The day of finnish (capitalist-sexist-alienated) culture

The post itself!

This is my sixth day in Helsinki. We had so much discussions, cooking, hiking, living going on that we forgot to update the blog, but now it is time for my first entry. This came to my mind, cause i wanted to get rid of all my confusion, frustration and anger that i felt in the last few days and now i am going to pour it on what happened today.

We got up at noon and accompanied our playmates (f) and (j) who were nice enough to visit us for a few days. We got their public transportation cards so we could travel freely for the whole day and see the building which would accomodate the squatting people and their activities (whatever they will be). We walked around the Kalasatama/Fiskhamnen area seeing a lot of old abandoned factory buildings in which there would be place for the people called Oranssi (who are different from the people i was referring to before… i know it is confusing… to me aswell), eventually winding up at a two storey brick building with a garage. It is near a metro station in a totally industrial setting, which can be an advantage if people would consider trying to connect with the workers of the harbor and the local factories in the future.

In between seeing off our friends and getting to the sosiaalikeskus building we travelled through the everyday wonderland of contemporary Helsinki, the capital of a well established western democracy and envied welfare state called Finland. On the metro there was a guy with a huge bottle of vodka, stuttering something to his travel mates and to himself (it was really hard to decide if he was just talking to himself or on the phone with some high-tech earplug phone thingy), causing some concern among the fellow finns, but not much since there were two other men in the car with the same issue: uncoordinated movement, loud bla-bla with medium amount of sense in it which gave a nice alcoholics not so anonymous feel to the metro. We just laughed, cause the drunken people seemed to talk to each other in some weird way or at least talk in a fashion that sounded like a chorus. An older woman was explaining that she thinks this phenomenon is common in Finland, because of the state is giving money to everybody. Later on we were walking back from the center towards the harbor/industrial area and we passed through the old worker´s district called Kallio. On one of the corners there was a man with a red backpack occasionally shouting really loud at a woman in front of a bar with the people just passing by not saying anything. We were watching the scene from the other side with Milla and when the man hit the woman, we rushed across the road. Milla started to talk to the woman asking about their differences while i was trying to keep away the guy, who was constantly bumping into me and shouting “vittu” (meaning “cunt” in finnish, used as frequently as “the” or “is”… no really… just try listening in on the conversations people have). We all ran to the side we were on before, cause the woman ran away crying to a bus stop with Milla running after her and the man chasing her and me chasing the man. People at the bus stop were acting like weird statues, just blinking towards us sometimes from the corner of their eyes. Milla tried to comfort the woman while i was still pushing the man away asking what his problem was, but he was just cursing at the woman, saying he had no problems and trying to drive me away in fluent english and russian. When he realized he cannot rush at the woman he pretended to pull out a pistol from his pocket and held his finger at me saying: “what if i pull out my colt and bamm!” He finally walked away, but only to the nearest tram stop. Milla hugged the woman offering to accompany her to anywhere she might want to go, but she said after a while that she does not trust people in general so she finds our company highly inconvenient. When the guy was nowhere to be found, she walked away into a supermarket.

I really do not want to run into generalizations, but these stories are everyday stories. I could tell less interesting ones about meeting totally drunk people in other public spaces (from all age groups, sexes (mostly males though), but only finnish/swedish/russian/english speaking and white although i am living in a district with minorities from about 50 different countries) and acts of violence on a smaller, more playful scale (like blowing up everything with firecrackers… compared to the countries i have been before it is really like war), but i think the picture is clear enough. People just stand around and watch this like TV, but the difference is that this is real. It is the usual living in your own little box, the space designated for your frustrated, non-communicative little world in this capitalist shithole. Violence, hatred towards somalians, women, people with glasses, grey as the buildings they live in or the sky they live under and cold as the ice on the seashore or the everyday rule of commodification and reification. We do this on a systematic level, on an everyday basis. We and not them… and it hurts… deeply hurts to live in this world…


4 Responses

  1. The most frustrating thing about the reality you describe is that there is no motivation for real change even among those who are concerned. The only remedy offered to the problems of urban alienation in this country is always more of the same, more alienation. Alienation in the form of faceless welfare bureaucracy and the general institutionalisation of every aspect of our life sphere. Your direct involvement in the case of the distressed woman on the street is massively taboo in Finnish culture because most Finns believe that interventions like that are somehow beyond their own freedom of action, that they are the domain of professionals.

    Some of the strange effigies you encountered at the bus stop may well have been concerned citizens of our proud Social Democratic Utopia. It’s just that they are conditioned to think that it is not their business to take direct action. In their minds, taking matters into their own hands would constitute an infringement of the authority of the police and the socio-medical establishment. The sole duty of ordinary citizens, as they see it, is to elect the right representatives to the Parliament and the City Council, who will then steer the Society-Machine in the desired direction. Almost all discourse on social problems in Finland is paralysed by this kind of hypocrisy. It is the main reason why I have personally turned my on traditional Leftism and its social-engineering approach to society.

  2. (in “turned my … on traditional Leftism” insert “back”)

  3. While I agree with Kalevi, it is commonplace that Finns carry weaponry and when they are riotously drunk, have little inhibitions in using their longknives. I, too, carry one.

    I guess such behavior is a stark contrast to the usual sheepishness of Finns. In a brawl, the cops and the court frequently understand the perpetrator. The victim or an interfering outsider is likely to get a criminal charge.

    Violence and intoxication are the reasons I have chosen my bicycle over the overpriced public traffic.

  4. by Milla

    i feel this blog post is bullshit. cause it leaves out Dani going mad – not communicating with anybody in a normal way. it leaves out Dani dominating three other persons (myself and the playmates) when we were staying at the same space. it leaves out the hard emo-work i was doing on this guy while i myself needed care. it leaves out the work i had to do to get the guy to write these blog posts (that at the time made me feel less alone and desperate with the serious bullying i had been facing from the social center).

    it leaves out the bullshit competitive bullying behavior that Dani had towards the other man in the space. it leaves out the dishonesty. it leaves out the VIOLENCE that was there. it leaves out the VIOLENCE that was there.

    in the second link: click and READ the text EVERYDAY MALE CHAUVINISM if you are in contact with this man.

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