The tragicomical celebration of Finland’s first hundred years
2017-12-15 16:55:00 -
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An Outside View - Panu Höglund

 

On 6 December, Finland celebrated her first hundred years as an independent republic. Of course, it was an occasion of great celebrations. And among those who celebrated, you found the Neo-Nazis. 

 

As it turned out, their march through the city was assisted by police and by Jan Vapaavuori, the Lord Mayor of Helsinki. According to online rumours – as credible as they are – there were even policemen participating in the march.

 

As regards the mayor, he defended the march, stating that ”even people who we don’t agree with should be allowed to march”. 

 

It is another story entirely that the parade was connected with the Nordic Resistance Movement, an international neo-Nazi group well known to physically assault politicians and political activists it does not agree with.

 

When the march was yet just a future prospect, the inhabitants of Töölö, the part of the city where the fascists usually paraded, joined forces to arrange an open air celebration for the children of Töölö. Obviously, it was an aspect of the celebration that they weren’t that happy about the unwanted uniformed guests coming to their neighbourhood. The event was therefore meant to keep the Nazis out of Töölö on Independence Day. 

 

You might think that the Lord Mayor, even as a right-wing politician, might have shown some understanding to the concerns of the local population. However, the city corporation ruled that the Nazis from outside were to be prioritised, instead of local children.

 

As is usual with right-wing radicals, those who arranged the march got enraged with news media calling a Fascist march a Fascist march. They stated that it was all about patriotism, about loving your country. 

 

It is another question entirely which country they wanted to show their love for, as the Nordic Resistance Movement pursues the openly declared goal to create a joint Nordic state together with fascists from other Scandinavian countries. If that purpose were realised, it would be the end of Finland’s independence – the very thing being celebrated.

 

Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish.

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