Column fuels alcohol debate in Finland

Wali Hashi is a freelance journalist and a contributor to Yle's "Perspectives" online column. (Yle)
Wali Hashi is a freelance journalist and a contributor to Yle’s “Perspectives” online column. (Yle)

Turku security guard and freelance journalist Wali Hashi has touched a soft spot with the Finnish public. His opinion, published in an Yle online column, that the Finnish way of consuming alcohol is extraordinary and disgraceful, has sparked heated discussion. Hashi believes that alcohol is Finland’s greatest problem.

Somalian Wali Hashi says that he has received a lot of email and Facebook feedback since publishing the piece in which he says that alcohol is Finland’s biggest problem. He says that for the most part the response has been positive.

“Sensitive and taboo subject”

“When I picked up on this sensitive and also rather taboo issue, I assumed that I would get negative feedback,” Wali Hashi says. “But 99 percent of the feedback has been positive.”

It seems that many Finns identify with the issue.

“People have agreed with me that the Finnish way of using alcohol is a problem that should be spoken about more,” adds Hashi. “In my opinion, Finnish boozing and the pride attached to it is a disgrace.”

Wali Hashi says he has long pondered the Finns’ use of alcohol, yet he says that the fact that it is Finland’s biggest problem is not talked about often enough.

“Children proud of being drunk”

“I haven’t had the guts to write about this in the past, but the subject came to light when my oldest boy turned fifteen. In the streets he can see children of the same age who pride themselves on how drunk they are. It’s really concerning,” says Hashi.

Wali Hashi hopes that his column causes the discussion of alcohol issues to be initiated in earnest. According to him, alcohol is Finland’s biggest problem.

“Alcohol is always involved in Finland. If you’re happy, you drink. If you’re sad, you drink. Why should alcohol be present in all things?” he questions. He feels that it is a question that demands a response.

Rethinking drinking

However, the outspoken columnist says that he is in no way calling for an all-out ban on the use of alcohol.

“By no means – it’s only that alcohol could be drunk in other ways than just to get drunk. Finland has spawned the kind of drinking culture in which there is pride in drinking and being drunk. It’s considered quite normal,” says Hashi.

Yle News

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