The day was Saturday the 26th of February. The Russians had started invading Ukraine 2 days before, on the 24th. It felt like the world was turned upside down. It didn’t seem like this could be happening in 2022. It seemed so old fashion. Everyone was shocked and upset and posting about it on social media. I saw on Facebook an event called “Poliittiset nuorisojärjestöt: We Stand with Ukraine” that was going to protest in front of the Russian embassy.

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Adiva Koenigsberg @adivakoenigsbrg for http://vilaweb.cat

The Spanish State boasts of being very strong, but it proves to be very insecure if it can only hold Catalonia by using violence.

The Spanish state shies away from talking about the right of self-determination with Catalonia because this makes it feel vulnerable, but dodging a conflict has never helped to resolve it.

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The Assembly of Representatives constituted in northern Catalonia. Image source: Consell per la República

Elections for the Assembly of Representatives of the "Consell per la República" (Council for the Republic) were held from 29-31 October. The "Consell per la República" wants to be a government of Catalonia in exile, based in Waterloo (Belgium), to prepare the foundations of the future Catalan Republic by avoiding the fierce and antidemocratic Spanish repression.

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Stranded people wait for the reopening of border crossing point in the Pakistan's border town of Chaman on July 16, 2021, following clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters in Spin Boldak to retake the key border crossing with Pakistan. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The Taliban claim to want peace and an inclusive, Islamic system of government, but have rejected every call for a nationwide ceasefire and continue on the warpath. Now, they want Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani out. His only crime, it would appear, is being not only an intelligent Pashtun, but a highly educated one. What’s next on the Pakistan military and ISI’s wishlist for Afghanistan?

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Catalan regional president Pere Aragones (R) poses with Catalan separatists (fromL) Jordi Sanchez, Jordi Turull, Joaquim Forn Oriol Junqueras, Carme Forcadell, Raul Romeva, Jordi Cuixart, Dolors Bassa and Josep Rull in Barcelona on June 28, 2021. - Nine Catalan separatists who were serving long prison sentences for their role in a failed 2017 independence bid were released from jail on June 23, 2021, a day after being pardoned by Spain. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The Solidarity Fund collects solidarity donations from thousands of anonymous people who support the victims of Spain's repression of the democratic and non-violent actions that characterise the Catalan independence movement. It was created by the civil organisations Assemblea Nacional Catalana and Òmnium Cultural when Spain imprisoned their presidents, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart.

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Catalan separatists Jordi Turull, Jordi Cuixar and Joaquim Forn leave Lledoners jail on June 23, 2021 in Sant Joan de Vilatorrada. - Spain pardoned the jailed Catalan separatists behind a failed 2017 independence bid in a bid to break the deadlock over the political crisis in this wealthy northeastern region. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The Spanish government has granted a pardon to the 9 Catalan political prisoners and it pains me that internationally they attribute good intentions to this farce. The pardons have been given in a forced manner, because of the recent Council of Europe report, which equates Spain with Turkey, and because of the imminent, presumably condemnatory judgement of the EU Court of Human Rights. But these are Spanish-style pardons: "reversible pardons".

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A protest for freedom of speech and a better future in Helsinki on the 15th of May 2021.

Freedom of speech is frequently under attack. Perhaps that’s to be expected in countries where dictators call the tune but the problems still exist in free societies in the definition of hate speech. One recent example is the accusations against Päivi Räsänen, a respected politician whose Christian views are well known. She faces prosecution by the Finnish General Prosecutor for expressing her religious beliefs. She didn’t express hate towards anyone.

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Hard life for travelers. Restrictions, harassment, punishment, crazy spending. As if all of a sudden being a traveler has become a crime. Those who travel often know perfectly well which and how many restrictions they must face, the paradox therefore becomes that those who travel are the most controlled people, so the least dangerous, but despite those fact, for some unknown reasons a traveler must be punished.

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Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya's (ERC) jailed leader Oriol Junqueras (R), who has been freed temporarily to participate in the electoral campaign, and Catalan acting regional president and ERC candidate Pere Aragones celebrate their result in the Catalan regional election in Barcelona on February 14, 2021 - LEHTIKUVA / AFP

For the third time in a row, the Catalan pro-independence movement wins with an absolute majority in the Catalan elections. It has won resoundingly with 74 seats, more than the 68 that establishes the majority (in the previous elections it had won with 70). This time also with 51.22% of the votes, making it the majority among the voters.

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I read with interest two columns published in the Helsinki Times by Finns Party MPs Veikko Vallin (20.10.2020) and Veijo Meri (23.10.2020) on a pet topic of their party: migration. Vallin, who asks what is “sustainable migration” for Finland, claims that when he was a migrant in the 1980s in Estonia, Portugal, and Sweden, as a white Finn, he noticed that “many” migrants from developing countries did not wish to integrate.

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On February 27,  Helsinki Times published a letter by the Ambassador of the State of Israel to Finland, Dan Ashbel. Ambassador Ashbel's remarks were a reply to a piece by this author that appeared a week earlier.

My initial article dealt with the collaboration between Finland's Israeli trading partners in military equipment and the Israeli army. I elaborated on how Finland is "directly profiting the very companies that benefit – from Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories" as Finland has been and remains an ever loyal customer of Israel's "occupation-powered military exports".

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