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To be born a Finn
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-11-08 11:02:45
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Today the flags all around Finland are at half-mast and the mood of the people even lower, and somehow I feel so angry with myself. It's only a couple of weeks ago when I wrote an article where I often emphasized that something has changed lately in Finland. I used a couple of examples of my life over the last few months to say that there is a new generation with hate feelings.

Nearly everybody around me said that I might exaggerate a bit due to the view of some kids tattooed with hate symbols and my sensitivity to the issue. But then I kept arguing that for me is unbelievable that a young boy or a girl would stamp hers or his body for life with a symbol like a swastika and all that comes with it. When I wrote that article I was angry with the Finnish government that has done nothing for years to show these kids that the Nazis were not the good allies against bad Stalin but the criminal you don’t want to associate with under any circumstances and that’s exactly why in the end even General Mannerheim changed sides.

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend; actually they can become your worst nightmare. But the Finnish government did nothing about it, instead of trying to build a new national identity they hid in a historic reality and what they got out of it? Eight bodies in a school-yard.

An 18-year old senior student in Tuusuka school in southern Finland walked in the school on Wednesday morning carrying a gun and started shooting people with the result of eight confirmed dead and wounded and number of others, kept himself inside the school till early evening holding hostages a whole country and in the end shot himself according the police.

Just few weeks before the incident the young man, as a member of a shooting club, received a gun permit for the 22 calibre pistol he used for the killings. The questions are many and if what we saw for a few minutes in the popular internet site YouTube, a video supposedly made by the shooter a day before, then Finland is in trouble. Serious trouble.

For the next few days and weeks experts of all kinds will fill television screens analyzing and trying to explain what happened. Having seen the same play before I know that easily they are going to blame the local environment, the poor family, the weather and in the end they will all agree that the boy had shown signs of depression due to the unemployment and global financial crisis ignoring the fact that an 18-year old boy was permitted to carry a gun, that an 18-year old boy has the right to elect and be elected, that in fact an 18-years old is not a boy anymore but a man.

Instead of trying to find whom to blame they should look into the mistakes they have done and the first to talk about it must be the state, not only this government but the governments of the last thirty if not fifty years, the governments that didn’t show what is good and what is evil in a country that saw in five only years the number of immigrants increasing to gigantic figures like 10,000%.

In his ‘manifest’ that he wrote a day before the shooting the 18-years old man says, "I cannot say that I am of the same race as this miserable, arrogant and selfish human race. No! I have evolved a step higher", no comment here, you just have to see around you in Helsinki to see what the young man didn’t like, a young man that grew up believing that only Finns are brave, only Finns have sisu and that is like winning a lottery to born a Finn!

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Sand2007-11-08 16:03:45
It is overwhelmingly arrogant to propose a general solution that will guarantee that each of us will be permitted to live lives that each of our individual capabilities promise. Despite our many similarities we are each so different that there is no telling how strangely we each may end up configured. And decent society demands that certain limits be assumed for individual behavior so that we each may have a reasonable crack at attaining our hopes. Nevertheless at end we remain in each other’s hands and although a gun may exalt an individual’s sense of power there are many ways in which we might destroy each other. It is evident that Finland’s system is not perfect but in my experience, whatever horrible events might occasionally occur as the result of one or a few somewhat uncivilized individuals with violent misconceptions of decent behavior, the country in general is doing far better than the bulk of the nations in the world in general decency and safety.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-08 16:38:00

Just three days ago under the post "Atheists do no Exist" by Jack Wellman, I expressed this opinion which perhaps is relevant to this tragic situation, for I am afraid that on a global cultural level the loss of Roussonian innocence began some decades ago.

And then Bacon declares that “knowledge is power.” Enter Nietzsche with his “God is dead” and his “will to power” soon followed by the nihilists and the logical positivists and their cohorts who proceed to declare Man insignificant, with no destiny, and his life without purpose within the cosmos. But of course some men will remain more significant than others, those with power. They will have the power to declare the others insignificant, exterminate them by the millions and even make lampshade with their skins. Why are we so surprised to see young skin-heads in our midst with swastika on their skin?

Sand2007-11-08 16:45:21
To use this horrible incident to push one's personal agenda is callous and disgraceful.

Thanos2007-11-08 20:55:41
I'm sorry I cannot follow but I visited the area this afternoon and the feeling was ...overwhelming. For what happened we are all responsible and I think we must all do something about it even if our only weapon is the pen or in this case the keyboard.

Talking with a policeman I know I got to the conclusion that this boy and many other like him just don't know enough. As I said above in the article they don't know anymore what is good and what is evil. And I still aching with the view of swastikas drawn on the walls around which means that that boy ...is not alone!

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-08 21:52:37
Indeed Mr. Kalamidas, I agree that ignorance is partly responsible for the misguided actions of of some of today's youth and that we are all partly responsible for their deviant actions. Which bring us back to the discussion in your October 24 article "Something is Changing." As I remember I pointed out in a comment that something has been changing for a while now in Western civilization. All we need to do is remember our history. This is what I wrote, in part:

Disturbing phenomenon, indeed. Let us however imagine that those young people were sporting the symbol of the sickle and hammer on their skin, would that mean that they had read Marx, Lenin and Trotsky and were now knowledgeable committed Communists? I kind of doubt it. Those young people probably don’t have the foggiest who those people might be and even less about their ideology. In any case, would assessing who was the worst monster, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Pinochet, etc, etc, determine whether or not a symbol ought to be admired or outlawed? One of Jung’s greatest insights was hat Man makes symbols but equally true is the fact that symbols make Man. So, one possible interpretation of the disturbing phenomenon here examined is that of Dostoyevsky’s in “Notes from Underground”: place Man in a wholly deterministic nihilistic universe and he will blow it up just to prove that he is free...

Indeed, nobody is innocent. Only the naive and the ignorant will say so. All there is left now is to sympathize with the victims. As Mr. Butcher has well mused; one of them is the young man who was victim of his distorted world view.

Sand2007-11-09 07:23:25
Much has been made of he fact that Finland ranks third as to the number of personal gun owning nations in the world. A more significant statistic might be the ratio of gun owners to annual deaths due to personal firearms. The figure I have read quoted in the NY Times for total annual deaths from guns in the USA is 30,000.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-10 02:32:09
Following this twisted sort of logic it would be quite reasonable to conclude that Finnish society would be just fine even if it went on to surpass the US in the ration of gun ownership, After all, as the NRA puts it, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people and guns are a symbol of one’s freedom, integral part of the individual’s civil liberties.” As I sometime like to remind my European friends, imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but why do you have to imitate some of the worst features of American culture when there are also plenty of good features to pick from?

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-10 02:56:54

P.S. So that we may discuss this issue out of knowledge rather than out of ignorance and misguided rationalizations as given by the NRA, or a personal bias and agenda, here are some more interesting statistics (see link above for a full report)which point out that:

1)Finland has the dubious distinction of being second to the US for firearm-related deaths among children. Moreover, firearms are the primary cause of homicide in Finland, Israel, Australia, Italy, Germany and England.

Sand2007-11-10 06:27:57
Your source indicated that indeed there were too many deaths by firearms and that is unacceptable but it also noted that that there were 2.7 times more firearms deaths in the USA than in Finland which, perhaps, is an indication that Finland is better at controlling its guns. Unfortunately the statistics are severely out of date.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-10 15:54:39
Indeed, if what Mr. Kalamidas' article point out ("Something is Changing") is correct, which I think it is, then I's wager that those statistics from ten years ago will most probably have gotten even worst by now. Only people living in some kind of restrictive mental cacoon can pretend that what has happened is a mere abberation not to worry too much about. As mentioned before, there is a snake in every secular-temporal paradise and one can run from it in one's own mind with its own voices but one cannot hide for very long, for as human creatures we live in space and time.

Sand2007-11-10 16:05:57
Although we all live in space and time we all live in different spaces and it seems at least some of us persist in living in irrelevant times.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-10 18:32:46
If that is what your internal voices are telling you they are wholly misguided. As humans we are the product of an evolution which took place in time, what we are now is the product of what we have made in time from the beginning of our humanity: history.

Sand2007-11-10 20:12:06
If that is what your internal voices are telling you they are wholly misguided. To propose that two humans or any other two solid objects can occupy the same space at the same time is a prime demonstration of your rather outstanding foolishness. And to further cling to the obvious miscalculation that we each view current events from the same standpoint merely reiterates the same evaluation of your acumen.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-10 20:39:06
Is that what the voices in your head have understood of Vico's conception of history and humanity and have been telling you? I am afraid hat you need to stop listening to them or you'll become them. Try reading the article on your own this time without their whispering and without biased lenses and you may come to the conclusion that they they are completely off base, perhaps outside of time and space. And then again you may not...As one of Pirandello's plays puts it: To Each its own!

Hank W.2007-11-10 21:24:15
As I have said before.
The swastika is a *FINNISH SYMBOL* from before the wars in history. Foreigners like Hitler stole it. You are just saying they were right to steal it?

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 00:06:58
Mr. W., if I may converse with a demi-gods from Finland, as an "idiot" from America, the swastika pre-dates even the Finnish swastika and can be found in India. Jung wisely discovered that man makes symbols but symbols make man is equally true. Now, tell an Holocaust survivor that you love that symbol because it was owned by the Finns before it was appropriated by the Nazis, and see if he will buy your argument that the color makes all the difference and that you own that symbol and will not relingquish it. Not only he will not buy that argument but he may also suspect you of xenophobia, especially if you go around calling people from other countries with different cultures and ideologies you don't share "idiots." The same Jung also asserted that throw religion out the window and it will promptly return from the back door as an orthodox ideology to be defended and imposed. I recommend him to your intelligent consideration.

Jack2007-11-11 05:11:47
I agree with Sand. There are few nations that exceed the overall society of Finland. I have just completed an article (recently submitted) that shows most of the world's nations feel that Finland is one of the top 5 nations in which to live. Read on...in an upcoming article. I have great respect and admiration for this nation as you will see (read) later. As Sand said, "the country in general is doing far better than the bulk of the nations in the world in general decency and saftey". Ditto that from me as well.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 09:08:31
"there were 2.7 times more firearms deaths in the USA than in Finland which, perhaps, is an indication that Finland is better at controlling its guns." (Sand)

The above is an illogical assertion, one can only assume that if the number of guns were proportionally equal in both countries and then comparing the ratio of homicides to guns in both contries. I am afraid I'd have to agree with Mr. Kalamidas: while the country may be an orderly and overall a socially desirable country, "something is changing" and it needs close scrutiny. I would add that such a scrutiny has to be conducted within the historical framework of Western civilization to which Finland belongs, especially since it is integral part of the EU.

Sand2007-11-11 09:39:42
Since Paparella seems intent on casting aspersions on Finnish culture, perhaps because its people are intent on being logical and not particularly assiduous in submitting themselves to archaic deities He might better attempt to extol the virtues of Africa and the Middle East where religion and superstition have a much firmer hold and the old gods hold sway. Descartes seems to have a somewhat weaker influence there. I’m sure he must approve of the way human rights in general are upheld in that sector

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 09:49:03
Is that what the voices in your head have been telling you? that I am intent on casting aspersion on Finnish culture? But I dare say that most sane people can see through your antics: this time too, true to form the point goes unaknowledged and is ignored while with the sword of atheism and rationalism in hand cavalierly and gratuitously proceeds to slander and smear religious belief and show your disagreement devoid of any respect and courtesy with your usual argumenti ad hominem. So much for reasonableness!

Sand2007-11-11 09:53:47
I sincerely doubt that strong religious belief in the sectors I have mentioned requires any slander on my part to make its results apparent.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 10:05:45
How about considering the wonderful results (the so called workers' paradise) achieved by an atheistic government in the former Soviet Union complete with gulags and the murder of more than seven million innocent people. Is your self-proclaimed powerful rational acume capable to see any connection between that phenomenon and the love of the swastika among some Finnish youth? Does it escape you or you simply do not wish to accept the message? Or are the voices in your head telling you to blame that too on religion?One has to wonder.

Sand2007-11-11 10:13:29
It becomes apparent then that outrageous brutality then becomes acceptable to you if it is done in the name of superstition and religion, whatever the behavior of the now extinct USSR whose attitude towards religion was at best a peripheral motivation in a basically thug driven administration that, perhaps, might have redeemed itself in an obeisance to religion in the manner of Franco Spain.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 10:18:56
Hank W. 2007-11-10 21:46:55
You three assclowns don't know anything of Finland or the Finns, so please shut up.

America is the land of idiots

It would appear that you are included among the three assclowns and idiots of Mr. W. whom we can assume to be a Finn. You were the first one to begin the comments on Finnish culture. Perhaps you should heed the advice of your host. The language is rude and boorish but that should be right up your alley.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 10:21:35
"It becomes apparent then that outrageous brutality then becomes acceptable to you if it is done in the name of superstition and religion"

As I mentioned, you should stop listening to those voices in your head. I never said that.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 10:26:05
P.S. To place religion and cults and superstition under the same umbrella is to show an abysmal ignorance of the religious phenomenon. Before it is too late you ought to consider picking up William James on the varieties of religious experiences. I remain optimistic even though the saying you can't teach on old dog new tricks has its wisdom too.

Sand2007-11-11 10:33:37
Sorry, Paparella, but to convey wisdom, you have to have it. When you display it I will be the first to acknowledge it.
It is, of course, standard policy of any religious adherent to downgrade any religion but his own as cults and superstition.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 10:35:41
"whatever the behavior of the now extinct USSR whose attitude towards religion was at best a peripheral motivation" (Sand)

Really? Ever heard phrases such as "religion is the opium of the people (Marx) and "religion is poison" (Mao), and "how many divisions does the Vatican have? (Stalin)?

Let us come to an existing polity: the People's republic of China, so called, which is neither the people's nor is it a democratic republic and still considers religion poison. Read Mr. Calamita's piece on "Toying with the Olympcs" and my comment on it. It may be a good beginning for the umburdening of your ignorance in the subject.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 10:37:39
"It is, of course, standard policy of any religious adherent to downgrade any religion but his own as cults and superstition"

Of couse, if that is what the voiced in your head have been conveying to you! But, is it true?

Sand2007-11-11 10:46:18
If you need me to confirm the disdain for any religion but an adherent's own, merely read the current Pope's declaration about other religions aside from Catholic. Again I was led astray by my assumption that you were up to date on current events.
As always, in religions and other potentially totalitarian regimes, the concern is with absolute power. Which is the point of their persecution of competitors, religious or otherwise.
So you're not even a competent historian.

Sand2007-11-11 11:36:20
It is peculiarly pointed that you choose to characterize the current Chinese regime as communist because of your inherent technique of twisting the truth to your own purposes. The very dynamic commercial activity of China might be extremely successful but it can hardly be labeled as communist, however the government labels itself. Its pursuit of persecution of any organization that might be in competition of the totalitarian power of the central government is a naked exposition of power, not ideology. As with most other things, you have this wrong too.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 11:39:18
If the voices say so.

Sand2007-11-11 11:56:10
Voices or otherwise, it is encouraging that you concur.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 12:28:32
Not really. You wouldn't either had you read carefully Mr. Kalamida's "Toying with the Olimpics" and reflected on it. I doubt that a Tibetan would concurr with your specious arguments that the Chinese government is no longer Communist, that they are now good capitalists because they have joined the rat race of the West toward material prosperity since that is all there is in the world: the material.

Sand2007-11-11 13:22:09
It is fascinating that you equate capitalism with goodness. The Nazis and their friends in Franco Spain found capitalism very friendly and the Catholic church never seems to find the plundering exploitation of the poor by capitalistic systems much to argue with. Its curbing of the local priests in South America when they sided with the oppressed poor is very indicating of the true motivations of the Vatican. Quite revealing!

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 13:40:37
Here again your abysmal ignorance in the matter is revealing in itself. Have you read any of the encyclical on distributive justice? I doubt it, judging from your liberally dispensed as a knee jerk reaction, shallow slanderous bashing of Catholicism. I am afraid it does no honor to you and/or the cause of atheism either.

Sand2007-11-11 13:43:24
Whatever any proclamations may have been made have said, the actions speak louder than the words.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 18:56:53
Have you noticed that most of your comments on whatever subject end up with an obsessive bashing of Catholicism? Ther is a pathology of sort at work. If the voices in your head includes that of Freud, you ought to converse with him.

Sand2007-11-11 19:56:58
Paparella, you are much too preoccupied with your own dysfunctional viewpoint. Please be assured I am just as unhappy with voodoo and those people who are frightened of stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk. If you would say a few words in their favor I would quickly attempt to point out your errors in that direction.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-11 21:32:08
When the barbarian from up north invaded the Roman Empire and the Mediterranean world he had no use for books and knowledge. Books were good for keeping him warm at night. That was physical barbarism and of course it was a disaster for civilization. However that pales in comparison to the barbarism of the intellect that pervades present day civilization. Today’s barbarian uses knowledge but only in a utilitarian way; it is mere instrumental knowledge for manipulation of matter and not for authentic education which includes the emotions, the heart, the soul, since matter is the only thing real for him. He has no use for any of the humanistic disciplines that since the Renaissance (the rebirth of antiquity and civilization) have made life more humane: the poetical, the mythological, drama, the arts, literature, tales, history (history is bunk declared Henry Ford), etc. He has already done more damage to civilization than the barbarian of old ever did. I learned that at Yale, a place steeped in Gothic architecture. We can now expect the new barbarian of the intellect to propose that we burn down such an anachronism and wipe it off the face of the earth. And if he gets political power, he will undoubtedly do it too.

Sand2007-11-11 23:48:35
But it was the Romans who nailed up your precious Christ and apparently that was right in tune with what Christ's Father had in mind. What are a few books compared to your precious Savior? But of course, Abraham could have told anybody who cared about preferences for human sacrifice, even if it was only a cruel joke.

But never mind the myths, you cannot see what is happening before your face. That it is the big businesses who scrabble over the bottom line, not the technicians and scientists, who really care nothing for human life as long as they can profitably sell armaments and poison toys and overpriced pharmaceuticals and systems that are making the planet uninhabitable.

Eero Nevalainen2007-11-12 01:57:57
Uh. Mannerheim "changed sides" because peace absolutely had to be made with the USSR and that stipulated declaring war on Germany. It kept us from being occupied. I wouldn't have expected such an elementary mistake/omission of history from you. Mannerheim wasn't a fan of Hitler (he considered the guy a barbarian) but certainly believed it was the lesser evil, and in addition offered to deal a decisive blow to an enemy.

The Nazis certainly are not considered "good allies", but to want to completely ignore the situation after Winter War is historically untenable. The Continuation War was perhaps a questionable idea in hindsight, but I can well understand the rationale for the decision. Finland never was ideologically in bed with the Nazis either.

I really don't understand how you possibly can for example expect that Finland should have just waited for Stalin to regain strength and attack again, which he probably would have done. I really am not willing to buy into the theory of his benevolence that some revisionists are pushing.

And mind you, this "NaturalSelector" guy was a typical kid neonazi who was actually more ideologically sophisticated than the immigrant-beating skinheads. Not much, but certainly... his attack was more against the egalitarian model of society we have here than to glorify our war history with Nazi Germany.

Hank W.2007-11-12 16:23:47
This kind of paper is the product of the "Most Intelligent People on Earth"?

Sorry, I call anyone from this kind of place an idiot.

And especially when the unfortunate young man is copycatting a crime model originating in the gun-obsessed nation of yyours.

As I said, you know nothing of Finland and you do not understand the Finns. So keep your imperialistic attitude someplace else. Go kill a nation somewhere in the tropics, that is what you are better at.

Hank W.2007-11-12 16:40:53
Besides which, the young man read the "Domesday Fisherman" Pertti Linkola.

Try acquainting yourselves with him. Note though he's gotten a bit kooky in his old age from the bird-loving pacifist he started as. His later books are quite different. Then you might understand something.

Hank W.2007-11-12 16:58:40
was a typical kid neonazi who was actually more ideologically sophisticated

Actually he was interested in all "far" ideologies, be they far right or far left or far green. If he had been more oriented to spirituality he would have probably gone through a phase of trying all the religions and either found his ideological home in a fundamentalist "far" sect of some religion or started his own.

There are several people that go through these kind of phases, and if you read of history, similar people are now revered in various connections.

In a different age or a different society he might have channeled his madness in another, more constructive manner.

Hank W2007-11-12 17:17:31
"In his ‘manifest’ that he wrote a day before the shooting the 18-years old man says, "I cannot say that I am of the same race as this miserable, arrogant and selfish human race. No! I have evolved a step higher", no comment here, you just have to see around you in Helsinki to see what the young man didn’t like, a young man that grew up believing that only Finns are brave, only Finns have sisu and that is like winning a lottery to born a Finn!"

Ah Thanos *WHAT* did he see?

Because we have been told all this for one reason. We strive to have an egalitarian society . Atleast in principle. The Nordic model tries to get rid of the difference between the rich and the poor. Or atleast giving everybody a chance. Now of course this does not work 100%, but what do you see on the streets today? You see people going "me me me" just looking at their bellybutton. You see people freeloading and abusing the generous system "me me me" instead of contributing and working towards building the system. I was disillusioned in high school as I saw the same thing happening already in 1988. I went through ideological phases as any young person does. But did I go mad and on a shooting rampage? No, I didn't even start sniffing glue. I tried to make my contribution to the society to help build it.

And it was back in the 1990's that times were much worse than today. The schoolkids now might remember something, but the parents became more disillusioned. The old security and safety net was taken away.

Now do I get angry? Do I get depressed? Yes, on days like this with horizontal sleet and a less gray noontime I get depressed. I get angry to see people complaining about small things when they are not happy they don't have all the toys to play with. Who made anyone entitled to all the toys?

Finland has a society of those who belong. Those who belong are the ones building the society (regardless of race, creed or color) instead of those looking at their own bellybutton. I blame the "me me me" attitude so prevalent in the society today. If this young man had been taught to share then he would not have had illusions of being somehow better than all the rest.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-12 18:43:49
As previously mentioned, every time I go to Europe, practically every year, I am dismayed at how much of what is worst in American culture gets imitated. All the worst B ad C movies from the US are on TV, just to give an example. The paradox however is that at the same time there is a continual belly-ake about the corrupting influences of popular American culture. I suppose to find and imitate the best is a bit harder. Shallow caricatures and even negative realities are much easier to find and criticize, but perhaps a wiser approach is to imitate the best, even of our enemies, without fearing and projecting the worst. Admittedly that is harder but it may lead to a dialogue and more positive results. Wouldn't you say?

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