Immigration and world without borders

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

When looking at a problem, I have learned that the answer is usually found under one’s nose. There are many factors that impair our ability to see under our noses. Take a serious challenge like building a world without borders and tackling effectively poverty, hunger, strife and chronic social inequality.

A question always stares back and haunts us no matter how much we’d like our societies in the developed world to be Mr. Nice Guys: In order to be that nice person t home we must pillage and spread misery on most of the world’s population. We act like Dr. Jekyll at home but are enraged and out-of-control Mr. Hydes in other parts of the world.

It would be hypocritical for me, who has a multicultural background thanks to the restlessness of many of my relatives who were immigrants, to deny access to our society to people who are fleeing poverty and strife. Many times I wonder where I’d be today if countries like Finland, the US, Brazil and Argentina would have refused my late relatives entry.

Why is immigration seen as a threat today? Why have we failed to build a better world without borders?

In order to find the answer to those questions, we’d have to figure out what interest groups profit from the culture of fear of the outside world in which immigrants form one component.

US President Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1960), a Republican and former commander in chief of the US forces in Europe during World War 2, warned us about the dangers of the military industrial complex.

He states in the video clip below: “The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence, economic, political, even spiritual, is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need of the development yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications, our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved…”

If we look at only this last decade and the strife that has torn our world apart, the impact of the military industrial complex is clear.

Past presidents like Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)* warned us about the danger of too large corporations: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

Karl Sharro, an architect, offers an interesting talk* about building a society without borders. Is this possible and why and how we must accept the challenge.

*Thank you @mahilena and Migrants Rights Network for the heads up!

  1. Laputis

    Yes, let’s open borders, let’s talk in English language everywhere, let’s make world everywhere the same…Why on earth is it necessary?
    Look at Russia, where I have grown up. Russia in the past was much more diverse than it is now. In Russia lived and live not only Russians, but also other ethnic groups. I am from one of these ethnic groups. The Russian government in 20th century was doing almost everything to eliminate ethnic minorities and decrease differences within country. Everybody had to start speaking Russian, everywhere was the same standarts set (education, housing etc.), which meant, for example, that native non-Russian village was destructed, and people were forced to move to newly built town with block houses. Immigration was promoted. In my area, just like in Baltic countries, now approx. half of population are non-natives. “Great”.
    People from the Russia themselves complain that Russia is so dull, boring country. Because the differences within country have been eliminated as much as possible. No wonder that Russia isn’t popular tourist destination (except Moscow, St. Petersburg and some nature wonders), although it could have been…Russian-born people don’t want to spend their holidays in Russia, they want to go to other countries.
    My parents remember life before the great influx of immigrants came. Life before mass immigration was safer, people were more honest and trusting each other.
    I think that Finnish people still have retained some of honesty, trusting and country has still remained safe because the country is so ethnically uniform. I hope that Finland will remain ethnically uniform. And I hope that many of current immigrants residing Finland will be sent away.
    I say all of this although I am an immigrant in Finland myself. To make myself clear, I have to say that I am not totally against immigration. Immigrants due marriages or highly skilled workers are welcome. Also seasonal workers from Estonia or Russia are welcome.
    I am only against mass immigration. Experience from my home land has taught me many things about what mass immigration can mean.
    I hope that Finns will learn more from lessions of their eastern neighbor Russia and also Baltic countries.
    I am against all those pro-immigration policies, “open borders”, “multiculturalism” etc., it’s just a way how to make life worse. Really, in my opinion “multiculturalism” means bigger unsafety in towns, streets etc. and increasing distrust among people. “Open borders” to me means “unification up to the same standarts”, like, speaking same language (of courser, large international one, be it English or Russian etc.), building same buildings (same looking boxes everywhere etc.). Do you know how boring this sounds? Maybe let’s unify the natural background as well, let’s plant same birch trees everywhere, even in Mediterranean area? Let’s plant fir-trees everywhere? So that tourism industry would be destroyed, because everywhere landscape looks the same, so there is no reason to travel anymore and see new and interesting things. Approx. this is what happened in Russia already. The Soviet Union leadership did everything to unify the country. In the result a lot of diversity has been lost. People moved from one region to another as immigrants, mixed up etc., in the end it lead not to diversity, but to the opposite – loss of diversity.
    This is one of things what immigration promoters claim – immigration will increase diversity in country. Unbelievable, how people can believe to this! The immigration, multiculturalism etc. does exactly the opposite – it destroys diversity! Earlier or later the diversity will more or less dissapear.
    As long as Finland will be majority Finnish, as long as Finland will be different from other countries, as long as Finns will speak Finnish language, behave like Finns and think like Finns, there will be a place on earth, which is different from other places on earth. And it is one of things of diversity!
    I think that diversity is valuable thing. Do you think so too?

    • Enrique

      Hi Laputis and welcome to our blog, Migrant Tales. Do you really think that Russia, under the Soviet Union was a tolerant society of otherness? Look at what Stalin did and what it led to in August 1991 and the final demise of the USSR. What you are implying is that the Soviet Union steamrolled over ethnic diversity. By killing off its diversity and not being able to respect diversity and political pluralism, wasn’t that what destroyed the USSR?

      We have written on Migrant Tales about Soviet citizens that were caught by Finnish Border Guard officials and sent back to the USSR.

      Just because you are an immigrant doesn’t mean that you think like me or any other person. Immigrants may have even more conservative and nationalistic ideas about immigrants than the local. Immigrants, like locals, compete as well for resources.

      I don’t agree with your view of Finland because we are already culturally diverse. One of the comments you made on your thread concerned me: “And I hope that many of current immigrants residing Finland will be sent away.” What do you mean by this? People should be deported because they belong to a certain ethnic group? Isn’t that what you said happened in the Soviet Union?

      Cultural diversity and interculturalism (integration) promote, in my opinion, democracy. If you want to destroy it by undemocratic means, then you will obliterate diversity, like in the USSR.

  2. Laputis

    And by the way, the mass immigration, loss of borders etc. within Soviet Union did not decrease poverty or social inequality.

    To me the claim, that world without borders will tackle more effectively poverty, hunger, strife and chronic social inequality, is simply a lie. If one “borderless” country didn’t tackle these things already, how will the whole world do then?

    Look at Baltic countries – they are accessible examples which lie very close to Finland. You should be more interested what happened to Estonia or Latvia “thanks” to mass immigration and “thanks” to open borders with rest of Soviet Union.

    • Enrique

      Laputis, your use of the term “mass” immigration worries me. That is exactly what the far right states!

      If we look at Latvia and Estonia, we should look at the problems of cultural diversity. Getting back at the Russians, which are Estonians and Latvians and a large minority, will only worsen things. Look at what happened in South Africa when apartheid ended. Nelson Mandela could have sought vengeance against the Whites an caused a lot of hatred and bloodshed. He didn’t do that and that’s why he is a great leader.

      In many respects, the Baltic countries are committing the same mistakes that the former Soviet Union inflicted on them.

  3. Laputis

    Enrique, it seems that you don´t know about Soviet Union much. By the way, for your knowledge, I am from such ethnic group in Russia, which is neither “European” nor “White”. This ethnic group also has different religion than Christianity. You seem to hold me as some kind of Russian or other European from Russia, but I am not neither Russian, nor European, nor even “white”. So listen. The Soviet Union´s policy wasn´t driven by racist or nationalistic agenda. It was rather quite opposite. The ethnic groups in Stalin times weren´t so much physically destroyed as they were deported to other regions (or kicked out from their villages to larger, multinational cities etc.), so they would later “naturally” mix up and thus dissapear in USSR – “pot of nations”. The Soviet army consisted from recruited men of all kind of ethnicities, religions and hair or skin color. Oh, and by the way, Stalin wasn´t even Russian. He was Georgian.
    Later, after Stalin´s death, “nation-mix” policy wasn´t so brutal, no deportations happened anymore. But “multiculti” statement became more loud. Different Soviet or non-Soviet nations, different races (even such which weren´t well represented in USSR) were proclaimed being “brothers and sisters” each to other, portrayed in pictures holding each other´s hands and happily smiling etc.

    Something like this:http://luzana.ru/product/1108318/4573354/#clickImg

    Or this: http://luzana.ru/product/1108318/4391023/#clickImg

    Or this: http://luzana.ru/product/1108318/4573401/#clickImg

    In brief – you can find lots of such Soviet “multikulti” posters.

    Something suspiciously similar is nowdays in Finland. Not really such posters, of course, but f.e. photos with smiling multikulti people etc.

    Soviet “multikulti” destroyed a lot of nations and ethnicities, including mine. Finns are now leading this path as I see, although with small difference – Western “democratic” “multikulti”.

    This “multikulti” thing is against preservation languages, languages, holding unique diversity in the world, non-consumer lifestyle etc. The “multikulti” thing is failure in “old world”. You, Enrique, with your American upbringing don´t understand what kind of threat “multikulti” is to “Old world´s” populations.

    You seem to forgot that Finland is not same as USA or Argentina. Finland is still inhabited by natives. It´s not immigrant country.

    • Enrique

      Hi Laputis, I still disagree with your use of “multiculturalism.” How can a country that did not tolerate differences of opinion be multicultural in the Canadian social policy sense? You are not speaking of “multiculturalism” but “assimilation” and “amalgamation.” By taking away religion freedom or the right to be diverse culturally and differ politically tells us a lot.

      I can side with you about what happened in the USSR but I disagree totally with your use of terms.

      Was the USSR a culturally diverse society? Yes.
      Was it a country that permitted cultural diversity? Yes, but on a very short leash. It did not commit pogroms against Jews (?) but there was no such thing as religions recognized by the state.

      Claiming that the Soviet Union was “multicultural” in the Canadian sense is absurd. What you are using is far-right discourse to make your point. How many anti-immigration groups use the “former Soviet Union multicultural state” as an example to drive home their point that cultural diversity is an abomination?

      Or are you letting in this model into Finland? You don’t accept cultural diversity in society and want to put them in a sort of Soviet melting pot where we all are happy under one system?

    • Enrique

      Where do you live, Lapitus. You don’t have to answer this question if you don’t want to reveal to the bloggers your country.

  4. Laputis

    Hi, Enrique,
    I live in Finland. I already stated that I am immigrant in Finland. But I don´t hold such anti-Finnish ideas as you. I understand frustration of many Finnish people about your posts in this blog. I can understand them, relate to their feelings. And I support Perussuomalaiset. They are heroes in my opinion. Yet I am not far-rightist, nor I am racist, nor I do even look like a Finnish person. I just understand state of mind of indegenous people. But you don´t understand, I see. Your “Canadian” multiculturalism is all fake and artificial in Finland. And unnecessary, and even dangerous. I agree that “multikulti” model in Finland is not same as in Soviet Union, but it shares lots of similarities. “Multiculturalism” in Finland is very, very fake thing, and I really clearly see it.
    Just think about – if Finland is so “multiculturalist” that it has various Indian, Nepalese and Chinese restaurants, or Turkish kebabs, then why are Eastern European restaurants missing? Why in Finland are represented food from overseas, but not from neighbouring countries like Russia or Estonia? You see, current “multiculturalism” is fake, damn fake invention from the “West”.

  5. Mark

    Laputis

    – “The Russian government in 20th century was doing almost everything to eliminate ethnic minorities and decrease differences within country.”

    Wasn’t internationalism ‘imposed’ in Russia during Lenin’s time? And didn’t this celebrate ethnic minorities and their languages? And didn’t WW2 bring a new wave of patriotism and nationalism that supported the war effort? But wasn’t the problem of ‘multiculturalism’ in Russia exactly the problem of fascism, which is to imposation of a ‘national identity’, even if that identity is a constructed diversity?

    – “people were forced to move to newly built town with block houses. Immigration was promoted. In my area, just like in Baltic countries, now approx. half of population are non-natives.”

    Wasn’t this part of industrialisation, rather than an effect of multiculturism?

    I don’t understand, Laputis, you say that “people from the Russia themselves complain that Russia is so dull, boring country. Because the differences within country have been eliminated as much as possible. ” And yet you then go on to complain about immigration, which surely brings greater diversity?

    – “In my area, just like in Baltic countries, now approx. half of population are non-natives. “Great”.”

    – “Life before mass immigration was safer, people were more honest and trusting each other.”

    Life before modernisation was like that too, but do we blame industrialisation for it? Also, are you really trying to say there was no crime and no lying in these mono-cultural societies? You seem to blame immigration and nothing else. Why do the prisons in Finland have any Finns inside them?

    You are such a contradiction, Laputis: –

    “Do you know how boring this sounds? Maybe let’s unify the natural background as well, let’s plant same birch trees everywhere, even in Mediterranean area? Let’s plant fir-trees everywhere?”

    You dislike when things are the same, but complain about the differences brought about by immigration! You really cannot have it both ways. That’s just schitzophrenic.

  6. Seppo

    “Wasn’t this part of industrialisation, rather than an effect of multiculturism?”

    The part of people moving from villages to cities, yes. The part of people moving not to the city next to their village, but to a city in another republic, tradinationally inhabitated by another ethno-national group, in order to mix (read: russify) the various people of the country, no.

    Even though Laputis is very extreme in his opinions, he has a point. There are situations where increased diversity in the end turns into less diversity. Russia is one example, America is another. When people with different backgrounds come together, they are either assimilated into the biggest group (as in Russia) or a completely new group is born into which most people are in the end assimilated into (Americans). Even though people still have different skin colors and often also different religions, they will be forced to give up their languages and most of their cultural traditions.

    Now I support freedom of movement. But we should be very careful that migration wouldn’t in the end lead to less diversity in this world. In my opinion, one way to guarantee this is to make sure that every language and culture has one – no matter how tiny – plot on this planet where that particular language and culture dominates. People moving into that plot would recognize and respect this. Languages and cultures that are in the minority wherever they exist are doomed to disappear, sooner or later.

  7. Laputis

    Exactly Seppo, you got my points right. Although I don´t think I am very extreme in my opinions, in fact, many “indegenous” people without own countries can have even more “extreme” opinions (like from my ethnic group). I think that Finns are very, very lucky indegenous, local people, to have own country, where they are themselves majority. Finland actually was initially created with the main goal to provide own country for Finns, provide protection and support for Finnish language, culture etc. I am sad to see how some people try to destroy all of that.

    My opinion is that current “multiculturalism” and “need in immigration” is all having roots in colonialism and imperialism. Russia (Soviet Union), Brittish empire etc. all had conquered various people and lands, and thus governments had to invent this “multikulti” thing to prevent ethnic clashes inside empires, and to promote integration of conquered people to empires. You would say that Finland is not right now conquered by any empire, but I would say, that it is not always necessarily to be physically conquered to implement colonialist ideologies. Finland is surprisingly very Americanised, it was actually even surprise to me, when I first arrived to here (I can compare Finland to f.e. Estonia). It was so eery to find out, that in Finnish language is f.e. saying “Indian summer”, which is clear trait of Americanisation (never heard such expression in Estonian or Russian, or other languages). Finland looks like American domain to me, even if I am not sure if it is the case. I suspect that some Western powers are trying to implement their imperialistic ideologies in Finland (also in many other countries). They call people with anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist opinions as racists or far-rights, and make other exaggerations.

  8. Laputis

    Mark

    “Wasn’t internationalism ‘imposed’ in Russia during Lenin’s time? And didn’t this celebrate ethnic minorities and their languages? And didn’t WW2 bring a new wave of patriotism and nationalism that supported the war effort? But wasn’t the problem of ‘multiculturalism’ in Russia exactly the problem of fascism, which is to imposation of a ‘national identity’, even if that identity is a constructed diversity?”

    Mark, I see that you miss a lot of knowledge about Russia and it´s history. I don´t wonder about that, because a lot of information about this country and, especially, it´s history, is not entirely truthful or trustable. I have seen a lot of lies regarding Russian history. And one of such lies I can see in your post, namely “didn’t this celebrate ethnic minorities and their languages”, because ethnic minorities and their languages were not celebrated in Soviet Union. Ethnic minorities, who were lucky enough to escape the nails of Lenin and Soviet Union, nowdays can really celebrate the high status of their languages, the high level of their development etc. And one of such minorities were Finns. They were most succesfull of all initial “Russia´s” minorities, successful exactly because they escaped later the whole Soviet Union thing. Estonians, Latvians and few other who escaped Soviet Union at least briefly (20-30 years) also now can celebrate the hightened statusses of their languages etc., but they are in general doing more poorly than Finns. But other ethnic minorities, who have been all the time been in Russia and Soviet Union, do you know what has happened to them? Most of them have been threatened by assimilation. Cyrillic writing system was imposed to them as the only one, obligatory writing system. Support for their language, cultures, history research etc. has been poor or very poor.
    That was the reality.

  9. justicedemon

    Laputis

    How do you feel about the Tiwaz point that in Russia you had to accept domination by Russians and learn to be culturally Russian first and foremost? Didn’t Russia, as the dominant culture in your country, have the right to send Russians to every part of that country? What gave you the right to create a no-go area for Russians in their own country?

  10. Laputis

    Mark:
    “Wasn’t this part of industrialisation, rather than an effect of multiculturism?”

    In Soviet Union, industrialisation was made hand-in-hand with multiculturalism. Knowing how industrialisation was made in USSR, it is clear that it was made together with attempt to move around large flocks of people to other ethnic areas, other parts of USSR etc.

    Mark:
    “I don’t understand, Laputis, you say that “people from the Russia themselves complain that Russia is so dull, boring country. Because the differences within country have been eliminated as much as possible. ” And yet you then go on to complain about immigration, which surely brings greater diversity? ”

    Read Seppo´s post, he explains exactly what I mean. Immigration doesn´t bring greater diversity, the diversity always diminishes after few generations.
    I just don´t understand the claims that “immigration brings greater diversity”, I think that for the diversity you don´t need immigration at all.

    Visit Seurasaari open-air museum in Helsinki, and then visit Rocca al Mare open-air museum in Tallinn. You don´t have to even move around, just visit their homepages in internet. Look what the houses look like in Seurasaari (Finland) and how they look in Rocca al Mare (Estonia). Those houses are collected 17-19th century houses, most of them are peasant houses. If you look them, you clearly see, that they look different each from other. Estonian peasant houses in 19th century were in most cases clearly different from Finnish peasant houses. And even within almost same ethnic area peasant houses could look different, like, Carelian houses looked different from Western Finnish houses. The cultural diversity in 19th century was more pronounced than nowdays. The houses looked more different, the Estonian houses were clearly distinguishable from Finnish houses, even though Estonians and Finns were and are related ethnic groups speaking similar languages.

    Where has this cultural diversity dissapeared now? Why now everywhere build same buildings? And why now we would “need” immigrants for diversity? And don´t you think that in 19th century Europe there was bigger diversity than nowdays will all that immigration?

  11. Laputis

    Mark:
    “Life before modernisation was like that too, but do we blame industrialisation for it?”

    No, it´s not true at all, there are modern societies, where safety, honesty etc. have preserved. Think of Japan. Or Iceland. Those are mono-cultural countries, by the way.

    Modernisation doesn´t go hand-in-hand with unsafety or unhonesty.

    Mark:
    “Also, are you really trying to say there was no crime and no lying in these mono-cultural societies?”

    The mono-cultural societies were different each from other. They could have different values, different religions etc. So no surprisingly, in one mono-cultural society unsafety or unhonesty would be normal thing, in other mono-cultural society those would be something abnormal. Have you ever heard of cultures, where it was normal to leave homes with unlocked doors, where lost items were not just returned, but even taken special care of…?

    Finnish culture has been one of such cultures, where safety and honesty were quite normal things, unfortunately, these Finnish cultural traits now are increasingly destroyed, and I suspect that it is “thanks” to globalisation and multiculturalism, and new immigrants, who bring different values to Finland.

    Mark:
    “You seem to blame immigration and nothing else. Why do the prisons in Finland have any Finns inside them?”
    Of course, not only immigration is to blame. Globalisation as well is to blame.

    Sadly, the Old World is dissapearing in Finland.

  12. Laputis

    Mark:
    “You dislike when things are the same, but complain about the differences brought about by immigration! You really cannot have it both ways. That’s just schitzophrenic.”

    Follow my advise about visiting Seurasaari and Rocca al Mare museums, and you will understand, that differences and diversity can be perfectly existing things without all that immigration. Good luck!

  13. Laputis

    justicedemon:
    “How do you feel about the Tiwaz point that in Russia you had to accept domination by Russians and learn to be culturally Russian first and foremost? Didn’t Russia, as the dominant culture in your country, have the right to send Russians to every part of that country? What gave you the right to create a no-go area for Russians in their own country?”

    I am sorry, but Russia is not just Russian country. Russia has been and still is empire, where live many tens of conquered non-Russian people. Did these non-Russian people willingly joined to Russia? In most cases, no, not willingly. My ethnic group definately was fighting bloody wars with Russians to defend their native land from Russia. The Russians, unfortunately, won. And started to do things against will of local people. Did non-Russian people invite all those immigrants to their lands? No, they didn´t have even have any saying in that.
    Do you know what justice means, justicedemon? Well, Russians did a lot of things against justice.

    Do you know what is Russia? A big giant on clay legs. It´s legs can be broken at any moment. Because they are made from multinational consolate. And now many ethnic groups want seperatism, independence.

  14. Seppo

    “Didn’t Russia, as the dominant culture in your country, have the right to send Russians to every part of that country? What gave you the right to create a no-go area for Russians in their own country?”

    I think it is quite easy to argue against such claims. Like Laputis writes above, a great part of the state called Russia consists of areas which it has gained through conquer and imperialism and where ethnic Russians did not exist 200 years ago. These lands might formally belong to the Russian federation, but they are not Russian lands.

    The same way many Swedish-speaking Finns and Sami did not exactly decide themselves that they want to live in a country dominated by Finnish-speaking Finns. They have the right to remain the dominant group in their historical lands, and any Finnish-speaking Finn moving to those lands should learn to speak Swedish/Sami. Unfortunately this is not always the case and Finnish-speaking Finns have been to a certain degree involved in assimilating minorities, just like Russians in Russia.

    According to the same logic, immigrants moving to the dominantly Finnish-speaking parts of Finland should learn Finnish. I have written about it that unfortunately nowadays many immigrants think they have the right to, instead of learning Finnish, force their own language or some third language upon the local population. Not very different from the way Russians behaved when they moved / were moved to Estonia and other ex-Soviet republics.

    Languages are great in the sense that even though you need to learn a new one, you don’t need to lose the ones you already know. So linguistically you adapt to the new environment and respect the local tradition without having to give up your own.

  15. Mark

    Laputis

    – “Finland actually was initially created with the main goal to provide own country for Finns, provide protection and support for Finnish language, culture etc. I am sad to see how some people try to destroy all of that.”

    And who exactly is trying to destroy that? Don’t talk rubbish. You create a scenario where Finland is somehow under attack. Finland takes a tiny amount of immigrants and has exported far more than it has imported in the last three decades.

    Even if Finland was to have 20% of it’s population having a different cultural or ethnic background, absolutely no-one is telling a Finn to stop being a Finn or stop doing what they they are happy to do as Finns. Likewise, don’t imagine that all Finns are alike – the very notion is utterly absurd and puts some notion of Finnish nationalism before any other consideration of what it means to be a human being. Finns have all sorts of likes and dislikes and practice ‘being Finnish’ in a great variety of different ways, some of which are happily adopted by foreigners here and some are not. It’s just ridiculous to claim that anything is ‘under threat’. Paranoia and scape-goating! Pure and simple. Tell me one way that a foreigner is able to stop a Finn being a Finn – just one! ONE! One! Please! And if you cannot find one, then have the decency to admit that you are talking out of your arse saying that people are trying to destroy Finnish culture.

    – “and thus governments had to invent this “multikulti” thing to prevent ethnic clashes inside empires, and to promote integration of conquered people”

    First, ethnic clashes were taking place long before the days of empire in these countries. Second, multiculturalism was not necessarily about ‘integration’, but rather to simply celebrate diversity. Yes, that makes for more harmonious societies. I agree that you cannot impose multiculturalism as a kind of prescriptivist solution to what are mostly social problems of deprivation and isolation, which immigrant groups and minorities are always more susceptible to, though they are not the only ones to suffer. What invariably happens with nationalism vs. immigration is that it becomes the poor fighting the poor and both blaming each other rather than the situation of their poverty.

    – “Finland is surprisingly very Americanised, it was actually even surprise to me, when I first arrived to here (I can compare Finland to f.e. Estonia).”

    Gosh, here you go again contradicting yourself. First Finland is supposed to be a beacon of monoculturalism, now it’s very Americanised. Which is it? And for goodness sake, where did you ever get the notion of cultural purity anyway? Globalisation ensures that most of the world is becoming ‘Americanised’. But what you don’t seem to make allowances for is that there are no demons in this. People choose to follow certain fashions. So if Finland is becoming Americanised, it is because Finns are CHOOSING it. No-one is ramming Americanisms down the throats of Finns. Now you can set up Finns against each other, you can set up committees to ‘preserve’ the old Finnish culture, but you are fighting a losing battle in a free democracy if people just happen to like American culture enough to want to adopt elements of it. That’s the irony here – you talk about the problem as if it was all about foreigners importing the polluting culture to Finland, when actually, it’s Finns making decisions to expand their own likes and dislikes to include elements of other cultures. But I guess you don’t like people (Finns) exercising their democratic rights to be ‘multicultural’?

    – “I suspect that some Western powers are trying to implement their imperialistic ideologies in Finland (also in many other countries). They call people with anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist opinions as racists or far-rights, and make other exaggerations.”

    Who the fuck is ‘they’? Who are these imperialists and colonailists you speak of? You’re a paranoid embecile living in another century and you are spouting utter fiction. Imperialistic ideologies? The only ideology I see here is a Far Right ideology that wants to make people feel under seige and ‘fighting to be a Finn’, when being a Finn is, at this time in history at least, as easy as breathing the air. Finns don’t need to be told how to be Finns and no-one, absolutely no-one, is stopping them being a Finn.

    – “But other ethnic minorities, who have been all the time been in Russia and Soviet Union, do you know what has happened to them? Most of them have been threatened by assimilation. Cyrillic writing system was imposed to them as the only one, obligatory writing system. Support for their language, cultures, history research etc. has been poor or very poor. That was the reality.”

    Well, you seem to have missed at least one point I was making, which was that the approach to minorities may have been different at different times. In the many decades of Soviet rule, I’m sure there were many effects on minorities. But you are right to say I do not know much – but I’m not sure you have given me very much information to enlighten my questions, just abolutisms and attacks on an ignorance I was was never denying. As for languages disappearing, again, people speak the language they want to speak. There are very few cases in the world where a dying language is brought back into healthy use, though Welsh is perhaps a modern exception.

    But maybe there is something you need to understand about languages and language development – different languages evolved through geographical isolation. In a world that has in the last century and a half become massively less isolated, it was inevitable that the great many languages of the world would start to diminish. It is normal that people will choose a ‘common’ language when those geographical or political boundaries break down. While I’m all for maintaining and celebrating diversity, I’m also aware that it is pointless having diversity for diversities sake. If you imagine that polticians can truly affect these things, you are mistaken. Estonian did not stop being spoken in Estonia or Lithuanian in Lithuania during Soviet times. The Russians that went there primarily went to Russian only schools. I think your se nse of your own history is extremely narrow and utterly unconvincing. Just because I don’t know anything about your history doesn’t mean I don¨t know anything about history!

    – “No, it´s not true at all, there are modern societies, where safety, honesty etc. have preserved. Think of Japan. Or Iceland. Those are mono-cultural countries, by the way. ”

    Fuck me you are living in a bubble! In 2009 there were 75,000 prisoners in Japanese jails. Honest? Well, some of them. That is much less than in US jails, I agree, at 60 per 100,000, but the idea that that is as a result of monoculturalism in Japan is absolute rubbish. Compare Japan to India, which has almost half the prison population per head of Japan, at 30 per 100,00 and which also has over 2000 different ethnic groups, and argument that honesty is a feature only of monocultural societies is absolutely blown out of the water.

    – “Have you ever heard of cultures, where it was normal to leave homes with unlocked doors, where lost items were not just returned, but even taken special care of…? ”

    Yep, I lived in one for 15 years – the Isle of Man. If you lost your wallet, it would be returned :). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people in the jails or that it’s a result of mono-culturalism. The split betweeen Celts and Anglo-Saxons is roughly 50-50 🙂

    – “Finnish culture has been one of such cultures, where safety and honesty were quite normal things, unfortunately, these Finnish cultural traits now are increasingly destroyed, and I suspect that it is “thanks” to globalisation and multiculturalism, and new immigrants, who bring different values to Finland.”

    So, blame everyone except the Finns. So, there are more Finns in Finnish jails, but it’s not the fault of Finns, but those pesky foreigners. Give me a break. So what is this multiculturalism – something administered in spoonfulls at breakfast time to all Finns which is slowly poisoning their behaviour? And what arrogance you have thinking that Finns value honesty and foreigners don’t. One of the biggest complaints against Sharia law is that it’s too harsh, because Muslims value honesty so much that they create a much bigger deterrent than used in the West – and yet you still want to claim that ‘foreigners’ have no values or don’t value honesty? Wake up and smell the coffee. Your ideology is a crock of shit.

  16. Mark

    Seppo

    – “The part of people moving from villages to cities, yes. The part of people moving not to the city next to their village, but to a city in another republic, tradinationally inhabitated by another ethno-national group, in order to mix (read: russify) the various people of the country, no.”

    But that is not multiculturalism. Russification. Not multiculturalism. If anything, it is the opposite, where the majority are using their majority status to dillute minority identities to the point almost of extinction – how can that ever be called multiculturalism?

    Anyhow, it wasn’t that straightforward in Soviet Russia by all accounts. There were many confusing and complicating factors at work in this project of nation building in the Soviet Union. Stalin wrote in 1913 in his treatise ‘Marxism and the national question’, which became the cornerstone of soviet policy that a nation was “a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological makeup manifested in a common culture.” Although many ethnicities were not able to demonstrate themselves as ‘nations’, still the soviet group diversified into 21 ethnic republics, which following the single nation state of the imperialist era, was a massive leap forward for nationhood and national identities. The first public census in 1917 listed 176 distinct nationalities, which even after aggregation, amounted to 69 recognised nationalities. Each ethnic minority was granted some territory and a national written language was formulated, even when one didn’t yet exist. National elites were encouraged. It was believed by some, but probably not all, that over time, the Soviet identity would predominate over bourgeois nationalisms. Nevertheless, the ethnographic project was huge. Class was secondary to ethnicity.

    I don’t think it is surprising that the Russian language dominated politics and business in the Soviet Union and I’m not denying that it contradicted or undermined the recognition and building of national identities. But I don’t accept that Russification amounted to multiculturalism or that somehow ‘diversity’ leads to uniformity. Many things lead to conformity. Language is by definition a form of conformity, though it also thrives on its local variation and differentiation. Recognising anything less is failing to capture the true nature of society and failing to seperate out the political aims of the state from the realities ‘on the ground’.

  17. justicedemon

    Seppo

    … unfortunately nowadays many immigrants think they have the right to, instead of learning Finnish, force their own language or some third language upon the local population…

    If there are “many” of this kind, then you should be able to cite a few examples. While doing so, you might explain the precise mechanism whereby an immigrant has forced some language on a local Finnish-speaking population. Was this done at gunpoint? Have your kids been assigned compulsory Vietnamese at school because someone threatened to blow up your local school board if this was not included in the curriculum? Please do explain the mechanism, or come clean and admit that you are telling porkies.

  18. justicedemon

    Seppo

    … unfortunately nowadays many immigrants think they have the right to, instead of learning Finnish, force their own language or some third language upon the local population…

    If there are “many” of this kind, then you should be able to cite a few examples. While doing so, you might explain the precise mechanism whereby an immigrant has forced some language on a local Finnish-speaking population. Was this done at gunpoint? Have your kids been assigned compulsory Vietnamese at school because someone threatened to blow up your local school board if this was not included in the curriculum? Please do explain the mechanism, or come clean and admit that you are telling porkies.

  19. justicedemon

    Laputis

    So what you are really objecting to is not immigration, but military conquest, colonisation and empire-building. Now precisely how is that experience in any way relevant to Finland?

    Helsinki was a predominantly Swedish and Russian-speaking settlement until the late 19th century. This has changed due to mass immigration from other areas of Finland, principally for economic motives. By your reasoning, this was an absolutely bad thing.

  20. Seppo

    “So if Finland is becoming Americanised, it is because Finns are CHOOSING it. No-one is ramming Americanisms down the throats of Finns.”

    Mark, here you are mostly right. However, no Finn was involved in the process of making English the most prestigious and dominating language in the world. We just had to accept it and learn English. There was never anything democratic about it.

    “As for languages disappearing, again, people speak the language they want to speak.”

    Wrong. People speak the language(s) they CAN speak. If they are able / allowed to speak many different languages, then we can talk about some choice. In many places of the world, language is one of the primary ways of discrimination against minorities. And I’m not just talking about minorities inside a certain political unit, but on a bigger scale. For example, as I child, I had no other choice but to study English as the first foreign language – no other languages were offered. I’m not saying that I’m sorry that I know English. But I cannot say either it was my own choice to learn it.

    “It is normal that people will choose a ‘common’ language when those geographical or political boundaries break down. While I’m all for maintaining and celebrating diversity, I’m also aware that it is pointless having diversity for diversities sake.”

    What you are actually saying is that you would not mind the whole world starting to speak English. Since language is in the heart of cultural and national identities, this would mean the greatest loss of diversity the world has ever seen. This is exactly what Laputis means when he is talking about greater diversity turning in the end into lesser diversity.

    All and all, reading your comments on language, it is not hard to figure out that you are a native English-speaker. In a way I understand you. It’s you and your children who are going to “win” in this ongoing anglification process.

  21. Seppo

    “But that is not multiculturalism. Russification.”

    The thing is that it really was officially multiculturalism. Just like you explained, different minorities were treated in a very liberal and tolerant fashion, unheard of elsewhere in Europe. Still, in the end, it all lead to loss of diversity.

    “Many things lead to conformity. Language is by definition a form of conformity, though it also thrives on its local variation and differentiation.”

    I’m not a native English-speaker and I’m not quite sure what conformity means. But if you believe it is somehow normal that different minorities in Soviet Union and Russia have given up their languages and started to use Russian instead, then I disagree with you.

  22. Seppo

    “If there are “many” of this kind, then you should be able to cite a few examples. While doing so, you might explain the precise mechanism whereby an immigrant has forced some language on a local Finnish-speaking population.”

    My pleasure.

    To give the most common and simple example. I have several friends and friends of friends who have lived in Finland for 5-10 years. Most of them have not learned to speak Finnish. When they go to a supermarket, restaurant, KELA-office, library etc. they speak English and English only. They start in English and even though the person they are talking to would not speak much English at all, they continue in English. Most of them believe that this is their right, here in Finland. And this is what I call forcing a foreign language on the local population.

    As I have also worked in customer service, I have experienced this myself, too.

  23. Mark

    Seppo

    – “However, no Finn was involved in the process of making English the most prestigious and dominating language in the world. We just had to accept it and learn English. There was never anything democratic about it.”

    But the Finns have decided that they are going to teach it at school and also to buy a significant amount of their programming in English. Again, let me stress, Finns are choosing this. That is perfectly democratic, if by that you mean choice. No-one HAS to buy into globalisation. Even if there are English programs on TV and someone would find them offensive to their Finnishness, they can just switch over or switch off. For all that is said about the negatives of globalisation (in terms of culture), it’s pretty easy to opt out of on an individual level.

    There inevitably has to be a lingua franca or several lingua franca in the world. At the moment it’s English. Later it could easily be spanish or mandarin.

    – “Wrong. People speak the language(s) they CAN speak.”

    I really don’t see the difference herebetween want and can. People generally want to speak the languages they can speak, though I do admit Finns are a little shy in this area, in that many can speak English but don’t have the confidence. That was mostly a mistake of the educational system, but things have changed and the next generations are not suffering anywhere near as much.

    However, i was beng lazy in not explaining that language can and is abused, as a way of marginalising minorities. However, if it is your mother tongue and your family speak it, then they will go on speaking it even if they cannot complete forms or watch programming in their language. The other thing is that with a state like the soviet union, it was inevitable that Russian would become a lingua franca. Most people who learnt it outside of Russia still learnt it as a second language though. In that sense, though I don’t like the politics behind it, it’s not so unusual.

    If I remember right, you think that English is somehow going to stop Finnish being spoken, but I really think that is paranoia. It’s not happening and it’s unlikely to happen. So in terms of immigration debates or even multicultural debates, it’s a total red herring. At no point am I defending the totalirian regime in the Soviet Union. I’m challenging the notion that the problem was a result of mutliculturalism or even that the situation was ‘all bad’ as a result.

    I’m still not convinced that this idea of ‘multiculturalism’ leads to leds diversity. What is this argument in a nutshell, because I have missed your point here.

    – “’I’m not a native English-speaker and I’m not quite sure what conformity means. But if you believe it is somehow normal that different minorities in Soviet Union and Russia have given up their languages and started to use Russian instead, then I disagree with you.”

    Well, again, my writing was lazy. What i’m saying is that there are several processes taking place at the same time – the most significant in my view is the loss of geographical isolation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a language, but it opens the door to bilingualism. However, as people moved or were moved to cities, then minority languages/dialects from rural areas are likely to diminish. However, efforts can be made to preserve these. Welsh is a good example. But the answer is always bilingualism, not monolingualism with the minority language. In the Isle of Man, I once met a couple who were both self-taught Manx speakers. They had a son and they were both speaking Manx, so that he was learning it as his first language. As the last official Manx speaker had died several years before, this was an extremely novel way of trying to keep the language alive. The couple lived on a more remote hillside in what was a ‘living village’ of crofts. While I applaud their dedication to the Manx way of life, I do wonder that by making him the ONLY native Manx speaker on the island that they are isolating him. That’s perhaps the other extreme.

    Conformity is the fact that language structures are marked and unmarked in the sense that certain forms are commonly used and some not and some are totally novel. The vast majority of forms in a language are unmarked, but a signficant minority of utterances are marked in teh sense that they create ambigious or even new meanings. Literature, slang, and dialects are all variatioins on this markedness. But languages foundation is conformity to a set of collective norms. That means that a language community will tend towards conformity, while the marked part of the language marks regional variation or even elements of language change.

  24. Mark

    Seppo

    – “They start in English and even though the person they are talking to would not speak much English at all, they continue in English.”

    Seppo, that is hardly forcing a language on a population. It’s a very very poor example. Fact is, if somene is speaking English and the Finn doesn’t understand, they don’t understand, they cannot be forced to understand or forced to take lessons. However, I’m sure you will also accept that an element of tourism in Finland means that many shops, will see a second or third language as an asset. But this is still not forcing a language on anyone. And anyhow, I’ve had it done the other way around many times too, where I try and continue to speak Finnish and the other person will continue to speak English, though I do smile about it – it really is no big deal.

    You know, the way you say it, I could say that switching the TV and hearing Finnish I am having the language forced on me! Come on, Seppo, you don’t normally make such poor arguments. I’m quite surprised at this.

  25. justicedemon

    Seppo

    I think Mark made this point substantially already, but you were “forced” to speak English only because of your own interest in securing the custom of these clients. If you choose not to speak English, then those clients would either have to bring an interpreter or go to another trader where they could conduct their business transactions in English.

    You chose to use English; you were not forced to do so.

    Of course if your employer has anticipated such customer service situations, then you may already enjoy a language supplement in your salary or you may have secured your job in the first place by demonstrating foreign language skills and a positive customer service attitude.

    You were always free to turn down the kielilisä and to tell your prospective employer that you were not willing to use foreign languages.

    This notion of “forcing” foreign languages on Finnish speakers is more apparent in the field of foreign language school and preschool education. For more than 25 years it has been the case that if you want your child to attend the English School in Helsinki, then you really have to pre-enrol the child at birth. This is not because of any oversupply of English-speaking families in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, but because so many Finnish-speaking parents are desperate to get their children into the English School.

    The English School is run by Finns, and when it introduced aptitude tests for admission to its preschool some years ago, these tests had nothing to do with the competence of 4-5 year-olds in English, as any such test would have “unfairly” advantaged preschool children whose home language is English.

    Now in the light of this, you might ask why these Finnish parents are choosing to force (literally in this case) their children to learn English, and have set up a school that takes care not to enroll a disproportionate number of children who already speak English regularly at home.

  26. Seppo

    “I really don’t see the difference herebetween want and can. People generally want to speak the languages they can speak.”

    Here we had a language problem 🙂

    I meant ‘can’ in the sense of being able / allowed to speak a certain language. Many minorities, like the one represented by Laputis, would want to speak their own language much more than they can. Instead, at school, university, public services they are forced to speak another language as a result of language policies of the government. This is very typical in the modern world and I’m sticking to my opinion that people do not speak the languages they want to but the languages they are given the chance to speak (or the languages they are forced to speak, depending on the way you want to see it).

    “if it is your mother tongue and your family speak it, then they will go on speaking it even if they cannot complete forms or watch programming in their language.”

    Most definitely not. In this kind of environment, the children will develop much better skills in the other language(s) that are spoken outside of home and they will in the end give up speaking the minority language. At least they will not transfer it to their own children anymore but in stead speak the majority language to them.

    Very rarely there is such a thing as stable bi- or multilingualism. Usually one of the langugages dominates over the others and in the end most people become speakers of that language and that language only. One exception I can give is the Swedish-speakers in Helsinki. For several generations by now they have been bilingual in Swedish and Finnish, without losing their Swedish. Many things have contributed to this such as the possibility to get your whole education from kindergarten to university in Swedish, the strong traditions and focus on language inside the Swedish-speaking families, the relatively high level of education among the families leading to awareness and appreciation of your mother tongue, and of course the policies of the state and the local government which have encouraged the preservation of the Swedish language, to name a few. In different circumstances – a more typical scenario in Europe – most of the Swedish-speakers would have turned to Finnish-speakers resulting in a great loss of diversity in our capital city.

    • Enrique

      Seppo, one thing that I do not understand is why don’t the “silent majority” of Finns wake up and speak out against racism in this country. Certainly there are many out there.

  27. Seppo

    Mark and JD,

    Please focus on the big picture.

    What I would like to emphasize is that many immigrants coming to Finland feel that they have to right to use English and get service in English wherever they go. And I’m not only talking about shops, where you obviously need to speak the language of the customer, but also libraries, public offices etc. This in the end leads to a situation where every Finn has to know to speak English, and if this does not count as forcing a foreign language on a population then I don’t know what it is.

    It is not entirely different from what happened in Estonia after the world war II. The Russians that moved / were moved there felt that they have the right to use Russian whatever and wherever they do. In just a few decades the dominating language on the streets of Tallinn became Russian, even though Russians by no means were in the majority. They were just able to make their language the default language.

    I am seriously afraid that the dominating language in Helsinki will become English.

    I know that I’m paranoid when it comes to languages. I used to be a big proponent of the spread of English as a global lingua franca. Since then I have studied linguistics and read about the history of minority languages. Now I very aware of the risks that are included in a situation where one language has such power and prestige as English does nowadays.

    From the bottom of my heart I hope that I am wrong. That Finnish will continue to be the dominant language in Finland forever. The way things are going right now, I doubt that. But things can change so I’m not giving up!

  28. justicedemon

    Seppo

    What I would like to emphasize is that many immigrants coming to Finland feel that they have to right to use English and get service in English wherever they go.

    I’m not sure that you are qualified to tell us what immigrants feel, but I take the point that some foreigners who have apparently settled in Finland continue to behave like tourists for much longer than seems reasonable. This is an area of immigrant integration policy that has not been addressed until very recently, and the measures that are now finally being taken are the direct outcome of lobbying work done by immigrants on the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations in the early 2000s.

    I already commented on 6 April in some detail on the use of foreign languages in public services in a thread called MTV3:n puoluegallup: Perussuomalaiset laskussa (see my 5th comment on the thread, addressed to Jaakko and beginning “Take another look at the regulations on providing interpreters.”). Before you object to services provided in English and other languages, you might think about the consequences of waiting in the queue while the official behind the glass gives a free Finnish lesson to some foreigner who insists on using very elementary Finnish to conduct official business. My guess is that you would be only too eager to volunteer as an interpreter simply to get the queue moving again.

    We have noted here before that the immigrants who fail to learn Finnish or Swedish tend to be relatively well-paid specialists in universities and international businesses. This is at least partly a matter of public policy, as the employers of foreign workers have not been required to arrange language learning opportunities and foreigners of this kind have not been eligible for official immigrant integration programme support. Indeed the entire immigrant integration system has been strongly linked to employability and based on the assumption that integration has been achieved when the foreigner has a job, (or, indeed, simply when the foreigner does not need to work outside the home).

    Until relatively recently the formal immigration licensing system was also designed to perpetuate a sense of transience among migrant workers that also undermined the motivation to integrate. The policy changes that have now been introduced in this field are again chiefly due to lobbying work by immigrants.

    A final and important point worth making is that discrimination is a clear disincentive to immigrant integration.

    In short, people will tend to behave like tourists if they are made to feel like tourists.

  29. Seppo

    Thank you, JusticeDemon, for taking my point seriously.

    “some foreigners who have apparently settled in Finland continue to behave like tourists for much longer than seems reasonable.”

    Well formulated and exactly what I mean. I also agree that Finns can be blamed for this as well.

    It seems to me that many of those immigrants we are now talking about see the tourist-option as an easier alternative to the hard and winding road of learning Finnish and integrating properly to the mainstream society. I’m just afraid that in the end this will turn out to be a bad thing for them as well as for the society as a whole.

    They will not have access to all that lot what is happening only in Finnish and thus they will not become a true part of the society, but live on as outsiders no matter how long they have been in the country. (I know, integration is not only a question of the language, but language plays a major part.) Then people like me who meet these people and realize that even after several years in the country and a clear purpose of staying here for good they don’t know the language, we get annoyed and possibly develop anti-immigration feelings.

  30. justicedemon

    Seppo

    As long as you appreciate that this is like blaming the prisoner for being institutionalised. You cannot hold foreigners at arm’s length for years and then complain that they remain in an alienating expatriate bubble.

    I think there is a case to be made for requiring the employers of migrant workers either to provide paid job release for their migrant workers to attend integration training or to arrange such training free of charge in house to a certain standard. Aside from the obvious social benefits, this would help to dispel any idea that migrant workers are a cheap option. Like any initiative affecting the world of work, this would have to be worked out through the national tripartite bargaining system, but I can see no objections of principle that could be made by organised labour or by reputable employers.

    This will not cure your annoyance, but merely give you other things to be annoyed about. Highly paid migrant workers tend to have strong and detailed opinions about how their taxes are spent, and if they have the linguistic tools and social connections to make their voices heard, then you may not like what you hear… 🙂

  31. Mark

    Seppo

    – “Most definitely not. In this kind of environment, the children will develop much better skills in the other language(s) that are spoken outside of home and they will in the end give up speaking the minority language. At least they will not transfer it to their own children anymore but in stead speak the majority language to them.”

    I know what you are saying, but there are so many ways to look at this. If they are able and choose to speak a majority language, then they are perhaps accessing the culture more fully – would you deny them that opportunity just to preserve the minority language? It’s a bit like saying, okay, we have a situation where the minority are disadvantaged, but you have to carry on being part of this minority, because it’s important to preserve it. If people choose to adopt a majority language because it is the majority language, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it may give that individual a better quality of life. Supporting a dying language can sometimes be like flogging a dead horse – Manx being an excellent example, where the number of speakers numbered only a few dozen for several decades. Attempts to raise Manx in schools largely failed because the language had already become ‘academic’.

    It is interesting that you mention Swedish as a stable bilingual language. The same is now true of Welsh. It was supported by the authorities, and several universities offer study in Welsh. At the same time, it’s pointless complaining to those in parts of South Wales who have much less interest in speaking Welsh. They don’t feel any less Welsh, even though they speak English. And accusations by welsh-speakers that they are not really Welsh are unhelpful and insulting. It’s all too easy for efforts to preserve a language to become a point of conflict. You talk about pressure to speak the majority language, but what about the pressure to speak the minority language? I faced this pressure growing up in Wales, and it wasn’t nice. My dad is welsh-speaking, but chose to speak English at home, so I was in the second stream of learners, lagging behind and learning Welsh like others would learn French at school. There were many times when the Welsh speakers would gang together and bully the English-speaking kids. I guess we would both agree that pressure to speak a different language than you feel comfortable with is not nice.

    – “This in the end leads to a situation where every Finn has to know to speak English, and if this does not count as forcing a foreign language on a population then I don’t know what it is.”

    How does it lead to that? It’s a huge leap you are making, that some ‘tourists’ insisting on speaking English somehow forces the entire nation to have to speak it. You have the cart before the horse. English speakers try to get away with speaking English because they know that Finns have all studied it to some extent. They have not studied because ‘tourists’ are insisting on using it. In fact, immigrants in large numbers to Finland are a new phenomenon. The Finnish government and education boards decided that English was a useful language for Finland, that furthered it’s economic opportunities, as it is now the language of business and the language of science. It’s got nothing to do with tourists. That is the big picture Seppo, not ‘tourist immigrants’ in libraries.

    So, basically, I am still totally unconvinced by your argument, even though I am trying hard to see the merit of it.

    – “I am seriously afraid that the dominating language in Helsinki will become English.”

    I have never seen Finns talking to each other in English, unless there is an English-speaker non-Finnish speaker in the group. I have heard people codeswitching, borrowing words from English in Finnish conversations, but if you have studied linguistics, you know that codeswitching is a normal part of bilingualism, and not a threat to the languages as such.

    – “The way things are going right now, I doubt that”

    And how are things going? What is it that is worrying you so much?

    When it comes to immigrants learning language, I cannot endorse Justice Demons comments enough. I have been in just that position, unable to attend courses because of the work and family commitments and unable to follow up on earlier studies. Language at home is English, while conversation between the kids is just that, kids conversation. The resources avaliable for adult language learning are abysmal. Only today I was talking to a translator about the situation and about my own plans to try to develop resources, but unfortunately, while i have good linguistic skills and tech innovation, I don’t have sufficient tech skills to get my project off the ground. The opetushallintus have a comprehensive learning package in the pipeline, due to come online in 2013, but I fear its model is too limited, while they are moving ahead in some areas compared to what’s already available.

    If anyone is a tech head who knows PHP or Java or Delphi and wants to contribute to a project (potentially commercial) for creating a vastly improved online Finnish language resource, they should get in contact with me. Until then, I’m left to lament the very real difficulties facing foreigners to learn Finnish if they have already got work in some sector.

    Mä toivon, että yksi päivä mä voin keskustella nämä asiota suomeksi, mutta mä tiedän, että mä tarvitsen tiedä niin paljon enneman suomen kielta.

  32. Seppo

    “You cannot hold foreigners at arm’s length for years and then complain that they remain in an alienating expatriate bubble.”

    Yes I agree. But I don’t think these people are held outside the same way as for example immigrants who have come here as refugees. I am friends many of highly educated immigrants and I know that they have other Finnish friends too, both at work and outside work. To me, the fact that they prefer touristing in their expatriate bubble is their choice, and for the reasons I mentioned earlier, it’s a choice the society should encourage them to give up.

    “Highly paid migrant workers tend to have strong and detailed opinions about how their taxes are spent, and if they have the linguistic tools and social connections to make their voices heard, then you may not like what you hear…”

    Hehe, a good point! But I would still definitely prefer that to the current situation.

  33. Seppo

    Mark,

    We have a different look on languages. To me languages are not just tools which you change to a new one if you find it better. To me languages are extremely valuable as such. Different languages are a key part of the human diversity which I think we should celebrate. Languages play a major part in the preservation of cultural traditions and group identities. If you want to get rid of an ethno-cultural group, the best non-violent way is to make sure they will stop speaking their own language. And this I see happening all the time in the world today. It is not always a direct result of purposely designed government policies, but when languages die, it is a terrible catastrophe, not matter why and how they die. It is through language that smaller groups are assimilated into dominating groups and thus destroyed.

    “If they are able and choose to speak a majority language, then they are perhaps accessing the culture more fully – would you deny them that opportunity just to preserve the minority language?”

    No, it is good to know the majority language as well. You know, a human being can know many different languages at the same time. You just have to make sure that the mother tongue is the one that remains the strongest one and that it is transferred to the next generation.

    “If people choose to adopt a majority language because it is the majority language, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it may give that individual a better quality of life.”

    How? And why couldn’t you continue speaking your own language after you learn the majority language. In any case, this would in the end lead to the death of the language, and I cannot see how an individual could improve his life quality so much by giving up speaking a language that it is worth destroying a cultural tradition of thousands of years.

    I really don’t understand how being in a linguistic minority is disadvantageous if you have the option of learning the majority language as well. The Swedish-speaking Finns of Helsinki are by no means disadvantaged by their mother tongue, quite the opposite.

  34. justicedemon

    Seppo

    The positive changes to immigrant integration policy that i explained above are very recent, whereas we are currently experiencing the results of previous less enlightened approaches.

    Until 2004 it was quite possible for a migrant worker to spend decades in Finland without ever being officially acknowledged as an immigrant. The system placed the immigrant in a situation resembling that of a short lease tenant considering whether to spend substantial resources on home improvements (parquet flooring, loft insulation, garden landscaping etc.). Why should anyone invest in a place until there is reasonable certainty that it will continue to be their home until they freely decide otherwise?

    This is what I meant above by a formal immigration licensing system … designed to perpetuate a sense of transience among migrant workers that also undermined the motivation to integrate. The direct legal after-effects of that old immigration licensing system were finally burned out of official practice only last year (at least for individuals foolish enough to believe the advice given at local police stations). The indirect after-effects will last for a lot longer, as the old system had a profound impact on the thinking patterns of those immigrants who suffered at its hands, and these immigrants are important opinion-formers for more recent arrivals.

    A foreigner in this situation of enforced transience is not being encouraged in any way to burn bridges or even to unpack her psychological suitcase. Uncertainty over the permanence of immigration is one of the greatest obstacles to immigrant integration.

  35. Seppo

    “You talk about pressure to speak the majority language, but what about the pressure to speak the minority language?”

    Well I’m glad to hear that such a pressure exists. Of course, the bullying you mentioned can never be justified, but without this kind of pressure the Welsh language and culture might disappear very soon.

    “I have never seen Finns talking to each other in English, unless there is an English-speaker non-Finnish speaker in the group.”

    When there are five Finns speaking in Finnish and a native speaker of English enters the situation, all the Finns change to a foreign language in stead of expecting that that one person would change to a language that is foreign to him. This is just a sign of the power English has over other languages.

    I know people I studied with who are born and raised in Finland but write better English than Finnish. From preferring to write in English there is just a small step to preferring to speak in English. This step has not been taken yet, but when it will be taken, then it’s goodbye for the Finnish language.

    “Language at home is English”

    We discussed your situation before and we don’t have to repeat all the things but as far as I remember, your wife is a Finnish-speaker. So you can change the language at home to Finnish, if you really want to. It won’t be easy but it is completely possible. To children one should of course always speak ones native language.

  36. Seppo

    “The system placed the immigrant in a situation resembling that of a short lease tenant considering whether to spend substantial resources on home improvements (parquet flooring, loft insulation, garden landscaping etc.).”

    That’s an important point. However, learning a language will never hurt you, and unlike parquet flooring, the language you can take with you where ever you go – and you never know useful it might turn out to be. But I understand what you mean and I also understand those immigrants who got stuck in that situation. Good that things are better now.

  37. justicedemon

    Seppo

    By that reasoning, you should invest substantial personal resources in learning Mongolian if your Finnish employer sends you to work in an English-speaking office in Ulan Batur “until you are posted elsewhere sometime maybe soon”.

    After all, your skills in Mongolian might come in handy “sometime maybe later”. Never mind that only about 7 people in 10,000 is a native speaker of Mongolian, nearly all of them live in Mongolia, and any Mongolian native speakers that you might meet abroad will already be accustomed to speaking some other language.

    I’m sure that your employer/family will understand that you cannot devote more energy to them and their interests, because it’s more important to learn this exotic language that “might come in handy sometime”. You will then know how to lament your unemployment and broken family in fluent Mongolian, so the effort made in learning the language will not be wasted.

    Perhaps those foreigners in Finland that bother you so much are devoting their energies to learning Mongolian, “just in case…”. After all, Mongolian is just as valuable as Finnish until you know where you are going to live permanently.

    It’s interesting that competence in the Finnish or Swedish language is understood by the Supreme Administrative Court as a “tie to Finland” that is a relevant factor weighing against a deportation proposal, and is also a requirement for Finnish citizenship by application, but is oddly not included in the criteria for issuing a residence permit to an alien.

  38. Mark

    Seppo

    – “To me languages are not just tools which you change to a new one if you find it better.”

    Well, that wasn’t exactly the point.

    We both agree that bilingualism can be stable or unstable. I also see the reasons for language death as not necessarily bad. Sorry for this, but this is taken straight out from Wikipedia:

    “This is a process of assimilation which may be voluntary or may be forced upon a population. Speakers of some languages, particularly regional or minority languages, may decide to abandon them based on economic or utilitarian grounds, in favour of languages regarded as having greater utility or prestige. This process is gradual and can occur from either bottom-to-top or top-to-bottom.”

    I think you’ll find both our points are covered here (i.e. voluntary and forced).

    – “When there are five Finns speaking in Finnish and a native speaker of English enters the situation, all the Finns change to a foreign language instead of expecting that that one person would change to a language that is foreign to him. This is just a sign of the power English has over other languages.”

    Yes, but it is not a sign that English is taking over from Finnish among native Finns. They’re being polite. And while many foreigners do not learn Finnish, many do. Also, many Finns like the opportunity to practice their English, because it does offer great utility.

    There are none of the political pressures in Finland that threaten Finnish. In,face, the greatest language under threat (politically and realistically) in Finland is Swedish. What’s your view of that?

    – “I know people I studied with who are born and raised in Finland but write better English than Finnish.”

    Well, that is very unusual. I work in an academic institute, and I can tell you that the quality of English written by Finns, while good, is never fluent and to date, has never been better than their writing, clarity or skill in Finnish. However, I do know people who find it easier to write in English if their subject is science, because the language of international science is English. Even though English is also the language of business, that in itself is not really a matter of concern. It’s when the arts and politics are being done in English that you should start worrying about the survival of Finnish. But even then, there is every chance that Finnish would still survive, though probably changed, as English was following the Norman conquest.

    You know, we have travelled so far away from the original discussion here. My point was that Laputis suggested that the imposition of Russian was a terrible thing, no shades of grey, which resulted in less diversity, the loss of languages etc. My point was that that was a massive oversimplification, that bilingualism was the norm, that Soviet Russia also had a program of revitalising national identities and languages and that none of this was the result of what we know in the West as ‘multiculturalism’.

  39. justicedemon

    Mark

    I can tell you that the quality of English written by Finns, while good, is never fluent and to date, has never been better than their writing, clarity or skill in Finnish.

    I’m not sure that you are in a position to make this judgement, but you might reflect on the point that some native speakers of English are unable to write in any style more formal than txtspk, whereas they are likely to have learned higher order written communication skills in another language.

    A corresponding phenomenon arises in spoken language when the customary style of native speaker expression is highly informal and colloquial (or strongly marked by local dialect), but such forms have simply not been learned at all in the foreign language.

    Advanced learners often have the experience of mentally (and sometimes explicitly) correcting the expression of native speakers, simply to clarify what they are saying. I first noticed this when stressing the difference between onnettomuus and sattuma in one meeting that I chaired some years ago. There are also English speakers who never learn to distinguish between lend and borrow, but who manage the corresponding grammatical forms perfectly when speaking Finnish as a foreign language.

    More generally in this discussion it’s important to remember that neither English nor Finnish is a fixed entity. It’s already tricky for modern Finns to appreciate Finnish literature from a century ago, whereas only a tiny fraction of English speakers nowadays can get more than the gist of, say, the following famous lines:

    1: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
    2: The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
    3: And bathed every veyne in swich licour
    4: Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

  40. Mark

    JD

    – “I’m not sure that you are in a position to make this judgement,”

    True, I cannot always judge the quality of the Finnish unless I’m working with a native, but I do receive the comment almost daily that, this is so much easier to say (write) in Finnish. I have never heard the opposite, though it must be true at least some of the time on technical grounds.

    – “…but you might reflect on the point that some native speakers of English are unable to write in any style more formal than txtspk, whereas they are likely to have learned higher order written communication skills in another language.

    This is true. It’s also true the other way. I know many academics and translators who find it very difficult to translate into colloquial language for English L2, while having excellent competence in formal and academic English.

    – “Of which vertu engendred is the flour;”

    From the days when spellings were not prescribed, no doubt.

    I personally think that formal written English is to some extent destined to be like Latin, in that its wide use will ensure its continuation, but that the separation of written and spoken forms will widen.

    I think your point about language change is important, and probably the main reason I’m pragmatic about ‘language loss/death’. I also think it’s too easy to assume that all loss is enforced and not ‘natural’ to some extent, regardless of the politics.

  41. justicedemon

    Mark

    The quotation was from the beginning of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. I would bet that fewer than one in a thousand native speakers of modern English can make much sense of it, especially as spoken, and the point that I am making is that it is misleading to suppose that a “dominant” language in some way “supplants” a minority language. Instead of this they find a compromise that effectively ensures that speakers of neither language will understand their ancestors after a dozen or so generations. From the perspective of 15th century Finnish speakers, other languages have already replaced Finnish, as most of the modern Finnish lexicon and at least some of the grammar is of foreign (especially Swedish) origin. Even nowadays we can see the introduction of a dummy subject in Finnish, at least in weak contexts, whereas I suspect that the rules for using the definite article in English are changing over time with increased input from native speakers of other languages.

    This is true of culture in general. We have noted before that the “Finnish culture” that the fascists seek to preserve is nothing more than certain patterns of behaviour that happen to be centred on the northwestern corner of the Eurasian land mass in relatively recent times. These patterns are very different from those found in the same part of the planet even as little as a century ago. This gives the fascists a problem that exceeds their intellectual capacity, as they must either admit that there are many ways to be Finnish or they must hold that the people living in Finland a century ago were not really Finnish.

  42. Mark

    JD

    Without looking it up, I’m going to hazard a guess at those first lines:

    When that April with his showers sweet
    The draught of March hath pierced to the root,
    And bathed every vine in swish colour
    Of which virtue engendered is the flower;

    Anything close?

    Compromise it is – about 30% of English words are of French origin.

    – “This gives the fascists a problem that exceeds their intellectual capacity, as they must either admit that there are many ways to be Finnish or they must hold that the people living in Finland a century ago were not really Finnish.”

    Nice to have something to smile about on a Monday afternoon! Thanks for that!

  43. Seppo

    “More generally in this discussion it’s important to remember that neither English nor Finnish is a fixed entity.”

    Yes of course languages change, just like cultures. When a language stops changing it is often a sign that it is dying already.

    But there is still a difference between language changing because of the influence of another language(s) and language disappearing because of that influence. I’m not at all concerned about English words and structures finding their way into Finnish, that’s normal. I’m concerned that there will be in the future situations for which you cannot use Finnish at all. For example, people practicing or talking about business or science. Either there is no terminology in Finnish, or more commonly, there is but people haven’t bothered to learn it. Finnish has started to lose its domains and it is losing them to English.

  44. Seppo

    “There are none of the political pressures in Finland that threaten Finnish. In,face, the greatest language under threat (politically and realistically) in Finland is Swedish. What’s your view of that?”

    The languages of Finland that are very seriously under threat are Inari Sami, Skolt Sami and Finnish Romani. Northern Sami is doing a bit better because it has such a strong position across the border in Norway.

    The fascist that JD mentioned have started attacking Swedish language in Finland. That is sick and extremely unfair towards the speakers of Swedish. I understand that they feel slightly threatened. However, Swedish will continue to be spoken in Finland, if not forever, then at least as long as Finnish will, unless there will be some very dramatic changes which at the moment don’t seem probable.

    The size of the Swedish-speaking population has remained stable. It went down slowly until a few years ago after which it has grown every year by a few hundred. The relative amount of Swedish-speakers has decreased quite dramatically, which is mostly due to higher nativity among Finnish-speakers, and lately, immigration, but for sure there has been some language shift to Finnish as well. At the moment there is very little of language shift happening, most Swedish-speakers speak Swedish to their children and put them in Swedish schools – even when the other parent is Finnish-speaking.

    There is great awareness and appreciation of mother tongue and its importance among the Swedish-speakers in Finland. A key factor in the preservation and development of Swedish is the education system inside which you can study in Swedish and Swedish only from kindergarten to university.

    The only way Swedish could start disappearing from Finland is that the speakers themselves would suddenly decide to stop speaking the language. This could happen of course, but I don’t find it very likely.

  45. Seppo

    “My point was that Laputis suggested that the imposition of Russian was a terrible thing, no shades of grey, which resulted in less diversity, the loss of languages etc. My point was that that was a massive oversimplification, that bilingualism was the norm, that Soviet Russia also had a program of revitalising national identities and languages and that none of this was the result of what we know in the West as ‘multiculturalism’.”

    Yes it was an oversimplification. But the loss of languages is a fact, too.

    Soviet Union had one of the most liberal and progressive policies towards minorities and their languages in the 1920s. However, already by 1930s, Stalin had developed the necessary mental condition for starting to, often violently, harass the minorities and russify them. This might have been called ‘sovjetization’ or something like that, but in reality it was russification.

    You are right that this has not got much to do with ‘multiculturalism’ of today. All I am saying is that Soviet Union was a project that resulted in loss of diversity even though the official policies, most of the time, were supposed to celebrate it.

    Then there is America. When people talk about melting pot they usually do it in a positive sense. To me, melting pot is just another term for assimilation. Even though I would like to see immigrants integrating to their new societies as thoroughly as possible, I am against all assimilation. It destroys diversity.

  46. ABC

    If we would allow people freely to move to other countries without any limitations, we would have to end social security in western countries. There are just too many poor people in third world countries that we couldn’t afford to provide social security anymore if a large percentage of those poor people would move to western countries.

    • Enrique

      Hi ABC and welcome to Migrant Tales. Our view of the world has to change and we must find other solutions. Building high walls is not one of them. Those high walls are not built by common people but by greed, indifference and apathy. If we want to solve issues like hunger, poverty and strife we have to begin looking at the world in a different way. Possibly one way to look at it is ask what US President Dwight Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex or what Abraham Lincoln said about the danger of big business and government. Those could be some of your culprits not refugees and immigrants fleeing countries destroyed by them.

  47. Mark

    Seppo

    – “I am against all assimilation. It destroys diversity.”

    Call me a liberal, but the thing that seems to be missing here is freedom of choice. What if ‘diversity’ is choosing to destroy itself. so as to belong to something else, something more profitable? The words maybe sound a bit callous, casting away the traditions of our ancestors, etc., but people gear themselves mostly to the here and now, and history becomes far more important the older you get, ironically, because that is also when you realise that national identities are not all they are cracked up to be. Maybe ‘preserving the old’ clouds our judgement.

    And I mean this element of choice over and above the problems of politics getting involved nation building. As much as I hate hearing the pledge of allegiance spouted in American classrooms (pure indoctrination), I nevertheless see the benefit of creating some sense of nationhood. If the alternative is fracture, conflict and self-imposed segregation of the many immigrant groups, then I see the value in it.

    But then I could argue that national identity is used to supplant our real identity, as a species, as human beings with broadly similar traits and values, even while expressed differently. But maybe ‘species’ can never be so sexy and chest pumping as ‘Finnish’, or ‘American’. The cynic in me cannot help but notice that by supplanting an appreciation of all human life with a nationalist identity, it is much easier to go to war with other nations.

    But then again I tell myself not to be too cynical or even naive; there is much more to national identities than just a factory for soldiers, and much more to war than a clash of national identities.

    I don’t understand why people get excited about the idea that one nation may actually see the world differently because of their culture or identity. Does it give anything concrete? Does it lead to nations of ‘natural born’ peace lovers, nations of natural born artists, nations of natural born scientists? I don’t think so. All nations produce their innovations. And for every national identity, there are thousands if not millions of people subverting that identity from within, as a way of escaping that ‘unique way of looking at the world’, which they have come to find stifling and archaic.

    But I do value freedom, to right to choose and the right to live in peace to make those choices, albeit that your choices don’t harm others. But even that hope is wistful, as all those collective choices called ‘culture’ place and endless succession of constraints on our behaviour, some good, some quite arbitrary and silly. But, if you try to minimise the harm. And that is where I see anti-immigration sentiment and political policy as a very real threat and harm to the largely harmless choices of some individuals to practice their culture, and that is why I oppose it. It’s destructive and absolutely pointless at the end of the day. It adds nothing of value to our own cultural identity, except to strip a few bars off the measure of our tolerance.

  48. Seppo

    “the thing that seems to be missing here is freedom of choice. What if ‘diversity’ is choosing to destroy itself. so as to belong to something else, something more profitable?”

    When people choose to give up their native language and assimilate into a dominant group because the society is designed so that it is disadvantageous to belong to any other group than the dominant one, then I would not call that a “choice”. In societies where the minorities enjoy the same rights and possibilities, then yes, some people might out of their free will choose to leave their group or stop speaking their language and join another group and adopt that language in stead. But this kind of situation is more rare.

    “As much as I hate hearing the pledge of allegiance spouted in American classrooms (pure indoctrination), I nevertheless see the benefit of creating some sense of nationhood. If the alternative is fracture, conflict and self-imposed segregation of the many immigrant groups, then I see the value in it.”

    I agree. That’s why I support a Finnish national identity, I believe the existence of one is good for this society, but it needs to be one that accepts diversity and does not require linguistic or religious assimilation. Looking at the Finnish national identity now, and what and who are generally considered to be Finnish, a change is required, a change that makes Finnishness (Finn-ness) more inclusive, especially from the point of view of immigrants.

    • Enrique

      Hi Seppo, diversity permits others to celebrate who they are on their terms. It’s funny that we allow ourselves all these life-style choices but then when another group comes we become very strict about what can be done. One of the problems when people look at diverse societies they think somehow that groups within them don’t change or remain static. Moving to another country and being part of a new community means new adaption and changes.

      JusticeDemon could, I am certain, speak about the conflict between being part of a group and having free will. Due to this conflict, society will never be uniform. Since societies are not perfect, they change or give us the opportunity to change them. The ability to change and adapt is closely linked to survival. Living in society is full of compromises. Some we like others we don’t. Even so, we must have the right to choose and to live without persecution for the choices we make.

  49. ABC

    Until developing countries manage to get rid of their poverty and many other difficult problems, we cannot get rid of borders, if we want to have social security in western countries. Only after that we can consider lowering borders. Trying to do these things in opposite order would only cause collapse of social security and replace it with chaos.

    And the sad fact is that the problems are very difficult to solve. For example, with current technology we simply do not have enough energy available to provide western way of life for all people on Earth.

    And I hope that developing countries get rid of birth rates that are not sustainable and I hope that United States stops constantly doing new military attacks around the globe. However, there is quite little we can do in Finland to accomplish these goals which involve distant and much larger countries.

  50. Laputis

    Mark:

    – “And who exactly is trying to destroy that?”

    Those pro-globalists, multiculturalists etc.

    – “You create a scenario where Finland is somehow under attack.”

    I don´t create such scenario, although anything can be possible. If globalists and multiculturalists with their crazy “borderless, united world” ideas will win, Finland will stop existing as country. And this, yes, can be regarded as attack to Finland, as attack to the whole existence of a country.

    – “Finland takes a tiny amount of immigrants and has exported far more than it has imported in the last three decades.”

    Don´t be silly, please. First, amount of immigrants is only increasing every year, check out official statistics, if you wish. I wonder what will happen after already 10 years, if this trend will continue? And taking into account all the demographic patterns etc. it can happen, that Finns can become minority in Helsinki region already after few decades. Second, you talk about importing and exporting people like as if they were some goods, not humans. As if imported people can replace exported people. No dear, things don´t work like that with living humans. Imported foreigners DON´T replace exported local people.

    – “Even if Finland was to have 20% of it’s population having a different cultural or ethnic background, absolutely no-one is telling a Finn to stop being a Finn or stop doing what they they are happy to do as Finns.”

    But I think it is much easier to organize life etc. without considering needs etc. of ethnic minorities, coping with their specifics etc. My opinion is that mass immigration makes life of local people harder. Why would you be interested into hardening somebody´s life? Do you agree that making life easier makes also better world?

    – “Likewise, don’t imagine that all Finns are alike – the very notion is utterly absurd and puts some notion of Finnish nationalism before any other consideration of what it means to be a human being. Finns have all sorts of likes and dislikes and practice ‘being Finnish’ in a great variety of different ways, some of which are happily adopted by foreigners here and some are not. It’s just ridiculous to claim that anything is ‘under threat’. Paranoia and scape-goating! Pure and simple. ”

    You are exaggerating and oversimplifying things now. Of course people everywhere, in every ethnic group, every corner in the world are different by their interests, likes and dislikes etc. I didn´t talk about Finns as a group of very same people. Perhaps you have misunderstood me.
    But the threat thing – read carefully this blog´s entry´s title – it is called “Immigration and World Without Borders”. When you read further article, you see that they are perceived by entry´s author as something positive. Yet…world without borders is THREAT for country called Finland. Likewise it is threat to any other country in the world. A country without borders is not country anymore.
    You know, many people have fight for their countries, lost their lives to defend their countries, word “country” is something holy and sacred for many people. Yet few people have this “world without countries” idea, like Enrique has.
    There is inevitable clash between the supporters of idea “own country to die for” and supporters of idea “borderless world without countries”. I am supporter of first idea. And for me, borderless world means threat to many countries. And I am more than certain that borderless world is threat also to Finland. In fact, I think that the only reason why Finland has ever been created and existed is because of nationalistic reasons. The nationalists made a country called “Finland”. Otherwise, Finns would still live in one of Russia´s provinces. And then there would be no need for seperate country called Finland.

    “Tell me one way that a foreigner is able to stop a Finn being a Finn – just one! ONE! One! Please! And if you cannot find one, then have the decency to admit that you are talking out of your arse saying that people are trying to destroy Finnish culture.”

    A foreigner can say “hey Finns, let´s stop having own country for sake of borderless world” . So that the only place on earth, where use of Finnish language, protection of Finnish culture etc. is encouraged, would dissapear. So that Finns faster stop being Finns.
    I am not taking my words out of my arse. Look at what happened to ethnic groups, who are minorities in Russia. They didn´t have borders around them what would protect them. And now their languages, cultures etc. are in medium to poor state. They are a scary reminder of what would have happened to Finns if they didn´t build borders around them, created own country. The Finns lived in Russia before 1917, remember that, please! Without nationalism, yeah, the same “far right” nationalism, Finland would never exist on the map! Understand that, please! I am sick of people demonising nationalists or “far rightists” (like some people love to call all nationalists), because the nationalists have contributed many good and great things to the world! Many nationalists try to protect their native societies, cultures and languages, I don´t see anything bad about that. Unless they don´t start to claim “superiority” over other ethnic groups, I don´t see any problems about them. But the blog owner is all the time attacking them, and I wonder why? In my opinion, “Perussuomalaiset” are such nationalists, who care about their native country, society, culture and language, they are not claiming and superiority ideas or something like that. They are quite all right people to me with normal ideas. The tightening of immigration, what they want to achieve, is necessary thing in Finland IMO, because Finland really doesn´t need more immigration. There is not a single reason, why Finland would must import third-world immigrants en-masses.

  51. Laputis

    Mark:

    “Tell me one way that a foreigner is able to stop a Finn being a Finn – just one! ONE! One! Please! And if you cannot find one, then have the decency to admit that you are talking out of your arse saying that people are trying to destroy Finnish culture.”

    I forgot to add this. A foreigner can say to a Finn, so that Finn stops being Finnish. And this saying is :” YOUR CULTURE SUCKS!”.

    I have communicated with many Finns, and I have observed one thing about them – they lack enough high self-esteem about own language, culture or whatever. If I am only foreigner in group of Finns with 10 people, they all turn into English language. I wonder when I will be ever able to communicate effeciently in Finnish language, if people refuse to talk to me in Finnish? I really try to communicate in Finnish, but Finns perhaps find amazing if somebody tries to learn their language. Another example of Finnish lowered self-esteem is saying of one Finnish woman: “Finns didn´t have own cuisine, they borrowed everything from Swedes, Germans or Russians”. Finns have taught that their culture or language “SUCKS”. And that it, most likely, told to them by foreigners. So in the end some Finns even turn to be English-speaking etc. Well, and effecient way to stop a Finn being Finn, isn´t it?
    It reminds me situation with my own ethnic group in Russia, where situation, unfortunately, is even worse than with Finns. In Soviet times young people all wanted to become Russians, except some more stupid or something. Because it was told that our native culture and language “SUCKS”. It was told by foreigners, namely, Russians.

  52. Seppo

    “Perhaps those foreigners in Finland that bother you so much are devoting their energies to learning Mongolian, “just in case…”. After all, Mongolian is just as valuable as Finnish until you know where you are going to live permanently.”

    Who knows, in this modern world, where he is going to live “permanently”? At least I don’t. It does not change the fact that wherever I go, even for a shorter time, I would do my best to learn the local language.

    What bothers me is that the same people who spend 5-10 years in Finland without learning practically in Finnish at all, when they move to Spain, they take intensive Spanish and try to develop at least speaking competence in the language. This is unfair and disrespectful towards Finns. Obviously I understand that the fact that Spanish is a much bigger language makes a difference, and this cannot be changed any time soon, but it is still unfair.

    It’s like many of them agree that when you move to another country, you should try to adapt to the local customs, including the language. But it’s just Finland (and perhaps Mongolia, too) that make an exception to this.

  53. Laputis

    Mark:

    – “Gosh, here you go again contradicting yourself. First Finland is supposed to be a beacon of monoculturalism, now it’s very Americanised. Which is it? And for goodness sake, where did you ever get the notion of cultural purity anyway?”

    It looks like you don´t know what “culture” means. Culture is not something that doesn´t change, quite the contrary, culture is subject to changes. Yet changes usually is not same as “multiculturalism”, unless there is process of mixing of two really distinctly different cultures. So “americanisation” of Finnish culture doesn´t exactly mean “multiculturism”.

    – “People choose to follow certain fashions. So if Finland is becoming Americanised, it is because Finns are CHOOSING it. No-one is ramming Americanisms down the throats of Finns.”

    Remember what I wrote about about “your culture sucks”? That´s the reason, why people change their culture in favor of other culture. It´s because somebody more powerful has told them, that their native culture sucks. No, it´s not ramming Americanisms down the throats of Finns, but it´s not like that Americanism didn´t come without any “threat” at all. “Your culture sucks” is clearly threatening, and it clearly took place in Finland.

    – “But I guess you don’t like people (Finns) exercising their democratic rights to be ‘multicultural’?”

    Sorry, but there is nothing democratic at all. Nowdays you can read between lines in many places that “Finnish culture sucks”, “Finnish identity sucks”, all those threatenings. Just like in case of my native ethnic group in Russia. Well, officially nobody said or wrote that culture of my ethnic group sucked, it was simply said or written, that Russian culture is so mighty and great, that Russians brought enlightement to everybody etc. Between lines you could read and hear that “non-Russians suck”, even though it wasn´t said loudly, wasn´t written anywhere. And people took these between-lines messages literally! So do the Finns take literally contemporary “multicultural” messages, as I see!

    – “Who are these imperialists and colonailists you speak of? You’re a paranoid embecile living in another century and you are spouting utter fiction. Imperialistic ideologies?”

    The imperialists and colonialists of modern world are international concerns, such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola etc., who want “borderless world” for their business to flourish. My ideas are nothing new, and you should know that there are many much more paranoid people than me. I am not that paranoid, but I believe that “multicultural” and “open border” ideas have something to do with those international concerns. It´s interesting to observe, how much the “multiculturalism” ideas are exploited by companies, who promote consumer lifestyle. Money, money, money…

    – “As for languages disappearing, again, people speak the language they want to speak.”

    Not really, people usually give languages because they are FORCED to. Many people from my ethnic group are prime example. They would wish to speak native language, but it´s not possible because of one or other reason etc. I know some people, who have already russified, don´t speak the native language anymore, and they wish to learn native language again. There are even mixed half-bloods, who want to learn the minority language of one of their parents. And they often have limited possibility, especially, if they live in other part of Russia etc.

    – “But maybe there is something you need to understand about languages and language development – different languages evolved through geographical isolation. In a world that has in the last century and a half become massively less isolated, it was inevitable that the great many languages of the world would start to diminish. It is normal that people will choose a ‘common’ language when those geographical or political boundaries break down.”

    I do agree that part of the process is normal, but other part, however, is clearly forced.

    – ” While I’m all for maintaining and celebrating diversity, I’m also aware that it is pointless having diversity for diversities sake.”

    What can I say? Isn´t celebrating diversity one of multiculturalist and pro-immigration supporter slogans? But the diversity is celebrated by not only multiculturalists or immigration supporters, but also by nationalists, even radicals. Diversity seems to be supported by people with so different ideologies. Because I think that many people understand, that diversity IS richness. Yet there is some difference between understanding “diversity” by multiculturalists and by nationalists. I will not go into details, I will just say, that nationalistic view of “diversity” is more “natural” IMO, because it has historical, geographical and other roots, while multiculturalists want to invent artificial kind of “diversity”.

  54. Laputis

    -” Fuck me you are living in a bubble! In 2009 there were 75,000 prisoners in Japanese jails. Honest? Well, some of them. That is much less than in US jails, I agree, at 60 per 100,000, but the idea that that is as a result of monoculturalism in Japan is absolute rubbish. Compare Japan to India, which has almost half the prison population per head of Japan, at 30 per 100,00 and which also has over 2000 different ethnic groups, and argument that honesty is a feature only of monocultural societies is absolutely blown out of the water.”

    Why are you on earth thinking, that I meant there are no criminals in Japan or whatever? Or that all people there must be 100% honest? You have misunderstood me then. Really misunderstood.
    The “honest” societies differ from “unhonest” culture by AMOUNT or PERCENTAGE of made unhonesty crimes. Stop absolutising everything, please.
    How do you think the comparision of India with Japan works? Maybe the laws in both countries are different, maybe in India is insufficient police work, who don´t discover enough crimes, maybe there are unferfunded prisons, where you can´t put enough many prisoners, maybe in Japan you can sit in jail for almost nothing (like sniffing something), maybe corruption in India works better? How objective the data about jail prisoners are in regards to done crimes, which often go unreported? I am not an expert in all this, but I know how subjective such data can be.
    And after all, you can´t argue to a common fact, that monocultural countries (O.K. let´s say also monoracial, also monoreligious countries) are generally safer. The multicultural or multiracial countries very often turn into crime shit-holes. Because, in my belief, in multicultural society, or any other society, where are remarkable differences (multiracial, multireligious etc.) is harder to control society, there is less trust within the society etc. And it is more difficult to settle down conflicts.

    – “And what arrogance you have thinking that Finns value honesty and foreigners don’t. One of the biggest complaints against Sharia law is that it’s too harsh, because Muslims value honesty so much that they create a much bigger deterrent than used in the West – and yet you still want to claim that ‘foreigners’ have no values or don’t value honesty? Wake up and smell the coffee. Your ideology is a crock of shit.”

    Then explain, please, why life in the area of my ethnic group in Russia was much more safer before immigrants? Before all those Russians, Ukrainians etc. arrived, the items were stolen rarely neither they were broken just for fun etc. What happened, why immigration brought unsafer life? Can you explain, please? It´s not like Russians or Ukrainians don´t value honesty, actually I know many Russian people who would never dare to stole anything (and, undoubtely, many Ukrainians too). But what happened, why exactly they brought the wave of stealings and similar things in area of my ethnic group?
    And actually, for your knowledge, exactly Muslim people in Russia are most known for their unhonesty, criminality etc. What on earth happened to those honest Muslims, don´t you know?
    In my ethnic group is popular theory about “wanders”. “Wanderers” are people, who don´t have roots on exact land. They thus don´t value things from exact land, because those things are not their, because those things belong to strangers, the local people. It´s not a shame for “wanderers” to steal or break things of strangers. The best example of such “wanderers” are Gypsies, they have mastered this mentality. They wouldn´t steal or rob own Gypsy people, they target only strangers, non-Gypsies. This mentality, however, is not restricted only to Gypsies. Anybody can become “wanderers”, and especially immigrants, especially, if they are en masse. The Russians and Ukrainians acquired the “wanderer” mentality at some point, because they immigrated to foreign lands, where initially nothing was their´s. The immigrants felt free to steal or break things of local population. The things were made really bad in times of forced deportations, Communist ideology and so on. Well, in Russia is a bit specific situation, but there is no doubt that there some role is played by “wanderer” mentality. “Wanderer” mentality is not to create, but to destroy. Not to give, but to take. It creates fruitful ground for unhonest behaviour, stealing, and even worse – robbery, destroyal just for fun etc. And this “wanderer” mentality often is connected with mass immigration. This is what I fear about Finland. Right now many things in Finland are quite all right, the wooden paths in national parks are not yet burned by teenagers just for fun, like it has very sadly happened many times in many places in Russia, the clothings in schools are not yet stolen, like it would often happen in Russia, or even in nearby Estonia. The Finland is still great country in many aspects, and I really fear for it everything getting lost “thanks” to “wanderers”.

  55. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    – “This notion of “forcing” foreign languages on Finnish speakers is more apparent in the field of foreign language school and preschool education. For more than 25 years it has been the case that if you want your child to attend the English School in Helsinki, then you really have to pre-enrol the child at birth. This is not because of any oversupply of English-speaking families in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, but because so many Finnish-speaking parents are desperate to get their children into the English School.”

    Textbook example of “FINNISH LANGUAGE SUCKS!” ideology. It is not said loudly, but it can be clearly read between lines in this ideology.

    When you read that “English language is best for trade, commerce, money making” etc., between lines you can read “Finnish language sucks, because it doesn´t bring money” etc. People catch these between-line texts very well! So that´s why they often want that children learn not Finnish, but English language. Because they know this threat “Finnish language sucks, and, if you are Finnish-speaker, you suck then”.

    Ah, it´s all so familiar feeling to me…My ethnic group inRussia has gone through something similar, history repeats, yep…

    The current pro-immigrant ideology says that “immigration enriches Finnish culture”. Between lines you can read that Finnish culture is poor, thus must be “enriched”. Thus it means that Finnish culture sucks. Something similar was said in Soviet Union that Russian culture brings light to non-Russian cultures. Yep, yep, similarities are there.

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