Do you know your ethical responsibility?

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.

meriläinen tuomo-100x130Tuomo Meriläinen
Director of Administration

Je suis Charlie

What gives anyone the right to define what others can and cannot say? This is a question one inevitably has to think about when looking at the tragedy that took place at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. The entire Western concept of justice is based on the rights of the individual, while not forgetting our democratic decision-making and social systems. I’ve been baffled by some of the recent comments looking at the terrorist attack in Paris from the viewpoint that it was “self-inflicted”, a result of publishing provocative pictures. Under no circumstances is the killing of defenceless people justified, not even if their writings or drawings might leave some room for stylistic critique.

It’s a short way from limiting the freedom of speech to limiting the freedom of science. All one has to do is to look back on the early days of the scholars advocating the heliocentric model in the Middle Ages, for example, and what happened to them.  However, it’s the very freedom of science that has given birth to the society we live in today. Unlimited thinking, unlimited research and unlimited publishing of research findings are the only way to create new things that, at best, can benefit the entire mankind. We can’t let anything or anyone stop us from doing what we think is best in the fields of science and communication, just as long as we remember our own ethical obligations.

meriläinen tuomo-100x130 Tuomo Meriläinen