Finland’s winning identity of the twenty-first century

by , under All categories, Enrique

When Finland gained its independence in 1917, an extensive Finnicization program began. Those that had foreign or non-Lutheran backgrounds were encouraged to throw away their history and amalgamate. In seven years, Finland will celebrate its centenary as an independent nation. What will be its winning identity in this century?

If we were able to forge a national identity in the 1920s by amalgamation and Finnicizing surnames, the same method would probably not work  today because diversity is seen in a totally different light than back then.

Contrary to the first three decades of independence, Finland is in no threat of being overtaken by another country as was the case with the former Soviet Union.

Finland faces today different types of threats like aging, attracting skilled professionals, financing our comprehensive social welfare system, global warming and ever-competitive global markets. Even populism has poked its head from the undercurrent of discontent as one of the threats to our future growth as a vibrant and dynamic nation.

What type of a Finnish identity do we need to pull us through this century if in the previous one it was highly exclusive and amalgamated?

I believe that the key word is diversity. We are all “us” in such a society irrespective of our backgrounds. All of us work together for the common good of  society that has the ability to accept others in a spirit of equality as is enshrined in our laws.

One of the matters that has always impressed me about Finns is that we  shun arrogance. Our offer of treating others in a spirit of equality  offers a good springboard to build a society that will not be overcome by greed.

Our greatest enemy that can put in jeopardy our society of this century are the old culprits of exclusion and very selective pathways to incorporation.

Acceptance, opportunity and inclusion will be the trademarks of success of our society in the twenty-first century. Without them we are doomed.

Is this the Finland we want to build in this century? The drawing was published in Strange Days(1984) by Rabbah Boussuira.

  1. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘What type of a Finnish identity do we need to pull us through this century if in the previous one it was highly exclusive….’

    You give the impression that being exclusive is a negative attribute. Supercars, mansions, or diamonds are exclusive and highly prized. You may say these are only material goods but the point is if you allow everyone access to these items their value drops and eventually the quality will do the same.

    In education, institutions such as Harvard or Oxford are exclusive, if they open up their doors to students with mediocre grades then the same would happen.

    -‘I believe that the key word is diversity. We are all “us” in such a society irrespective of our backgrounds.’

    That may look good in theory but in practical terms there is no such thing. Diversity promotes and celebrates division not unity. Why do you think labels on groups exist like British Asian, French Moroccan or German Turks? These weren’t placed by the ruling elite or the ethnic natives but by the very people they describe and they are happy go to by those names. Where’s the collective ‘us’ in that. More like us and them.

    Without unity and extreme patriotism shown by the Finns in WWII in the face of Russian opposition their independence wouldn’t have lasted very long and would be no better than the Baltic States of today. You have to remember the Soviet forces had three times as many soldiers as the Finns, 30 times as many aircraft, and a hundred times as many tanks. So to hold off the Russians with minimum outside help was a remarkable feat. Can you say the majority of Finnish born and raised citizens with foreign background would have that much commitment and passion for Finland?

    Enrique next time England play Pakistan or India at cricket see how many British Asians support England. The same goes for France playing Morocco or Algeria at football. I recall the last time France played Algeria at football in France the French national anthem was booed loudly. So where’s the unity and ‘us’ in these situations.

    -‘All of us work together for the common good of society that has the ability to accept others in a spirit of equality as is enshrined in our laws.’

    Have you been reading Stalin’s or Chairman Mao’s book on humanity?

    • Enrique

      Klay by diversity I am not speaking of Oxford versus Cambridge. It is more serious than that.

      Since you disagree with this model, could you tell us how you build a society where there is no need for diversity. How do you include all the parts without excluding them.

  2. xyz

    Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It’s very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.
    – The Dalai Lama

    We ought to think that we are one of the leaves of a tree, and the tree is all humanity. We cannot live without the others, without the tree.

    The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?
    — Pablo Casals

    “There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.”
    — Isaac Asimov

    “We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.”
    — Kofi Annan

    “I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.”
    — Eduardo Galeano

  3. Tony Garcia

    There you go again with the same old same. once It’s all well known, I’ll take all the points quickly…

    – Ageing population: demographic is not reliable, we just discussed this extensively. ” you cannot predict the future of societies with a pocket calculator”. (Do you remember who said that?)

    – Ageing population (in case): The answer is wise immigration policy, we need the right people for that. Solving a problem by creating another one even bigger is irresponsible and criminal.

    – “us”: Finally you come to your senses, well done. Finland can’t afford an “us” and “them” society. It’s was about time you realize this.

    – Doomed: Yes you told us already, if we don’t open the doors to Muslims the prophet will come down and behead us with his sword of fire. Although I do believe this information came from one of yours 100% reliable and, of course, secret sources, I don’t really think Finland should plan it’s future based on that. Sorry…

  4. Tony Garcia

    “How do you include all the parts without excluding them.”

    No one is exclude them, they are doing all by themselves. We don’t need diversity, we need immigrants capable and who wants to adapt and integrate.

    • Enrique

      If it were this way, why are people excluded and why does discrimination exist?

  5. Tony Garcia

    ” why are people excluded ”

    I think I just explained that.

    “why does discrimination exist?”

    Unfortunately it does, no one is denying, but it’s a fraction of the size you claim it is

    • Enrique

      –Unfortunately it does, no one is denying, but it’s a fraction of the size you claim it is

      I think there are already lots of examples that it is more common than people want to admit. Here is one: I heard a group of young men who had hoods over their heads attacked an immigrant with clubs. The immigrant got away.

      I walked on the street with three visible foreigners and a car aggressively pulled back on us as if he was going to run over us. When we asked him what he was doing, he gave us the finger.

      When you say it is not a problem you shield and condone racism even if you think it is wrong. That is why some people from the True Finns can speak in the tone that they do because they they think it is normal even though it is pathological behavior. That is why I think that the present debate in Finland is positive because we are finally confonting that monster. And do you know what, we will force it back in its rightful place: the gutter.

    • Enrique

      To summarize on if racism is a problem in Finland, maybe we can approach the question by asking when has it been discussed so extensively in Finnish society?

      Some members of the True Finns mistankenly thought it was normal to be a racist but has shocked many Finns. The reaction to these True Finns is a healthy.

    • Enrique

      Thank you for pointing out the need for being “us” with our diversity. What do these types of articles tell me? That the perpetrator of the culture shock of the journalist? Could it have been avoided?

  6. xyz

    No one is exclude them, they are doing all by themselves. We don’t need diversity, we need immigrants capable and who wants to adapt and integrate.
    -How are you going to survive in Finland until you are “integrated”? What is your timeframe?

  7. JusticeDemon

    Ricky

    I think you will find that finnification dates back to long before 1917, but thank you for pointing out that much of the alleged ethnocultural homogeneity of Finland is a contrived façade.

    The finnification of surnames is a complex phenomenon in itself, as the use of surnames is a fairly recent phenomenon among native speakers of Finnish. Traditionally the Finns used a given name and the name of the farm where they lived, plus a patronymic in some cases. These names were also generally translated into Swedish when entered in official records. In many cases finnification simply meant using the Finnish name for official purposes, but there were also very many examples of Swedish speakers and immigrants adopting a Finnish name.

    One of the sources of the national inferiority complex was, in my opinion, the sustained struggle between the Fennomans and the Svecomans during the 19th century. Some fairly powerful forces at this time promulgated considerable propaganda about the shortcomings of the Finnish language as a vehicle of high culture (e.g. Sohlman’s famous comment in 1855: …”Any [Finnish] word which bears the slightest degree of reference to circumstances of life beyond the lowest level of barbarism is borrowed from Swedish…”), and to this day it is not difficult to elicit a passive-aggressive response from some Finns by pushing certain associated behaviour buttons.

  8. Tony Garcia

    “Thank you for pointing out the need for being “us” with our diversity.”

    Nice try, my friend, best luck next time however. “us” is the opposite of diversity, you know this very well but, again, you are just playing silly.

    “Could it have been avoided?”

    Yes, it could, now for Sweden it’s a bit too late, unfortunately. However there is still time to avoid this in Finland.

    PS: Hoodies only attach immigrants, don’t they? Also thugs only give the finger for immigrants, don’t they? And talking about thin ice…

    • Enrique

      –Yes, it could, now for Sweden it’s a bit too late, unfortunately. However there is still time to avoid this in Finland.

      You have not given me one example of how assimilation/amalgamation works successfully. Brazil? No way. Since you cannot melt everyone into the pot and stir a new ethnicity, my recipe is simple: our ethnic makeup should be one (and is) one of our inalienable rights. When you have Otherness the best recipe is acceptance and respect. One matter that bothers me about anti-immigration groups is that they pick a fight even though there is no need to.

      You threw the ball back to me because you have no answer. I guess you know we live in a globalized world and we do not live by clinging on to romantic views about ourselves that never were or werer maintained by excluding others.

  9. Tony Garcia

    Enrique, you could show the light then, please tell us, based on your extensively multicultural experience, what should the doctor have done. Should he understand their culture, walk away, and let the woman die?

  10. Tony Garcia

    I do have an answer and I already gave it to you many times. You just don’t want to hear because you are more interested in social reengineering Finland than anything else. It’s up to us (immigrants) to assimilate/adapt/integrate, not the country to force us to do so. Those immigrants who have done are doing just fine, don’t you know any? Really?

    I’m sure if you look around you’ll see plenty of examples by yourself, I’m sure the are many assimilated/adapted/integrated successful immigrants in MIkkeli, you don’t need me to show it for you, just open your eyes.

    That’s why the answer lies on a wise immigration policy. For example, you bring in Japanese or South Koreans and you need no policies at all, they will do just fine. However if you bring in some groups/religions no matter what type of policy you put in place, it will not work. Simple…

    BTW: I really would like to know what you think the doctor in Sweden should have done.

  11. Tony Garcia

    Once multiculturalism is the passion of your life, why don’t you make a quick research.

    Brazil WWII. During the war we received a big amount of Japanese and Germans (Jew Germans) refugees. Many came mostly only with the clouts they were wearing, not even a piece of luggage. They went to a country without any social security of any kind. You could answer us two questions, please…

    1 – Did they assimilate or demanded appeasement?

    2 – In what layer of our society are they today?

    Bonus question: can you show to us one example of Muslim immigration that can be compared, in terms of success, to Japanese or German immigration? How about Jew immigration? Ups, the last one is a bit too much, sorry, forget that…

  12. Vedos

    “All of us work together for the common good of society that has the ability to accept others in a spirit of equality as is enshrined in our laws.”

    Haven’t read your Putnam, have you? According to him (E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century ) in a multicultural society, this is not very likely to happen, quite the opposite. Everyone’s wary of the other, driving for their own benefit in a multicultural society, since there is no concrete concept of “us”, only some abstract concept made by the intellectuals that do not deal well with reality or human tendencies. Basicly if there’s no “us” or it becomes something that isn’t really anything, but all at the same tie, it’ll become “me”, it promotes antisocial behavior and antisocial personalities.

    • Enrique

      Isn’t the Putnam you are speaking of a political scientist? It all boils down to this question: Do you believe that immigration is a threat or a good matter? Do you believe that diversity is bad or good? It is that simple. Certainly we can argue the pros and cons. However, immigration and the diversity it brings is the engine that has forced cultures to excel and survive in the past. Those societies that accept diversity have a better chance of succeeding than those that do not. Look at Japan with its demographic woes. In all ther success they forgot one important matter: immigration/diversity and the benefits it brings. It is now too late for them. I am worried by Finland as well.

    • Enrique

      One more matter: Cultures do not stay stagnated in a time warp. They evolve and adapt constantly. The best prescription against ghettos and exclusion is inclusion. The best medicine against far-right racism is our democratic system. If you have a society that discriminates or one that censors you will will feed the two above-mentioned matters.

  13. Vedos

    Oh I’m sorry I used the term “multicultural”. It was wrong of me. More Correct term is “high diversity within a society.”, that’s (what I’ve understood) is what you’re aimimg for?

  14. JusticeDemon

    Vedos

    Haven’t read your Putnam, have you?

    lol

    Not the celebrated analytical philosopher Hilary Whitehall Putnam.

    This is like discussing Virtanen’s opinions on agricultural science without bothering to mention that you are referring to Jussi Virtanen from Junttiniemi and not to the Nobel laureate.

  15. Tiwaz

    -“One more matter: Cultures do not stay stagnated in a time warp. They evolve and adapt constantly.”

    So how about immigrants changing their culture to fit host cutlure?

    Oh yes, adaptation in your view only applies to Finns!

    -“The best prescription against ghettos and exclusion is inclusion.”

    If you want to be included in a group, show that you want to be ONE of the group. Adapt to their traditions and habits. Not demand them to change to fit you.

    Apparently you still do not grasp that immigrants exclude themselves by refusing to adapt to existing Finnish conditions.

    -“The best medicine against far-right racism is our democratic system.”

    And our democratic system is telling you right now with rise of PS-party that immigrants need to change.
    Native majority has been annoyed long enough.

    -“If you have a society that discriminates or one that censors you will will feed the two above-mentioned matters.”

    If you have society where minorities try to bully the majority, you end up with civil war and ethnic cleansing. So how about minorities learning to live with majority instead of demanding appeasement?

    Regarding Tatars mentioned by Justice here.
    Tatars have adjusted to Finnish society, not demand Finns to adjust to them. They have changed their behavior to fit that of surrounding society, and thus prosper.

    They speak Finnish, can act Finnish. Are Finnish in every possible way. What they do at their homes interests nobody. But outside, they can pass for any other Finn just like that. THAT is route to success, integration.

  16. Tony Garcia

    ” It all boils down to this question”

    OK, let’s answer it.

    “Do you believe that immigration is a threat or a good matter?”

    If managed wisely it’s a excellent matter, otherwise a disaster.

    “Do you believe that diversity is bad or good?”

    Bad.

    “One more matter: Cultures do not stay stagnated in a time warp.”

    Nop they don’t, Islam has just changed from the moderate Sufism to the extreme Wahabism.

    • Enrique

      –If managed wisely it’s a excellent matter, otherwise a disaster.

      I don’t think that any sensible person wants an immigration policy that is deficient. Probably the issue is not that Europe is being invaded but the fact that the problems of immigration (adaption, discrimination, integration etc) have not been answered effectively enough. The problem has been brushed under the carpet. In Finland there are so few immigrants that they do not have any political power. What they seek, then, is a sort of charity from some politicians. However, active citizens understand that in order to have a good sense of community and live by what we preach, we need to address matters like discrimination and exclusion.

  17. JusticeDemon

    This is the Finnish Tiwaz now:

    “Tatars like this are OK. They hide their heritage and fit in properly, so that we never have to know. The problem with new Moslems is that they are too open about being different, so we have to take notice and take action.”

    This is the Swedish Tiwaz in 1970:

    “Old Finns like this are OK. They hide their heritage and fit in properly, so that we never have to know. The problem with new Finns is that they are too open about being different, so we have to take notice and take action.”

    Tiwaz tried living abroad and didn’t like it. Well well, what a surprise.

    Another Toby.

    • Enrique

      Touché JusticeDemon. It is ok for others to hide and be ashamed of their culture but this should not apply to Finns.

  18. Tiwaz

    -“Tiwaz tried living abroad and didn’t like it. Well well, what a surprise.”

    Indeed, I did not like what multiculturalism was doing. Destroying any feeling of community and unity.

    But instead of whining how country X is evil and people there evil… I went to someplace where I was happy to be.

    If immigrant is unhappy with nation they are living in, leave it. Nobody will miss you miserable whiners.

    As for your idiotic example about Swedish Finns. They have never been more than small minority. It is majority who make the calls on how society works, not minority.

    Only imbecile wants minority to rule majority, because result is massacre. You can bully majority only so long.

  19. Tiwaz

    Only successful society is united society. One where minimum amount of effort is wasted on internal conflicts.

    Multicultural society can never be successful, because they are filled with rifts and dividing lines which drain effort.

    • Enrique

      –Only successful society is united society.

      Yes, you are a good example of that. You create unity with the tip of your provocative words. Not good.

  20. JusticeDemon

    Tiwaz

    So quite simply, YOU couldn’t cut it abroad and now you are desperately trying to blame that on someone else.

    I love it when you start shouting imbecile.

    More please!

  21. JusticeDemon

    Tiwaz

    Only successful society is united society. One where minimum amount of effort is wasted on internal conflicts.

    The Stalinist world view. ‘Nuff said.

  22. Tiwaz

    JusticeDemon:

    Where I blame it on anyone? I was there, did not like the place… So I left. I was quite capable of adjusting to conditions there. And actually did so for my stay. Adjusted to society around but found myself uncomfortable.

    I did not start rolling on floor, screaming and kicking like a child (and like so many immigrants in this blog react) when things were not the way I liked.

    I declined any further employment and went somewhere where I was comfortable to live in.

    If someone else finds such society to be pleasant to live in, they are free to leave Finland and go to elsewhere.

    You, like miserable little wretch you are, do not accept that YOU have to adjust to conditions around you. You kick, whine, scream and behave like little kid when you are denied appeasement.

    If your life is so bad… LEAVE!

    • Enrique

      —If your life is so bad… LEAVE!

      Your replies in these threads show us that you lack the ability to adjust to a new environment. Adjusting does not mean becoming a school child and following everything the teacher says. To be a good citizen you need to have self-esteem, intelligence and compation. Matters that, at least in your threads, are in very low supply.

  23. Tony Garcia

    “I don’t think that any sensible person wants an immigration policy that is deficient.”

    I don’t think either, however many people work based on ideology rather than rationality. You can be a loving father and be a terrible father at the same time.

    “Probably the issue is not that Europe is being invaded but the fact that the problems of immigration (adaption, discrimination, integration etc) have not been answered effectively enough.”

    The only problem Europe is having on immigration is lack of quality. Solve that and you are just fine. Stop bringing Muslims and start to bring Westerns or South East Asians and all the problems (adaption, discrimination, integration etc) will be gone before you notice it.

    “The problem has been brushed under the carpet. ”

    You are totally right, immigrations has been a taboo for too long. It’s time to stop being politically correct and start to call spade a spade.

  24. JusticeDemon

    BTW Tiwaz, it goes the other way round in English. Compare “Finnish American” = “Amerikansuomalainen”.

    Similarly Finnish Swede = Ruotsinsuomalainen and Swedish Finn = Suomenruotsalainen

    The Swedish Tiwaz in 1970 was talking about new Finnish immigrants in Sweden, so think about en finne igen, finnjävel and Koskenkorva vodka. Why couldn’t this uncivilised scum from the east start speaking Swedish and supporting the yellow and blue ice hockey team right away? Why couldn’t they show the proper shame for their Finnishness and try to hide it?

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