The stabbing spree that took place in Turku, Finland last Friday was indeed a horrific act of terror leaving many a person in shock and wondering about the state of security in our beloved home country. To many, Finland no more feels like a warm and safe haven able to distance itself from outside vitriol. It was also an event that is — as usual — being sardonically embraced by those identifying themselves with newly arisen nationalistic and populistic far-right movements (you may call them “alt-right” or, as I and many others prefer, nazis).
What makes terrorism so dangerous to modern society is not its model of direct violence targeted to the hearts of the cities, but its ability to turn common people against each other, ultimately hindering unity and breaking the very core of a nation. This does not happen overnight, but in a span of months and years, aided swiftly by reactionary politicians demanding increasingly stricter control to both borders and citizens. This, in turn, is paving the way for ethnic profiling and armed vigilante groups that politicians silently approve to name but a few. If that sounds familiar please open a dictionary and look up the definition of fascism.
The Finns Party Youth have already demanded the restoration of civil guards to Finnish cities. Surely we do not need a reminder about the dangers of the movement that spread terror in Finland during the early 1930s. Furthermore, Laura Huhtasaari, the presidential candidate of the Finns Party has demanded once again all borders to be closed before more immigrants–or in her interpretation criminals–arrive. Expect more reactionary stands from conservative public figures during the upcoming weeks.
Unfortunately for Huhtasaari and her party, there exists no political set of actions that would instantly prevent a person going amok in the middle of town. Closing the borders and revoking all of the international agreements would not have the desired impact these populist minds so intensely desire. In fact, even tourism is bringing far more people through the borders than immigration. Instead, politicians, media, and influential people should focus on making the radicalization of individuals less attractive.
French professor and author Olivier Roy has, for one, stated that the current generation of young jihadists are those disappointed in the surrounding world, and while seeking excitement to their lives are attracted by delusions of grandeur the Islamic State is selling them. We as humanity are severely failing if we allow young people in dire need of support to gain a sense of acceptance and meaning from radical Islamist movements. Roy argues further that a typical jihadist is more than often a secular second-generation immigrant than a refugee.
To fight back against terrorism, its consequences, and the rise of neofascism one should not give room to fear, even though fear is the most natural of human emotions (oh, how I wish to have been born a Vulcan). By publicly declaring this on the Internet, one must also brace themselves for a horde of users countering you. They generally demand one thing: to “wake up” from your dream. An obvious reference to a popular slogan “I have a dream”. Apparently, we should immediately wake up from our naive illusion of pursuing a society where people are treated as equal and not as a weaker substance when coming from a non-white ethnic background. I think you know the word for that.
“There exists no political set of actions that would instantly prevent a person going amok in the middle of town.”
Should I obey these people and wake up? Should I find a red pill that would open my eyes? On the contrary, there are no dreams to wake up from but rather by hiding behind symbolic walls and allowing the hate to accumulate, one simply does a service to terrorists. That is why I refuse to wake up, and you should too.
You might now ask what am I doing to fight terrorism? This week I’m attending the Turku Pride march as a gesture of mutual solidarity and fortitude. By living through each of my days without a drop of fear, I graciously extend my one middle-finger to terrorism, another to the far-right agitators, and the third to state powers exploiting these unfortunate tragedies to their own miserable ends. Technically, having that many fingers would make me an alien but then again, aren’t we all aliens in one context or another?
Originally published in Medium.