Finland is in a bind, and we have heard these for a long time: Finland’s population is aging, and there is an ever-growing need for foreign labor. Our answer to these challenges is not only disappointing but leaving our future to chance.
Why is there such a negative and suspicious attitude towards foreigners in Finland? Is it because during the Cold War, geopolitical isolation waws the rule in Finland? Is it due to the myths that feed our exceptionalism at schools? Is it history and our conflicts with the former Soviet Union that left a bitter taste in our mouths?
How come Finland’s second-largest party in parliament is hostile towards immigrants and normally sounds like a rabid dog barging whenever it lashes out its racist views?
Is it xenophobia plain and simple?
It is a positive matter that some Finns have spoken about the anti-foreign atmosphere that robs the country and migrants of utilizing their potential.
A letter to the Helsingin Sanomat editor signed by two rectors of the University of Turku, Haaga-Helia, and a University of Jyväskylä development manager wrote:
“Effective cooperation is needed for the internationalization of higher education institutions generally, to benefit the labor market and society. It requires a change in national attitude [towards foreigners].”
Even if the letter to the editor is essential and shows leadership in an area abandoned to the jaws of populism and politicking, xenophobic sentiment in Finland continues to grow, keeping the whole nation’s moral compass hostage.
Does Finland have the will to change and live up to its highest values enshrined in the constitution?
Time guards the secret to that answer, but rest assure, we will know sooner or later.