January 2017 has felt like a long period for me, containing several things to tell about.
This year Finland is celebrating its 100th year as an independent state.
For that reason I’d like to tell some facts and opinions on our independency. The concept independence has some special ingredients in Finland and one of them is willingness to use power with some stronger factors.
The story started during the First World War when Finland still was a part of Russian Empire. Finnish boys escaped to Germany to get military education. In summer 1917 the Finnish parliament (yes, we already had such) declared the independence. But because the parliament had left wing majority, the right wing politicians asked Russian leader Kerenski to dissolve the parliament. And later in autumn when the new parliament had turned to right the Finnish government announced the declaration of independence. It was just after the Russian bolshevist revolution and part of the Finns wanted also to make Finland socialistic. So for that reason a very bloody and bitter civil war took place. The reds relied on Russian troops still maintained in Finland. The whites organized their troops with help of the lads who came back from Germany and finally had big help from a German division. The independent state wanted to have a king – and he was planned to be a German Prince Frederick Charles ofHesse as a king Väinö the First. Unfortunately (for them) Germany lost the war and the Constitution as a republic was provided.
The first decade of Finnish Republic was a bit wild with dreams on the Great Finland which included big parts of Russian Carelia. Officially the Finnish state kept its hand out of such project but secretly supported the raids to Russian side of the border. BTW the current Secretary of Defence is a fan of some wild guys from that era – not a very good merit for him as a representative of the peaceful country!
What comes to our independence, that era was probably the most independent. The reason was there were no friends to rely on. The Finnish government tried to make co-operation with other Nordic countries but the material results were not very massive. When importance of Germany increased again with Hitler there were people who wanted to deep co-operation with him. Anyway Finland was mostly on its own during the two first decades of independence.
Consequently Finland was left almost alone in the Winter War 1939-40 when Stalin invaded to Finland. Stalin was stopped but he managed to take big parts of the eastern Finland as result. The traumatic episode lead the Finnish Government to seek companion with Germany which lead to the second episode of the war when Finland took part in the Operation Barbarossa.
Finland happened to be the only of the German allies that remained unoccupied. However Soviet Union dictated the severe peace terms including huge war reparations. The Soviet commission lead by the right hand of Stalin, Andrei Zhdanov was controlling almost everything in Finland. Finns lived their lives with the motto “recognition of facts is the beginning of wisdom”. And of course the situation was used to someone’s benefit during those days and also much later when the Soviet commission was not here any more. This kind of behaviour has even its own international name, Finlandization.
After the fall of the Soviet regime Finns were very busy to rely on west. We became the part of the European Union, European Monetary system, Euro and so forth. Many Finns are so keen on join NATO as well. And of course there are so many people playing games behind the European organizations, for example telling the false claims that we are not allowed to do this and that because of EU regulations.
But maybe it’s time to come back to my January 2017:
Because the past 100 years there was an exceptionally big New Year event in the Helsinki City. Many national pop stars, aged from seventeen to seventy, were on stage. Even the Prime Minister made a pop up visit there. That was not a big success he heard booing and whistles instead of applauds. The weather was quite warm as a Finnish New Year Eve, some plus degrees.
Celebrating the New Year Eve in the Mannerheimintie Street
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On 4th day we made a short trip to Stockholm. It takes one night to go there and another night to go back so we had six hour to spend our time there. The ferry was Viking Mariella, an old boat with some renovations. The most pleasant was the Viking Lounge, a nice place to have night cap without noisy music.
Starting the voyage at the Viking Lounge
The Viking terminal is pretty close to Stockholm centre but we decided to take a bus. The weather was a bit chilly but beautifully sunny so we walked along the streets for a while. Our main destination was the art museum Moderna Museet. We have visited there before but every time the destination has been a visiting exhibition: Munch, Picasso... This time we decided to see the basic exhibition which was a really interesting cross-section of modern art during the last hundred years.
In the sunny and windy streets of Stockholm
At Moderna Museet
After Moderna Museet we walked through the Royal Palace region to Gamla Stan, the old city. There we did some shopping - otherwise there are almost the same shops in Stockholm as in Helsinki. We also had coffee, tea and pastry in the oldest cafeteria in Stockholm.
Shopping in Gamla stan
Eating a very sweet and sticky pastry
Because Gamla Stan is so near the Viking Terminal we decided to walk back. The problem was there’s a huge construction area in Slussen between Gamla Stan and the terminal. So we were a bit mislead to walk some extra steps.
The reconstruction of Slussen area led us to some exotic sideways...
We had ordered a buffet dinner on board. I tried to avoid eating too much and I almost succeeded in it.
The way back to Helsinki was quite wavy because of the strong north-east wind. However we were back in Helsinki being late only fifteen minutes.
Quite a strong wind from north east delayed our journey back home.
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On 14th January a friend of us Gisela came to Helsinki for a visit. We met her for a late lunch at the Maya restaurant. There were also some other friends. Maya is a restaurant specialised to different South American cuisines. After the lunch we went to Kanneltalo concert hall for a drag show performed by newcomers of the drag queen school of Lola Vanilla. The performances were quite high quality for newcomers. Some of the performers were genetic girls and performance resembled partly the burlesque show. Anyway we had a lot of fun and continued our evening at GLounge bar in Helsinki city.
Lola Vanilla drag school newcomers
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My oriental dance lessons also started with two rehearsals. The sessions are a bit longer than before, 70 minutes instead of one hour. I hope it will help us to do things more intensively. Before the dance season I did a intensive gym period to gain some extra fitness and loose my extra kilos gained in Christmas time.
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On the last Sunday of January I went to Kiljava Institute to lecture on gender plurality at workplaces, based on the inquiry we made last year. The audience was young labour union and left wing political activists. I’ve known young people in the preceding party in seventies and I must say the difference of awareness on such issues is enormous – I didn’t have to explain the basic concepts which is a very common case in average discussion.
After my lecture we had a workshop on things what should be done to promote the rights of the gender minorities with the help of the new legislation. One of these would be the education of shop stewards (what a word, one could think that such a person is rather sneaking whether you have stolen something at a shop...). This will hopefully effect both to labour union locals and employers and superiors. We have been promised that also the employer organizations produce education to HR personnel to support positive development. The good educator combination would be one who knows the law and practices and one who is a real trans person with his/her own experiences. Now we have to find these persons and start advertising the education after that.