It is a question asked so often and, while the typical answer is true, it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yes, it is true for the majority of Finns that Finland is one of the luckiest countries in which a person could live… unless you are Deaf. That small difference decides your fate between being housed or homeless, being employed or discarded as too stupid to work. Deaf people in Finland are begging to be heard. Income, housing and basic human rights are something a Deaf person in Finland would give anything to have.
Even when the law courts of Finland have demanded that a Deaf person be treated with respect and dignity, the social institute of Finland, KELA, outright refuses to obey such a court order. How do I know this? I am Deaf. The courts have ruled that KELA stop acting so shameful and permit me my basic human rights. At first, KELA conceded that they would do so – this lasted for less than 24 hours before they rescinded their decision to provide any assistance to one of their own law-abiding citizens and defy the courts of their country.
My advice to anybody who is Deaf: DO NOT come to Finland unless it is for a short-term vacation and you are accompanied by a hearing person. As a Deaf person, you will see the vast beauty of Finland’s landscapes and incredible fauna – too beautiful for words. You will also learn of a new word – SURDOPHOBIA (the fear and loathing of Deaf people) – as many people’s backs turned the moment they realise you are Deaf.
The Poliisi of Finland are the only exception to this rule, but they are helpless to act. They are frustrated and angry also at the way that Deaf people are treated by government and Finnish people. I would give anything to be living in Australia right now, surrounded by my family, yet once again hiding every day and night from the man who has vowed to police to kill me – my abusive, former spouse. But after the death of my baby and injuries inflicted upon me which cost me a year of my life, I know I can never return home.
I live in Finland with my Finnish husband. We had a choice of which country we would live out our lives and, due to his culture shock with the weather, we both chose Finland. It was a decision made eight years ago when we married. My options, however, are now coming to an end. The powers that be in Finland have, again, turned their backs on the basic human rights and needs of the Deaf of Finland.
Rosie Malezer x