We live in a global world. One push of a button and news – good or bad – can be viewed on the other side of the world. The Internet and mobile technology, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other media applications make sure that tweets from the White House, goals scored in any major sports or news regarding human tragedies will be shared without a delay around the world.
On Friday the 18th of August few minutes of madness brought the world attention to Turku, the former capital and oldest city of Finland. 22-year-old Moroccan-born asylum seeker stabbed ten people in the town centre, two of the them fatally.
Since the act of terror, local, national and international media as well as Finnish social media have been filled with stories about the tragedy in Turku. Stories reflect grief and shock, but also heroism, hostility, blame, and even political opportunism. Although debate around multiculturalism and immigration has remained high on Finnish political agenda since the outbreak of European mass migrations in the autumn of 2015, the Finns have taken great pride of living in a country that has been ranked as the most stable and the safest in the world[i]. Whereas Turku and Finland remain stable and safe, the stabbings have certainly shaken the Finns as well as triggered many difficult, but justifiable questions regarding common security and the standing of the asylum seekers.
Our global world is also an increasingly urbanised world. As the population of the world continue to leave rural areas and crowd into ever more gigantic megalopolises, the issue of managing migrations is becoming more and more burdensome. As the global population increases and inequality spreads out, it is becoming increasingly difficult to shield the western well-fare societies from the backlashes of wars and unrest in Africa, the Middle East and other global hot spots.
Donald Trump may want to build a wall on the Mexican border, but finding a longstanding solution, or even durable remedy to international migrations requires much greater inter-regional cooperation and burden sharing. Like with the environmental questions, the issue of legal and illegal migration cannot be solved solely by the US, China, Russia or the EU, they require truly global cooperation and partnerships.
In order to advance peace and stability, the citizens of the world can make a difference. To describe our time as an era of great changes may well be a cliche shared by previous generations, but it remains an undisputed fact that the present global 24-7 society gives citizens unpresidented opportunties to express and share views on every aspect of life. Terror in Turku may have given some political opportunists the temptation to propagate their ideological agenda, but a great majority of Finns take pride of the courage displayed by ordinary citizens at the time of the attack. It is beside the point, whether the acts of courage and care for fellow human beings came from Turku-born natives, Afghan and Kurd immigrants or a British born tourist from Stockholm. They all, like the local police, and many others showed that within humanity, good can prevail over evil.