It’s funny that we expect refugees to be happy wherever they land in Europe, figuring it has to be better than where they’ve fled. And while the latter is probably true, the former is not. Yahoo has a story documenting refugee disenchantment with Finland:
“Hundreds of predominantly Iraqi migrants who have travelled through Europe to reach Finland are turning back, saying they don’t want to stay in the sparsely-populated country on Europe’s northern frontier because it’s too cold and boring. Migrants have in recent weeks been crossing back into Sweden at the Haparanda-Tornio border just an hour’s drive south of the Arctic Circle, and Finnish authorities have seen a rise in the number of cancelled asylum applications.”
“You can tell the world I hate Finland. It’s too cold, there’s no tea, no restaurants, no bars, nobody on the streets, only cars,” 22-year-old Muhammed told AFP.
Of course some Finns haven’t exactly been very welcoming of the refugees. For example:
a. “Around 40 demonstrators — including one dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit — threw fireworks at a bus transporting asylum seekers to a new reception centre in the southern city of Lahti.”
b. “A 50-year-old man threw a petrol bomb at an emergency housing facility for asylum seekers.”
c. Quotes like this: “The flow from the border has been out of control. I have been scared and have avoided going shopping in the evenings because we don’t know who these people are,” said one 66 year old pensioner.
I wonder what the Finns who want to keep the paradise that is Finland all to themselves will think when they realize many Iraqi and Syrian refugees cannot wait to leave. Will they be offended or happy? (or both?) It sounds like a situation that will sort itself out naturally, although Sweden might not be too happy about it because the refugees are flooding back to that country after the disappointment that was Finland.