What we should reflect on Finland’s Independence Day

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Since I grew up in three countries, I have the opportunity to celebrate three independence days every year. Today is Finland’s turn. What should we be reflecting on this day? Should it be nationalism, patriotism or neither?

Some make a big distinction between nationalism and patriotism. While I consider them basically the same thing, the former is used to stress how much better better one group is compared with another. Patriotism is generally supposed to mean a sense of community.

While the term patriotism has a nationalistic connotation to it, that feeling of community it is supposed to bring out in us is crucial to any well-functioning society. We all belong and work for the betterment of all the members and parts of our society.

A key component of these celebrations, in my opinion, should be the opportunity to embrace our diversity and be inclusive to new members so they may enjoy that sense of community.

We should be a model of a small world community where all peoples from all backgrounds can live together and reap strength and meaning.

Too many independence day celebrations in different countries are just the opposite. They are too nationalistic and do nothing to mend the injustices brought on other groups when these nations were built.

If Karl Marx was the founding ideological father of the former Soviet Union, relatively unknown social thinkers to many like Baron de Montesquieu had a huge impact on the then nascent republic of the United States.

As most people know, The Declaration of Independence of the United States took place on July 4, 1776. A revolution usually gives birth to great men and ideas like that of Thomas Jefferson.

He wrote that if any government didn’t offer its citizens unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right of the people to either alter or abolish such government, even by force.

We must not forget, however, that the those unalienable rights that Jefferson spoke of were meant for white Europeans not for groups like Amerindians never mind blacks, who were slaves at the time.

Argentina’s declaration of independence from Spain happened on July 9, 1816. The country, which had at the beginning of the nineteenth century a population totaling a mere 400,000 people excluding Amerindians, which may have accounted for about a third of the total population, was enormous and practically empty.

Juan Bautista Alberd, one of Argentina’s most influential statesmen of the nineteenth century, coined the phrase: “To govern is to populate.”  His thinking inspired the 1853 constitution, which was one of the most immigrant friendly in the world at the time.

While immigration changed the face of Argentina, it was a death blow to the Amerindians and the country’s black population.

Just as Jefferson forgot the black slaves’ unalienable rights, Alberdi held Amerindians in similar contempt and did not see them forming part in Argentina’s future.

Contrary to the United States and Argentina, Finland’s independence happened such a short time ago (94 years) that my grandparents saw that day. If Finland didn’t have blacks or Amerindians, it had socialists and communists that had no place in our society especially after the 1918 Civil War.

In all three of these countries, persecution and exclusion of groups were factors that helped create these nations.  With this in mind, shouldn’t this important day be a moment when we reflect on the greatness of our society measured in correcting historical injustices, reconciliation as well as promoting social equality, justice and inclusion?

On that this day we should make a vow that we’ll never commit such atrocities as war on others ever again.

If this is what we are celebrating today, I wish from the bottom of my heart to everyone a very wonderful Independence Day!

  1. Seppo Lehto

    Dear columnist

    I do not see: Occupied territories back from Russia – declaration hanging on the sky?

    We do not need any Africa here or Asia. No more diversity either. No more people either.

    Let`s keep our nature and people without so called islamification and immigration and remember “case Australia”, what happened to nature and animal diversity with dogs, cats, rabbits etc.

    Seppo Lehto
    Muhammed caricaturist
    Finnish Dissident
    Occupied Finland

    • Enrique

      Hi Seppo Lehto, welcome to Migrant Tales. I don’t understand what your point is: keep Finland clean from immigration?

      Here is a question for you: If you think cultural diversity has “stained” Finland, who am I and the tens of thousands of others who have a non-Finnish parent but are Finns? Are we a “mistake?”

      But here is another question: We are here and we are a culturally diverse society now at this moment. What can you do about that?

      Is the answer more hatred or is it acceptance?

  2. eyeopener

    @ Seppo.

    And not to forget the “white-men prisoners” that murdered the “Aboriginals” (who has invented this term??) culture to the bone. But that’s probably beside the point, isn’t it!! I hope that one day all these hundreds of thousands of Finns that “occupied Canadian, North American and South American Indian lands” repatriate and give back the stolen land. We have had a lot of Calvinaization, Christianization and Lutheranization of those poor “blackies, reddies and so on”.

    Looking in your own mirror does not hurt a bit, does it Seppo?? Ostrich policy caricaturist would be my tool to “stupify” Finns like you!!

  3. Mark

    – “We do not need any Africa here or Asia. No more diversity either. No more people either..”

    Not all Finns are like you Seppo; not all Finns consider Africa or Asia to be terrible places or the people that come from those continents.

    Not all Finns have only a feeling of being Finnish and no feeling of a shared humanity with other peoples of this planet.

    Not all Finns judge people based only on their skin colour or their country of origin.

    Not all Finns want to be part of this nationalist family of Finns who have no sense of real people or people being real outside that family.

    Not all Finns want to live in an isolated ‘family’, cut off from the rest of the modern world like some kind of Hamish.

    Not all Finns are so desperate to belong to a group that they have to create their own very group of True Finns and then try to argue with or ignore the vast majority of Finns who don’t want to belong that group.

    Most of the Finns I know want to be part of the world.

    Most of the Finns I know have a sense of humanity that extends beyond those people who just happen to speak the same language.

    Most of the Finns I know recognise that Finland is part of a larger family of nations, that share common values, a love of freedom, independence, the rule of law etc.

    So, Seppo, at what point do you realise that most Finns don’t like you because you have stolen the identity of Finns and are happily telling the world that Finns are the worst bigots and racists in Europe? What are you going to do about all these Finns that don’t fit into your ‘Finnish family’?

    Are you going to ignore them? Are you going to pretend they don’t exist? No wander you are on an immigrant blog trying to find friends!

  4. Seppo Lehto

    Remember what happend to indians and abo-orginals in Australia or other such cases after russian occupations all over the Asia and western Europe

    They were not enough 😉 “racists ;)” – Most of them died in front of borderless immigration.

    Double standars are big issue in Finland, in Europe etc

    This is for in finnish. Using google translator you get my point of wiew better in these following story and youtube video channel “Ajattelin hetken leikkiä stalinin urkuja ( raketinheittimiä) stalinismi kun on muodissa punikki-Tampereen poliisisissa, syyttäjissä, sekä valtionsyyttäjälaitoksessa. = Tarkoittaa: Minun hakaristit ei käy pro patria, mutta kun armeija marssii saman hakaristin alla niin poliisit ja pormestari ovat käsi lipassa:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/IlmavoimatHakaristi – Pro Patria Svastika in Finland 😉

    tutustukaa kanavaan ja kaksoistandardien maailmaan 😉 terveisiä punikki-Tampereelta”

    Yours Sincerely your best friend without any backwards talks 😉

    I show my face wide open

    The original This land`s indian, abo, samurai

    Seppo Lehto Historioitsija ja matkakuvaaja 😉

    Falsified and Condemed Muhammed caricaturist in Finland

  5. Seppo Lehto

    Most of all

    There is so few finns and so pure nature. What more other including immigration population, that more damages to original landscape. That in not questionable.

    Even in 20 years Tampere and Finland has changed too much.

    There is plenty of room in Africa in Asia etc. Let`s keep last mohawks in safe 😉

    That is shorly said – understood? 😉

    Yours Sincerely
    Seppo Lehto
    Finnish Dissident

  6. Seppo Lehto

    Try to remember ( alike in song Harry Belafonte ) Justicedemon 😉 Your method is oldfashioned “sovjet” method, if you do not have answers, you must eliminate the asker or try to blame / make names or use that “take pills” 😉

    Nothing new ;)?

    By the way that method is still in use in totalitarian states alike in Finland / Russia

  7. justicedemon


    You imply that you said something sufficiently coherent to be worth dignifying with a response,

    You didn’t. In English or in Finnish.

    You are merely seeking attention. This is as much as you will get.

  8. eyeopener

    @ SL.

    I think I do understand your presentation of “The Finn”. The problem with this representation is that 75% of the Finns disagree with you. Express a deep interest in other people, their being in the world, co-habitate with other cultures. Something wrong with this free choice of Finns??

    Dear Seppo. If your world is the world of the past…. So be it. But you have no right whatsoever to deny other people’s rights to see at least the presence and even better the future.

    You want to build a wall around Finland?? I am very familiar with this philosophy in the country where I come from. Leaving in only people that can bring prosperity?? That, my dear friend, has a price . Simple economic principle: Nothing for Nothing.

    I understand that UNIQUENESS of FINNS is your call. What does that include?? Oeps are we going to debate genetics,…..??

    Up and until now you have been shouting at the sky, banging against the wall, insulting people without any reason.

    Nobody denies you to live in your forest if you like. But don’t deny people to have a wider view!!

  9. Mary Mekko

    Seppo, here San Franciscosta I tried to watch a few of your videos on the blogspot. Unfortunately, my Finnish is limited to “Mina rakastan sinua” and such nonsense. The two axes (or tomahawks?) are not HAMMERS, by the way, but I found your efforts amusing.

    I thought that Finns carried those old-fashioned knives, and floated the bodies down the rivers on Saturday evenings after drinking a lot.

    Believe me, the whole world knows that Finland is a special and beautiful place, and its people a great one. But I fear that threaten people with hammers isn’t going to help much.

    You are right that the Abo’s, the Amerindians and so on were wiped out by not using racist fighting against the invaders, even making the mistake of feeding them! (Thanksgiving in USA, corn and turkey and pumpkins)

    Seppo, do you know about the SAUSAGE BATTLE during the Winter War, when the Finnish soldiers lured the hungry bread-and-tea Russian soldiers into the woods by roasting their frozen sausages, then attacking them “Indian style” against the “redcoats”, using knives?

    Hammers? Well, Maxwell’s silver hammer might have another meaning…

  10. Seppo Lehto

    Overpopulated Finland it is not worth of anything

    There are Hongkong, Los Angeles, London etc. They are sick examles of that overpopulation.

    That`s why immigration is just plain Evil thing, nothing good.

    What more immigration, that less nature.

    Seppo Lehto cultural historian 😉

  11. Mark

    Seppo Lehto – cultural butcher!

    Do you really think people in this day and age will take you seriously if you label immigration evil and nothing good comes of it? And what do you say about immigration of Finns to other countries? Same thing?

    Overpopulated Finland! hahahaha. Fucking idiot!

  12. Mark

    Finland no danger for nature? I see, so the 5 million people in Finland are not consumers, do not leave any carbon footprints on the world, do not consume gas, oil and plastics, do not pollute the atmosphere with particulants, do not engage in industrial processes, do not use fridges, did not and do not use asbestos, do not drive cars, do not travel abroad on airplanes.

    I guess Finns still live in tree houses and feed off berries in the forest?

    What kind of forest numskull are you, Seppo?

  13. Seppo Lehto

    I`m always in serios in businessa and in politics 😉

    The Plain Truth about immigration is really horrible, because it cause lots of damages for our nature, human rights and freedom of speeches.

    For example the plain quotations about quran and bible they are now ridiculous way obligatory of course crime and blashemy if you are not iman.

    Seppo Lehto

    Muhammed caricaturist

    Jail house rock ( 2 years 5 months prisonery) because of critising islam and it´s so called sacred values?

  14. eyeopener

    @ Seppo

    How many musicians have ende in jail becaus of “other music”?? It’s a pity you see only the “one way street”.

  15. eyeopener

    @ Seppo

    It’s hard to see the night time from the day!! Night ? day? Yesterday, tomorrow. A wink is a good as a nod to a blind horse, isn’t it.??

    Your eyes have never been open!!

    Your problem is a very classic one and you know it. Don’t blame other people for what you can’t see. So childish!!