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Finnish midsummer consumed by alcohol
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-06-28 09:34:10
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I have this strange déjà vu feeling around those days that I was thinking exactly the same things a year a go, that I even wrote the same things a year ago. It’s Sunday evening, midsummer weekend and the number of dead in Finland has risen to 20 with nobody knowing where it will stop and how many more are going to die drowning in the lakes, killed in a lethal car accident or suicide. And on the bottom of all that it’s …alcohol!

I live in this country the last eleven years and I know it four years prior moving here. There are a lot of things I like and there are things I had to accept, some I had to compromise and few I was forced to swallow but I have never understood, I will not understand and I don’t think I will ever accept this alcohol culture where getting drunk, so much to endanger your life and others’ lives is social accepted.

I don’t understand how it can be fun getting drunk out of your mind, I don’t understand how joy, love to nature and entertainment means consume so much alcohol that will cost your life and I cannot definitely understand why drinking alcohol can make you so irresponsible to take the wheel and kill people who want to live, who have lives, who have kids or even worst are kids them selves.

I cannot understand why people in this country show “understanding” to …a bit more alcohol during the midsummer celebration weekend and I cannot understand how all this can be joined with the love to nature and celebration for life. Sunday evening and twenty people, the majority young will never fall in love, will never kiss, will never be sad or happy again, twenty people are dead and behind them families, relatives and friends will always remember how alcohol destroyed this celebration of life.

Before sitting down to write I had some ideas about what I wanted to write about and still had images in my mind from the football game between Germany and England. And all that until browsing the Finnish news I was overwhelmed by the title “midsummer toll at twenty” and that before the end of the weekend; who knows what will be the final number and if tomorrow we are going to talk about a new record …till next year!

Finland like all Scandinavian countries sees little of the sun, long dark winters with snow and temperatures far below zero. The summer is something to celebrate, to enjoy life and the bright light and that is a good excuse for a public holyday since even public transportation works in the rhythms of holydays giving the chance to everybody to enjoy the midnight sun. Then the celebration was connected with consuming alcohol and social accepting consumed by alcohol. Seen drunk people having lost any sign of dignity in the streets of the town, in the buses and the metro are something acceptable without making anybody worry. I heard a policeman looking forward to the end of his sift so he could get drunk and a doctor proud counting the number of beers he had the night before; am I paranoid or am I the only one who would never like this doctor to check on me?

Twenty dead in a day they should celebrate life is nightmarish – and this is not the final number – is like a war and I just hope that in the meantime till next year’s midsummer celebrations people will understand that to die is not social accepted.

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Thanos2010-06-28 09:37:20
Unfortunately the number raised to 21!

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