One thing that keeps amazing me is to see the Finnish military marching and some of the Air Force guys carrying a swastika. I am not talking only about documentaries from the 1930s. I am talking about today. The image posted above is the current emblem of the Air Force Command.
Swastika-like figures appear in some other official Finnish symbols, including the presidential flag. My focus here is on the one used by the Air Force since it is probably the one that has clearest resemblance with the Nazi symbol. The colors and the position are a bit different, but the association is difficult to avoid. Continue reading
Kun Helsingin yliopiston professorit viimeksi kokoontuivat, kukaan ei kannattanut siirtymistä autoritaariseen johtamismalliin. Silti se runnottiin läpi. Kysyn rehtorilta, miten hän kokee oman osuutensa asiassa.
The debate about the future of universities in Finland has been quite intense in the last couple of years. There have been various kinds of protests, including occupations of university buildings by angry students and critical declarations by professors. Some, such as the eminent scholar of Arabic and Islam Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, have decided to leave the country, citing the hostile attitude of the current government of Finland toward the universities as one reason. Continue reading
In case anyone is curious about my take on the possibilities of democratization of capitalism, this is a preview of some things I will be talking about here in Brighton. In academic jargon, it is an abstract, starting with a couple of conceptual clarifications. Continue reading
There was an energetic antiracist demonstration yesterday in Helsinki. It was triggered by comments that Member of Parliament Olli Immonen had made in Facebook a few days earlier. Many people, including myself, considered these comments by a high-profile Finns Party member disgustingly racist.
Especially for the standards of the Finnish protest culture, the demonstration was mostly deemed a great success. Sure, there were some minor contradictions.
Today another Finns Party Member of Parliament, Jani Mäkelä, decided to question yesterday’s demonstration. So he asked in Twitter how the demonstration was able to get permits from the authorities so fast. Smart. Except that the Finnish constitution happens to be quite clear: no permit is needed for demonstrations. Continue reading
The University of Helsinki changes its provider of security services. The previous provider was G4S, widely criticized for its alleged human rights violations in Palestine/Israel and elsewhere. This can be considered a victory for the campaign that had demanded that G4S be kicked out of the University of Helsinki. I feel happy.
I am not in the position to make any official statements about the reasons behind my university’s decision to discontinue relying on the services of the G4S. The previous contract was over, G4S was bidding for a new one and lost the bid. Nevertheless, I believe it is clear that our campaign had an impact on the process. Let me briefly remind you of some of the moments of the campaign. Continue reading
“Imagine this is your first high school reunion and nonchalantly you say ‘I work for the CIA’ and all eyes turn toward you”.
This was written on a CIA promotional leaflet distributed at an International Studies Association (ISA) convention a few years ago. Hilarious, for sure, but also disturbing.
How come an agency that systematically tortures people has been able to have a recruitment booth at the world’s largest academic gathering of international studies? I started wondering about this when packing to cross the ocean for yet another ISA annual meeting. Continue reading
Kun Helsingin yliopiston suuressa konsistorissa ilmaistiin kannatusta yliopiston johdon esitykselle dekaanien valintatavasta, yksikään professori ei ilmoittanut kannattavansa sitä.
Helsingin yliopiston suuri konsistori piti juuri kokouksensa. Kyse on yliopiston kaikkien professorien muodostamasta elimestä, jolla ei ole varsinaista päätösvaltaa. Kokouksessa keskusteltiin yliopiston johdon tekemästä esityksestä uudeksi johtosäännöksi. Continue reading
Is Marina Silva able and willing to endorse? Who will win the battle for signification of change? After the main text, some wild speculation on countering the right-wing momentum of São Paulo with Lula the governor and more serious speculation on the second round of the presidential election.