Finnish chainsaw politics
I have to say that any sort of compassion I felt towards the Metsähallitus folks is rapidly waning after seeing the infantile scare tactics they've been using with Greenpeace. Look at these videos and pictures (in English)! Revving chainsaws in the middle of the night, keeping people awake with sirens, hanging nooses from the trees, burning crosses... Sheesh!
The issue is complicated, as always, but Metsähallitus is really trying to make it simple: you can either scorn or hate them for being such jerks and allowing such idiotic things to happen - in their name, by their employees, nonetheless. One would imagine that grown people would have enough sense to sit down and negotiate, but this? It also casts a bad light on the Center Party, currently holding the seat of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
Things like these tend to develop into a public relations fight. Greenpeace has been talking to buyers of Finnish paper, and quite a few authors and paper companies have already started to question the ethics of logging.
Metsähallitus is definitely not doing a good job on the PR front.
(Disclaimer: I support Greenpeace financially, though I am not a member. I also own some forest, so I support forestry. I don't think these are irreconcilably at odds, though...)
Update. I'm not too sure if Greenpeace's tactic of dumping logging waste on the stairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is any more mature, though it is a time-honoured Finnish tradition.
Update2: There's now an English-language blog covering the opposite side of the debate. Unfortunately it mostly consists of anecdotes: "Most locals say that...", "...use of international pressure, blackmailing and even lies by Greenpeace to harass the local people..." It's not very good journalism, but it's a start.
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