Skrev denna Reader's letter till Helsinki Times. Publiceras imorgon. Som vanligt när jag skriver så blev det för långt så de har redigerat den lite. Lägger kanske upp den ursprungliga texten lite senare. Låter er komma undan med den kortare än så länge...
Bursting the bubble
Monday was the first day of a new Finland. Obviously, it was just new to me; who evidently had thus far been living in a bubble of tolerance, believing that most of my countrymen shared my values. But reality hit me hard. I can no longer stand in my ivory tower dismissing five lone “True Finn” members of parliament as annoying but harmless. Now there are suddenly 39 of them, representing one fifth of the Finnish people. We can no longer afford to dismiss their voices.
Sunday was a day of disbelief and outrage. Now it is time for action. But with activism comes responsibility. We and the political parties need to take responsibility for the results of the election. A fifth of the population is certainly not stupid. There is a reason behind this and we need to figure out what it is in order to change the course.
A lesson for us all is to be careful with smugness, leading us to think that, “all decent, smart people agree with me...” Democracy is hard but these elections showed us that it is even harder if we ignore discordant voices until they come with pitchforks!
That said, however, it does not change the fact that the True Finns stand for many values that I feel very strongly against. I have been angry at our political leaders who have dealt with them far too leniently. But my opinion has changed somewhat. Perhaps a consensus of the elite trying to put subjects off limits only works for so long? I’m not sure. As history has shown us, sometimes there is nothing that rouses the masses more than a common enemy. I fear that the True Finns will grow stronger if we protest too much against them as a group. Instead, I call for demonstrations for tolerance and openness.
I truly believe that a society of cultural, ethnic, sexual and religious diversity in the long run makes for a far better living environment for every single one of us, because with tolerance comes peace.
I am an eternal optimist. That makes me also say that perhaps this wake-up call for us Finns is better now than if left smouldering below the surface even longer to emerge at a real time of social or economic crisis. Clearly, we as citizens have remained too passive for too long – trusting our politicians to run our country. It’s time to bring back a certain amount of social and political activism into the game.
There comes a point at which you have to stand up for basic human rights, simply because it’s the right, humane thing to do. Let us, the people, show what kind of values we really want to rule in our society! But let’s do it peacefully and fearlessly from a place of love and understanding, however corny that may sound. We cannot allow these fearful winds of intolerance and backwardness to gain further speed! There are at least 80 per cent of us who feel differently than the supposed winners of the election.
Sofi Koivula, Helsinki