In pics: 20 000 Finns take to the streets to protest against racism and fascism


In the last year, when it comes to immigration, Finland has made international headlines for all the wrong reasons – from idiotic, right-wing vigilantes prancing around the streets to racist greetings made to families fleeing the horrors of the Syrian civil war. Happily, that all changed this weekend when more than 20,000 people marched in Helsinki to protest against racism and violence. Prompted by the death of a man attacked during a neo-Nazi Finland’s Resistance Movement rally earlier this month, the march organised by Peli Poikki (Stop this game!) received huge worldwide coverage.

“Enough is enough. We have a right-wing government, including the racist Perus party, doing nothing about the fascists. How many more people do they have to kill before the government stamps them out? That is why I am here,” said a demonstrator, Jari Laine.

One man joining Laine and the 20,000 strong demonstration was Miemo Penttinen, a photographer and the Co-founder of the mobile learning app company Funzi. His photos below give a fantastic insight into a march, which looks set to change the political discourse in a country where the far-right has been given free reign for far too long.

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How one British writer is showcasing immigrant life in Finland in 2040

Late Adapters

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a lonely senior in a foreign country?

According to Statistics Finland, there are currently over 231,295 immigrants making a life for themselves in Finland. While the vast majority of these are of working age now, by 2040 many will be enjoying their twilight years. But what will those years be like? It’s this question which prompted Lesley Rawstorne to write the play Late Adapters.

Tomorrow’s elderly meet future tech

A collaborative multi-media production, Late Adapters aims to provide a glimpse into the lives of elderly immigrants. Set in 2040, the English-language play focuses on three septuagenarians living in Finland, and the effects of technology, both positive and negative, on their lives. In fact, the play itself was influenced by technology — it includes video sections created with the help of volunteers from around the world, who sent in hashtags and selfies to be used in the play’s futuristic depiction of viral campaigns and online dating profiles.

But Late Adapters is not just about viral campaigns and online dating. The black comedy is based on research in the Social Services field, and is the end result of writer Lesley Rawstorne’s thesis, Exploring the Current and Future Role of Technology in the Socialisation, Wellbeing and Inclusion of Elderly Immigrants in Finland, jointly written with Ilkka Tuomi.

Tongue in cheek on tough themes

As many immigrants already know all too well, loneliness and isolation can be a major issue when relocating countries. For the elderly, these issues can be magnified even further. Late Adapters hopes to tackle tough themes such as ageing in a foreign country, social inclusion, and loneliness and bring attention to the problems that many foreigners face as they age.

Late Adapters will be showing at Helsinki senior care center Kinapori Palvelukeskus on Friday 20th of May at 16:00 and Saturday 21st of May at 13:00. Everyone is welcome, and admission is free. The play will also be showing as part of the annual Kallio Kukkii festival.

All donations will go to Helsinki Missio’s outreach work with the elderly and isolated.

China Swedes, Forest Finns and The Great Migration: How Finnish immigrants helped build America

finnish immigrants

Currently in Finland, like elsewhere in Europe, we’re hearing much about immigration and how challenging it is for new arrivals to integrate into society. Finns themselves, of course, have a long history of leaving Finland to live elsewhere. Sometimes, as refugees from war or famine, other times to simply try and make a better life for themselves and their families. One popular destination was the United States, so let’s take a quick look at how Finns fared in the New World and how well they settled into life far away from home.

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