Welcome to Johannes Remy's homepage.
I am a Finnish historian living in Canada, husband, and father of three. On this site, I discuss Finnish politics. If you are interested in my professional activity as a historian, my site on www.academia.edu is more informative: https://columbia.academia.edu/JohannesRemy. In the spring term 2019, I am a Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University, New York.
I opened my website in 2008, when I ran as a candidate of the Social Democratic Party in municipal elections to the city council of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The campaign was unsuccessful. I then moved to Canada, but continue blogging about Finnish politics.
In Finland, I am interested especially in children's rights, other human rights, general transparency and accountability of administration, immigration, and equality of citizens and other residents of the country. In these questions, Finland is not as spotless as we Finns often tend to imagine. Finnish national mythology contains the idea of Finns as exceptionally honest people compared to all other nations. These myths impact harmfully on the government and society, since they too often prevent rational and sober approach to dishonesty among the authorities.
I find alarming the situation and fate of the victims of violent and sexual child abuse in Finland. The laws and administrative regulations concerning this question are very often written without taking the victim's rights into account. For instance, although the criminal background of persons who work with children is checked, the employment in child work of persons guilty of crimes against children is not proscribed. In the court cases concerning child sexual abuse within the family, the protecting parent is not permitted to represent her or his child. This makes the rights of the suspect in such cases better protected than the rights of the protecting parent.
To be sure, most Finnish MPs have no sympathies to the child abusers. The problem is that the harmful clauses were are smuggled into the laws in a few words within texts several hundred pages of length. The MPs could not be aware of all the aspects of their own decisions. Passing of these bills brings forth another serious problem of the government in Finland: civil servants who work in the administration usurp legislative and political power, but do not bear political responsibility. Cases of child abuse are also often investigated in a rather passive and even slack way. That is why many Finnish child abusers go unpunished. The investigation of child sexual abuse is often slack especially if the victim is a small child, aged under five. Here is a link to my blog text on these matters in English: https://www.johannesremy.com/blogi/2019/05/10/30111. In another text in English, I discuss how the European Court of Human Rights sentenced Finland for locking up a pediatrist in a mental hospital on shaky grounds: https://www.johannesremy.com/blogi/2019/06/04/30421
Child abuse is not the only field in which the state is lacking in transparency: rather, it is symptomatic of the incomplete rule of law in Finland in general. These problems are not often discussed in the mainstream press. Journalists receive their information from the authorities and do not easily accept any other viewpoints. Indeed, because of the prevalence of the national myths mentioned above, those citizens who encounter arbitrary action by the authorities have difficulties in getting themselves heard in public. This is not any intentional government policy, but a consequence of widely held national myths.
I have written also against the emerging atmosphere of xenophobia and racism in Finland. These tendencies are represented especially by the True Finns party. Finnish immigration policies indeed need revising, but to increase transparency and accountability in the selection of immigrants rather than to reduce the immigration in general.
I am a moderate leftist: I support market economy based on private ownership of the means of production. At the same time, I am an adherent of welfare state which must assist also those who have less economic success. I also find the trade unions a normal and indeed necessary part of any democratic society. Market is good, but it cannot take care of everything, like, for instance, medical care. I find it essential that the social democratic welfare state is complemented by a dose of liberalism in order to protect citizens against arbitrary tutelage.