Europe is currently dealing with refugee numbers unseen since World War II. At the same time, the media gets bombarded with anti-refugee hate speech. To me, this reaction is incomprehensible, as it is obvious that people are in real danger. You can test yourself by asking whether you would voluntarily leave your home, take your near and dear ones with you and venture out to sea on a rubber boat merely in the hope of better social benefits? The fact is that refugees are driven by something completely different, that is, a real danger threatening their lives.
During World War II, Finland sent 70,000 children to Sweden, out of war’s way and into safety. The first larger influx of refugees to Finland was experienced in the 1970s from Chile, and later in the 1990s from Somalia. For many of us Finns, Somali refugees were the first ones to cause a culture shock due to their different colour of skin and their different religion. Over the years, however, they have become integrated into Finnish society, they are a natural part of Finnish society, and they are as Finnish as the next fellow.
Irrespective of today’s economic situation, Finland nevertheless remains an affluent western nation and we can afford to do our part in this problem facing the whole of Europe. This is something anyone with a moral compass will think. Large refugee numbers will of course also cause pressure to Finnish society when it comes to integration training, social services, health care and education, but these can be managed after the acute situation has been dealt with, hopefully sooner than later. It’s also good to keep in mind that refugees constitute an immense source of new capacity for Finland. Multiculturalism is a richness and, when managed properly, a key to success. I think this is proven, for example, by the existence of the USA and by the country’s strength, which is rooted in it being a melting pot of different cultures.