Summing up 2016

First, I would like to present a little statistics. In 2016, I put 13 blogs on my blog site, and out of these blogs seven appeared as the only blog of the respective month. In November, I published four blogs, and in April two, while there is no blog of May, July, and September. The blogs were visited 7783 times; the number of "page views" (in Swedish: "sidvy") gives us this piece of information.
           As we then look at what country the visitors represented, we note that the top ten nationalities stand for 4848 or 62% of all page views. The largest group was Russian (27.6%) followed by Ukrainians (26.5%), Finns (15.3%), Swedes (14.5%), U.S.-Americans (7.1%), Frenchmen (4.6%), Germans (2.7%), Dutchmen (0,8%), Poles (0.7%) and Malaysians (0.06%). People in Asia, Australia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America are very seldom among the visitors to this blog site. So, there is work to do, if I want to reach the global niveau. Communication between visitors and me has been almost non-existent. So, this blog site has not found a larger readership as yet.
On Feb. 24, I published a blog in Swedish. The title is in English A former pacifist and a steady pacifist. I comment on a short article on pacifism written by a journalist of the local newspaper Göteborgs Posten. The journalist has previously supported the pacifist alternative but is no longer convinced of its meaningfulness given the many conflicts raging in our world of so many armed conflicts. I suggest that in addition to various peaceful ways of resolving problems between nations such as diplomacy, we should consider non-violent resistance to see where and to what extent it is a realistic alternative to military means to solve various conflicts.
In the blog "Sanoista – osa 1" (On words – part 1), inserted on March 23, I discuss the concept of word, and in the blog "Sanoista – osa 2", inserted on April 3, I deal with the development of Finnish vocabulary. Word is a unit, whose status differs from one language to the next.There are lexical units that we call content words such as house, and lexical units that we call functional words and use in the company of content words such as in and my. Then, there are affixes that are parts of words. Finnish is a language which has a rich system of affixes. So, for instance, while in English we say in three word long phrase in my house, in Finnish, we express this phrase with one word talossani (house – talo, in – affix: ssa, my – affix: ni). I also discuss the notion of word as a mental and poetic unit. See the end of the first blog where I have put the poem Parole (Italian, "Words") written by Umberto Saba.
The blog Fryysifinska-teesejä (Theses on Finnish spoken in Sweden)1 that I published on April 6 in my blog site, focuses on the variety of the Finnish language we speak in Sweden. We may call this variety "Sweden Finnish". We are often worried about the grammar, or more specifically, features that differ from the standard Finnish. People worried about the grammar think that Sweden Finnish traits in our spoken language such as Swedish influenced pronunciation, for instance, show that the person in question does not know the Finnish language properly.
In the blog, I contend that the spoken language is our mother tongue, and not the standard language. The spoken language and its grammar are constantly changing, and even more so, when it is used in close contact with Swedish, the language of the majority. We who use Finnish in Sweden, should have a sound and realistic attitude to the languages we use, and not be too worried, let alone, afraid of the differences that emerge in our Sweden Finnish as compared with the standard Finnish.
On June 19, I put the blog Hybridiä kaikki tyynni... vai onko? ("Hybrid all together... or is it?") into the blog site. First, I discuss the semantics of the word. The straightforward description of this notion is that it is "a thing made by combining two different elements". The emphasis is on the adjective "different". We can find examples of hybrid things in biology, e.g. a mule is a hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. The word television is hybrid, since it is composed of the Greek word telos ('far' or 'operating over distance') and Latin visio ('sight'). Hybrids and the process of hybridization are very general things or phenomena, which is something I pinpoint in the blog. They stand in contrast with what we think is unblended and pure, purity being a feature that in some ideologies such as nationalism has been taken for a paragon to be sought for and maintained. The blog was published in a Finnish newspaper Kaleva.
In 2016 the Ukrainian singer Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest with her song 1944, which dealt with the forcible deportation of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea ordered by Joseph Stalin. It is needless to retell their grim destiny here. I picked up this theme and inserted it into the blog site on August 9, because newspaper articles and social media discussed it widely and heatedly during 2016 and because I found a sober and well-informed article on this topic in the Russian newspaper Novaja Gazeta (49/May 11/2016) written by Leonid Mlehin. The title was "Не смейте скрывать, кто вы есть" (Nje smejte skryvat', kto vy jest' – Do not be afraid to tell, who you are). I made it into Krimin tataarit eivät alistuneet ("The Crimean Tatars did not give in").
On October 5, I felt it necessary to discuss the situation in the Eastern part of Ukraine, where Russia is involved in a military coup causing enormous social squalor and dangerous political tension. A translating programme helped me to put the blog in Ukrainian and in this manner to show my sympathy with Ukrainians. The title of the blog is a question, whether Russians want to have a war. Their great poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko says in his poem:"Yes, we can fight / But we do not want / Soldiers to die in combat again / On our saddened land..." I suppose the Russians do not want war but in spite of this their armed forces are involved in the armed campaign on the Ukrainian soil. 
The blog "Mitt Finland som jag minns det" (My Finland as I remember it) is a lecture I gave in an occasion that the Gothenburg city arranged for senior citizens. I put the text into the blog site on Nov. 1, 2016. In the lecture, I narrated how I grew up in Helsinki in the 50's. Then, the country was still repairing and restructuring what the three wars in 1939 – 1945 had devastated. Finns were poorer than Swedes as Finland's GNP was 60% of the Swedish GNP. Social, political and material differences were large, and politically the country was under the constant pressure of the Soviet Union.
           The age groups born in 1947 and 1948 are the biggest in the history of Finland, since around 108 000 babies were born per year. The corresponding figure for the year 2015 is 55 472. We were many children, and we had much less toys to play with than children now have. Our teachers were in some cases quite patriotic. Finland had lost two wars, but maintained its independence as a democratic country.
           I learnt from our folk school teacher that Finnishness is based on three S, namely SISU (courage, perseverance, guts), SAUNA (i.e. physical purity) and SIBELIUS (the most famous Finnish composer, a representative of the Finnish culture). I added a fourth S (in Swedish) SKOLA (school; there must be equal opportunities for every citizen to get as high quality education as possible). I concluded my lecture by telling that in Helsinki there had been a big demonstration against racism and pro multicultural society. At the end of the demonstration, people sang "Finlandia" composed by Sibelius. I followed their example, and sang the song to my audience.
In November and December, I published four articles on actual issues. Three of them were translations from Russian newspapers, and one from a British newspaper. I chose the Russian articles not only because of their themes, but also because they were – Russian. I felt that in my home country's (i.e. Swedish) media far too little was heard from Russia. I thought that there must by more than one voice telling how Russians think. Here, I follow the pithy and short guideline Audiatur et altera pars (Let the other side be heard as well ). To continue along the same line, I translated an article from the English newspaper The Guardian written by the world famous physicist Stephen Hawkins. See below.
The Russian articles were the following:2
1- An interview of Andrej Karaulov in Argumenty i Fakty 42 (Oct. 19 – 25, 2016). Title "Dajte strane 3 – 4 goda" (Give the country 3 – 4 years). Interviewer: Olga Šablinskaja.
My comment: The blog has the title "Venäjän aseteknologia takaa: Ei koskaan enää maailmansotaa" (The armaments technology of Russia will guarantee: Never again a world war!). The title connects to Karaulov's statement he makes at the end of the interview to console the interviewer for her worries concerning the arms race that the interviewer might thinks might threaten the world peace. Karaulov calms down:"To defence us we have... unique structures, fantastic technology... All this means that... you and your children will always be safe. And you are going to live in real peace and rest. And you may light candles for those who developed such armament that you can sleep calmly. And so may our whole country."
2- The article (here, in Latin orthography) "Кryм, Тrump i sankcii" (Crimea, Trump and sanctions) was published in Novoje Vremja on Nov. 25, 2016. It is written by Leonid Radzihovskij, and I inserted it into this blog site on Nov. 27, 2016. The writer says that Putin has played his cards well in Syria without giving in anything. In the U.S., the elected presi­dent Mr. Trump has adopted a positive attitude to Russia. The Russian TV maintains that Putin has won the game. It is important for him to create positive relations with the U.S., Europe etc. The parties concerned should diminish the amount of bad language. However, if the hostile image Russians may have about the intentions of the West no longer holds and crumbles, Putin will not have a picture of an enemy at his disposal. If there is no "picture of the enemy", how can he steer the public opinion any more? These are the two sides between which Putin will be bound to swing.
3- Leonid Radzihovskij's article (here, in Latin letters) in Novoje Vremja on Nov. 2, 2016 is headed as (in Latin ortho­graphy) "Vzatije Aleppo. Shto zadumal Putin" (Occupation of Aleppo. What did Putin think). The Finnish title is a direct translation from the Russian title. I inserted the Finnish translation of the article into the blog site on Nov. 30, 2016.
Radzihovskij describes the theater of war operations in Syria as an awful steaming mess, where a great number of parties are fighting for their respective causes. Kurds fight for Kurdistan. Turks fight to thwart the Kurds' plans, and even Europeans and U.S. have been fool enough to break their way there. Insofar as the IS is concerned, the writer assumes that its end is in sight. It will be driven into the cave it rose, but there will be new fanatics, since fanaticism is an ideology, and it is difficult to kill an ideology with a bullet.
           The chaotic situation in Syria is not going to clear up. The centre of the fire may move to another place, it may get less intense, but rebuilding Syria into a peaceful state as it was before the war, is an impossible task. Besides, there will be no one to enter upon that undertaking. Syria has been part of the geopolitical game of influence and sway between super­powers and even minor powers. Now that Russia and the al-Assad regime have driven the rebel group from Aleppo, Putin has flipped the U.S. on the nose, but this does not help Syria to get out of the catastrophe.
4- On 1 Dec., 2016, The Guardian published the article "This is the most dangerous time for our planet" written by the world famous physicist Stephen Hawkins. I inserted it into the blog site on 5 Dec., 2016 headed with the Finnish title "Elämme planeettamme vaarallisinta aikaa" (We are living the most dangerous time of our planet). The article is really worth reading; its basic tenet which the writer backs up with hard evidence is formulated in the head of the article "We can’t go on ignoring inequality, because we have the means to destroy our world but not to escape it". You will find the text through Google under "stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality" The text deserves to be discussed worldwide and translated into as many languages as possible.
1"Fryysi finska" is a sneer name of broken Finnish varieties in Sweden. It derives from the Swedish words "frys" 'freeze' and "finska" 'Finnish language'. "Frys" becomes "fryysi" in the broken variety of Finnish.
2I use the Latin ortography to make it easier for my Western readers.

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