On the 6th of December Finland celebrated 99 years as an independent country. As to all who fought for independence, history is full of blood, fights, death, hope and pride. Gaining freedom should always be the greatest reason for celebrating victory.
And Finland is a fighter, a real warrior who struggled and overpassed horrible marks such as starvation, plague, bombing, loot, massacre but, with a spirit enhanced by the power of union and togetherness, won all these wars.
An agricultural country, with very low levels of industrialization until the 70´s, high levels of poverty still in the 80´s, very different from what we see nowadays. A victorious fighter for sure.
I am very proud of Finnish history and, unfortunately, this time, after years lighting my two candles by the window and congratulating my beloved country, I was taken by sadness and disappointment because of around 200 stupid people who believe they have the right to decide on Finland´s future, on who has the right to be called a Finn, on who has the right to live here, on who is pure enough to represent its culture.
And it goes further…these 200 people actually have the right to spread hatred because ironically, if they are just marching and spreading their word “in peace”, freedom of speech protects them. And I say ironically because I don´t understand how can a neo-Nazi group be considered “freedom of speech”, I really don´t, especially in a country where you can be sued by calling someone “ryssä” (pejorative way to refer to Russians) or “mustalainen”(pejorative way to reffer to a Finnish gipsy). Isn´t it a contradiction?
It is sad how 200 people can have the power to destroy peace and quiet, and the beauty of such a special day. It is a pity to see this kind of group gaining power and support and it´s quite scary to see that they are not taken seriously by the authorities.
This year, my plans for the Independence Day were to go to Helsinki Center with my husband and baby to see the Xmas lights, the carousel and the Xmas market at Senate Square. But we stayed home, afraid of going to Helsinki because we knew about the protests, we know what these people are able to (one of them killed a young man in their last protest in Helsinki a couple of months ago, you can read about ir here).
This is a feeling and an attitude I´ve never thought I had to have in Finland. I just hope it ends soon.