Why Are We So Obsessed With Making Life Hard For Each Other?

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Asylum seekers at the Helsinki railway station in September. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

As the sci-fi Robert Heinlein writer so eloquently put it “The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.” So why are we so obsessed with making our short time here so hard for each other?

I refuse to grumble too much at the trials and tribulations hurled at me, partly due to having an upper lip as stiff as quadruple gin and the fact that my problems pale in comparison to 99.9 per cent of the world’s population. When the world is so entangled with the malaise that we find ourselves exposed to everyday it can be difficult to stay positive and at the same time engage and be thoughtful about these subjects.

Migrants and unemployment are of course subjects that affect us all and are definitely the subjects en vogue at the moment. As a writer of words and music it becomes difficult to find a palatable balance between entertainer, artist and dissenter.

It certainly would be irresponsible, complicit and vapid to ignore the issues that occupy our lives daily and I shall always attempt to straddle the fine line of serious and entertaining in this column. I will endeavour to maintain humour even when all I read about is about the deathly perils thrown upon those migrating.

For many seeking asylum in Europe from places like Afghanistan their feelings must border on a type of geo-political Stockholm syndrome, and you can’t blame other asylum seekers for being maybe a little fatigued by constant oppression and war. The situation has not been helped by countries like Hungary puffing up its nationalistic chest claiming to be protecting its borders and culture, when really it’s just being treated as a doormat into Germany and it’s just secretly very sad that nobody wants to stay, which is a bitter pill that doesn’t really sit well with nationalist populism.

But the depressing news transcends the woes of those seeking a better life across borders, even here in Finland news is dominated by the fact that the Finnish government really believes that to get Finland back on track low-paid people are no longer allowed to be ill. Nurses for example – well we all know that nurses are the least likely people to ever get ill and they only hang around people who are already ill so what could go wrong. Nurses don’t really need decent pay either, surely the karmic wealth of their altruistic endeavours will pay the rent.

Sometimes it is very hard to believe that overall things are actually getting better but there really was no such thing as “the good old days”. The planet works much in the same way as Reverend Harry Powell’s left and right hand in the film Night Of The Hunter, a constant struggle of ups and downs, good and bad. It is good for us to laugh, cry, march, strike, shout, argue and get angry but what we should never do is ignore and pretend that everything is ok.

And remember, as Timo Soini has pointed out, Sunday overtime pay is too expensive, so if you want to do your bit and help Finland get back on track try to give birth or be a victim of crime during regular working hours.

 

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