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First they came...
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-04-11 10:36:30
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“First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

These are the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Nowadays we see more and more often the same thing happen and the last few months we have seen it in Finland. First it was the immigrants and the True Finns parade towards the national elections the next few days flagging their targets with the rest doing nothing.

The word has it that they will increase their percentage in the parliament dramatically and the True Finns themselves actually believe that they will get so many votes that they will be able to form a government and the last year in their march for the elections they have come for the immigrants, the gays, the gypsies, the communists and the unionists. They have actually vomitivly knocked our doors and entered our houses through the press and the television in the name of democracy and just like when Pastor Martin Niemöller times nobody said anything …in the name of democracy.

Do you know what the worst part is? Instead of the people doing something to stop this nightmare they try to calculate how much the True Finns will take. They calculate how much they need to be part of a government and how that might happen. The people with the politicians and the media leading are the ones who give them what they want a week before elections. And when the True Finns will come for them …there will be no one left to speak for them!

Few weeks ago a shop in a central market place had a poster of the True Finns making me wander if I was welcome in there since I’m definitely not welcome for the true Finns. The worst is that it made me wander what’s the next step and what colour of star I will have to wear. But nobody moved. People kept going to the shop shopping ignoring the poster and perhaps believing that if they ignore it, it will disappear. You see they didn’t speak because they are not foreigners.

Today in the tram a man asked me for directions and I somehow understood what he was asking for, so I answered in English making sure that I used some Finnish words here and there for him to get a closer idea. Thank you was out of question, the way he looked at me was like I had stolen something from him or I murdered his mother, he nearly spat on me before turning his face and walking as further away from me as he could. And there were people all around me, people who heard everything and saw his reaction. They preferred ignore the whole thing and look out of the window, they didn’t speak because they weren’t foreigners.

So by the end of this week, on Sunday Finns will have their chance to show if there is anyone left to speak out and make the True Finns to shut up!

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Emanuel Paparella2011-04-11 16:25:05
Indeed Thanos, I underwent the same experience once in the Veneto region of Italy. I approached somebody to ask for direction and in response I received a contemptuous stare. And I asked in Italian, mind you. He must have detected my Southern Italian accent. So much for bongo bongo celebrations for the anniversary of the unification of Italy! If Fellini were alive, what a satiric movie he could make.

Andreas Constandinou2011-04-12 09:23:07
"I am sorry, actually I am not, that I know how to help you out how to get where you want to go. Now, reconsider whether you feel ok wearing clothes made by foreigners, having a foreign car or eating and drinking foreign goods", that could have been a nice answer to this man and any other person in the whole world who is so against foreigners and immigrants.

Eva2011-04-12 10:19:59
Good article! Tragic, because it shows a dark reality in Finland today, but well written. When will people wake up!!??

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