If pre-1945 history is remembered through mighty military chiefs and an Egyptian obelisk, the most visible “lieu de mémoire” from post-WWII history was dedicated to a woman who fought for gender equality and for a united Europe.
If the young adults strolling around Haikon kartano this weekend keep the spirit of Linnaseminaari at heart, and find the much-discussed courage in their daily lives, Finnish public debate on the European Union may soon look rather more visionary than what it is today.
Today at the Fringe festival, I went to see the theatre play simply called ‘Brexit’, and the ‘Six’ musical that tells the story of Henry VIII’s wives. The atmosphere at the festival is socially and politically aware - much like in Edinburgh more generally -, and these two performances are a good example why.
Finland, a hard-working, down-to-earth and honest country, had its long-distance runners like Hannes Kolehmainen and Paavo Nurmi. What could better embody those values than long-distance running? Who or what could be Scotland’s ambassadors to the world?
I had been wanting to go to a proper trance/hardstyle party like this for a while - when you go out with classmates, you never end up in a place that plays this kind of music. In light of that, the festival was definitely worth seeing. In fact, it was the first real festival I had been to.
A shift in the boundaries of what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ can be perilous indeed – that’s when the banality of evil steps in. If you’re at the extreme end of the ideological spectrum, numbing the public’s sense and conscience is what you should aspire to; the more people know this trick, the more resilient our societies are.
For my last night as YEM UK President, I did a road trip to Aberfeldy for the Scotland in Europe event.
Since I became involved in European affairs, I have had to witness countless group discussions that failed to reach any detailed conclusion, and which resorted to a fallback conclusion along the lines of “we really need to engage young people”. That doesn’t mean Erasmus+ isn’t making a difference.
At many international sporting events, among others, people are forcibly fitted into nationality-based silos that feel artificial to increasingly many people. At EYE, this is not the case. Participants are members of groups that can be based on any common interest. This is not a world of rigid country quotas, but one where people are treated as individuals.