A quarter past seven o’clock in the morning. Walking towards town and listening to the ghetto waking up. Some appear to go off to work, but even more appear to be still drunk from last night’s brawl. A quarter past seven o’clock in the morning, drunks shouting and screaming, old men, young men, old women and young women lying in the grass waiting to wake up and suffer through another day of headaches and nothing else to do than start another day of drunkenness.
The neighbourhood’s children start their screaming games and awake the rest of the ghetto dwellers. The children scream in all kinds of different languages: Finnish, Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic, Tamil and who knows what other languages. They just scream and all the different languages seem to flow into one ocean of screams unrecognisable anymore as words from children’s mouths.
The drunks scream as well, but their screaming is usually recognisable as a few syllables of not too nice words. Telling others to stop screaming and others to bring over the damned beer, wine or whatever it is that they crave for at that particular moment. A perfect place for foreigners to integrate into Finnish society.
Sometimes I wonder just why this area is the way it is, full of foreigners and apparently full of Finns, who certainly do not seem to represent Finnish society. Mainly drunk and jobless Finns who do not seem to have a good grip on the Finnish language and who are apparently chance-less for a job of any kind. Given their usual state of drunkenness, perhaps also useless. What was the local government thinking when they started putting all these together? Nay, what are they thinking by letting this situation continue?
Police come and go ambulances come and go. Domestic violence, destroying of public property, littering, using children’s playgrounds as garbage dumps, public drunkenness, violent drunkenness, near-dead-drunk-drunkenness and so many other examples of apparent integration and so called good examples of Finnish society.
Large groups of Tamils, Iraqis, Iranians, Bosnians, Turks, Russians and so on roam the ghetto. They are harmless, they hardly drink and they keep to themselves and that is exactly what does not comprehend with the meaning of integration. Sure it is nice to have friends to talk to in your own language, who understands your situation, it probably being similar to their own. But if you are always amongst your own then integration is again a long search. So if all the foreigners have to integrate, then why did the local government choose this way, dump them all together in a chance-less neighbourhood and call it integration?
This integration will teach them how to make their own wine, sahti and pontikka, it will teach them that Finnish society is based upon screaming alcoholics and that being drunk is a way of life. But what will they learn about Mika Waltari, seven brothers in a forest, Jean Sibelius, National Parks, the loneliness of the forest, the lakeside sauna next to one’s cottage?
What will they learn here about Finnish politics, except that Finland should never have joined the European Union, because everything is the EU’s fault? What will they learn about the Savonlinna opera-festival, about Oulu’s children’s movie-festival, about Sodankylä’s movie-festival, about Kaustinen’s folk-festival, Rantarock, Pori-jazz and so many other festivals, which are part of Finnish society? Who teaches them to pick berries and mushrooms from the forest? Who teaches them how to make Finnish dishes, the taste of veri-lettuja?
Unfortunately integration into Finnish society is for many foreigners a long and difficult journey, especially for the ones living in the ghetto.