(FINNBAY) – London, 6 February 2014. A freelance writer from the Guardian newspaper, Michael Booth, published an article where he belittled Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden by breaking down the stereotypes of “peaceful welcoming Scandinavia image” with facts and examples. Nordic nations have been quick to respond to Michael’s article.
“The Russians are attacking? Join the Nazis! The Nazis are losing? Join the Allies! These societies function well for those who conform to the collective median, but they aren’t much fun for tall poppies,” said Booth in his article.
In relation to Finland, “Would I want to live in Finland? In summer, you’ll be plagued by mosquitos, in winter, you’ll freeze – that’s assuming no one shoots you, or you don’t shoot yourself. Finland ranks third in global gun ownership behind only America and Yemen; has the highest murder rate in western Europe, double that of the UK; and by far the highest suicide rate in the Nordic countries,” wrote Booth.
A commenter wrote, “Finland might be great for Finns, but it is very different for foreigners. I’ve been living in Helsinki for more than five years and it is definitely not my place.”
“The nation once dubbed “the west’s reigning educational superpower” (the Atlantic) has slipped in the latest Pisa rankings. This follows some unfortunate incidents involving Finnish students – the burning of Porvoo cathedral by an 18-year-old in 2006; the Jokela shootings (another disgruntled 18-year-old) in 2007, and the shooting of 10 more students by a peer in 2008 – which led some to speculate whether Finnish schools were quite as wonderful as their reputation would have us believe,” he continued.
Response to Michael’s piece in relation to Finland came from Alexander Stubb, Finland’s minister for European affairs and foreign trade. Majority of the commenters in the article, saw Stubb’s response as “childish, lacking quality diplomacy.”
“We Finns have a great sense of humour and Michael Booth’s piece was a good laugh,” said Stubb. “There is nothing fake about the average Finn: what you see is what you get. We may not be big talkers, but if a Finn likes you he will eventually open up.”
Booth wrote, “‘We would always prefer to be alone,’ a Finnish woman once admitted to me. She worked for the tourist board.”
In closing his marks, Stubb confused Finland by labelling his own nation as a Scandinavian nation. “As a matter of fact, Finland is not part of Scandinavia,” said a commenter from Finland.
A commenter wrote, “The existence of Alexander Stubb is one of the grimmest truths about Finland. His response is a perfect illustration of that: All surface, no substance. His right wing party has eroded our vaunted healthcare system to the point that people in need of specialist care often must pay for private doctors. Finland does not need corruption, as the upper classes are firmly in each others’ pockets, forming what we call ‘good brother networks’.” “I know! Why’d they get Stubb of all people? The most boring, bleachy-toothed Finn in all the land. Anyone, Timo Soini even, would have delivered a better response,” replied another one.
Also Read: 10 Facts to Know About Expat Life in Finland