-speakers.

    Whereas in Sweden Finnish goot a minority language status only recently. Before that you learnt Swedish… and they had a pretty successful integration back in the 50-70 period.

  31. Jonas

    In Sweden, Finnish was given minority status after a lot of pressure from mainly Finnish-speaking immigrants. Of course, Sweden does have indigenous Finnish speakers too. But if you look at the politics behind the language decision, the pressure was overwhelmingly from the immigrants. So much so, that Sweden ended up making Finnish a separate minority language to the more indigenous Tornedal Finnish. Then again, Swedish isn’t actually an official language in Sweden, so there language policies are a bit odd. 😉

    But, I think I’ve made it quite clear I don’t believe in this kind of solution for immigrants to Finland. Sorry if my first comment was a bit clumsily structured if it gives that impression.

  32. Jonas

    By the way, the Swedish-speaking Finns in Sweden are currently making an equally big fuss as their compatriots of the other language group did before them. They want to get finlandssvenskar recognised as being Sweden’s 6th official minority group. Just as silly if you ask me. But there you go.

  33. Enrique

    DeTant, imperialists?? Come on… It is not that way at all. Every country has the right to decide how many foreign workers it needs. Since we belong to the EU, a citizen from such a country can emigrate freely and try to find world. If Finland does not need any foreign workers as you claim, then there are no problems from your standpoint. I believe, however, that there are some that disagree with you.

  34. DeTant Blomhat

    – DeTant, imperialists?? Come on… It is not that way at all.

    It is the first instant someone asks “who speaks English”…

  35. Enrique

    DeTant, so what if it means you are a foreigner. What’s the big deal? Nah, how can you compare the United States with Chad? Come on… give me a break. Imperialist is an old word. It is passé. How can you say that the immigration policy to Canada and Argentina are a failure. Certainly without immigrants, these country would have very small populations. Why do you think that immigration is an unnatural matter? You think it is a sort of handicap when people who want to improve their lives want to make something out of their lives. Moreover, you think that those countries that take on immigrants are handicapped as well. I do not understand the logic. If you want to get nationalistic, what would have happened to Finland if the Jagers, Finns who trained in the German infantry, would not have gone to Germany and received training in that country? This force learned something abroad in a foreign country. They came with their knowhow and changed history. What about Mannerheim, who was trained in the Russian Imperial Army? He was not a typical “Finn” but his heart was with Finland. And thanks to him, Finland did not turn into a Warsaw Pact country. I came to Finland as a “foreigner” but no matter what anyone thinks, I still feel like a Finn. You may disagree with that, but it is your opinion because what counts at the end of the day is what I think I am. My point is: do not make narrow definitions what is a Finn.

  36. Tiwaz

    “I understand your point of view but I do not think it is an effective way of integrating others. One of the great things about society like the United States, which have many great faults, is that people are allowed to keep their cultural heritage and belong to society.
    There are right and wrong ways to do in Finland. There are laws and these must be followed. That is not in question. What we are talking about, however, are cultural norms that are not laws.”

    Current method of “integrating” is not working, time to change methods before we have large unintegrated minority demanding that Finland stops being Finland or starts rioting and burning cars in style of unintegrated immigrants (or to be more precise their offspring) in Paris.

    United States is hodgepodge which lacks unifying culture. And seeing it as some kind of good example is flat out stupid. Whole country is built on opposing groups. Republican vs Democrat etc etc. Only thing keeping it together, is remnants of british culture from their dominant days. Not to mention all those troublesome slums or other areas where such folk live and which cause social problems.
    (Chinatowns, Little Havana and whatnot)

    This is not USA, we do not have half a continent to stick our unintegrating immigrants into. We need our immigrants to fit into OUR society, because we can’t just stick them in the middle of forest to start their own conclave.

    Lack of unity kills small societies. You cannot have unity if you do not have one set of rules regarding proper behavior.

    USA and Finland are so different, you cannot seriously suggest we could imitate their social failure.

    This is not USA, this is Finland.

    It’s our way or the highway, we cannot afford anything else.
    I am rather shocked that anyone would even suggest that finns would have to change IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY to appease immigrants.

    We do not talk. If you can’t handle it, I recommend using that right of moving elsewhere.
    We do not become friends with you in five minutes. I again recommend either accepting and behaving accordingly or moving.
    We do not want anyone within our personal space which is around 80cm to 150cm. Either learn to walk further away or walk completely away.

    Violate these principles and I will confront you because you are being rude.

    This is our country, our culture and our society. Demanding us to change it to appease your different set of rules is flat out wrong.

  37. JL

    Jonas, you cannot build a culture on dancing around a maypole and singing snaps songs. What if you didn’t have, say, a comprehensive network of Swedish language day care, schools, universities? It would be hard for kids to maintain Swedish when they basically speak it only at home. Similarly, without Kulturfonden and similar institutions, Swedish language cultural life in Finland would stifle. My point is that it’s not realistic to expect immigrants to build parallel societies à la Svenskfinland, or even if it is, it’s not desirable (e.g. the Russian example above, or various frankly medieval or even Neolithic immigrant cultures from Africa and the Middle East).

  38. Enrique

    Tiwaz, it is interesting that you think that immigration is somehow a bad. You talk about integrating people when, in essence, what you are talking is segregating them. How do you integrate people in a society when you think that Finnish society is threatened by non-Fins. It is an odd argument. When you say that people should leave if they do not like Finland, is not a unique argument. It is used in many countries. In the USA people who were against the Vietnam War said: America: Love it or Leave it.

  39. Enrique

    JL, what is a neolithic immigrant culture from Africa and the Middle East? Such a statement shows what you think of people from these parts of the world. It is highly offensive. Moreover, think about the destruction that would have been caused on Finland if the Swedish-speaking Finns would have been integrated in the same way as you and Tiwaz suggest. It is just as dumb as destroying all the Russian cathedrals because some may hate Russians. When you destroy something you also lose a part of your identity. These are — like Finnish speakers — part of the cultural ecosystem that keeps Finland diverse and beautiful.

  40. Tiwaz

    And if foreigners are permitted to enforce their cultural norms upon us, we are losing our identity.

    Finnish society would not lose much if Swedish speaking minority would disappear. What effects it has had, it had centuries ago. Today they are just funny speaking folk who mainly live near coastlines. Their numbers are dwindling and nobody except they is noticing any effect on it.

    Furthermore, Swedish speaking Finns DO behave according to Finnish cultural norms. They are not breed apart. They might have some maypoles or such, but in the end they have no problems behaving according to Finnish cultural norms.

    Unless you meet individual who wants to be an asshat and pretend to be Swedish.
    So, in short, they do not behave against Finnish norms. They know how not to be rude.

    Immigrants do not, they have to learn.

  41. Enrique

    Don’t you think that when cultures meet they should respect each others ways? It is not a matter of one group imposing their norms on the other. Why do you think that cultural influences deteriorate identity? I though they strengthen them. And, anyway, by strengthening I do not mean using this self-confidence to steamroll other cultures.
    When you talk about “immigrants” do you mean all immigrants? Do you mean non-EU immigrants or do you include EU nationals?
    Swedish culture will not disappear in Finland. It will always be a culture on its own because that is way it sees itself. You said Swedish speakers in Finland are not very different from the Finnish speakers, which, according to you, makes them acceptable. What about the Roma and Saami?

  42. DeTant Blomhat

    – what is a neolithic immigrant culture from Africa and the Middle East?

    People who live in a nomadic economy and use stone tools. Theres still a few around. Medieval maybe referring to cultures where superstition is ruling over sience – and that we have a lot. Why do you find these kind of primitive cultures offensive? Maybe you should go there to educate them then if you are so advanced.

  43. DeTant Blomhat

    – Don’t you think that when cultures meet they should respect each others ways?
    Nobody forces the other cultures to come here do they? The others come out of their own free will – if they want to live in Finland then they can live in Finland. If they want to live in Canada they can live in Canada. There is no need to change Finland into anything else.

    – It is not a matter of one group imposing their norms on the other.

    Which is exactly what we are saying. If people don’t want to live in “Finland” thats their problem – I want to live in “Finland” – if I wanted to live in Canada I’d live in Canada.

  44. Enrique

    DeTant, there is no such thing as neolithic any longer. It was the last phase of the stone age. Therefore you cannot describe people as living in the neolithic. Primitive is a subjective concept. What happens if we lose all out technology and have to learn how to hunt and gather. Who will be the “primitive” one then? Those that adapted to their environment or those that destroyed it thoroughly? When you describe other people from other cultures you should refrain from using derogatory terms. Or did JL’s geology teacher tell him that it was ok to call some immigrants neolithic?

  45. Enrique

    Your argument that “nobody forces” is invalid and simplistic. Businesses employ foreigners to come to work in Finland. These people pay taxes like you and anyone else. That’s the point. And, anyway, successful countries that are not graying and aging like Finland, one of the first things, the most important aspect of harmonious coexistence with other cultures is: respect for each other. If you do not have that, you have some pretty examples, like the Balkans as a most recent. You seem like an educated person, DeTant. Did not your teachers teach you to respect other cultures? What about religion: love thy neighbor? These are all age-old wisdoms on how successful relations work. Suspicion and distrust only cause strife.
    If people live in Finland, they have a right to air their opinions and even change them. That is guaranteed in any democratic society.

  46. DeTant Blomhat

    – how can you compare the United States with Chad?

    3rd world countries where the rich rule and exploit the poor. death penalties. poor people living in ghettoes, guns and violence, drugs… Chad IIRC has signed the UN declaration of children’s rights but USA has not… doesn’t remove the fact neither country has anything that could be a model for the Finnish society except on how not to run things.

    – How can you say that the immigration policy to Canada and Argentina are a failure.

    from the indigenous populations’ point of view?

    – Why do you think that immigration is an unnatural matter?

    Well it is not natural is it? If the population pressure becomes too great then that means theres too much population. Maybe too much population is natural to you? If a country cannot support its population I would say that is a handicap and I would be ashamed to be from such an underdeveloped country – Finland was such a country until recently mind you.

    – You think it is a sort of handicap when people who want to improve their lives want to make something out of their lives.

    Well why don’t they then work to improve their own country?

    – Moreover, you think that those countries that take on immigrants are handicapped as well.
    Well if they have industrial capacity and a need for workers isn’t that a handicap?

  47. DeTant Blomhat

    – Therefore you cannot describe people as living in the neolithic.

    Yes I can if they do. Theres still tribes with little or no contact to the “outside world” which have lived in the same manner for tens of thousands of years. Their culture is adapted to their own surroundings. Same way they couldn’t survive in the city a city person wouldn’t survive living like them. No use in trying to mix the two, as there is no benefits to either. Theres nothing derogatory being neolithic or primitive. Did they appoint you to speak for themselves or are you being a condecending imperialist – some of these primitive peoples can very well take care of themselves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinelese

    – Did not your teachers teach you to respect other cultures?
    Did your teachers teach you how to go invade other countries and destroy the native cultures?

  48. DeTant Blomhat

    – Your argument that “nobody forces” is invalid and simplistic. Businesses employ foreigners to come to work in Finland.

    Oh, I didn’t know they were kidnapped by raiders and chained into a hold of a ship and then brought over to Finland by force? But I have always been an abolitionist so we should let these people free then shouldn’t we and not keep them against their will?

  49. DeTant Blomhat

    – These people pay taxes like you and anyone else

    So what are you then always bemoaning of the high unemployment rate among the foreigners? Weird logic.

  50. DeTant Blomhat

    We have discussed Yugoslavia as an example – that is exactly what is wrong with many African nations that have civil wars – there is no sense of “us” on a national level. Thats what is needed first and foremost, a sense of belonging. Finland has managed to do this by assimilating the immigrants. Many European countries are right now suffering from their inability to assimilate the immigrants but rather let them ghettoize themselves. There is no sense of “us” except beyond that small immigrant community. We surely don’t want to have the same kind of situation like in Germany or Netherlands when they didn’t integrate their “gastarbeiters” and then found out that they’re not going home after all – but having then totally separate communities . That model is not a viable one. You look at Russia today and the integration of Russian minorities in the ex-Soviet states. Do they feel allegiance to their “nation” or to “mother Russia”? Again the failure to assimilate. So that is the reason why this “multiculturalism” is a failure – there needs to be a sense of “us” first and not a sense of “ghetto”.

  51. Enrique

    DeTant, these tribes that you speak of live like in the neolithic but are not in the neolithic. JL said immigrants from the Middle East and Africa are in the neolithic.

  52. DeTant Blomhat

    His point probably being that the culture and values are different and to function in our society you need to adhere to our culture and values. If you bring over a different set of values that clash with the legislation then the outcome is a disaster. Its all a free choice of options – you move to Rome you do as the Romans do. That is the richness of the world – being different – not the same.

  53. Enrique

    How do you adhere to a culture when some people see you as living in the stone age? The problem is that you have a very lowly view of cultures that are different form yours. How can anything good come out of that? Not very much.

  54. Tiwaz

    “Don’t you think that when cultures meet they should respect each others ways? It is not a matter of one group imposing their norms on the other. Why do you think that cultural influences deteriorate identity? I though they strengthen them. And, anyway, by strengthening I do not mean using this self-confidence to steamroll other cultures.
    When you talk about “immigrants” do you mean all immigrants? Do you mean non-EU immigrants or do you include EU nationals?
    Swedish culture will not disappear in Finland. It will always be a culture on its own because that is way it sees itself. You said Swedish speakers in Finland are not very different from the Finnish speakers, which, according to you, makes them acceptable. What about the Roma and Saami?”

    Saami know how to behave in finnish way. And they do indeed. Thus, they are not problem. They are smaller minority in large Finnish population but they do not try to be separate. Their own cultural traditions are maintained in ADDITION to finnish culture and do not violate principles and traditions of finnish culture.

    Roma, they know how to behave. They just choose not to in many ways. Result? They are looked down upon. They are seen as troublemakers and unwanted. They are prime example on what happens when you do not have immigrants (they once were such) integrate and assimilate to society.

    One small minority like Roma are relatively irrelevant. Add to this other unintegrating groups, russians, british, somalians, whatevers…

    Suddenly we have a problem!

    As DeTant has said, it just does not work.

    And we do not want anyone to adhere to their culture in Finland. We want them to behave like proper Finns. Or perhaps little better (less alcohol never hurts anyone).
    If it hurts you that we do not care about culture of your native country in OUR native country… Don’t move here. Or leave.

    In Finland, do as Finnish culture tells you to. Forget your own culture in situations where it conflicts with local culture. In your own privacy, do what you want (as long as you again do not disturb local cultural norms).

    Why is this so difficult? Why is it so difficult to respect culture and tradition of country you immigrate to? It is NOT your home country, so do not expect same things to apply.

    How can anything good come from expectation that your cultural norms are accepted in foreign country and refuse to behave in way that is acceptable in eyes of local culture?

  55. DeTant Blomhat

    – How do you adhere to a culture when some people see you as living in the stone age?

    It is not my problem if someone lives in the stone age. Its not my place to go tell these people how to live in their own country – and it is not their place to come say how I should live in my country nor bring their stone age culture with them either. If they want to live in Finland they must learn how to live in a wood age culture.

    – The problem is that you have a very lowly view of cultures that are different form yours.

    The only problem is that these cultures are lowly to start with.

    – How can anything good come out of that? Not very much.

    Exactly. There is nothing good coming from these cultures.

  56. Enrique

    Wow, that is an all-encompassing absolute statement. It is exactly that type of attitude — Roma are all thieves, Russians will always be Russians and the like — that is the basis of the problem. You lived in the USA and should have learned that it is not in style any longer to classify other national groups as “lowly” and “inferior.” Possibly it is an education issue, like learning manners. There are certain things you can say in front of people and certain things you keep to yourself.

  57. Tiwaz

    In their own country, those cultures reign supreme and overrule all others.

    In Finland, our culture rules supreme and overrules all others. That is all there is.

    In terms of living in Finland, all other cultures are inferior. Because this is Finland!
    Our whole society, country, is built on that culture. It is the foundation of our identity.

    It must not be compromised by formation of multicultural mess where segregation under false image of political correctness tries to push finnishness into dark corner and replace it with mixture of different cultures. None of which are native to Finland.

    People in USA are not unified, they are separated. Texans vs Californians, Democrat vs Conservative. City vs countryside., religious vs scientific.. Only thing keeping them together is that they have so much room that it does not matter. They lack unifying bond. That is why all that posh patriotism is practiced there so eagerly. That is attempt to grasp something that could be seen as common for everyone. And it still fails, Texas infamous for it’s certain spirit of “independence”.

    They are not unified people, unified society in same sense as Finland is. Our unity is our strength. That unity was only thing that kept USSR from setting up it’s iron curtain at western border of Sweden.

    Had Finnish people still been as badly unified as they were in 1918, or americans in general, it would have meant conquest and occupation.

    This whole multicultural idea is against this unity, which is necessity to maintain strong and functional society. Because without common culture, there is no common society. Without common society, there is no unity.

  58. DeTant Blomhat

    Enrique, go teach about racism to people who need it first!
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2581173/Beijing-Olympics-Now-Argentinas-footballers-photographed-making-slit-eyed-gesture.html

    And theres the Spanish basketball team picture too.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/Story?id=5563668&page=1

    What is there to learn from racists like you??? Go take care of your own country first before comeing to instruct us!

    And it is *FINLAND HAVING A PROBLEM WITH RACSIM”? Please, tell me where we do this in public???

  59. DeTant Blomhat

    Enrique, go teach about racism to people who need it first!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2581173/Beijing-Olympics-Now-Argentinas-footballers-photographed-making-slit-eyed-gesture.html

    And theres the Spanish basketball team picture too.
    abcnews.go.com/Sports/Story?id=5563668&page=1

    What is there to learn from racists like you??? Go take care of your own country first before coming to instruct us!

    And it is *FINLAND HAVING A PROBLEM WITH RACSIM”? Please, tell me where we do this in public???

  60. DeTant Blomhat

    – There are certain things you can say in front of people and certain things you keep to yourself.

    I say whatever I want to whomever I want whenever I want wherever I want. I am a Finn and I am independent!

  61. DeTant Blomhat

    And back to the issue of Karelia. Finland has allowed recently foreigne nationals to buy and own land. EU as well as non-EU nationals. So it has been Russians have bought a lot of the prime beach side properties in the lake district around the border. So where exactly is the reciprocality? Can I buty my land back in Karelia? The answer is “No” so why is it the Finns are the evil ones who do everything wrong always? Enrique – why are the Finns always the ones who have to bend over? Answer me that if you can.

  62. DeTant Blomhat

    – Russians will always be Russians and the like — that is the basis of the problem.

    That is the problem – look at South Ossetia!

    The scorpion asks the toad for a ride on his back across the river to the other side. The toad says, “No you will sting me,” and the scorpion says, “No I won’t, I promise.” So with that, the toad agrees and the scorpion climbs aboard. Halfway across, the scorpion begins to sting the toad repeatedly. The toad in much pain, says, “What are you doing? You will kill me and we will both drown.” The scorpion replies, “I am a scorpion, it is my nature.”

    You can be all the toad you want – I will not be.

  63. DeTant Blomhat

    – You lived in the USA and should have learned that it is not in style any longer to classify other national groups

    If anything they only veiled their racism with hypocricy.

  64. DeTant Blomhat

    – There are certain things you can say in front of people and certain things you keep to yourself.

    See now that is IMPERIALISM – you are imposing your *foreign* standards upon me! Stop trying to be better than us when you are not.

  65. The Fifth Column

    Have you actually seen the stats of how many Russians it is that are supposedly eating up the entire coastline? There was an article a few weeks back in Helsingin Sanomat exposing how low it is and that the fuss is over nothing. It’s so tiny as to be practically insignficant. It just shows the xenophobia of particularly Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti’s editorial values in that it’s been hyped to such a degree.

    You can bet if the same proportion of land was bought up by Norwegians or Swedes or Germans or whatever, it would go unreported. But, Russia must be planning to conquer the country if one of their rich citizens decides he wants a summer house in Kymenlaakso. Remember, it’s not even as if a Russian citizen can easily get unfettered permission to live permanently in his summer house. Even if he wants to visit it he has to deal with the over-worked Finnish consulates in his homeland to get himself a visa (and he can thank his government’s actions in Georgia for the fact that the visa liberalization deal the EU and Russia were talking about has been put back on ice by Brussels). So, it’s never going to be a practical first home for him (which prob explains why the numbers are actually very low – but probably one is enough to annoy some Finns).

    Nice blog by the way.

  66. Enrique

    Hi Fifth Column, welcome aboard. And thank you for your comment. Since some Finnish media, especially the evening papers, are pretty bad when it comes to hyping nationalism. I’ll never forget these papers who alarmed Finns because a couple of hundred Somalis had come by train to Finland. In a country that has accepted refugees like Canada, Argentina, Australia and others would not even pay attention to such a small group. In my opinion, it is one of the Finnish media’s lowest points. What about if Finland would have shown another picture: we are happy to accept refugees from a war-torn country, even if they lived and studied in Russia.
    How many cases of Russians escaping Communism were reported in the Finnish press? What did Helsingin Sanomat say when Czechoslovakia was invaded in 1968. What about Hungary in the 1950s? In Argentina, the biggest daily wrote about the environmental problems of Buenos Aires on April 3, 1982, a day after Argentine forces took over the Falklands/Malvinas.

  67. Enrique

    Certainly you can say anything you want anytime. Sometimes we stick our foots in our mouth when we act with such bravado.

  68. Enrique

    — See now that is IMPERIALISM – you are imposing your *foreign* standards upon me! Stop trying to be better than us when you are not.

    In first place they are not foreign.They come from me, a Finn. I don’t make arguments to place myself in a high and dry place. I speak to you as an equal.

  69. Enrique

    -If anything they only veiled their racism with hypocricy.

    You should have come to Southern California in the 1970s. You would have seen a real revolution in the making. The things I learned from those days have permitted me to meet many cultures. I have not got in trouble or said the wrong thing at the wrong time.

  70. Enrique

    That is the problem – look at South Ossetia!

    Exactly! Two idiotic nations that have not learned to respect each other’s culture. Georgia wants to throw the Russians out of these regions and the Russians say no. What about if both sides would have learned to respect each other? Let bygones be cultural bygones,

  71. Tiwaz

    What if immigrants learned to respect culture they move into? Instead of trying to import their own culture to new nation.

    Why it is Finns who have to learn to adapt to unknown amount of alien cultures and thus give up our cultural identity instead of those who voluntarily have moved here?

    Why?

    Because it would be more convenient in your opinion? Because it would require less from you… You would not have to change anything. Finns would change like good little servants should.

    You guys have to accept it now. Finns have survived this long under regimes of two hostile empires and in inhospitable conditions because our weak stock died out mostly during those centuries.

    We are stubborn, we are relentless and we are very much going to keep Finland Finnish. Because finally we have our own piece of land to call our own, instead of province of some foreign monarch.

    Immigrants can catch the ball and integrate. Or you can accept that you will not be accepted into this society until you have made yourself fit into this society.
    You guys do better if you just give up and integrate instead of waiting for Finns to change to appease you.

    Because by the time immigrant numbers would get closer to limit where immigrants could force such changes, Finns will have had enough and there has been a purge.
    It is not something I think of with joy, but reality is that people do not appriciate attempt of immigrants to force change on their society.

    Rather, average person will take up arms and remove immigrants. It has taken place in history, and it still can take place. UK and France appear to be sliding towards that day fastest right now.

  72. Enrique

    Isn’t that the most natural thing when you move to a new country? Culture is something you bring with you. It is like a tool. Some can use it better than others. Nobody is saying that Finns have to only adapt. When you live in a community, what is the first important matter? Learn to adapt and respect others. That is a good starting point to build relations — and developing them.
    Finland will be Finnish, but our concept of Finnishness will change. Finnishness in the 1920s is very different from 2008. Culture is something that changes all the time. It is not a museum piece. Here is a good definition for you of culture: It is anything learned.
    Nah, there is no need to kill anyone. Possibly a good first step in accepting others is instead of saying “you guys” you could say “we guys.”

  73. Tiwaz

    You still do not grasp it…

    Getting that “Finland” into your passport does not make you Finn. Being Finn makes you Finn. And that includes culture and language. That is something you have to understand, get into your persona and work with.

    As it is said, there are hundreds, thousands of cultures. It is not acceptable to expect Finns to adapt to them in Finland. It is duty of immigrant to adapt to Finland, because they only have to learn to behave according to norms and values of ONE culture and to know what is acceptable and what is not in that culture.

    Culture changes, yes. But trying to import your cultural values to Finland is sure way to make certain yours will never be accepted. You have to be humble, show that you try hard to be finnish. Then, perhaps, your minor oddities (which you can’t really remove from yourself but should not violate principles of finnish culture) will be embraced by people around you. And spread onward.

    Finnish culture are those norms shared by practically all natives born here. It is indeed something learned, but it is not something pushed upon natives by immigrants.

    “Swedes we are not. Russians we do not want to be. Let us be Finns.”

  74. Enrique

    Sorry Tiwaz, YOU do not grasp things. You are where you think you are from. How do you expect people to integrate into Finland with your logic? While you speak of “integration,” what you really mean is “segregation.” You want to create a society where everyone is classified by their nationality, religion and race. It is obsolete to think that way these days and counterproductive in a world that interacts globally on a daily basis.
    What is your definition of a Finn? Is a person a Finn if a person not born in Finland and who was brought up in another country and has Finnish parents? Do you believe that one has to be born in a country to be considered a native?
    That statement was made for Finnish independence. What about a more modern version of the saying: “We accept our neighbors for what they are and are proud to be Finns.”

  75. Tiwaz

    No, you are speaking of segregation. You are speaking of population that lacks unifying factor.

    As we see with USA, where everything that is done is opposed by large portions of population, mere nationality is NOT enough to create unity for people.

    If Finland had been “multicultural” 1939, there would not have been unity to stand up against USSR. And it would have been total defeat. There were no Finns of X origin, as you suggest it to be. There were just Finns.

    I am not speaking of race, nationality or any of that. I am speaking of cultural unity, unity where there is ONE culture, ONE people. Finnish. Immigrants integrate and adjust their ways to this culture, becoming effectively Finns.

    Your “multiculturalism” is very definition of segregation, since people will look for familiar things to root their life to. This leads to forming of ghettos and segregated areas like Chinatowns, Little Italy and so forth which are seen in USA. This does not work towards unity, but towards segregation. This is also seen in UK today. Areas are becoming segregated, natives fleeing from immigrant populations who start their own small “pure” areas.

    This in turn leads to distrust of immigrants, as they live in UK but do not act or be like British.

    Immigrants do not, and honestly cannot, in first generations become Finns completely. But they can abandon their earlier cultural traits which are in violation with Finnish culture. Thus, becoming Finns with some odd habits. And Finns are very tolerant of this.

    But you cannot be Finn with foreign culture. That means you are foreigner with Finnish passport.

  76. Enrique

    I do not agree with you. Finland was pretty multicultural back then than after the war. Finns of all religions fought in the war — even Jews, who would have ended up in concentration camps if Nazi Germany would have won. Imagine what some of these Jews thought. We are fighting side by side against the Germans who are exterminating our people wholesale. That means that they upheld Finland and its defense as a noble thing. Some of them were probably more nationalistic than some Finns.
    While I agree with you that immigrants should integrate and adapt themselves to the majority culture, I do not see how one can become “100% Finnish or British” in your eyes. Tell me how it happens. Should these people go to plastic surgeons, dye their hair, throw away their values and culture? Or should they adopt the ways of the majority culture but retain their identity?
    In the previous comment I asked you some questions about your definition of a Finn.

  77. Tiwaz

    Those jews were FINNS of jewish faith. You again fail to grasp that you can be Finn if you are not christian.

    Religion does not equal culture, though it heavily influences culture. Finnish jews long ago learned to behave according to Finnish cultural norms. To adjust their religious background to culture of Finland as whole.

    In other words, they integrated. You could not tell which Finn was jewish… They spoke like Finns, behaved like Finns and clothed themselves like Finns. They were, in effect, Finns.

    They never tried to separate themselves from majority population. That is partially what worked in favor of Finnish jews.
    “Kaveria ei jätetä”. Unity of Finnish people.

    If they had made themselves separate group, sought to remain separate culturally from native culture… They might not have been so fortunate.

    Finnish culture is thing that defines your integration. When you can present yourself in such way that you are indistinguishable from native next to you (to make it fair for people of other ethnicity let’s say you are both hidden somehow)…

    You are Finnish. It is that simple. You do not have to be lutheran, or white. But you have to present yourself in accordance to values and principles of Finnish culture.

    Which in turn is far more complex and large concept to be explained thoroughly. Specially since it comes naturally to us natives. In this, Finland and Finns are incredibly accepting. As long as you present yourself in Finnish way and do not violate our cultural norms… Everything else is up to you.

    So closest to what I call integration out of your suggestions is this: “Or should they adopt the ways of the majority culture but retain their identity?”

    But you should notice, by the time you have adopted the ways to point of passing for Finn, your identity will most likely have changed as well.

    You have become Finn.

  78. Enrique

    Well, then it appears that you have a good solution on becoming a Finn. Even though I think your thoughts are good, in practice it may be a more difficult thing. If it is this easy to adapt to Finnish society, then it is a good thing.
    With respect to the Jews. I think it was shameful to be a Jew in Finland in the early part of last century. So much so, in fact, that lots of them hid their background and decided it was better to marry a Lutheran and forget the matter. They were not allowed to practice their faith in a very benevolent environment. Circumcision was one matter that separated them from the majority culture. The Nazis, or the SS, used that technique in occupied Soviet Union to figure out if the person was a Jew.
    What I meant about identity is that we are Finns irrespective of our cultures, religion etc.. but identity with those things. It is like Barack Obama: He is black but American.
    You mentioned that even if a person holds a Finnish passport he is still a foreigner. Isn’t this in conflict with what you said in your comment?

  79. Tiwaz

    It is not in violation of what I say. If you behave like, for example, Pakistani and do not speak Finnish. Or even if you do speak Finnish… Are you Finnish?

    No, you are Pakistani with Finnish passport. Because your identity is Pakistani. Your paper is irrelevant, what and who you are is relevant.

    And practice of becoming Finn is difficult. Why it should be easy? It will require lots of guts, lots of time and plenty of work. But that is how things are.

    I would prefer to be millionaire without doing any work, but reality is that I will not become one. Specially since I do not play lottery.

    As for history of jews. It is rather complex issue again, which you are simplifying.

    It was not shameful to be jew, but jews were not (due to swedish legislation which was followed in Finland even after being joined to Russia) permitted to move to Finland.
    Exception were Russian soldiers, who had right to settle in anywhere they served.

    Finnish jewish population has thus never been very large. And largely male sided (soldiers were males). Thus, jewish wives were rare and usually “mail order” ones.

    This does not mean that there was no any segregation or even racism, but it was more founded on being Russian by birth (as most jews were) than in being jewish. It should also be noticed, that this was not exception but norm in most of Europe during early 20th century and before.

  80. DeTant Blomhat

    Actually, Finland had jewish soldiers fighting as co-belligerents with Nazi Germany and three Finnish jews were awarded the German Iron Cross. War is crazy isn’t it?

    Of course because you onlylearned propaganda hollywood history you would not know this – that is why Finns are always better than foreigners in this aspect – we know our own history.

  81. DeTant Blomhat

    – You mentioned that even if a person holds a Finnish passport he is still a foreigner. Isn’t this in conflict with what you said in your comment?

    Passport means nothing. It is what the person is inside that matters.

  82. DeTant Blomhat

    Enrique – you are the one wanting ghettoes and segregated cultures. That is what multiculturalism is – ghetto culture.

  83. Tiwaz

    No.

    UK, multicultural “heaven”. White flight from areas which are steadily becoming more homogenous in terms of foreign culture.

    USA, multicultural “heaven”. Immigrant populations building whole city areas which are homogenous and represent their original cultural trait.

    France, multicultural “heaven”. Riots started from slums, nearly completely inhabited by immigrants and their offspring who do not follow cultural norms of France.

    Even in Finland there are areas which are known for having high concentration of immigrants.

    Multicultural society is segregated society, because people of same cultural background seek to live with others of same background. Resulting in slums, as natives start to view these immigrants more as troublemakers and problems.

    If idea that every culture should be permitted to exist without attempt to pressure integration, we see these slums grow and become more impoverished. They will not be hired for work, because they do not fit the requirements of employers.

    They do not fit them, because they still try to follow cultural norms which are not compatible with norms of employer, who is often native.

    No to multiculturalism and slums. Yes to integration.
    Multicultural society is failure, unless you have so much room that you can put all the immigrants out into the sticks where they can pretend to live in their native country.

  84. DeTant Blomhat

    – DeTant, multicultural policy aims at avoiding what you said – cultural ghettos.

    No it doesn’t Enrique – multiculturalism means culturally segregated ghettoes where foreigners live as they would live “at home” where they do not integrate because there is no need to.

  85. Enrique

    Here is some official stuff on multiculturalism:

    Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence.
    Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs.

  86. Enrique

    Here’s a definition by the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission Act 1980:

    “Multiculturalism” means policies and practices that recognize and respond to the ethnic diversity of the South Australian community and have as their primary objects the creation of conditions under which all groups and members of the community may:
    live and work together harmoniously fully and effectively participate in, and employ their skills and talents for the benefit of, the economic, social and cultural life of the community maintain and give expression to their distinctive cultural heritages.

    Australia is, and will remain, a culturally diverse society. Multiculturalism as outlined in national and state policies encompasses measures designed to respond to the reality of Australia’s cultural diversity as well as policies and programs such as community relations, access and equity, social justice, equal opportunity and anti-racism.

    The three dimensions of multicultural policy are: cultural identity: the right of all Australians to express and share their cultural heritage, including language and religion social justice: the right of all Australians to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth productive diversity: the need to maintain, develop and utilise effectively the skills and talents of all Australians.

  87. Tiwaz

    Those are in reality just pretty words without actual content.

    I could write to you long, very beautiful story about what it means to be weed smoker. Broadening horizons and all that crap.

    But reality is that weed smokers are destroying their brains and habit has little to no positive sides.

    Same way, multiculturalism can be made sound pretty on paper. But in practice it results in segregated ghetto where the immigrants try to import their own country.

    Which in turn results in negative reaction from native population because they, rightfully, see that as an attack/invasion on their nation and culture.

    Not to mention, that your examples of how “great” multiculturalism is… Are in effect countries where native cultures are wiped out or marginalised.

    Multiculturalism might in some ways work in country which is recently taken over (and natives destroyed) because there are no natives.
    It does not work in society which is established, existing and has centuries of it’s own cultural background. In such society failure to assimilate and integrate immigrants leads to only slums and trouble.

    To put it simply, we Finns are not going to go way of indians and end up in little reservations to make it possible to replace us with “multiculturalism”.

    This is OUR country.
    OUR culture.

    Either integrate and assimilate, or vacate.

  88. Enrique

    The values each society has are noble and, in my opinion, this offers a different alternative to an old system that does not basically work. We as humans have to set high standards — if not we will suffer what you say: strife.
    The government of Canada and Australia have apologized formally to their native peoples. They have not been wiped out. In the 1950s in Canada, Amerindians, or First Nations citizens, did not even have right to a proper education. So, yes, Canada’s multicultural policy offers a different perspective on things. In the United States it was called the salad bowl phenomenon: The more you have in a salad the tastier it is.
    I believe your assertion that the Finns are like the First Nations citizens of Canada is exaggerated. Due to the aging and labor challenges facing Finland, like in many countries in the developed world, immigration is an effective way of correcting such a problem. Our culture is everyone’s culture to enjoy and learn about.
    I think you have a wrong idea that Finland is about to be invaded. We spoke about this before. It’s really not that way. Finland will have a hard time getting foreigners to work there. There are easier countries to move to and to make a living. Why bother when people impose an ultimatum: either adapt or perish! Just like the Vietnam War in the USA: America, love it or leave it.

  89. Tiwaz

    However, if we make that ultimatum, we maintain our society as it is.

    Unified and SAFE. That will become huge boon for us in days to come. As nations, one by one, fail in their multicultural attempts and fall into social disaster… Finland remains tranquil location of safety. That will give us opportunity to pick the cherries from the pie.

    And by doing it with ultimatum, we make certain we do not lose this competitive edge.

    Our culture is our culture. it is ONLY culture accepted inside our borders. We do not want “multicultural” slums or gangs to worry about.

    There are enough of those in “saladbowl” of USA. I would not want to live in that country even if someone paid me to. I prefer to pick my veggies and make sure there are no rotten ones.
    Same thing with increasing amount of UK and France.

    Sooner or later it will also be fate of Canada, unless they start to take measures against immigrant unintegration.

  90. Enrique

    That is your opinion. I don’t believe that multiculturalism is synonymous with social disaster. I have only seen social disaster in countries that force minorities to adapt to their way of life by force. There is, of course, also ethnic cleansing in countries like Georgia and before in the Balkans.
    We have a right to differ in our points of view.

  91. Tiwaz

    Yes, we have that right.

    Finns also have right to defend their culture.

    Examples like Yugoslavia are not valid, they do not speak of immigrant minorities moving in, but native people.

    In cases where immigrants move to established societies and refuse to integrate to local culture we have only bad examples. You can go through Nordic countries with crime statistics regarding rapists. Paris riots, Netherlands murders, Denmark murder threats, UK “white flight” from areas which become dominantly foreign.

    So forth and so forth.

    Where immigrants do not integrate, in name of “multiculturalism”, they become problems.

  92. Enrique

    OK, Tiwaz, I know that you have said before the one way of integrating foreigners is by having them take language tests and the like. You comments made me think of an Italian tragic-comic movie of the 1960 or 1970s called “Pene e Cioccolata” with Nino Manfredi (Bread and Chocolate). It tells about an Italian immigrant who went to Switzerland as an immigrant. The main actor, in order to speed his integration into Swiss society, died his hair blonde. It did not work.
    Could you please explain in detail how foreigners can integrate into Finnish society. How does it happen? Is it “a contract” where they sign their name or does Finland say it won’t accept dark-colored people? I’d be interested in hearing your points of view on this.

  93. Tiwaz

    I have said it before, but guess I have to again.

    Learn to behave and speak.

    Cultural integration starts with learning the language. As language and culture evolve together, you cannot understand culture until you understand language.

    After that, it is task of understanding and following local cultural norms.
    Once that comes from you like second nature, you are Finn.

    As long as Finns act “funny” or “odd” in your eyes you, instead of normally, you are not done. Because that is sign that you are still trying to impose your original, foreign, norms to Finnish society.

  94. Enrique

    Yes, these are all good things and good ways to start the integration process. I don’t think that a sensible considers funny the cultural norms of the country he lives in.
    However, if things were this easy we’d live in a wonderful world. What about the Finns? Do they have to do any adapting — or is it only a one-way street?

  95. Tiwaz

    Tell me, why Finn has to adapt into anything in his native country?

    Give ONE valid reason why Finn should adapt to alien cultural norms if not living in country where those norms are standard…

    Not to mention, what norms Finns should adapt to? Do you have any idea how many different cultures this planet contains, each with their own code of conduct?
    Or do you grasp that they are often in conflict with one another in terms of what is acceptable and what is not?

    Finns should not have to do anything, immigrant moved to Finland. So immigrant should adapt. Finns were born here. It is their country, their way of life. Why it should be changed to appease immigrants?

  96. Enrique

    The ONE reason is simple: mutual respect and mutual understanding. It takes two to build a relation – it is not a one-way street. I think that the only matter that it very important is mutual respect and understanding for EACH OTHER’s culture. Why? Because it is a more effective way of living in a society.

  97. DeTant Blomhat

    – I think that the only matter that it very important is mutual respect and understanding for EACH OTHER’s culture.

    Yes, I respect everybody elses culture – in their own country. And I expect the same reciprocality.

  98. Enrique

    Well, that is your opinion. I will go on respecting people from other cultures in the country I live. You look at cultures like they were in zoos. A place to see behind a fence with a sign: “Don’t feed the animals.”

  99. Tiwaz

    No, trying to “understand” one another is not valid when speaking of immigration.
    In immigration, one moves to live in native country of another.

    That is not visit where some cultural oddities are acceptable. It is, more or less, permanent arrangement. And in such case, immigrant has to accept that they are no longer tourists. They are immigrants and immigrants have to adjust to society they move into, not expect society to adapt to them.

    Native culture ALWAYS trumps over culture of immigrant in case of conflict.

    That is the point of example of hardcore muslims and dresscodes. Muslim must accept that in Finland, it is by Finnish rules. Muslim and Finnish cultural norms are in violation, but Finland is Finland. Thus only norm which matters is Finnish one.

    Muslim, or american or whatever, can live their personal life as they wish. But they must concede that when their cultural tradition is in violation with Finnish one, they must yield. Not Finns.

  100. DeTant Blomhat

    – You look at cultures like they were in zoos. A place to see behind a fence with a sign: “Don’t feed the animals.”

    Yes, because the stupid people feeding the animals would kill them…. and those animals would probably have a better life in their own natural habitat. You are the one advocating the zoos.

  101. Enrique

    Yes, the only norm that applies is the Finnish/EU ones. However, you cannot claim any longer that “Finnish norms” are “white and Lutheran” to say it very generally. There are Finns who are black and Muslim and many varieties. Finland is not an autocratic country that has no respect for human rights? Or are you proposing that Finland should take a different line with tax-paying foreigners?

  102. Enrique

    It is a good read and a powerful declaration

    http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

    Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    Article 13.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

  103. Tiwaz

    “Yes, the only norm that applies is the Finnish/EU ones. However, you cannot claim any longer that “Finnish norms” are “white and Lutheran” to say it very generally. There are Finns who are black and Muslim and many varieties. Finland is not an autocratic country that has no respect for human rights? Or are you proposing that Finland should take a different line with tax-paying foreigners?”

    If they do not behave like Finns, they are not Finns.

    We have had jews and muslims for ages. But do you know what they did? INTEGRATE!

    They did not stick to alien concepts and try to force them upon Finns. They took upon themselves to become Finns.

    Look at Neil Hardwick. That guy decided to integrate.
    Or Roman Schatz.

    Both of them have taken it upon themselves to become Finnish, more or less.
    Both can speak and behave so that they are only slightly possible (at least through television) to tell apart from native population.

    What we are telling you foreigners to do, is either shut up, move out or integrate.

    We do not want this country to become yet another “multicultural” hellhole with ethnic ghettos and social problems. If you do not want to integrate, shut up and do not try to force your multicultural failure upon our society.
    Or move away, to place where you are more accepted.

    Or integrate. Learn to be Finn, instead of foreigner with Finnish passport.

    Being Finnish is not about being white or christian. Majority of us do not care about religion. Being Finn is about respecting and following Finnish cultural norms and traditions. Speaking Finnish. Behaving as Finn.

    And above all else, not trying to push alien ways and habits of your originating culture in our society.

  104. DeTant Blomhat

    – It is a good read and a powerful declaration

    http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

    Yes, and when the people from the nations that do not follow that come here what should we say to them?

    Article 29.

    (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

    (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

    (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

  105. Enrique

    I don’t understand what your point is. There are laws in a country and they are followed. People may disagree with them — that is their choice. When you speak of immigrants, from which country? Are you talking about the Chinese, Sudanese, Brazilians, Italian, German, Canadian?…

  106. Tiwaz

    It is not just laws.

    Read this part…
    “and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”

    Catch? Morality, public order and general welfare are defined by Finnish standards.

    Thus, integration. Not demand for appeasement.

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