Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Independence Day

I'm trying to write a PhD chapter on the Finnish conscription system currently, so have been thinking a lot about the linkage between military service and the nature of the state and the nation. In today's Helsingin Sanomat there is an article written by Jarkko Nieminen, currently ranked as the 27th best tennis player in the world, but more temporarily than that, also ranked as a private infantryman in the Finnish army. He comes over as a very sensible chap with a rather level-headed and well thought out approach to the idea of nationalism and military service.

On the subject of nationalism, it's Independence Day tomorrow, so a day off. Helsingin Sanomat has collected some thoughts from foreign residents and naturalized Finns on their adopted country in celebration of this. I think those of us who have been here some time have a privileged position to see the good, bad and funny things about the country, as well as to look on our own countries' with clearer eyes. As Nieminen writes about his country: "When you are half a world away, you realise that this thing or that thing is actually pretty good in Finland". I'd agree on the whole, just don't get me started on the utter idiocy of having two different traffic priority systems at work at the same time so you never know what you should do at the next junction, and of course the weather - which no one could call anything other than shit at the moment! :-)

Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää kaikille (Happy Independence Day to all) !

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