Posts Tagged: Multiculturalism

What Finland lacks to become a successful culturally diverse country like Canada

Anti-immigration populists and ultranationalist use the code term “immigration policy” to mean that they don’t want non-EU nationals especially Muslims from the Middle East and Africa to move to their country. Finland is no exception and they point to Canada as an example of successful immigration policy that we could emulate.

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Facebook: Does “Finnish labor” include migrants, naturalized Finns and minorities?

One of the members of the new government, the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, said that jobs will be created for Finnish labor. In the present anti-immigration environment in Finland, such statements have a hostile ring to migrants, naturalized Finns and minorities since they don’t promote inclusion and fair hiring practices.

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UPDATE (Mar. 6): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism

Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link. Mar. 6 Yli puolet nuorista on kokenut syrjintää – ongelmia eniten kouluissa (Helsingin Sanomat) What’s the missing story in this story? Migrant Tales has written before

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Sweden Democrats openly attack cultural diversity – will the PS of Finland follow their example?

In a clear attempt to cash in on the anti-immigration sentiment, Sweden Democrat party secretary Björn Söder said that minorities like the Saami could never be Swedes and was willing to pay immigrants to leave the country, reports The Local. The mere suggestion that Sweden is only a country of white Swedes reveals the racist

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Jussi Halla-aho: France the football giant

  Migrant Tales insight: We get a lot of email and tip-offs from our readers. The latest one we got is of three blog entry translations in English of Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted for ethnic agitation. This second one, France the football giant, was published in Scripta on July 2, 2006. Apart from understanding

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The high price of being too alike and not thinking outside the ethnic and national box

Some may correctly ask what is the price Finland pays today for its lack of cultural and ethnic diversity. Finding answers to this question would require some serious thinking outside our ethnic and national box. This question is an important one today for two reasons: Our population is seeing dramatic changes due to the graying of

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Espoo city council votes against racism

A proposal by the Perussuomalaiset (PS) to rewrite the City of Espoo’s multicultural programme because it stated that city residents “don’t tolerate racism” were voted down 64-10, reports Länsiväylä.  Two PS councilmen, Simon Elo (left) and Teemu Lahtinen,  loathe Muslims and cultural diversity. Read full story (in Finnish) here. If one reads closely the position of the PS, an anti-EU, anti-immigration

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Finland never was, is, and will be only “white”

Whenever a far right politician like Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen, Jussi Halla-aho or James Hirvisaari comment on what is or who has the right to be Finnish, they always get it wrong. Their views, that Finland is only white, is not only wrong but a hostile act towards the tens of thousands of Finns

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Where are you from?

Even if I have lived most of my adult life in Finland and my mother is Finnish, I’m still asked occasionally where I’m from. In a spirit of mutual respect, I ask the person the same question. Some don’t like it.  The innocent question, where are you from, reveals a lot about our prejudices and

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“Only Finnish spoken here” versus cultural diversity

What would you do if you saw on an elementary school classroom door the following message: Only Finnish spoken here? Would you ask if speaking Swedish is ok? Would it raise disturbing memories of how minorities like the Saami were persecuted and discouraged at school especially after World War 2 for speaking their own language?

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Migrant Tales Literary: Boycott تحریم

By Dana نه رفیق و خانواده                  چهره ها پر از افاده نه در و نه پنجره، راه        مهر وموم و قفل و هم چاه نه کلید و رحمت و نور           همه کس بگویدت زور تازیانه می زند هار                 دیو زشت موذی

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How can we challenge racism if it isn’t a problem?

As long as we don’t see racism as a big enough problem in our society, our response to it will be inefficient. Just like any illness, we must first diagnose it and then prescribe a cure.   It’s disappointing to read how some people can insult others in a racist manner. Yesterday’s news story published

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It’s the cultural diversity, stupid!

Would it be fair to say that the biggest challenge facing Finland during this century is accepting its cultural diversity and deconstructing our white national identity in order to make our society more inclusive? Will this happen easily?  The central issue being debated in Finland today about immigrants boils down to one question: How much

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Racism Review: Mixed Race, Pretty Face

It was once thought multiracial children were destined to be confused, inwardly conflicted and maladjusted. “Think of the children”, used to be the warning used to discourage interracial couples from marrying. Mixed-race children often faced discrimination and prejudice. Experts worried that these children would suffer from poor self-esteem and lack of identity (Fields, Julianna. Multiracial

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Journalists should question instead of spread racism and prejudice

Journalists are one group that have helped to spread and reinforce our prejudices and racism of other groups. There’s nothing surprising about this considering that journalists, like the media that employs them, mirror in part what the public feels.  Ilta-Sanomat is one tabloid resonsible for spreading racism in Finland during the 1990s. This billboard tells

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Abdirahim’s and Ali’s radio show begins today at 1pm on YLE

Abdirahim Hussein and Ali Jahangiri kick off their weekly hour-long radio program on YLE today at 1pm. I know both persons. I especially like Abdirahim because his sincere no-nonsense about cultural diversity issues.  Ali is a talented speaker as well, trying to use humor to address a serious social ill like racism and acceptance. One

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Promoting tolerance now and tomorrow

In Migrant Tales’ Finland & Cultural Diversity 2012 review, it’s clear that a lot more work needs to be done to promote tolerance. Thanks to Umayya Abu-Hanna’s column on Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat,* our collective complacency was once again shamefully revealed. Racism, or the lack of acceptance of other ethnic groups as equals in our society,

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Finland & Cultural Diversity 2012*

If 2011 was a watershed year for Finland with the historic rise of  a hostile party against immigrants and visible minorities in last year’s parliamentary elections, 2012 will be seen as a bittersweet turning point for the Perussuomalaiset (PS).  The year will be remembered as a very violent one for immigrants as well. During “Black

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Mulitucltural Ireland’s vision should be ours as well

Why is it that we don’t hear Finnish politicians speaking in the same manner as Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins, who said that a major task of the country’s EU presidency should be to remove ignorance and misunderstanding, which lead to “incipient forms of racism,” writes the Irishtimes.com.  Speaking at the launch of the Neighborhood

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Migrant Tales gets mentioned on YLE Areena

Migrant Tales is always happy about the public recognition it has received in the past. The latest is from Mikko Kapanen of YLE Areena. He considers Migrant Tales to be one of the most influential blogs forums on multiculturalism in Finland. Click here to listen to the program. Kapanen published in May a blog entry called, Africa

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Racism charges dropped against Danish teacher

Charges have been dropped against an Odense, Denmark, head teacher who had reportedly abused a group of Muslim students in class, reports The Copenhagen Post. Far-right anti-Islam Danish People’s Party former head, Pia Kjaersgaard, described the whole affair as ”ridiculous.” “It’s crazy that the police have to get involved in such a case,” Danish People’s

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Julian Abagond: Of mixed-race identities

COMMENT: Some Finns have resolved the “mixed-ethnicity” question by stating that there is only one kind in Finland. Such an affirmation, that there is only one type of “real” Finn, is as ludicrous as stating that racism doesn’t exist in this country. What does a white Finn say when he asks about your “other mixed”

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Enrique Tessieri: Why I write about racism

I write about racism and social exclusion in Finland because it affects me and those I care about. I should know because I used to live marginalized from this society for decades.  I didn’t live marginalized because I was maladapted. I was marginalized because I was well-adapted. Too many didn’t consider me a “real” Finn

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Sandhu Bhamra: “Who do you think you are?”

Sandhu Bhamra* That was the title under which three young Canadian authors discussed issues of identity, location and language at the recently concluded Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver. The three, Anosh Irani, David Chariandy and Gurjinder Basran – from different backgrounds discussed how heritage, culture, memories and language shaped their work. At the end of

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Second-generation Finns: Revealing society’s ignorance and arrogance

If we look at the ongoing one-sided debate on immigration, immigrants and Finland’s ever-growing cultural diversity, one matter is for certain: It does not help dispel prejudices that encourage racism and social exclusion.  While I am certain that most Finns are willing to make immigration and cultural diversity work, it is a totally different question

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Migrant Tales Literary: Yearning never waits

I made one of the greatest discoveries of my life in 1998 at the Finnish Seamen’s Church of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even if such pleasant interior landscapes no longer witness my silence and stance, they are now distant memories that have turned into spacious imaginary cities in the mind where each building has a tale to tell, whispering.

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Don’t give racism a platform!

I’m fed up. I’m fed up of certain commentators visiting us here on Migrant Tales to spread lies and personal insults and to disrespect other cultures. Those that ONLY have terrible things to say about specific peoples (as opposed to cultural criticism) really are practicing extremism. How could it be otherwise? When we condemn totalitarianism,

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The Migrant Tales Manifesto (for Finland and Europe)

Thanks to the growing number of supporters, Migrant Tales has become that “voice for those whose views and situation are understood poorly and heard faintly by the media, politicians and public.” During these past years we have read and debated many points of views and have complied them on a list below.

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A good immigration integration policy for Finland and Europe

One of the biggest challenges to Finland’s new integration program is how well it promotes what it set out to do. How passionate are we Finns about ethnic and minority equality in this country if the most important piece of the puzzle is still missing: the big picture and what place new Finns and their children have in our society.

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Helsingin Sanomat’s mea culpa on immigration issues

Is lack of knowledge about living in a society with a small foreign population an excuse for poor and deficient coverage of Finland’s ever-growing immigrant population? The editor of Finland’s leading daily, Helsingin Sanomat, told Lahti-based Etelä-Suomen Sanomat that it has aimed to raise immigrant issues, racism and tolerance issues since society is changing and because of the political atmosphere has changed.

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Journalism and Blog Writing for Immigrants and Finns (March 2012)

Journalism and Blog Writing for Immigrants and Finns is a course designed for those who have an interest in journalism/blog writing and who speak English as a second language. The course offers the participant an opportunity to learn reporting and interviewing techniques as well as writing news stories, editorials, and columns. Another important part of the course is to study the role journalism plays in guaranteeing civil liberties such as freedom of expression and furthering acceptance of minorities such as immigrants.

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Brain drain from Finland set to get worse as anti-immigration sentiment grows

Think tank Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) states in a report that Finland already suffers from brain drain “to some extent.” With the backdrop of the April 17 election and a more negative atmosphere towards immigrants, coupled with the cooling of the economy, suggest that brain drain will continue to get worse.

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Are we all Finns?

It is a nice idea when some people state to immigrants that “we are all Finns.” I am certain that the person who makes such a statement has the best intentions in mind. However, isn’t it our right to choose who we are on our terms? Affirming that “we are all Finns” is as absolute of a statement as claiming “we are not Finns.”

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What the far right in Finland really means when it says “multiculturalism sucks ass”

If one reads the anti-immigration rhetoric of the far-right wing of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party led by MP Jussi Halla-aho, you will eventually find the racism and the meaning behind their discourse. Almost everything they claim and object to boils down to one matter: Stop Muslims and non-Europeans from coming to Finland and Europe.

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Migration patters among Jews – Finland

Finland’s Jewish community is small, but active. Its small size and unique characteristics allow us to understand the migratory patterns of this community and to use the data to extrapolate the migration patterns in Finland to larger Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Finland aligned itself with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union 1941-1944. Finnish Jews fought in the Finnish army, occasionally side by side with the Germans.

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Far-right thinking and the cold war in Finland and the PS

The rise of far-right thinking and nationalism in Finland seen through the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is nothing new in the face of Finland’s long cold war isolation. Finnish-Soviet relations were not the only one that were under close scrutiny by the state, but how we interpreted our history and ourselves as a nation. That is now changing thanks to the reemergence of our ever-growing diversity as a nation.

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Migrant Tales Arts: Toiveeni – niin kaukana, niin lähellä 23.8-3.9 (Malmitalo, Helsinki)

Valokuvanäyttely kertoo Suomessa asuvien maahanmuuttajien unelmista ja toiveista uudessa kotimaassaan.

Avoinna arkisin ma–pe 9–20, la 9–16.

Enrique Tessieri’s photography exhibition of some of the dreams and hopes that immigrants may have in their new homeland.

Open Mon–Fri from 9 am to 8 pm, Sat from 9 am to 4 pm.

Fotografiutställning av Enrique Tessieri om några invandrares drömmar och önskemål beträffande sitt nya hemland.

Öppet vardagar må-fr 9–20, lö 9–16.

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The New York Review of Books: Toleration and the Future of Europe

In Anders Breivik’s manifesto, the ostensibly Christian defeat of the Ottoman armies at Vienna in 1683 is the central historical event. He imagines a European rebirth in 2083, four hundred years later, and names the Polish king Jan Sobieski, whose troops were crucial to raising the Ottoman siege, as one of his heroes: “John III Sobieski and the Holy League successfully defended Europe against an army of more than 150,000 Muslims.” Breivik thinks Europe today is again under siege from Muslims, and that Europeans must resort to “atrocious, but necessary” violence to defend it. It is unsurprising that what Breivik has to say about European history is trivial. The plagiarism of his manifesto recalls Hannah Arendt’s point that those who do great evil may themselves be incapable of cultural creation. The superficiality of his worldview recalls her notion that the greatest of evils has no roots, and therefore has no bounds. But since the reference to Vienna has largely passed without criticism, it is worth recalling for a moment what actually happened in 1683.

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A model for cultural diversity in Finland

While the term multiculturalism means many things to many people and groups, Finland is not officially a multicultural country. Nowhere in our laws will you find that magic adjective, multicultural. But taking that big leap from the perception of being a monolithic ethnic society from one that is multicultural like Canada is a tall order for any country. Even so, Finland needs today best practice models and values that promote and encourage inclusion and acceptance of our ever-growing cultural diversity.

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guardian.co.uk: Anders Behring Breivik had no legitimate grievance

Despite the fact that Anders Behring Breivik was not permitted to publicly justify his actions in public on Monday, a scrambling defence of his repertoire of prejudice is already in full swing. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bruce Bawer, who is quoted by Breivik in his manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, emphasises his repeated warnings that a rightwing extremist may use violence to address “legitimate concerns about genuine problems”. Bawer blames mainstream politics for failing to address the corrosion of Europe by Islamicisation and multiculturalism, meanwhile The Jerusalem Post cautions that “Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be allowed to be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism”.

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Time: Why Speaking More than One Language May Delay Alzheimer’s

There are many ways in which speaking another language may contribute to a well-lived life. You can talk to a whole lot more of Earth’s inhabitants, for one thing. You can also enjoy books, music and films in their original language, and throw a few more “skills” onto your résumé. Now add to that list the findings of new studies suggesting that speaking multiple languages may also help protect cognitive health over the long term.

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The New York Review of Books: A New Approach to the Holocaust

It is fruitless to reduce the manifold evil of the Holocaust to a single cause. Ideology, charisma, conformism, hatred, greed, and war were all very important, but each was related to the others and all mattered within rapidly changing historical circumstances. In his profound study Holocaust, Peter Longerich puts forward an analysis that includes all these factors and shows how politics or, as he puts it, Politik, set them all in motion. In this amplified English edition of his Politik der Vernichtung (1998), Longerich preserves the German term Judenpolitik, and with good reason. In German Politik means both “politics” and “policy,” and the compound noun (Juden + Politik) gives a sense of a joining of concepts that English cannot quite convey.

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HS: Maahanmuuttajakin voi rakastaa Suomea

Herjaaminen ei saanut minua vihaamaan maata, joka on antanut kaiken, mistä olen aina haaveillut: rauhaa, ruokaa, lääkkeitä ja asunnon.

Ruotsissa asuva pikkuveljeni soitti 16. toukokuuta kello 0.20. Ennen kuin hän onnitteli minua jääkiekon maailmanmestaruudesta, hän kysyi, mikä äänessäni on vikana ja onko minulla kenties flunssa. Vastasin, ettei minulla ole flunssaa vaan olin laulanut joka maalin jälkeen “ihanaa, Leijonat, ihanaa”. Se ei kuulostanut kivalta veljeni korviin, sillä hän on henkeen ja vereen Tre Kronor -joukkueen kannattaja.

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New World Finn: My Finnish identity is fine

A reader recently surprised me on my blog, Migrant Tales, affirming that Finnish Americans are not Finns. “They weren’t born, raised in Finland nor do they speak Finnish; some of them have never visited Finland,” he wrote. “I wonder how many could point to Finland on a map.”

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An insult to over a million Finns

The “racial” theories peddled by some members of parties like the True Finns are not only an example of their ignorance of the subject but an insult to over a million Finns that live abroad. Many of us are that multicultural “nightmare” that some in this country want to avoid at all costs.

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Freedom of expression and religion

What does freedom of expression mean? For me it represents a Montesquieuian framework of society where all the parts watch over the other. These checks and balances are crucial to ensure that basic civil liberties enshrined in documents such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights are vigorously defended and encouraged.

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Raseborg: To headscarf or not?

I was very surprised to read that the educational board of Raseborg, a town located in southwest Finland, had retracted apparently grudingly from a decision to ban headscares at school. The Raseborg school district is the only one in the country that had in force such restrictions.

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The multicultural society of the future

It seems odd that in today’s technilogically advanced societies in Europe and elsewhere our views of other groups continues to pose major challenges. If I had to picture the sitaution in a cartoon, I would draw a picture of one of our first primates, Australopithecus africanus, which existed 2-3 million years before present sitting in front of a computer and speaking to the future with a Skype time machine.

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EDITORIAL: Immigrants, Finns and change

So-called “immigrant-critical” groups may see their plans backfire badly if they believe that by debating openly immigration is all it takes to strengthen their negative stand against immigration and refugees. One of the biggest flaws these groups use is that that they believe that since cultures are so different, they can therefore never adapt to Finland.

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(Another) disturbing Keskisuomalainen editorial

Jyväskylä-based Keskisuomalainen, which appears hellbent on enlightening us on how Finland should relate to other cultures, now dedicates an entire editorial based on two cases of circumcision practiced on children by their parents.While such operations should be only carried out by trained medical staff, it is surprising how forcibly Keskisuomalainen condemns such an act.

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What Finland’s immigration policy lacks

If we look at the dismal amount of immigrants and refugees as well as high unemployment one can reach only one conclusion: a policy that has failed miserably. Certainly progress has been made: the number of immigrants has risen albeit slowly to 143,256 today from 12,670 in 1981 while unemployment has come down officially from 53% in 1994 to over 20%.

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Alberdi and the role of immigration to Finland

Juan Bautista Alberdi was one of the greatest social thinkers that Latin America produced in the nineteenth century. If we look at the Argentinean and South America right after these countries gained independence from Spain up to the 1820s, they faced a daunting task: How to build new nations from scratch.

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Immigration debate in Finland and Europe: Turning the lights off

I remember a long time ago reading an editorial by the Buenos Aires Herald on how the military coup of 1976 was able to shut off information lights of Argentina. It argued that since outdated infrastructure such as telephones and telecommunications were in a wretched state, it was easy for the junta leaders to literally turn off the lights and keep the country in an information bubble.

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An immigrant call to change and Finnish society

Some wrongfully accuse those of speaking up for cultural diversity in Finland of “whining” and being “ingrates.” Apart from exercising one’s democratic right of free speech, bigger steps will have to be taken by minorities in Finland to drive home their message of equality and fair treatment.

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Migrant Tales says thank you!

With year-end rapidly approaching and giving way to the new year, I would like to thank all those thousands of bloggers who have visited Migrant Tales recently and shared their thoughts with us. Thanks you!

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Joutsen puolue in Finland – old suspicions die hard

It is always a healthy matter when new parties emerge and take part in the debate on immigrants in Finland. One of these is the so-called Joutsen puolue being spearheaded by Jussi Halla-aho, who is presently standing trial for incitement of hatred against an ethnic group and defamation of a religion.

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We are all cultural plagiarists

Those who are in university and write essays or are in the writing business know that there is one very big no-no: plagiarism, which means the close imitation of thelanguage and thoughts of another author as one´s own.

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The Equality Act and Finnish Independence Day

What better time than to bring up the Equality Act of 2004 during Finland’s Independence Day. One of the matters that makes me happy about being a member of this society is that after December 6, 1917, Finland did not become an autocratic country that had no respect for human rights. Despite all the challenges

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Ghostbusting national identities

Linda has posed an interesting question: What is Finnish culture? Even though the answer to the question is more complex than one would think, it brings forth some very important points about our identity and who we believe we are. One of the biggest problems with “national identities” and “cultures” is that they are built

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Is Finland prepared for multiculturalism?

In an interesting article published by Siirtolaisuus – Migration issue 2/1996, social psychologist Professor J. W. Berry asks what factors have to be in place to establish reasonable harmonious relationships between diverse groups. Ethnocentrism is a theory devised by Sumner in 1906 and means when “one’s group is the center of everything, and all others

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Myths surrounding immigration to Finland

Reading posts and getting information on immigration in general in dynamic multicultural societies, one can pick out the myths that some Finns still use to claim that immigration is a bad thing. Myths 1) Immigration takes away jobs from Finns. 2) Immigrants come to Finland to take advantage of the welfare system. 3) Immigrants have

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Is the sauna a good integrator?

If a person asked me what is one of the most important cultural institutions enjoyed by a great number of Finns, I’d respond: the sauna. The sauna is more than a room where people bathe and sweat naked in 80-100 Celsius (176-212 Fahrenheit) temperatures. It’s a way of life for some Finns – so much

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Finland’s multicultural challenge in the 21st century

Just like when Finland won its independence from the former Soviet Union in the last century, the country will face new challenges to its cultural identity. In the 20th century, after December 6, 1917, when Finland gained its cherished independence, there was a lot of work done to exert Finnish culture and wipe out the

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The future human landscape of Finland

While we can debate how many foreigners will come to live in Finland in the next decade and if they’ll come to live in the country, what will Finland’s human landscape look like in the next and following decades as the country become more multicultural? By multicultural I am referring to Canada’s novel immigrant policy

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