Kiitos, Olli Immonen

Kirjoittaja on New Yorkissa varttunut ja Helsingissä naisistunut copywriter.

Ok, my turn. At first I was thinking that so many people are writing about this that my voice would just get lost in the crowd. But no. Right now each one of us has to speak in the loudest and clearest voice we’ve got.

Coming from New York, being loud is no problem, so here we go.

Every year when the new Refugee Woman of the Year is chosen I joke with my friends about why it’s never me.

I guess the main reason is that I’m a white Jewish girl from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I came to Finland in 1989 in search of new experiences, not out of fear for my life. I’m not a refugee, or even an immigrant. I’m an expat. And that’s always made me different (read better) than all those women (and men and children, for that matter) who came to Finland because they had no place else to go.

Well, of course that’s bullshit. Always has been. But now, thanks to Olli Immonen, it’s way more than that.

By defining us all as one big “nightmare called multiculturalism,” Olli is actually doing something amazing – he’s equalizing us. And it’s about time someone did that.

The truth is that everyone who comes to Finland from someplace else has come here looking for a better life. We all have a story. We all have dreams. And we all “take advantage” of the Finnish welfare system. You can’t really avoid it. If you study, get sick, have a kid, or just go about your daily life in Finland, you’re “taking advantage of the system”. Actually that’s kind of the beauty of the system – it’s the backbone of the society. And it’s just one of many ways in which we’re no different than Finns who happened to be born here.

So thank you, Olli. In the coming days, weeks, months and years you’re going to be hearing from more and more of us. In the face of your hatred we’ll come together and throw back love. And you can be sure that, as we’ve seen not only in Finland but all over the world recently, love will win.

And although it’s hard to find anything at all that we have in common, there is one thing. You wrote in your post that you’re dreaming. Well so are we. And just like you, we will fight until the end for our homeland.

All of us.

#iamfinland #minäolenunelma