Floods, Part 3: Prime Minister Vanhanen on refugees

As the editorial here at JeesJees was preparing to entertain you all by borrowing Hesari’s tongue-in-cheek speculations about the origins of the mystery hole in the metro (two types of mutant rodents seem the most plausible) it stumbled on a somewhat different story about “floods”.

According to MTV3’s website Prime Minister Vanhanen (Centre Party) is afraid of a flood (tulva) [sic] of asylum seekers coming to Finland. He reckons (in Aamulehti) that the last few years’ growth in refugee numbers is just the beginning. Around 6000 asylum seekers, it is estimated, could arrive in Finland this year.

The website then reports the Prime Minister’s words thus:

– Ei pitäisi julkisesti sanoa, mutta jos meidät löydetään yhtä laajasti kuin muut Pohjoismaat, hakijoita voi olla jopa 20 000, Vanhanen sanoo. [You shouldn’t say this publicly, but if we’re discovered like the other Nordic countries have been, the number of applicants could be as high as 20 000, Vanhanen says]


“Home, sweet home” in Finnish is “oma maa mansikka, muu maa mustikka” (home is strawberry, abroad is blueberry – work that one out!) In 2008 the UNHCR‘s (The UN Refugee Agency) estimated that there were 11.4 million refugees worldwide. As ever, there’s room to quibble about the terminology and numbers, but it seems rather churlish to do so in this context with these figures. It’s also quite clear that the poorest countries receive about 80% of these homeless people anyway, so such homely sayings are presumably a privilege that only a very few can afford.

P.S. Finnish figures are indeed up. Not long ago they were almost non-existent. Debate is ongoing and extremely fraught about where to put those asylum seekers who do arrive and whom Finland has agreed to assist.


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