Comment: Below is a story that was published in the Joensuu-based daily Karjalainen, which questions the myths surrounding Finnish identity. Even if parties that base part of their image on maintaining the country “white” by depriving people who come from different backgrounds, the nationalist-populist True Finns’ television ad is based on an Italian song by Toto Cutugno, L’italiano.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the True Finns are one party capitalizing on our national myths. Certainly other parties do it but they are more careful. At least they understand the dangers of arguing for nineteenth century myths of the world and cultures in 2011.
One of the most interesting matters to study about Finnish history and national identity is where and why it came about. Even though some want to give us the impression that Finns are a homogenous group, nothing could be further from the truth. Much of our identity as a nation is based on threat of the outside world and erasing or forgetting our history.
Migrant Tales has written about this before. See An insult to over a million Finns.
People who suffer from such amnesia readily forget that over one million Finns emigrated from this country in the last two centuries. Many of us who emigrated from this country come today from diverse cultural backgrounds. We still call ourselves Finns.
If I had a complaint about the way some view our history and national identity, it is narrow-mindedness. When we play around with myths like national identity too seriously we run the danger of excluding others who have a rightful claim to this country.
The acceptance of “others” as members of this society is vital because our future as a dynamic and successful nation depends on it.
Monoculturalism is only an excuse used by some to exclude.
Ihan hätkäytti, kun perussuomalaisten televisiomainos sattui silmiin – tai itse asiassa korviin. Mainoksessa ääni laulaa sanan perussuomalainen täsmälleen samalla nuotilla kuin laulussa Olen suomalainen.
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