English translation of the preceding article:

A Finnish Liberation Workshop

In January 2016, Kaisli Syrjänen (the Area Reference Person for Finland) led a workshop on Finnish liberation.

For more than a decade, Kaisli has encouraged us to look at our Finnish identity and to work on the incidents in our history that have been hidden and not talked about. It is important to look back to our family history and see the patterns that are linked to each other in the chain of generations. Re-evaluation creates space to understand how all of us have always done the best we could in every situation, and knowing where we come from and who we are makes it possible to create connection to ourselves and each other.

Starting with the Ice Age, Kaisli took us through the most painful incidents in our history, shedding light on a people that has gone through a lot and fought for existence. What has happened to us has been carried by us for generations. It often looks like fear, silence, suspicion, and feelings of inferiority and shame—a pile of patterns that shapes our present lives and society. The shared memories of world wars, civil war, and class oppression still tear us apart from each other.

I was touched by what Kaisli said about waiting. There have been times when waiting has been smart and crucial for survival. It is also crucial to be able to act. The meaning of waiting changes according to the circumstances. To have had to wait in the past for something to happen or circumstances to change does not justify being passive now.

I appreciate a lot how Kaisli keeps Community building central. Throughout the workshop there was the sense of how important it is to do things together. Everyone had a responsibility, but we also worked together. We were present with each other in movement, facial expression, and tone of voice. We created a safe and approving atmosphere that enabled us to look at the hard issues. Peacefulness and willingness emanated from our working together. The closer we are to ourselves and each other, the harder it is for the society (or anyone or any situation) to manipulate us into oppressing each other. This thought gives me lots of hope.

The freezing-cold weather, the forest covered with frost, the snow glittering in the sunshine reminded me of a deep connection to a primeval knowledge that will never be destroyed. This knowledge is innate in all of us—it has just been dimmed by the hurts.

Translated from Finnish by Kaisli Syrjänen

Eeva Hämäläinen

Helsinki, Finland

(Present Time 184, July 2016)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00