The extreme right wing parties have overtaken many of the traditional conservative parties all over the globe. In Western world especially by appealing to nationalism, Christian cultural heritage and closing the borders from immigrants and refugees alike. Especially the feared Muslims, but anyone with a different tone of skin seems to qualify. Their populist policies have influenced the general political athmosphere, by appealing to a fear of the unknown, the outsider and foreigner, turning the fear of the foreigner into a more and more discussed political issue. In countries like my native Finland it has become “normal” to discuss how Finland could be made into less attractive country for immigration. This is not a very smart long term policy for a country that suffers from low birth rates even though it has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

In reality the world is not going to be devoid of Finns any time in the near future, as we have doubled our number just within a half of a century. That is a very short span of time, even in the terms of human history, not to mention biology. However it is true, that soon there will be a lot of pensioners in comparrison to the working population here. At the moment Finland suffers rather high rate of unemployment. Mostly young adults. But as the big generations born after the WWII grow older, that amount of unemployed Finns will simply not be enough to run the economy as a labour force. Hence, we actually do need the immigrants.

As the amount of immigrants and refugees from outside of Europe has slowly been growing, so have the deportations from Finland back to countries from wich some of these people came from. To me, the entire business of paying tickets for someone to fly back to a country where they do not want to live in, is simply nonsensical. Never mind the fact, that many of those people are infact in mortal danger in their countries of origin. Like for example an Iraqi police officer who had been threatened several times, and when he was deported back, got killed by the very people he had run away from to Finland. What sort of self flagellation the official responsible for making this particular deportation descision has succumbed to since, I do not know. I fear they are too stupid to even understand their own responsibility on using power over the life of a nother person. It is too sad, that people with enough of presence of mind to recognize the higher responsibility of using more power over the life of a nother, do not want thatburden of responsibility and thus the power is directed to people who do not understand such responsibilities and as a result often even want the sensation of power.

The Finns have a high regard of our police and other officials. We have good reason to think they are well paid, highly trained and educated professionals, who have a remarkably low rate of corruption. If the law sets certain parametres as to who is entiteled to live in Finland, the average Finn believes those should be respected.

On the other hand, at the moment our Office of Immigration MIGRI, is found constantly in the news topics from ridiculous descisions they have made to accomodate the new government instructions issued to satisfy the “immigration critical” right wing political populists. For example, there was this man from somewhere in the Middle-East, who had applied for sanctuary as he was a homosexual, and in his homecountry it was not uncomon to stone homosexuals to death. To find out wether his story was true or not the officials at MIGRI had asked him to prove he is a homosexual. How stupid is that? How does one prove such a thing? What did they expect him to do to prove it?

They are even trying to assess, wether some marriages between Finns and immigrants are “actual marriages” or simply marriages of convinience for the married immigrant or a refugee to get a permission to live in Finland. I mean really? How stupid is that? I bet, by their parametres they could have a lot to say about the marriage of president Donald Trump and his much younger immigrant wife…

The right wingers in Finland often appeal to the nationalist feelings by referencing to the WWII, and how Finland stood against the agression of Stalinist Soviet Union. All of us Finns have been taught, that our grandfathers fought for our indipendence and especially for freedom. But the freedom of whom and to do what? To live where people want to live? The Freedom of some particular group defined as Finns, by someone else. What about the people who would want to become Finns? Live in Finland, because this is, or at least used to be, a relatively good country to live in? What was the worst that could have happened to the average Finn, if the Soviets had conquered Finland. To the Estonians, our neighbours, who were invaded by the Soviets, it meant, that a lot of the most richest ones lost good part of their property. That the invaders could impose their power and rule over the individual Estonian and for example deport them somewhere (in Siberia) where they would not want to live, or where they could even be in mortal danger. Have we Finns now employed the rule of Stalin upon the people living in Finland, by providing bureaucrates the power and responsibility to try to decide for other people wether if their marriages are for love or for convinience? Wether they really are homosexuals as they claim to be, or what? Would even Stalin have made the distinction of harrasing people into not living where they want mainly according to their ethnicity. Finland is not making descisions wether someone may live in Finland if they are a born Finn, but for some reason the same rules do not apply, if one has been born elswhere. I find this different treatment of individuals appalling.

TS/<br />Talvisodassa menetetty Viipuri oli elokuussa 1941 jälleen suomalaisilla. Kuvassa 2. tiedotuskomppanian partio, joka on juuri vaihtanut Viipurinlinnan lipputankoon oikeankokoisen Suomen lipun.Vasemmalta tulkkina toiminut sotilasvirkamies Sadri Arifulla, sotilasvirkailija Lehesma, jolla on kainalossaan taistelujoukkojen linnantorniin nostama väliaikainen lippu, sekä luutnantit Jansson ja Myllymäki.

One of the dudes in the picture in their very nazi-like Finnish uniforms, was one of the Finnish Muslims, who fought for the freedom against the Stalinist Soviet union, and at the same time the allied forces of USSR, and in a way GB and USA. By looking at the picture you could not say wich one he is, but if you could, would that make any difference? Would our “immigration critical” voters recognize him as a “true Finn”? Should they have any say on wether this man had, or anyone else has, for that matter, a right to live in Finland? He risked more than any of them on behalf of Finland, but also for freedom wich is a contrary concept to their ideology. Could I ask them even to recognize that much? The moral of the world is not an easy black and white thing. Yet, liberty and freedom to choose where we want to go and live is not such a complex concept. Is it?

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Robin Hood is one of the legendary symbols for fight against oppression. A famous and popular symbol of the little people fighting against the greed of the mighty. The story has had many, many film adaptations along the years. Every filmmaker gives their own interpretation of the legend. As it is legend and not an historical story, it is quite malleable, without any good reason to tell people, that is not how it actually went.

Exept, that while art owes nothing to history as such, when a legend is set in historical backround, history is often distorted totally out of proportion when historicity is not an issue interresting to the storyteller. In the 1960’s there was a time where a western movie telling a story about cowboys had a certain look. None of it looked remotely like the 19th century in wich the stories were set. Both men and women had their hair and makeup made according to the latest fashion of the release date of the film and much of what they wore followed the same logic. Infact, one could say, there was a genre of western fantasy and the expectations of the audiences echoed suit. Then some Italian dudes made their own westerns, and because they were poor, they could not afford all the gimmicks and fashions of the Bonanza-style western fantasy and they had a vision of gritty, but realistic poor west. The basic story was always the same, not much different from Robin Hood, where the poor man has to fight for his rights against the magnate. After that all the western movies made before, turned into total camp. The fantasy version of old west, was suddenly percieved as it was – a bit silly.

Now me, I expect, that some day a scriptwriter, a director and a producer will see this opportunity to do to the film industry what the spaghetti westerns did to the western movies in regard to medieval and for example viking-age stories. There have been attempts to make something authentic, such as for example the film Being Human (starring Robin Williams), but as of yet, none of them has prevailed the genre. The day someone does this to the Biblical movie genre, will be a day to remember, but alas – I do not expect that to change anything, because the major audiences of that particular genre are so invested and indoctrinated, that they could not possibly see the difference between an authentic version of what may have happened in comparrison to the fantasy, because to them the fantasy versions are part of their identity. Even though, the fantasy in Biblical stories is quite fansy indeed.

My favourite filmatisation of Robin Hood remains the 1980’s TV series Robin of Sherwood. This even despite the occasional silly bursts of nationalistic nonsense. Though low on budget, they at least tried to make it look like it actually could have happened during the reign of John Lackland in the turn of 12th and 13th centuries. What they achieved was far too often only showing the time of the making of the film. Yet, at least they tried, wich is more than can be said about most high budget movies or TV adaptations of the story. My favourite version too had some mythical elements to it, but at least during the first two seasons, the idea was much, that some events seemed supernatural to the characters who lived in a superstitious culture and we modern viewers were only led to their perception of the situation, rather than that these were supposed to seem like supernatural to us. The characters were well built and grew during the series and my personal favourit still remains the frustrated bureaucrate the sheriff of Nottingham as portrayed by Nicholas Grace.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle robin of sherwood

Well, I was a kid and every generation seems to get their own Robin Hood. I guess the story remains popular as long as people can see the injustice in the abuse of power and the poor man forced to fight it. Just as in the western movies. That sort of injustice has not disappeared from the world, not by a long shot, but do we get many movies about modern day Robin Hoods taking a stand against it?

I am affraid, that most filmatisations from Errol Flynn to Prince of Thieves, through Robin Hood (starring Russel Crowe), to the new movie (of wich I have not yet seen more than the teaser) are so fantastic – and more fantastic by the number- that they have a tendency to turn the historical events behind the legend into a blurr in the minds of the greater audiences. That ultimately as a result of such medievalist fantasy the line between fantasy and history gets more and more bogged. That people will be having more difficulty to understand what is known about history and what is mere legend. Or that the real history actually took place and that we have something to learn from it.

 

The theological faculty at Helsinki University has decided to start teaching the theology of Islam beside their Christian studies. They already teach at least the Lutheran and the Orthodox versions of Christianity. Some of the Finnish politicians from the far right “immigration critical” party the “Finns” (previously known as the “True Finns” party) were alarmed by this new development.

There is this idea of “Islamisation” of Europe and western world, that is at the bottom of the fear for such a turn of events. Fear is a powerfull factor in politics. Sometimes fear is justified. There have been immigration from Islamic countries to Europe for generations and today it is more visible and wider than ever. The reason is of course, that there are many wars ongoing in Africa, Near- and Middle-East. Many powerfull western powers (both governments and capital) have supported this and that regressive form of government in North Africa, the Near- and Middle-East. This has led to a bunch of wars and people are running from the chaos, bloodshed, oppression and poverty. Hence there are more and more Islamic people even here in the norther part of Europe and even in Finland.

 Medieval illustration of a battle during the Second Crusade

This is the reality we live in today, not the time of the crusades. Closing the gates from more comers would be devastating to our own society, as it would send a message to the Islamic people who already live here, that they are being considered as some sort of second class citizens, or even totally unwanted people. This would lead to the radicalization of many of them and would serve no purpose, exept the purpose of the populist rigt wing politician, be they our own fascists, or members of the Islamist radical movement. For they truly are the opposite sides of the same coin. Their goal is indeed the same, to create a barrier between people on the artificial lines of religion and race and to rule people through the fear they themselves have created.

To me as an atheist, the study of theology, be it Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, or whatever is the study of nothing, by meaningles methods. It is ultimately a wasted effort to try to find some super- or otherwise unnatural meaning from ancient folklore alledgedly put there by some form of divine power. Theology only exists in universities because of cultural and traditional reasons. Not because it represents an actual form of science. It is a non-science where the end result of the “nature” of the ultimate study subject has been prediceded and it is simply nothing but magic. This meticulous study of such sources for generations has led us absolutely no closer to any evidence of said divinities even existing, let alone influencing writing work of primitive cultures. At the end, all divinities still demand blind faith, wich is by no means even a remotely reliable method to find the truth about ANY issue.

However, to me the possibility for people to practice their religion and especially trying to study it, is the sign of an open secular society, where all religions are represented, as long as any of them is studied and have followers anyway. Only in such a tolerant culture can the religions themselves develope towards peacefull co-existance and be interpreted in a tolerant way – thus benefiting also us atheists. In this sense secularism is not only the base for a stronger and more inclusive society, but indeed the base for a better society to live in. For everybody.

 

I never thought I would find myself defending the rights of the ultra religious conservative right. But here we go. The funny thing is, that I have to take a stand on the issue against themselves.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle joulupukki

Denmark has something against Santa Claus! Denmark has issued a ban on the Burka, Niqab, balaclavas, hoodies and false beards. Yes really – false beards… The purpose of this law is quite ridiculous. They mean to follow the example of France and some other European countries in order to make sure people could not hide their identity by obscuring their faces in public. Why obviously, because typical people to wear false beards like Santa Claus actors, and often the older Muslim women wearing niqab are the real menace to peace and order in public. Are they not?

Hiding one’s identity or face can not be stopped by such nonsensical laws. A person may alter their appearance by so many different methods. Make-up, or a wig may change the face totally, just like sunglasses. Why ban false beards? Why not real beards?

This finally proves how the right wing conservatism is equally stupid all over the world, based on subjective world views resulting in fearmongering and having the ultimate goal of getting to order other people around. Here you must wear a burka because they get to say what you may wear and there you must not wear a burka because the same sort of nincompoops get to say what you may wear. They want to oppress people by ordering them even in as seemingly trivial issues as what clothes to wear. What is wrong whith people who want to decide for other people what to wear?

However, it is not trivial to make such laws, because what you wear is about identity and freedom of expression and usually does not harm anyone else. The niqab may harm the person wearing it emotionally, if she is forced to do so, but a ban on the use of such a garment is just as bad as if you were forced to wear it.

The goal of such a ban has absolutely nothing to do with equality or feminism. If you thought so, you were sadly mislead. This can easily be observed by who expressed their joy about it. It was not the social movements fighting for equality, but all the xenophobes celebrating the idea, that this might somehow turn immigrants from Islamic countries back from Denmark. The very same people who constantly express their misogynism. Because they are affraid of Muslim women!

If the purpose of the Danish government was to fight against terrorism, and specifically Islamically motivated terrorism, they have just failed miserably. Such laws, that are direct attacks on the liberties of Muslims (although I suppose the attack on Santa was a clumsy way to try to hide the agenda) and the freedom to express their faith and/or identity are not only hypocritical, but also very dangerous, as they are the causes that drive Muslims already living or later moving to Denmark into radicalization.

People really need to understand, that religions do not cause political radicalization. The real causes are always political in nature. Religions provide people with identity and sadly also excuses by the imaginary divine authority they represent to put tribal moralism into action and ultimately unethical deeds, such as violence. You may think that Islamist terrorism is the only violence at hand, but you would be wrong. You should take a look at history and what the western nations have been doing in Islamic countries for the past century. Remember though, how the Islamists started out only by issuing orders about who gets to wear and what (especially women).

I am becoming really worried about Europe, as the right wing conservatives, both Islamist extremists and our own political opportunistic populists have caused changes on politics through fearmongering. Our right wing nationalists are handing on a plate again and again reasons to hate the western culture for the Islamist extremists to point out to other Muslims.

I wonder how long will it take for the Europeans to wake up and see how we are increasingly governed by so many people who have totally lost contact with reality and whose actions are motivated by fear and hatred. A niqab may be a tool for oppression, but it is also a strong religious and/or cultural symbol and it is pointles, cruel and barbaric to attack the women wearing them, wether by their own choise or not. What this sort of law can achieve, is only that the woman having to wear one, for any reason, shall find it much harder to go out into the society. It is a law of segregation, not different from the stars of David forced on the Jews during WWII, and it will close the woman into a very small ghetto of her home.

I am now expecting reports from Denmark about the police enforcing the law and fining Santa Claus actors for wearing false beards… Well, at least when the season comes again.

Many European countries are going to decide in the near future what sort of a new fighter airplane they are going to buy to replace their older models. One of such countries is Finland. Four different planes have been taken into the contest. The Eurofighter Typhoon (Germany/GB), Rafale (France), Gripen E (Sweden), Superhornet (USA) and F-35 (USA). The lobbying is already going on. All sorts of “experts” suddenly want to express their opinion on wich type of plane should replace the 64 Hornet (USA) planes now in use in Finland.

Hardly anyone is asking the more important question of what do we need fighter planes for, or even how many would be “enough”. The notion, that Finland launchess her fighter planes into some decisive battle in the air in case of a Russian invasion (because that is what the people think we need the planes for) is ridiculous. In case of a war with Russia, Finland could make a desperate stand against the overwhelming military might of the Russian army. We have precedences of such. However, air warfare has somewhat changed since we had the last go on that front. Finland simply does not have an airfield, that would be beyond Russian cruise missiles or their bombers. The Finnish airforce making a last ditch attempt against the Russians would end in us losing all planes we sent in one day and, if indeed some of them got back where would they land? On some strip of road specifically built for that purpose? In Sweden? And then what? The Finnish fighter jet would have little effect on Russian air supremacy, but a far less costly option would be to have mobile air-defence missiles. Yes, they would be expensive too, but not remotely as expensive as a single fighter jet and far more effective.

It may be, that Finland could use a set of fighter planes to identify foreign breaches of air-space (and parades) in peace time, but in comparrison to what we need for a plausible indipendent defence military, 64 or even just 60 planes (as the Paris peace treaty 1945 demands) is far too big of an investment. In fact it is a ridiculously massive investment on behalf of the Finnish nation -as it is the single most expensive investment we are going to make yet – to have been discussed so little by anyone else exept the lobbyists for different types of planes and the military, who obviously, want their ego boosters. Alas, it seems impossible for the Finnish officers (even from other branches of defence than the airforce) to recognize, that this investment is futile in regards to Finnish defence. I think I have heard every excuse, and do not bother to comment them much here, but they remind me that denialism is one of the most dangerous forms of “-isms”.

Nothing really sums up the nonsense value of the discussion about this issue, than the fact, that one of the planes offered to us is a prototype, with typical prototype flaws. And indeed our ministry of defence and all the media following the ministry have already decided to use language revealing wich of the different contestants is the favourite of the party, that is going to specify on what terms the choise shall be made. The ministry is calling the project of choosing the winner for a “multi-purpose fighter”. Now, of those on offer there really is only one actual multi-purpose plane, the F-35. And that is also why this plane, that has been in development for ages, is still a prototype. Because it was bogus from the beginning.

The idea, that a single aircraft would serve on almost all possible different roles, has produced a prototype riddled whith problems, because the different roles, or “purposes”, do not go well together. The stealth mode only works a bit, if the payload is hidden within the chasis, when the weapon systems are revealed from within the stealth chasis, the plane does not only loose stealth, but also much of it’s manoverability. The vertical engine configuration hardly works and is of no use to the Finns. The targetting system is crap and fuel consumption is extremely high. Now, this is the most expensive type of plane offered to us and it is the one chosen by a lot of countries. Why?

A visiting researcher for the Institute for Foreign Policy Finland Matti Pesu recently said in public, that now that some countries have joined the program, including other Nordic countries who have opted for F-35, it may influence also Finland in favour of it. Unbelievable! Was he referring to Denmark, since it could not have been Norway, that has been a member of the project from the beginning (and tried to leave it when it started to become too expensive and as it remains a prototype). But Denmark opted to join in already in 2005. Not “now” or even recently. As a result Rafale took out their plane from the competition, as they thought the contest was rigged in favour of the F-35 option. There have been similar allegations by Boeing about the contest in Belgium and both their Super Hornet and Swedish Saab Gripen were taken out of the constest there. But these descisions are not transparent, so we do not know why we as nations buy this expensive junk.

There is big money involved in these purchases – really big in scale of nations even – and any sort of junk seems to make it to the shop. Higher the price, the more lobbying and corruption money involved. The more ridiculous the purchases.

Just befor WWII Finland bought two cruisers. Together they were the most expensive purchase of the state and nation of Finland had ever made. Neither of them got to be used in the war. One was sunk by a mine and the other was hidden only to be handed over to the victorious Soviets after the war. They served no purpose at all. In hindsight, that money could have been used better. Like for example anti-tank guns or artillery ammunition both of wich Finland suffered a sorely felt shortage of.

For once I am in agreement with the member of parliament and former minister Päivi Räsänen of the minute Christian Democratic party of Finland. She as a doctor has expressed in an interview, that Finland needs a law against all sorts of faith healing and such nonsensical and possibly harmfull alternative “medical” treatments, like the anti-vaccine movement.

However, I can not help the irony of the issue, as a while back she defended the right of doctors and nurses to refuse from providing medical treatment, if it was against their personal religious beliefs. I do not know, if anyone has ever asked her, how she feels about this obvious contradiction in her views – and honestly – I do not even care. I doubt that even such an obvious flaw of logic would influence her, or many others who share her indoctrinated religious identity.

It is quite telling and somewhat interresting, how the religious mind works. On one issue they see faith as a virtue, but faith in something else may be seen as what it is, a poor path to anything real. I know, I should be happy, that the Theist at least sometimes is able to recognize the obvious hazards and how poorly faith works in making any conclusions about reality, but I am not. I am appalled how blurred this can be in the mids of otherwise capable individuals.

In the spirit of oncoming Chirstmass:
Kuvahaun tulos haulle mary icon wiki
Mary did you know your baby boy would one day be brutally tortured?
That religious conservatives would demand his death?
That fundamentalists would demand capital punishment on your son?
Mary did you know your son would be executed by an empire?
An empire, that only sought to protect it’s interrests over seas?
Mary did you know your son would condemn the businessmen and what would follow?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of a future troublemaker?
Did you know your baby boy would demand all should sell all of their property?
Mary did you know he would think it impossible for a rich man to enter heaven?
Mary did you know your baby boy would drive pigs off the cliff?
Because he thought they were infested with demons?
Was it you who made him think himself as a son of a god?
Mary did you know your illicit son would become a nazarene?
And what good ever came from nazarenes and other religious fanatics?
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know?