Category Archives: Finland

Poverty Leads To Begging, Not Reverse

Alexander Stubb, Minister for foreign affairs in Finland came out in opposition to his own party’s idea to make illegal begging on public streets. Mr. Stubb raised the interesting and quite novel idea that banning begging does not address the real issue of–POVERTY! Gee, this is innovative, imagine a political leader who believes there is poverty in his nation which causes people to beg or seek aid from the government! He sees panhandling, which in his nation, is frequently carried out by Roma immigrants, as a European wide problem that requires broader thinking on ways to deal with poverty among Roma people. He argues discrimination and prejudice has resulted in too many Roma not being able to secure decent paying jobs which results in begging on the streets in order to feed their children and family members. “Poverty is not a crime, but naturally if lyou add to the equation organized crime in some shape or form, then it should be tackled using the normal legal means available.”

Many Finnish political leaders seek to work with Romania and Bulgaria which are nations from which their Roma immigrants come and urge education and work programs that would address the issue of poverty. Stubb scoffed at a law which would fine poor people seeking to get money. How would fining the poor lead to the end of poverty?

Romas Face Hatred In Finland

Historically, Romas and Jews have confronted hatred in Europe on grounds they are “different” or they “look different.” A recent influx of Romas into Finland has unleashed a backlash among conservatives and nationalists who do not “those people” living in “their country.” Amnesty International complained to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen concerning lack of action to prevent the ongoing campaign against European Union citizens. “The lack of action on the part of the EU is shocking” and he demanded programs be instituted that enable Romas to obtain meaningful work. A Finnish member of Parliament, MP Hakola is introducing legislation that would make begging a crime. In other words, if one is poor, the best way to deal with poverty is to place the person in jail.

I was raised during the Depression when millions were reduced to begging due to poverty. The best response to poverty is always -WORK!

Immigrants And Multiculturalism In Finland

Among the remarkable examples of modern life is the increasing number of immigrants into Finland who come from all parts of the world. The northern nation is no longer a land of tall, blue eyed and golden hair folk, but a modern Finn comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Stubb, welcomes changes but fears it has also aroused an opposition that “reeks of racism, nationalism, populism and xenophobia.” He defends allowing refugees to obtain asylum which he believes is ethically right. Stubb denounces those who argue immigrants are living off welfare payments since data does not support that contention. Ironically, a problem is the openness that Finland offers to those seeking asylum.

Many Finns are upset because so many immigrants come from European Union nations such as Bulgaria or Rumania which hardly qualify for anyone claiming they fear returning to violence. However, those nations still retain many who discriminate against minorities in their nation such as the Romas.

Sweden, A Modern Melting Pot?

In my youth back in the 1930s and 1940s, if someone said the word, Sweden, thoughts of tall blond haired men and women entered my mind. That was true, to some extent that is, about fifty years ago, but the modern nation of Sweden increasingly has become a mixture of people from every part of the world. Over the past fifty years, the number of foreigners residing in Sweden has gone from 4% of the population to nearly 20% and that figure will continue to rise in the coming years. However, the largest non-Swedish group is compose of people from neighboring Finland, but there are also a contingent from Iraq of over 140,000. The Swedish experience is simply a manifestation of modern migrations which allow people from non-European lands to wind up in northern climes.

One can only wonder if the 140,000 Iraqis really wanted to live in Sweden or has the chaos of Iraq led Iraqi migrant to go to those nations having open doors for refugees from violence?

A Shooting In Helsinki–Anyone At Fault?

The shooter was a refugee from Kosovo who came to Finland in search of peace and security. But, he was a stranger in a strange land which means being compelled to learn a new language, adjust to new cultural values and ways of doing things, and suffering from being marginalized in a new culture. Ibrahim Shkupolli, killed several people or reasons that will be debated and discussed for years. He shot them in a shopping center, a group of people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and had the misfortune to encounter the wrong person. The Kosovo refugee had several previous convictions for firearms possession, and paid the fines and kept the guns. After all, if you ask a member of the American NRA they are clear that guns don’t kill people, just people kill people which is the rationale for never taking weapons away from any disturbed individual.

Naturally, the fact a refugee killed people has already raised issues among many that a solution to avoid shootings is to deport those from foreign lands. Of course, it was but a few years ago that a Finnish born and raised young man went on a shooting spree at a school. So, how does one deal with shootings. One solution is forbidding anyone other than authorities to possess a weapon at home. If they want to shoot, why not go to government operated shooting places? There is no doubt my words are those of a man who is against the right to bear arms. Actually, no. I think anyone should have the right to bear arms, just join the military as I did many years ago.

Finland Leads In Anti-Somalia Violence!

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reported that Somalia immigrants in Finland encounter more prejudice and violence than any other minority in a European nation. There were about 74 instances of violence or threats for every 100 Somalis who were interviewed compared to 44 in Italy for those of North African backgrounds. Figures in Denmark were 40 and in the Czech Republic 42 where there are many of Roma background. Ironically, the report indicates that not all Somalis fall victim to violence or threats, but it appears a particular group is more prone to encounter such behavior from native born Finns.

Is the fact there are few Somalis in Finland a factor in that it makes those who are around stand out for those who are bigoted and seeking someone to hate? Perhaps, it is time for the Finnish government to do an intensive study of what are the causes of this violence.

Miarets For Peace?

Tommi Niemainen, writing in the Finnish newspaper, Sanomat, has identified an interesting idea that might result in peace between Palestinians and Israelis– minarets for peace. He argues that Helsinki which has been identified as the Design Capital of 2012 could “definitely do with a couple of striking minarets” to light up the city at night with dazzling lights. There is something to his idea that makes sense. What if Jerusalem became the site of dozens of minarets which were outfitted with varying color lights at night, they would add a glow to the city that would be seen for miles around.

Think about it, minarets for peace. How could any suicide bomber blast away in a city containing dozens of minarets? How could any Muslim accuse Israelis of being prejudiced if Jerusalem was adorned with minarets attached to mosques? After all, if Jerusalem became the minaret capital of the world, Muslims would have to flock to it, business would boom, Palestinians and Jews would make money and there would no longer be any basis for conflict.

Of course, we could always place minarets in West Bank settlements and for every house built for Jewish settlers, a minaret would have to be built which would be attached to the Jewish house. I think that would end West Bank settlement construction!

I always thought the Swiss were good at making money. Boy, did you people blow it when voting to ban minarets.

Limits On Immigrants In Schools?

The Minister of Education in Finland has called for establishing quotas on the number of immigrant pupils who can be found in a single school. He argues for a 20% limit on immigrants in one school. Currently, about 15 % of students in Helsinki schools have children with immigrant backgrounds. Rauno Jarnila, who is head of the Education Department of the city of Helsinki, laughs at the proposal and believes it ignores reality of how immigrants interact with schools and society. About 20 of the 108 Finnish language comprehensive schools in Helsinki have about 25% of their student body who are of immigrant origin. Jarnila agrees it would be wonderful if immigrants were evenly distributed across the school population, but that stance flies in the face of how immigrants congregate.

It is normal for immigrants to seek housing in areas where there are people of their own background or schools which have reputations of being concerned to provide excellent education for immigrant children. This process is well known in any society which has traditionally had ongoing arrival of immigrants. It is difficult for immigrants to live in areas where there are few people of their own background. Reality is there will be an imbalance. The issue is not the number but the quality of education provided.

Wear A Niqab In Helsinki And Get Stares!

As the world changes its demographics, it becomes increasingly more common for Muslim women to be found in climes that historically were not their destination. A reporter for the Finnish newspaper, Sanomat, decided to experiment by wandering around Helsinki dressed in a niqab, the conservative face covering worn by some Muslim women. She noted how some men stared intently at her and the gaze of one “nearly burned a hole in the chiffon.” Ironically, due to the niqab she stumbled into a man who turned out to be an Arab and was then greeted with kind words and great respect. While on the metro, a drunk shouted, “Hey, that is one hell of a sight” to his fellow drunkards.

A Somali woman told her it was common for Muslim women in Finland to wear brightly covered scarves and urged that she not wear black. A young man almost spilled his drink at the sight of a woman wearing a niqab. She went to a park and sat on a bench. A family with two boys approached and one of the little boys began to shout in terror at the sight of a black covered face.

The good news is that cosmetologist and hair stylists made it a point not to bother her while she wandered the streets of Helsinki in search of reactions to the niqab.

If You Are Roma, Don’t Sleep Near Us!

The Romas in Finland are there due to an inability in their native lands elsewhere in Europe to find opportunities for work and a decent life for their families. An illegal Roma camp was set up by a group of beggars in Helsinki, but it was broken up and the people dispersed on order of the City of Helsinki. Another camp nearby was also dismantled by authorities. The Romas who come mainly from Romania, picked up their meager belongings as city workers tore down their plywood structures. Of course, city authorities had absolutely no idea where the Romas could go for shelter, but, apparently, that was not their main concern. After all, allowing people to beg on the streets of Helsinki sends a wrong message to tourists.

A Roma woman, Virginia Moldova, said “I;ll just put a mattress down on the ground and sleep there. Maybe we’ll be able to find some kind hearted soul who will help us.” Mayor Jussi Pajunen said Romas were EU citizens and were to be treated like any other tourist, and while in Finland Romas must obey the nation’s laws.

Fella, they are not tourists. They are people seeking work, education for their children, and a place to lay their head on. How about finding job opportunities so they can earn money and secure lodging?