Refugees' right to participate in elections

A slightly weird twist regarding the right of refugees to participate in local elections:

Rahim Malalai, an Afghan-born doctor who fled her home country after being threatened to be killed (for daring to work as a doctor, which women couldn't do under the Taliban), was chosen by Finnish Refugee Council as the "Immigrant woman of the year". The purpose of this prize is "to support and advance the position of refugree women in the Finnish society". Rahim has been helping people in home country, in refugee camps, and recently she got certification for a  medical doctor in Finland.

Now Rahim wanted to stand in the local elections (they are every four years, and again this autumn). She's legally eligible. But the Refugee Council says that she mustn't; it is forbidden because she's the Immigrant woman of the year. Rahim has backed down (Suomenmaa).

Now, this is a bit obscure. Wouldn't it be natural that if you want to advance the position of refugee women, you would allow and possibly even encourage participation in politics?

In fact, that's what has happened. Many of the refugee women of the year have since stood in local elections, although not for Center party, which is socially somewhat more conservative than the party of choice of the previous women. And now the Refugree Council says that she's not allowed this year.

How come? I would say to Rahim: go ahead, stand in the elections. You are legally eligible. If they then want to strip you of the status of the immigrant woman of the year, let them do so. You've defied the Taliban before. You can also defy the Miss Refugee Finland rules.

Security Council membership

"Finland wants to become a temporary member of the UN Security Council", they say.

Who is this "Finland"? I don't want my country to be in the UN Security Council. It's somewhat debatable whether it's a good idea even to be a member of the UN, the whole organisation being such a bloated and corrupt beast, but the Security Council clearly is a club that is only useful for its permanent members who have a veto, and no one else.

Having temporary members as some sort of advisers is a thinly veiled attempt to whitewash a non-working structure devised over 60 years ago. The Security Council does not come up with anything useful in major conflicts where it would be needed, because one of the superpowers - USA, Russia and China - is typically involved in one way or the other. Elsewhere - such as in the conflict in Somalia - outsiders can act without the council's approval anyway.

No amount of Security Council approval has stopped USA-haters from calling the Afghanistan operation "illegal war". Therefore, even as an enabler to stop and suppress thoroughly horrible regimes the council is just useless.

So, what can a small country achieve by being a member of the council? It can set itself on a collision course with one of the superpowers. Or it can give blank votes and stay quiet. Who benefits of the membership? A few career diplomats in the Foreign Ministry. Who can suffer? All of us, by paying for it. All of us, by potentially getting inconveniently involved in the clashes of the great powers who are returning to a more and more Cold-War-like setup.

Fortunately, we won the vote and - along with Bhutan and Cambodia - can stay out of trouble.