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Means & Kauranen

I have for some time admired Russell Means’ famous speech “For America to live, Europe must die.” (available at his website). His autobiography “Where White Men Fear to Tread” is also a very valuable book for anyone interested in anti- and post-colonialism, telling the hard and exhilarating story of a “born-again primitive”.

Nowadays Means is the “chief facilitator” of the Republic of Lakota, which is an attempt to grow an independent Indian nation in traditional Lakota land. The Washington Post has written an article on the Republic’s attempts to get support and recognition from other nations, including Finland:

But the visit to the Finnish Embassy was doomed from the moment Means entered the building, a glass, steel and concrete minimalist masterpiece known as the “Jewelry Box” of Embassy Row. It was early morning. A cold gray light bore down through the bounteous windowpanes. The ambassador was out. Means met instead with the second secretary of political affairs, a young woman named Soile Kauranen. Perhaps because it was early, Means was in particularly testy form. “I could care less who recognizes us,” he told Kauranen. “Whether Finland recognizes us or not, we’re already free.”

Kauranen, who wore a light charcoal pantsuit and modish, clear-framed eyeglasses, spent much of the time assiduously scribbling notes on a legal pad. Her posture was erect, and her questions shimmered as small, pointillist pricks at Means’s reeling monologue. “And, uh, how many people in your country?” she asked. “And how many hectares is it?”

When Means and Collette had answered to Kauranen’s satisfaction, she said, “Thank you, gentlemen,” and ushered them out.

What a vignette! The modernist, neat, factual Finnish embassy meeting the primitivist, ambitious, mythical Republic, both aptly personified.

One Comment

  1. Matti wrote:

    For her to take those two men seriously, to start a genuine dialogue with the men, Europe in her must die first. Obviously this did not happen. For president Koivisto to recognise Estonia as a sovereign state, the (former) Soviet Union should die first (should have died first).

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

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