Burrowing into Foxholes

Rupert Moreton’s translation of a newspaper article by Jukka Huusko on the poet Eino Leino, patriotism we can be proud of, and universal humanity.

lingua fennica


A translation of Jukka Huusko’s article in Helsingin Sanomat, 29/8/15, published with his kind permission.

The Finns burrowing into their foxholes might learn from Eino Leino’s humanism

As shots ring out in the Helsinki night, the poet Eino Leino, finding himself on the brink of a nervous breakdown, scribbles a foreword for his anthology “The Book of Liberty” (Vapauden kirja).

It is March 1918. The Civil War – or, as Leino put it, “the Fratricide” – has broken out a couple of months earlier. The Reds have taken Helsinki.

Although Leino is sympathetic to some of the goals of the workers’ movement, the Red Terror distresses him. He has aligned himself with the Whites in the middle of the Civil War.

On this “sleepless and distressing night”, at the darkest hour of his nation’s history, Leino pours out bitter words on paper. They are words, however, that…

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