Appeal to all localities to respect humanity in all its diversity
Appeal to all localities! 6 September 2015
Dear colleagues in home and heritage,
War and violence affect an immense amount of people today. There are people running away from armed conflict, from violence, hunger, and homelessness as well as from the loss, and sometimes the destruction, of their local heritage. Some are escaping with their children, while others have sent their children away in order to keep them safe.
The Mediterranean sea has become the grave of thousands of men, women, and children. The pursuit of a safer life has driven families to take risks which have turned out to be deadly. Nevertheless, many have been able to reach Europe, and some have come to us in the north. Every day dozens, or even hundreds, of refugees arrive in Finland; ordinary people who need food and shelter and access to healthcare. There are children who need to be in school, to not have their education disrupted and to have a safe routine around which they can build their new lives.
Finnish people are exceptionally qualified to receive, host, and manage mass migration. Our history includes the evacuation of 400 000 Karelians into other regions of Finland – a difficult time when people had to give up their homes, their neighbours and localities, to learn to offer as well as to accept help from strangers. This is something we were able to do, and we as a people have learned to be unanimously proud of this achievement.
Now is the time to help those who need our help today. We want to appeal to everyone who values humanity as both local and universal. Let’s open our minds and our hearts, and be better than we have been. We ask that all who can help, do; that every region and every neighbourhood that is able to receive refugees to do so. Our strengths are our values – to respect humanity in all its diversity.
Today we are all needed. Politicians need to make sustainable plans to achieve peace and security. Ordinary people need to learn to see the distress caused by the loss of home and security, and to help the people who have suffered that loss. We need to help them find a better future. We will need to care, and we will need to be prepared to open our doors to these new neighbours – to see the world as our local neighbourhood.
Together, we can.
The Finnish Local Heritage Federation
Kirsi Moisander, chairman of the board
Janne Vilkuna, chairman of the council
Riitta Vanhatalo, executive director
Suomen Kotiseutuliitto pyytää, että mahdollisimman moni kotiseutu olisi valmis vastaanottamaan ja auttamaan pakolaisia. Kotiseutuliikkeellä on mahdollisuus ja kokemusta toimia pitkäjänteisesti kotoutumisen edistämiseksi.