Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Näkemiin, Umayya Abu-Hanna

Umayya Abu-Hanna has left Finland and lives in Amsterdam now, and many people here are saying "good riddance".

I don't really understand why. I am sure she doesn't rape neighbors in the bushes, or beat people up in sausage kiosk lines, or piss on the stairs, or do anything similarly outrageous. As far as the neighbors go, she is probably no more objectionable than an average urban 50-year-old. I might disagree with her politics, but she is a Finnish citizen and entitled to vote here, no matter where she is. And the part about her that makes most of the ill-wishers say "good riddance" - the multiculturalism-related articles that she produces with the help of various Finnish grants - well, if you think you've seen the last of that, just fucking think again. She is writing some multiculturalism-related book on some Finnish foundation's money over there.

Anyway, may she live in a place she best enjoys, I don't think it really makes a difference to anyone else. I kind of fell sorry for the woman. I normally don't like to analyze strangers' motives, and correct me if I am wrong, but I am having trouble believing that she really dislikes Finland as much as she says. Every time I read any of her articles, (I haven't read the books - maybe I should) the words "sour grapes" come to mind.

When bright young girls like herself come to a country that they don't enjoy, they tend to move elsewhere. Considering the free university education and the citizenship easily available at the time to a partner of a Finnish citizen, she could've been a doctor or an engineer in the Netherlands or in UK for more than 20 years now. Instead... well, she chose a profession that is quite amazingly Finland-specific. Very few native-born Finns have professions that are quite as Finland-specific as hers. She is a journalist and a writer who writes for and about Finns, and a Finnish politician.

And she is or was quite integrated into the Finnish society, at least the part of it that writes articles on multiculturalism and runs as Green party candidates. (Those of you who think that being a Green multiculturalist makes one a lesser Finn - I think Finland has had a rather unpleasant discussion on the topic of whether one's political opponents are lesser citizens, some 93 years ago, let's not go into it again, OK?)

It appears she didn't achieve her objectives as a politician and as a cultural diversity coordinator. Maybe she simply wasn't good enough. Maybe she was too different. Maybe she was too much of a foreigner. I don't know. What I do know is that she picked one of the few professions where being an immigrant really does make a difference. Maybe she didn't know it at the time, she was quite young.

Whatever. May she enjoy the canals and the rijsttaffel and whatever. But I think other immigrants should take this as a lesson: if you want to be accepted as a Finn in your career, don't pick a career where part of your job description is being a foreigner.


Anonymous said...

"As far as the neighbors go, she is probably no more objectionable than an average urban 50-year-old."

Actually she is (don't ask).

camobel.es said...

So, I do not really imagine this is likely to have success.