Skip to content

Foreigners will help Finns see who they are

August 3, 2008

My father, who moved to Europe from Argentina at the age of 21in the early 1950s, told me that he never learned so much about himself except when he became a foreigner.

In the same manner, and as more foreigners move to Finland, can they help us see the positive and negative aspects of our society? Undoubtedly, one of the positive matters that they will reinforce is our high standard of living and our social welfare system, which is supposed to be based on social justice and equality for all. These values make a Nordic nation such as Finland a beacon of hope in a very troubled world.

Some of the negative matters that foreigners have exposed with their high 20% unemployment are the structural deficiencies of the economy, according to a report by the Financial Times:

The numbers tell a curious story. Finland has recovered from the recession of the early 1990s and its economy grew 6 per cent in 2006.

The country’s gross domestic product has grown by an average annual rate of 3.4 per cent between 1994 and 2005, well above the 1.8 per cent average for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and easily outstripping 2.1 per cent growth in the US and 2.5 per cent in the UK.

But despite this performance, employment growth is weak, hovering at 0.4 per cent, just over the OECD average of 0.3 per cent. This is far lower than it should be given the strong economy and reflects deep underlying structural problems that have been masked by growth, according to private sector analysis.

When speaking to refugees in Finland from countries such as Sudan, who are probably suffering from over 90% unemployment, one sees how social assistance from KELA and other institutions, together with our strict labor laws, slow instead of facilitate their integration process into our society. In the same manner, it also permits society, policy makers and politicians to wash their hands from the challenging task of integrating them.

The presence of foreigners will reveal many good and bad things about ourselves. Some of these, like racism, been already come to light. Heikki Waris, one of the foremost Finnish sociologists, claimed in the 1960s that there was no racism in Finland because Finnish society was homogeneous.

How can a society be homogeneous?! It can be near-homogeneous but never homogeneous. What about the Roma of Finland? Certainly there was and still is a lot of racism towards that group. I could list other examples such as the Sami, Skolt Sami and others.

70 Comments leave one →
  1. huccareissu permalink
    August 4, 2008 11:53 am

    Its natural that racism is low in very homogenous societies and higher in multicultural ones. The ‘contact theory’ which argues that contact with foreigners will turn xenophobia into xenophilia has shown itself to be out-dated. Battling racism by advocating multiculturalism is one of the most idiotic notions that have ever come to be accepted by the current establishment.

  2. huccareissu permalink
    August 4, 2008 11:58 am

    Continued: Furthermore, this talk of “Finns getting to know themselves” via contact with foreigners is something I can understand as someone who has spent some years living on the other side of the world. But its exactly this “finding out” about what it means to be Finnish in relation to others, that creates conflict and tension. A multicultural society tries to reconcile groups that don’t share each othes values and interests. The only way to do this is to create an over-arching identity (“European” in the EU, “British citizen” in Britain, etc) that will replace traditional identities.

    The reality is that Finnish identity will be downplayed in a multicultural society, even degraded and marginalized out of all role and function in society (as is being currently done). A strong Finnish identity among Finns would mean high levels of anti-immigrationist sentiment, and that is not something the political elites of Finland and Europe are ready to accept.

  3. Enrique permalink
    August 4, 2008 10:01 pm

    Hi Huccareissu, and thank you for you for sharing your thoughts. Heikki Waris’ statement sounded a bit ludicrous. It’s like hearing a white from Alabama complaining that there was no racism before the blacks arrived. It’s very interesting what you point out by creating a pan-European identity. If you don’t think multiculturalism is a good way of battling racism, what is? Just like one Finn who says that one has to force foreigners to learn Finnish culture and ways, you cannot in the same way force a Finn to accept others. Possibly it also comes down to choice.

  4. August 8, 2008 11:18 am

    The high standard of living and our social welfare system, which is supposed to (be based on social justice and equality for all) but is clearly/certainly not equal.
    I know that for an absolute (living in it) fact.
    Every time I present this/my argument I come to remarks like well. It’s better than a lot of other countries. This remark and similar are usually made by those who have never been on welfare anywhere in their life or maybe once briefly, upon a time.
    I’ve lived on the dole in quite a few countries, and I can tell you Finland (at this moment in time) is/has one the lowest welfare payouts. The children’s allowance has not shown any rise in ages.
    So is this ”beacon” for those who are coming from countries where there is no social justice (the other countries) and think Finland is just and social minded.

    You said: ”suffering from over 90% unemployment, one sees how social assistance from KELA and other institutions, together with our strict labor laws, slow instead of facilitate their integration process into our society”
    I didn’t like the sound of the social assistance slowing/hindering. Are suggesting something like stopping, cutting it?

    I’m on disability payment at the moment. I get 263 euros per month: under nine euros a day. Just think about that for a second. Can you imagine yourself living on that. What equality is that man.
    Normally I would get 520 euros net-pay unemployment . I doubt many could even live on that.
    Please don’t get the idea Finland is a great welfare-state; it’s very far from that and getting worse over since Finland allowed business to run their finance.

    Now Finland the right movement in government want to make tax equal across the board- what nonsense. They’re absolute idiots. A uote from the President sums it up to a degree:::::::::::::
    President Halonen says: ”we should remember that while economic advancement is important, the EU should also have a social dimension that includes the provision of welfare, education and abiding by principles of social justice……… economic advancement and competitiveness can combine successfully with social justice and the responsibilities of a welfare society.
    She thinks the issue has been given added relevance by the economic policies in use by some of the EU’s newer members such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, whose economies are growing rapidly with low, flat rates of tax, but whose commitment to the social dimension of membership remains open to question.”
    Peoples care first, and not always concern about getting ahead in the world of business. That’s what this foreigner question is all about really for the middle right, it’s about business not about the wonderful quality of life that will unfold if we become more foreign labor embracing. It’s about pure profit, and with it come the disintegration of society and justice quite the opposite of what you Enrique imagine.

  5. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 8, 2008 6:28 pm

    yeah, so can the refugee from Sudan read and write? have they been through the Finnish education system? so if they have not, what makes them equal to us?

  6. Enrique permalink
    August 8, 2008 8:39 pm

    Hi Paddy, it is always great to hear from you and to put some questions about Finnish society into the naked light. True, living off disability is a joke. And so is unemployment. My point about it is that compared with countries such as the United States, Finland’s social welfare system, especially health care, is high standard. The same goes for its education system. However, in the case of the Sudanese it is only a partial, impoverished answer to surviving economically in Finland. I’m certain that the best answer for these Sudanese, or anyone without work, would be to offer and GET a decent job with pay and advancement. That is something you could shed light on — how the system ends up abusing and alienating you. That is a problem of Finnish society, especially if you are a foreigner because you’ll end up most likely unemployed of, partially employed. Social welfare may work for Finns who have better chances of getting work.

  7. Enrique permalink
    August 8, 2008 8:40 pm

    DeTant, why do you think that the Sudanese don’t know how to read or write? So what should we do with them? The tone of your questions suggest something pretty bad.

  8. De Tant Blomhat permalink
    August 8, 2008 8:45 pm

    I would say the “homogenuity” has nothing to do with an illusionary and percieved concept of “race” what Enrique and other uneducated people adhering to stupid 19th century theories adhere to. The “homogenuity” is “cultural” homogenuity which as definition of “culture” is a “shared set of rules, interests, language, etc.”… so even the Sami or Roma *knew* what the rules were. Its your own free choice to either go with them or go against them. You are allowed to go against them these days – but the societal pressure is “as long as you do not annoy the majority”. Before 1950 or 1960 it was forced “streamlining”.

    And it is not racism if I tell you either live in Finland like a Finn or fuck off. It is my right as a Finn. You can go into your own country to bendover to every foreigner… you come to Finland because it is Finland – why do you want to change it to something else? If you do not want to live in Finland – its a free country, so leave, nobody stops you.

  9. De Tant Blomhat permalink
    August 8, 2008 8:47 pm

    Why do I think – because I know for a fact unlike you idiot stupid foreigners.

    “What do we do with them” – we give them social welfare and tell them to go to school to get education. But that is bad in your eyes because you think everyone from Sudan is a ready brain surgeon?

  10. Enrique permalink
    August 8, 2008 9:32 pm

    DeTant, one of the matters that we should try to adhere to is refrain from insulting others. So, what you are saying is that I should fuck off because I don’t think like you? Nah, won’t give you the pleasure because it is my right — and who are you to impose that? We don’t live an autocracy. Or maybe you think that “foreigners” do and you don’t. Please refrain from insults.

  11. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 9, 2008 2:19 pm

    So when did you earn the right to be constantly insulting the Finnish people and the Finnish nation then? Who gave you that right? I am not in your country insulting you so what gives you the right to come to my country and insult me? Its this multiculturalism evidently that makes it the right for people to come and insult us in our own country. And then we don’t have a right to say anything to them? I find that whole concept insulting.

  12. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 9, 2008 2:22 pm

    And nobody has any “right” for a job over someone else. We have thousands of unemployed people with qualifications, so where would we employ people without skills? There is no such industries – and as it has been shown even berry-picking is too much work for many.

  13. Enrique permalink
    August 10, 2008 12:16 pm

    I don’t understand your point of view. You say that Finns have the right to express themselves. If foreigners do this, then they are “insulting” Finns and Finland. Can’t you take some criticism? By debating matters we can learn more about the things that could unite us not separate us. Who gave me the right to criticize Finland or any country in the world? The law and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It is my alienable right to express myself whether you like my ideas or not. In the same light, you have the right to express yourself as long as you do not use demeaning words to insult other nationalities and religions. That is one of the first so-called “lessons in treating other cultures” I learned in the United States: Do not say things that are racist and that other groups may be insulted by.
    We have had a very fruitful debate about Finnish culture and foreigners. What is so “insulting” about that? Could you enlighten us what specific matters have “insulted” you?
    You cannot have two sets of rules: Finns can criticize their culture but outsiders cannot.

  14. Enrique permalink
    August 10, 2008 12:19 pm

    Like it or not, DeTant, there are many types of Finns already: black, Asian, South American, Canadian, Muslim, Catholic and a long list of others. You cannot claim that you are the only representative of this culture. I don’t work for the employment office. There is a lot of demand for unskilled workers in Finland. If that isn’t the case, why are public officials talking about a labor shortage.

  15. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:16 pm

    There is a labor shortage of certain skilled groups. The “shortage” is illusionary as the bottom line is the wages are poor as compared to the skillset required. Ok, so there is a huge need of workers like Kerava needs psychiatrists. Now where exactly do you import psychiatrists that can both speak Finnish and understand the Finnish mindset? You can import 10 plumbers and 10 jockeys and 10 stomeasons but still what they need is the Finnish-speaking psychiatrists. Usually not having a job means the foreigner is lacking a necessary skill to be employable in his profession. Nothing peculiar about that – huge amounts of fresh graduates seek work as they lack the one skill required – work experience. Does it help any to bring in more fresh graduates?

  16. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:18 pm

    – You cannot have two sets of rules: Finns can criticize their culture but outsiders cannot.

    Stupid people who don’t know anything about the subject should consider being quiet or then be proven their stupidity.

    – there are many types of Finns already: black, Asian, South American, Canadian, Muslim, Catholic and a long list of others.

    Right – they are “Finns” not “outsiders”.

  17. Enrique permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:23 pm

    I think I made it clear to you that we do not insult other people. Using the word “stupid” is demeaning. You haven’t answered my question: What is insulting that has been said about the Finns?
    Even is some may disagree with your opinions, nobody is calling you “stupid.” You have a right to your opinions like anyone else has a right to his/hers.
    I am glad that you consider a Finn a wider cultural concept.

  18. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:24 pm

    – That is one of the first so-called “lessons in treating other cultures” I learned in the United States: Do not say things that are racist and that other groups may be insulted by.

    This is not USA and will never be and I call anyone anything just for the purpose of insulting them as I am *definitely* not living in USA!!! They have *nothing* to teach to us.

    – Could you enlighten us what specific matters have “insulted” you?
    You claiming Finland is somehow an uniquely bad country and that we are racists and whatnot instead of looking into the mirror and confessing to the facts. Finland has its downsides but blaming Finland for your own shortcomings is insulting.

  19. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:30 pm

    – Using the word “stupid” is demeaning.

    Then base your arguments on facts! Stupid is the one who opens their mouth and has an opinion but cannot base it on facts. The person is demeaning themselves and the listeners and it is a favor someone tells them that. But of course foreigners are two-faced and say one thing and think the other. Heres multiculturalism for you = Finns speak the truth to your face and if you do not like it look in the mirror.

    – What is insulting that has been said about the Finns?
    Do you really want me to make a list? This website is so full of offensive racism against Finns and Finland I don’t know where to start.

  20. Enrique permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:31 pm

    Don’t you think that refraining from insulting other nationalities, cultures and religions is the minimum that is expected of us, especially if we have been educated in a developed country? I used the United States as an example so you could see how people from different races have have learned to live side by side. I grew up being taught how bad blacks were. In Finland I grew up being taught how all the Roma were thieves and Russians are a bunch of cutthroats. Fortunately I had the opportunity and courage to cross those stereotypes and find out that it was not that way. I encourage you to do the same — you will be surprised by what you will discover.
    I never said that Finland is a “bad” country. I said that racism, in my opinion, is a problem in Finland. I did NOT state that all Finns are racists. There is a big difference in those two statements.
    As I mentioned, this is a blog where one can discuss and debate openly any issue he/she wishes. You are free to your ideas.
    The reason why some of us are debating about these matters is because we care about Finland. Debate is healthy and productive. I have learned many things from those who have left comments as I hope you have too.

  21. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:42 pm

    Yes – so why do you use USA as an example then – it is if possible even worse than Finland.

    Well racism is *not* a “big problem in Finland” to start with. It is a problem to a fraction of some minute % of the population. However it is a very popular scapegoat.

    *Finns speak Finnish =racism
    *Finns go to sauna naked = racism
    *Finns eat ham on christmas=racism
    *Finns don’t have fresh curry leaves=racism
    *Finns have car tax=racism
    *Finns don’t say hello to their neighbors=racism

    So I still think the bigger problem is that theres people crying “racism” (as in the boty & wolf fable)… actually to believe in the concept of “race” is a sign of stupidity in the first place as it is some sort of half-baked 18th century theory that has very little valid factual basis. There is one race and that is humans.

    – The reason why some of us are debating about these aspects is because we care about the country.

    Yes, I care about this country and you wish to destroy it.

  22. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:49 pm

    – I encourage you to do the same — you will be surprised by what you will discover.

    FYI – I probably know personally more foreigners in Finland than your average Finn. However one sparrow does not make a summer. Even I know a Roma, a Russian, a Romanian and a Yank, doesn’t make them prove that the next one I come across wouldn’t be a thief, cutthroat, beggar, dumb… thats statistics. Now for my Romanian friends their own countrymen have made them a real frustrating situation finding flats or doing business. And you should hear what *they* say we should do to the Roma… I tell them its their problem they exported and should take care of at home, and now they suffer from the fallout as it wasn’t dealt with at home. You reap what you sow.

  23. Enrique permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:55 pm

    I’d like to hear from others what there opinion may be on this. Where did you get that list from? I do not understand it.
    Fine, you have your opinions and I have mine. I will deal this this question in a new post next week.
    Why am I destroying a country when I debate openly an issue that I and others feel is an issue in Finland? On the contrary, open debate will only make us and Finland stronger.

  24. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 1:56 pm

    – The ‘contact theory’ which argues that contact with foreigners will turn xenophobia into xenophilia has shown itself to be out-dated.

    I thought it was the other way around.

    One tribble is cute and fuzzy… 10000 tribbles is a problem… after that any hairy thing is treated as if it were a tribble.

  25. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 10, 2008 2:03 pm

    – Where did you get that list from? I do not understand it.

    Reading various bulletin boards thats how it looks like. You made a list of “racism” as well which was about as absurd. Just talking with you at the same level.

    – Why am I destroying a country when I debate openly an issue that I and others feel is an issue in Finland?

    You are promoting multiculturalism and globalization = illegal immigration and destroying the society.

    Debating is fine – helps people to open their eyes to the need to oppose your kind.

    And your issue is a non-issue because your opinions do not count. You are foreigners. You can leave, but we must stay and live with the consequences. Our opinions count. And we do not wish to destroy Finland. If you want to live in a multiculturalist country move to exemplary Canada. http://www.notcanada.com

  26. Enrique permalink
    August 10, 2008 2:16 pm

    You are taking matters out of context.
    Who says I’m promoting illegal immigration? Read the post carefully.
    Oh, so I have to be a Finn for my opinions to count. Well, I am a Finn! I debate these issues because I have seen them with my own eyes. I have lived in two countries that had civil wars (Argentina and Colombia), lived in the United States during the civil rights movement, grew up in summer in Finland and felt the pain of the loss of Karelia and the terrible things that Finns suffered. Even so, isn’t it a time to set those things aside and move on? Hatred and mistrust is poison to the soul. People always move around. It is a natural thing. Don’t write off people’s ideas because they are not Finns. Listen to them. You may learn something like they may learn from you.

  27. Jonas permalink
    August 11, 2008 11:04 am

    Well, writing as a Finn, I can say I don’t find any of the contents of this website offensive to either Finland or Finns (in so much that my qualification as one individual Finn can decide if all 5 million plus of us have been insulted! I’m not sure how DeTant is more qualified on this). Certainly, the topics are, perhaps, controversial and thought-provoking and at times uncomfortable. However, that does not make them offensive. I don’t deem all opinions that don’t converge with my own as offensive. If everyone thought like that, we’d end up with a public discourse as vigourous of that found in the press of our eastern neighbour, i.e. dead.

    As a Finn, the only thing that I can find that comes to close to offensive towards Finland on this site is some of the remarks of DeTant Blomhat. I find them almost offensive, because a foreigner reading them might get the mistaken impression that all Finns are as xenophobic as DeTant. I would be rather embarrassed if that should happen. Presumabely DeTant Blomhat finds the remarks of a significant number of our politicians, including several government ministers and the President of the Republic, offensive towards Finland. Many of them have recognised in public statements and / or interviews that Finland requires a more welcoming migration policy and in the future will need a significant, in Finnish terms, influx of migrants if we want our society to continue to function.

  28. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 11:30 am

    Hi Joonas, many thanks for your encouraging words. It is like you said: without debate nothing gets resolved. Finland is modern social welfare state that basis its reason for being on social justice. This Finnish ideal, or the “Finnish dream,” should extend to all those that live in Finland irrespective of their backgrounds.
    One of the factors that has made my stay in Finland worthwhile is because I have met many people as yourself. They have made all the difference.
    Many thanks again, Joonas.

  29. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 1:13 pm

    – Presumabely DeTant Blomhat finds the remarks of a significant number of our politicians, including several government ministers and the President of the Republic, offensive towards Finland.

    No, I find them idiotic.

    – Many of them have recognised in public statements and / or interviews that Finland requires a more welcoming migration policy and in the future will need a significant, in Finnish terms, influx of migrants if we want our society to continue to function.

    No, we need JOBS! And after that we need skilled workers. Not just anyone. And we need people who will build this nation instead of just looking at their own bellybutton.

  30. Jonas permalink
    August 11, 2008 1:39 pm

    You find them idiotic, that’s interesting. Why are they idiotic in your eyes when they say these things, yet Enrique is offensive when he write them? Could it be their place of birth and ethnicity that allows them to be seen as ´less offensive´in your eyes? If so, it seems that the unpleasant truth that you will probably take time to realise is that the problem is more with you than with anyone else.

    And Enrique, only one ´o´ in my (fore)name… remember the already established linguistic diversity.. not every Finn has a Finnish-language name😉

  31. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 1:40 pm

    – Certainly, the topics are, perhaps, controversial and thought-provoking and at times uncomfortable. However, that does not make them offensive. I don’t deem all opinions that don’t converge with my own as offensive.

    And I am sick and tired of hearing how bad Finland is. You just nod your head and think foreigners are better than you are. Probably that is true in your case. However there has to be an end to this Finland-bashing and anti-Finitism somewhere.

  32. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 1:46 pm

    I have a certain degree of respect towards Enrique. Politicians then again… you know if a grown man throws a stone at your window that is offensive, if a person with a limited mental capacity does that, then can you be offended?

  33. Jonas permalink
    August 11, 2008 2:12 pm

    DeTant, I don’t think foreigners are better or worse than me or anyone else. I do think they are equal.

    I respect people who disagree that we need more migrants. It goes without saying that it is a legitimate point of view. The problem I have is with people who sink to using insults, such as you have just done again at your entry of 13.40 blog time. It’s unfortunate that you feel the need to do that and can’t rely on arguing your view on migration by sticking to the issues and to the point.

  34. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 4:59 pm

    What is there so insulting? You yourself say that we should listen to foreigners on how to run our own country? You just don’t like the facts when they are not according to your own holier-than-though attitude. You need migrants maybe to boost your own ego – I do not. Therefore you call me a xenophobe- FYI I am not afraid of foreigners. So stop insulting me first!

  35. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 5:08 pm

    – I respect people who disagree that we need more migrants.

    See now here you again have some problem with reading comprehension. I have never said that we don’t need migrants. Everyone who wishes to come build this society is quite welcome to do so. What we don’t need is “outsiders”, people who refuse to integrate and people who don’t have appropriate skills to survive. There would be jobs for CNC lathers. They have a need for berry pickers. What we don’t need is beggars on the street, who even when taken to the forest and given a bucket are too lazy to pick berries. That is my point but any kind of opposition to this grand illusion of free wanton migration is always labelled as racism and xenophobia and I am sick and tired of having the stupidity of political correctness disable the functionality of the system. Besides which the Finnish immigration policy and work permit system not only sucks, but the immigrant integration classes blow chunks.

  36. Jonas permalink
    August 11, 2008 5:48 pm

    Well, I agree with you that we shouldn’t be encouraging a migration of people who will just beg and/or commit themselves to an endless life living off of the state. Naturally, migration must be managed – like most things. I also agree with you that Finland’s migration policy has been poorly handled in the past, fortunately that finally now seems to be changing due to the efforts of the current migration minister and her team. Although, bureaucratic changes at the top aren’t enough. The municipal level also needs to comprehend the needs of migrants and what needs to be done to aid their integration into our society. The hardest part of all, is that wider society needs to change its views; although there is a lot of evidence that that is not quite as hard as it sometimes may seem (some very successful stories in, e.g. Pohjanmaa.)

    I don’t really understand some of your points as they are loaded with a lot of rhetoric but little substance. So, I find it hard to respond to them. You also seem to automatically infer that some of my general remarks that don’t concern directly you are directed at you. They’re not.

    If you look at some of my other comments to Enrique’s other articles, you will see that I am certainly not uncritically in favour of all he has written. I am, on the contrary, very welcome to hearing facts. Please do supply some, it would only contribute positively to this discussion. I certainly am extremely far from having all the answers, which is one of the reasons that I find this subject interesting.

  37. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 6:41 pm

    – The municipal level also needs to comprehend the needs of migrants and what needs to be done to aid their integration into our society.

    The problem there is twofold. First there is the lack of funds. Counties are even now battling to make ends meet as the jobs disappear so theres no taxpayers and the aging population starts taking its toll. What I would say that the government as well as the companies whining for this “need of workforce” team up with the counties and make things happen.

    On the flipside of the coin there are all kinds of wasteful projects maybe makeing some people feel nice and employing in make-work a lot of people whose only product is more whining and complaining instead of actually doing some efforts that produce a positive outcome. Theres a lot of people who have their own agenda and try to leech the monies towards their own protected little circles. Big cities throw money towards all kinds of “multicultural” events while what the need would be is to employ people to help immigrants with the paperwork for example or job searching. The MOL today says “look in the internet” and you are on your own.

    – The hardest part of all, is that wider society needs to change its views.

    No they don’t. There is nothing wrong with the views of the wider society. That is again this rhetoric claiming Finns are somehow bad people, which we are not. As I’ve said on numerous occasions there is a need to have “work godmothers” in want of a better term. Some person that helps both the immigrant to integrate and the employer not to have someone scream racism first time they say that you don’t do things that way. Bigger companies can afford one themselves but the small and medium sized companies don’t. And for that you need an immigrant who can play and understand both cultures.

  38. Jonas permalink
    August 11, 2008 8:06 pm

    Of course Finns aren’t bad people. I am absolutely not suggesting that nor do I believe it is so. It patently is not the case – I’m not really sure there is such a thing as a bad people. There are bad individuals and unfortunately they sometimes act in concert – that applies to people of any and all nationalities. Neither have I screamed racism. In fact, again, if you look at my earlier comments to some of Enrique’s articles you will see that I have explicitly said that I don’t think Finnish society is racist. I continue to believe that is the case. But that does not rule out improving the reception of immigrants. We can, undoubtedly, also learn from immigration. It’s a two-way process; clearly it’s always going to be more in one direction (the adaptation process by the migrant) than the other way around – but that doesn’t mean that activities in the other direction can not or should not exist. It certainly does not hurt to listen to migrants. Most of those that are genuine migrants in Finland for productive reasons (i.e. not begging etc) want to fit-in. They know that it is in their interest . As we Finns have never had any experience in integrating ourselves into Finnish society, it’s harder for us to understand the shortcomings of the society in offering of systems to facilitate integration. The people who have gone through it or are trying to do so are in a very good place to advise us on the shortcomings. We should listen to them. That does not mean automatically bending to everything they say, it means listening to it critically in the same way as we listen to any other interested party on subjects directly concerning them.

    Of course, municipal budgets are, perhaps more than ever, stretched. However, there are plenty of things that cost little to nothing that can be done. If you look to, for instance, Närpes, where a very simple and virtually costless programme of putting immigrants in touch with a “host” family as a kind of ready-made mentor/friend in the community is carried out. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily have to be local government that organises this. It could equally be non-municipal, ‘private-sector’ organisations. But, it gets more attention and more momentum when it’s backed by the municipality. That’s just one example, there are many things that can be done and many that will need to be customised to the district in question. Clearly that example scheme I’ve suggested is more practicable in smaller districts which still have a strong sense of local community. It wouldn’t necessarily be a model that would function in Vantaa. That should be one of the strengths of municipal authorities; they know their patch and should have the ability to come up with solutions that fit their area. But yes, I agree with you, they need the full support of the national government – including financial.

  39. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 8:56 pm

    JOnas and DeTant, I just arrived from work. DeTant nobody is imposing anything on anyone. It is like a landscape. You may like some things and yet again you may not. It is your choice. I think, however, you take matters way out of context. Nobody is saying that foreigners are better than anyone nor should anyone worship them. If it has been said, please how it to me. Your views of foreigners are simply surprising. What are you afraid of?
    That foreigners will overrun Finland?! NOT.
    You cannot go around telling people your views on nationalities (that the Sudanese probably don’t know how to read or write) and think that these types of comments are not offensive. When you degrade others because of their background is simply wrong in any society. Is that the way you talk about the Finns? Moreover, being “correct” with people from other backgrounds requires a code of behavior. Do you go around insulting Finns and everyone you meet? Get it through your head — demeaning, racist behavior is simply wrong. Remember when you called a Pakistani who was stripped searched at Vantaa Airport, a “parasite?” If you think, as you said, that my goal is to destroy Finland and I am an arrogant “psychopath communist,” why do you even bother to debate in this blog? The main idea of this blog is to bring a very difficult subject and to debate it in a civil way. If you distrust foreigners so much and even Finns who may not hold your ideas, I feel that you lose out in the end. By casting aside your prejudices you do not lose anything — the world opens up to you in a way you never though possible before. Finland is no longer run by people like Eila Kännö. Finland is a modern, European Union nation that adheres to certain codes of law. One of these is against discriminatory and racist behavior. Why? Because in the short and long run it only harms society. How do you expect people to integrate into society if you are watching over them with a magnifying glass?
    Because I know Finland well, I tend to take an optimistic view. I believe that Finland can and will overcome its suspicion of foreigners by some Finns. I said by SOME Finns. Things are changing and they will continue to change. How they change depends on us.

  40. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 9:10 pm

    – The hardest part of all, is that wider society needs to change its views.

    This comment posted by Jonas is correct. The views have changed a lot in the thirty years I have lived in Finland. They have changed for the better although there is still a lot of work to be done. I think a dynamic society is one that can take in new members — not exclude them. That, I think, is one of the issues. How do we make it possible for others to become members of our society? The first step in that direction is to stop insulting them (because you would never speak of Finns in that manner) and accept them for what they are. That may be difficult for some — but it’s the minimum we can ask of ourselves.

  41. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 9:34 pm

    – You cannot go around telling people your views on nationalities (that the Sudanese probably don’t know how to read or write) and think that these types of comments are not offensive.

    Well it is not offensive if it is a fact. You are yourself promoting the Sudanese as if they would be coming from the same educational background as anyone else. How much of a schooling can a poor farmer in some remote village receive? How much schooling do you get in a refugee camp? Then you wonder why they are unemployed. Just last year there was a survey on the integration programmes of refugee women, and if they come from places where women aren’t -evel allowed into school like Afghanistan it isn’t really easy to learn a foreign language if you cannot even speak your own. And then you come so high and mighty saying we should be “giving” them jobs? That is what is offensive that you cannot face the facts but try to hide these facts and accuse us of racism.

    – Remember when you called a Pakistani who was stripped searched at Vantaa Airport, a “parasite?”

    My point is that he looks first in the mirror before he starts complaining about taxpayers who are providing him a free trip through the education system.

    – If you think, as you said, that my goal is to destroy Finland and I am an arrogant “psychopath communist,” why do you even bother to debate in this blog? The main idea of this blog is to bring a very difficult subject and to debate it in a civil way.

    The main idea I have seen of this blog is to convince the world that Finland is some hellhole on earth – which it is not – by exaggerating problems that give people an excuse to rise up their hands and complain even more everything is due to the wickedness of the Finns. Instead of providing information and encouragement to the foreigners who would be needing it – you are claiming it is Finland that has it all wrong and it is never the foreigner who is at fault.

  42. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 9:39 pm

    – The first step in that direction is to stop insulting them (because you would never speak of Finns in that manner) and accept them for what they are.

    But do those people accept themselves for what they are?

  43. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 9:45 pm

    – How do you expect people to integrate into society if you are watching over them with a magnifying glass?

    Very efficiently. Just like in school… theres different systems… you either have a Steiner school where if you happen to have a knack of learning you might even graduate, or then you go to a Catholic school where you’re tested daily and it is made sure you graduate… then theres the middle path… but if you don’t go to school and study you don’t graduate.

  44. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 9:55 pm

    Tell me can you see a trend when you read these websites?

    uranus.fi/en/discussion
    thelocal.se/discuss/viewactive.php
    notcanada.com

    – people always complaining about the *same* things be it Finland, Sweden or Paradise Canada.!!!

    And really do you wonder why the people in these countries might feel offended by this kind of complaining? As they don’t find much or anything wrong about their home countries that are run quite democratically and effectively.

    So if the fact is that the foreigner needs to integrate – even in Paradise Canada, And it is a long and hard process. So really I don’t pay much attention to people who don’t seem to be able to do anything but complain when its their own inability to adapt that is the real problem.

  45. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:07 pm

    – As we Finns have never had any experience in integrating ourselves into Finnish society, it’s harder for us to understand the shortcomings of the society in offering of systems to facilitate integration.

    Some 400 000 Karelian refugees might object. Or your and my cousins experiences in Sweden which isn’t that much of a leap supposedly.

    I do agree though that the “system” is sucking at this point, but then again it is trying whereas other countries don’t even try. They just put the immigrant into a slave job and left to fend themselves… sink or swim.

  46. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:16 pm

    OK Enrique: heres some thing offensive to you
    http://www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20031125IE5
    http://www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20031125IE3

    That fact that girls aren’t let to school should be the offensive thing.

    And then explain to me what kind of a job can be “given” to people like this with a “possibility of advancement?” Yes its racism and xenophobia they don’t get hired. Nothing to do with lack of skills. Ever. Finland is such an evil place teaching everyone to read.

  47. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:17 pm

    OK Enrique: heres some thing offensive to you
    www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20031125IE5
    www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20031125IE3

    That fact that girls aren’t let to school should be the offensive thing.

    And then explain to me what kind of a job can be “given” to people like this with a “possibility of advancement?” Yes its racism and xenophobia they don’t get hired. Nothing to do with lack of skills. Ever. Finland is such an evil place teaching everyone to read.

  48. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:31 pm

    – Well it is not offensive if it is a fact. You are yourself promoting the Sudanese as if they would be coming from the same educational background as anyone else. How much of a schooling can a poor farmer in some remote village receive? How much schooling do you get in a refugee camp? Then you wonder why they are unemployed. Just last year there was a survey on the integration programmes of refugee women, and if they come from places where women aren’t -evel allowed into school like Afghanistan it isn’t really easy to learn a foreign language if you cannot even speak your own. And then you come so high and mighty saying we should be “giving” them jobs? That is what is offensive that you cannot face the facts but try to hide these facts and accuse us of racism.

    Response: Let me give you an example. My father moved to the United States and he made something out of himself because the United States offered him an opportunity — we’re not talking about handouts or special favors — to progress. Certainly there are limits to what you can learn in a refugee camp. However, in Finland there are opportunities — or should be — for those that want to use the opportunity. The word “opportunity” was something that distinguished the United States from countries where there was little opportunities. My father worked, brought up two children and my mother, who did not work. On the side, he studied and got a master’s degree, something that would have been very hard in Argentina. The United States gave him the opportunity and he took it and gained a lot.

    — My point is that he looks first in the mirror before he starts complaining about taxpayers who are providing him a free trip through the education system.

    RESPONSE: How do you know if he was on a free trip?

    — The main idea I have seen of this blog is to convince the world that Finland is some hellhole on earth – which it is not – by exaggerating problems that give people an excuse to rise up their hands and complain even more everything is due to the wickedness of the Finns. Instead of providing information and encouragement to the foreigners who would be needing it – you are claiming it is Finland that has it all wrong and it is never the foreigner who is at fault.

    RESPONSE: Come on, we are mature people and above that. Like all societies, Finland has very good things and not so good things. But these are points of view. Maybe the problem is education. Possibly when you went to school you studied other peoples from afar, from textbooks. You never lived in a society where lost of cultures have to coexist. Even my Finnish grandfather’s view of the blacks was shocking to me because he had never lived in a society with blacks. Who knows, maybe he would have changed if he lived in that type of a society.

  49. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:39 pm

    – people always complaining about the *same* things be it Finland, Sweden or Paradise Canada.!!!

    I have lived and interacted with so many people from different countries and cultures that I have gone beyond being insulted if someone says something about my culture. If you bring forth an interesting question, I’d be happy to hear it. No country is perfect. As you know, I am a journalist and therefore I don’t like to consider when I write that I have a patriotic duty to anything. The only patriotic duty I have is to the readers and, like a referee, sometimes must make difficult decisions that some people may not like to hear. What has living in so many cultures and countries given me? If I’d tell you that it has been an “enriching experience” I’d be lying to you. It has been sometimes hell because a traveler always sees things differently because he can compare. A good journalist and writer must be able to see further than what he is supposed to see. In my opinion, what we are debating here — and I hope this is the case — is something new. Whether 20% employment is an indication of how poorly some foreigners are integrated or accepted into Finnish society or not — it is a problem that must be addressed. And, unfortunately, very little addressing is being done about this matter.

  50. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:43 pm

    –And then explain to me what kind of a job can be “given” to people like this with a “possibility of advancement?” Yes its racism and xenophobia they don’t get hired. Nothing to do with lack of skills. Ever. Finland is such an evil place teaching everyone to read.

    RESPONSE: I think that it is pretty strange that they cannot even find menial jobs. How many blacks work at the Bank of Finland? I used to live in Mikkeli, Deep Savo, where unemployment among foreigners can be as high as 25%. I always said that things will start to change in Mikkeli when you’ll see a Sudanese in a taxi waiting for a customer and being accepted by his colleagues because he has passed all the exams to be a taxi driver. If you did that today, all hell would break lose. Probably, some clients would not even step in his car. Would he work at nigh? Pretty risky, no? These are the things that must change. You have to give people the opportunity to make something out of themselves. That is how all of us became something in the societies where we lived. Opportunities — not handouts.

  51. Enrique permalink
    August 11, 2008 10:53 pm

    DeTant, a final point. Where did you learn to write English so well? Certainly you have language that can help you cross cultural bridges. Don’t let some of your attitudes destroy something so valuable as being able to communicate efficiently in a foreign language.

  52. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:22 am

    – How do you know if he was on a free trip?

    Because he said so himself. The reading comprehension bit you know. Studying in Finland is free and he was “invited” over.

  53. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:27 am

    – Whether 20% employment is an indication of how poorly some foreigners are integrated or accepted into Finnish society or not — it is a problem that must be addressed. And, unfortunately, very little addressing is being done about this matter.

    These people are given the exactly “same” opportunities as any other person. If they happen to be from a disadvantaged background it is *their* own efforts that will enable them to rise up and above *themselves*. It is the individuals own responsibility somewhere down there to better themselves. So the best thing the people can do is address their own issue themselves. We cannot go and do their studying for them now can we?

  54. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:30 am

    – What has living in so many cultures and countries given me? If I’d tell you that it has been an “enriching experience” I’d be lying to you. It has been sometimes hell because a traveler always sees things differently because he can compare.

    So why then do you promote of bringing that hell over here? I mean you are talking of multiculturalism of being good and now you say in fact there are faults in all cultures?

  55. Enrique permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:50 am

    It’s not “hell” — it is a very natural thing about living in the world. Maybe it is difficult for you to live in a multicultural situation. In Europe it is quite normal way of life. You did not understand my response: more traveling, the more information you acquire. This information gives you a different perspective on things that can be in conflict with those who do not have the opportunity to compare because they have not lived in other cultures.

  56. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:53 am

    – I think that it is pretty strange that they cannot even find menial jobs. How many blacks work at the Bank of Finland?

    Yeah, so “Bank of Finland” is a menial job. Right. How about looking at the ethnic makeup of Finland and the fact that BoF requires a long work experience in the banking sector to start with. Which means customer service which means language. People won’t get hired because of their ethnicity but for their skills. Even I would not even imagine getting a job in the BoF but of course someone from Sudan should just be let walk in the door? Very interesting this attitude of yours. BTW I think BoF might have some of these government restrictions of having to be a citizen and such.

    And I can’t say why they cannot find even the menial jobs – Do they even look for them? Women in their culture aren’t necessarily expected to work outside the house. And when they learn Finnish to a basic level you are surprised to see how fast you can get a job. That is, where there *are* jobs, like all Helsinki hotels have 90% I think these days of foreigners as housekeeping staff. In Mikkeli there are just no jobs of that kind available – as there the locals hang on to their menial jobs because there just *are* no jobs.

    – I always said that things will start to change in Mikkeli when you’ll see a Sudanese in a taxi waiting for a customer and being accepted by his colleagues because he has passed all the exams to be a taxi driver.

    Well then thats the Sudanese persons problem to pass those tests first. Actually it is easier for an immigrant to pass the taxi tests here in the south. Even if they cannot enter the address correctly in the data consoles. Back in the day before data consoles you actually had to know the locality by heart so how long do you expect that to take? Being a taxi driver again is not a “menial job” so I wonder why do you expect people with no skills to be hired in highly professional jobs?

    – Probably, some clients would not even step in his car.
    Well knowing how badly some of these guys drive and as they can’t find their way I’m not surprised.

    – You have to give people the opportunity to make something out of themselves. That is how all of us became something in the societies where we lived. Opportunities — not handouts.

    So you are in other words saying we must hire someone because he is black and not because he is skilled? How about the person forgetting his skin color, learning the language, memorizing the map, taking the courses and passing his taxi licence test? Now it is true we happen to have an advantage over him as we know the language, but even someone from Mikkeli has to learn the map (and to understand the dialect) so where exactly is there the missing opportunity. Where can we drill his brain open and pour in the language abilities? We can not – he himself has to take the long road. What you are saying is that I should paint myself green and walk in and demand a taxi card just because of my color to be given the same kind of “opportunity”? That would be nice. I think though the taxi professionals might object to colored people not having to obey the same rules – this equality thing and all.

    And wheres all these “opportunity” seeking people theres thousands of hectares of strawberry fields the berries are rotting into? Theres berries in the forest also nobody is picking. You don’t need much training, just a bucket? So is it not because you are saying they should be given a job in the Bank of Finland they have thrown their hands up and cry how racist Finland is instead of actually seizing the opportunity?

  57. Enrique permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:55 am

    I think we can end the discussion here, DeTant. You believe that multiculturalism, cosmopolitan societies, multinational, multiethnical et al societies are basically flawed. Fine, that is your opinion. I believe that multiculturalism — be it the Canadian system or simply a city like London, New York and others — are fantastic and dynamic places and the salt of life. Full stop.

  58. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 7:56 am

    – Where did you learn to write English so well?

    I went to school and studied so when I went to the USA to work I found myself having a job and not having to whine over racism and xenophobia.

  59. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:04 am

    – Maybe it is difficult for you to live in a multicultural situation. In Europe it is quite normal way of life.

    Yes I find rioting very difficult.

    – You did not understand my response: more traveling, the more information you acquire. This information gives you a different perspective on things that can be in conflict with those who do not have the opportunity to compare because they have not lived in other cultures.

    You do not understand yourself: These people you want to bring here have themselves never travelled and aren’t cosmpoplitan. They want to bring their own limited view of their culture and have no interest of learning about with ours. *That* is the flaw in the whole idea. If you had cosmopolites like yourself that would not be a problem. But you bring two juntti’s next to each other and that won’t work.

    Yes, the more I have travelled the more I have seen that other cultures don’t offer anything significantly better than my own. If I want to go to London I go to London. If I go to Helsinki I go to Helsinki just because it *is* Helsinki and it *is* Finland.

  60. Enrique permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:29 am

    Depending on where you went in the USA, I don’t think you’ll find very much xenophobia against Finns. But there was a lot of discrimination at the beginning of the last century because Finns were considered by some as political trouble makers. They demanded things such as unions and decent pay. What would have happened if these Finns would have allowed themselves to be exploited in the USA? Certainly their so-called “whining” produced some results.

  61. Enrique permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:30 am

    They are not all “junttis.” One moves to another country and has a different perspective. He who leaves his country and returns, never comes back the same person.

  62. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:43 am

    – multinational, multiethnical et al societies are basically flawed

    Not at all – they are mostly paradises on Earth like Georgia… or ex-Yugoslavia… or Sudan… there are of course examples to the contrary, but I guess it *is* actually depending whether the people are junttis or not. And if those junttis then come to here and continue with their juntti ways I don’t see why we shouldn’t whistle the game and teach them a bit different way of thinking.

    – Depending on where you went in the USA, I don’t think you’ll find very much xenophobia against Finns.

    No, they had more xenophobia between themselves in your paradise country USA:
    Boss “We have a new guy moving in, can’t find any damn housing”
    Me “We got an empty room in our compound”
    Boss “No you can’t put a white guy live there with the mexicans”
    Me “Wow, I must’ve tanned well”
    Boss “oh you’re different, you and Marcel are Europeans”

    So A Finn and a Frenchman can share a room and live in a compound live with the mexicans, but “white people” can’t”. How was it again your reason for promoting USA as some sort of model for Finland?

    – What would have happened if these Finns would have allowed themselves to be exploited in the USA?

    They’d stayed alive, instead they moved to Soviet Karelia during the recession and got most of them shot in the 35-38 purges.

  63. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:53 am

    – They are not all “junttis.” One moves to another country and has a different perspective.

    Ah, you should go out more and actually speak with these foreign people. But you just sit there condecendingly telling me they should be given a job in the Bank of Finland. The most racist diatribes, be it against blacks or jews or other tribes and nations from the same country you hear from 3rd world immigrants. Such talk even a Finnish juntti is more civilized than that or atleast will keep his mouth shut. Even an educated person can turn around and start talking about the evil plot of the jews to take over the world. The Romanians say that we should cart the gypsies (their gypsies) in a barge to the sea and sink it. I would expect it from a Mikkeli skinhead but not an educated engineer who had worked in several countries. It really is a *different* perspective. Now of course if a Finn says something like that it is racism and xenophobia but when a foreigner says that it is multiculturalism and I cannot say anything to them as they are the ones who must be let live as they would be living in their “juntti” homes. So why should I then curb the voice of these Mikkeli skinheads either – as they are just being “multiculturalist” themselves? Either we make the rules and the same rules for everybody or then we let the juntti’s balance each other out.

  64. August 12, 2008 10:21 am

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  65. Enrique permalink
    August 13, 2008 2:07 am

    Hi Alex, a pleasure to meet you as well. I visited your sight but unfortunately I don’t read Russian. I will use Google translator.

  66. September 8, 2008 6:49 pm

    I’ve had the pleasure of travelling and living in Finland several times since the 1980’s; now I am in my 40’s; I’m American, born and raised in multikulti San Francisco, and have Irish immigrant parents. Something about Finland’s silence and cold beauty, its forests and serious people, its calm and empty places, filled my heart with a kind of joy. I stayed and stayed because I loved it, not because I had free housing. Something in Finland responded to a deeper longing in me, that the frenzy and hot weather of San Francisco Bay Area cannot fulfill. My Finnish friends (and one lover) made me feel happy and secure.

    When I returned in 2006 for a 2-week visit, I was shocked at the number of foreigners, especially the Somalis, in Helsinki, along the Metro line towards Ita-Keskus. Their male offspring loitering about the stations gave me the same shudders that minority youth in SF do. I noted with great sadness the pressed lips and determined strides of the Finnish women in particular, trying not to turn their heads and attract attention. Alas! The curse of street harassment had come to Finland! Of course, one could feel sorry for these refugees, cast ashore in a cold and “racist” country (with a big free welfare ride thrown in, no less!), but if ever I saw a place where Africans do not belong, it is Helsinki. It is in the nature of Finland to value quiet and dignified behavior, not loud friendliness, American-style, where blacks can be as extroverted as they please, even praised for their “entertainment” abilities in this regard. Could they possibly in one generation integrate, when their children learn Finnish? Are these kids going to university and getting off the dole? Are Finnish parents trying to get their own kids out of the public schools out in the poorer sections of town, to avoid contact? Then you will have the same “white flight” as we did in USA with forced school integration, with whole city neighborhoods sliding down into slums, where Finns won’t dare to tread. Poor Finland, to now be cursed with the problems of USA! I was disgusted, and tried to get the Finns I knew or met to talk about it. THey were so afraid of being considered “racist”, the taboo being even stronger than in USA, that they could only in a sideways remark reveal how they hated their government’s immigration policies. Chicken-livered, we say, that a small nation of brave Russian-fighting heroes, cannot stand up to their own leaders and say: NO! We did not fight and die to have our nation destroyed through wanton, finance-draining and senseless immigration!

    AS for Finns in USA, their habitual studiousness and quiet sisu, their industriousness and politeness, has them very quickly adapted to the middle-class values of USA. They are rarely, if ever, on the dole, they don’t disturb others, and keep things neat and quiet. What nation would find offense in such behaviors? My own single complaint about one Finnish friend was her intolerance of any flexibility, as the SF area requires: for examply, it irritated her no end that people wore shorts and sportshoes to work in the Silicon Valley, ate lunch and dinner whenever they pleased, preferred fastfood and take-away ethnic restaurants to cooking and regular mealtimes. If a waiter were slow, she was harsh with him, as well as with clerks in the post office or shops. How she ever got to be so angry at the “serving classes”, while she now lives on the dole in Roihuvuori, astounded me, since we in the USA consider the welfare bums the lowest. She did not consider herself low since she had been to university AND an MBA course – that she had barely worked in her life did not disturb her high self-identity. In the USA, all who met her through me were astounded at her nonchalant attitude towards any kind of work, income or career, her lack of shame at taking welfare money. She didn’t understand that we consider study itself no end in itself; that accomplishment is what counts in the end, with or without the diplomas.

  67. Enrique permalink
    September 8, 2008 7:36 pm

    Hi Mary Mekko, Finland has changed a lot since the 1980s. As you know, one of the pillars of the Nordic welfare system is that it tries to avoid creating slums. There is more emphasis on social equality. But this may be a semi-myth because there have always existed defined economic pockets in Helsinki: Kontula and Jakomäki represent low-wage earners whereas Eira, Töölö are where high-wage earners live. You have some enclaves as well: Westend and Kauniainen.
    I would not buy all you say about Africans in Helsinki nor that government is pushing an immigration policy. I think that such a policy is still finding its way and very much in diapers. Compared to other EU countries, Finland’s foreign population is still small. Officials are, however, trying to be more focused: Where do we need foreign labor? How should we fill such jobs? From what country? What about housing? Education? etc..
    I used to live in Mikkeli and visited it every summer my grandparents when I was growing up in Los Angeles. It was a paradise compared with smoggy and hot LA. But things have changed since then and from the 1980s as well: Finland is today part of the globalized world and a EU member. It has an aging population problem and needs foreign labor to man its factories. This “idyllic” Andy of Mayberry Finland that existed back then has changed. Finland has come to age as an economy.

  68. March 22, 2012 3:00 am

    Fins: stop being so polite. The slur “racist” is an ad-hominem attack, and therefore a fallacious argument, that has no place in legitimate intelligent discourse or debate. When someone uses it, you know that you are dealing with someone who lacks a true argument and will try to win through defamation only. So, treat them as such a person. This person is engaging in moral relativism and is illegitimately framing the debate under the terms of his/her Marxist ideology for his/her personal benefit in your society. Be proud of who you are, and don’t fear the slander and the slurs.

    Blog author: the Fins are not asking to be “shown who they are”. As a guest, it is rude for you to say as much. Would you come into my house, as an invited guest, and tell me that I need to be shown who I am? If you did, I would show you the door. The Fins should do the same with you.

    • Migrant Tales permalink
      March 22, 2012 6:09 am

      Hi D, welcome to our blog, Migrant Tales.

      Are some Finns being “so polite” as you claim? I would have to strongly disagree. Even if we discuss an issue like immigration on this blog, I don’t think everyone is writing the term “racist” everywhere. We address, however, racism and social exclusion. If you think this is wrong, please suggest a different approach.

      –You have no right to a “civil rights movement” in Finland because it is a natural ethno-state. It was not founded as a multicultural society, and the Fins don’t deserve the opposing political groups formed by non-ethnic Fin immigrants.

      Finland is “a natural ethno-state?” That is a social construct and you know it. It is also reveals your prejudice and your lack of knowledge about Finnish and European history.

      D, those concepts like “racial hygiene” went down the toilet after Berlin fell in May 1945. Europe is more diverse than you think.

Trackbacks

  1. The immigration debate in Finland is far from “normal” « Migrant Tales

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: