Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Great Unknown. Independence Day in Finland.

Look, there's a TANK outside!

On TV, the Finnish celebrities and politicians are being asked, every year on Dec 6, "what does the independence mean to you?"

Should I answer that, I'd say that given the current political situation on the other side of the Eastern border of our little but independent country, independence means duty to me.

We Finns have a duty to help to the oppressed. The ones to whom independence is yet a dream. We have to value peace, freedom of speech, and rule of law, and make a point in all international fora that others should value them too. (And I do not mean only Russia, but countries like Turkey or the USA, too.)

Independence in not just an achievement of wars fought in history. It is very much today, and it must be fought for again and again. Independence is a duty, and a tool.

If others can not speak up and fight for their rights, we have to.

Because we can.

When we Finns talk about "the Unknown", we are not necessarily interested in life after death or any other twilight zone mysteries. No, we discuss the book called "The Unknown Soldier", written by Väinö Linna, or the films based on the book, the best of which I am watching right know, directed by Edwin Laine.

It is a basic war story, but also like a thriller. The plot is simple: a bunch of guys, from various parts of Finland –– speaking in various funny dialects –– fight Russians, and die one by one.

But the atmosphere is so strong and the characters so well-built that I always admire its power and wisdom.

I would have missed the film, but luckily I read Sedis blog and was reminded, just before it started.

Imbi Paju was yesterday at Koko theater after Putin's Russia, the play. Imbi quoted Stalin, who used to say, "No people, no problem". How very practical indeed.

There was also Pirjo Honkasalo, who has directed a touching and many times awarded documentary The 3 Rooms of Melancholia. With these tough ladies, and a young male journalist VR, we discussed the mystery of Russia.


Miss Funnybunny and I were having halloumi cheese from Cyprus, bratwurst from Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Germany, and bad, tasteless Finnish potatoes for lunch. Cyprus was on our table because the Finnish Peace Keeping Forces were another theme of today.

No – dream on, there was halloumi because I like it.

And the bratwursts were because Odelius from Germany is in Finland now! Was good to see you, dear.

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