Finland is repeating the mistakes of the past because we deny our history

by , under Enrique Tessieri

There’s an interesting question that a YLE journalist asks National Coalition Party minister for European affairs and foreign trade, Aleksander Stubb, on the Ykkösaamu talk show Saturday about why small- and medium-sized companies in Finland prefer to be acquired by foreign companies instead of continue to expand in global markets.

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National Coalition Party Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Aleksander Stubb speaking on YLE’s Ykkösaamu talk show.

It’s unfortunate that Stubb wasn’t more honest with his answer because it would have revealed, in my opinion, what’s wrong with this country today and why an anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party became in 2011 the third-biggest force in parliament.

Stubb ducked the answer by stating that small- and medium-sized companies should “believe more in themselves” and continue their expansion in global market.

While it’s clear that “belief in oneself” is crucial, another important factor is how you see the outside world.

How could some Finns not see the outside world as a threat if some of these small- and medium-sized business leaders, who grew up during the cold war era, were taught to mistrust it? Finland did everything possible  during that period to hinder migration and foreign investment to Finland with the help of laws and myths of self-sufficiency that were reinforced by our hatred of the former Soviet Union.

I’m certain that the reason why some Finnish companies, and there are many, have succeeded in global markets is simply because they’ve overcome their own prejudices they learned at home and school.

We come again to the so-called dumb question why intolerance and racism are bad for a healthy country like Finland. Aren’t we our worst enemies, not those migrants and visible minorities we scapegoat and blame for our own shortcomings?

Finland must look at its intolerance in a bolder fashion. If we don’t, as the PS have shown, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes of the past.