It was a bitterly cold late spring day in Helsinki as I left the university library and walked briskly down Yliopistonkatu towards the central railway station. At Helsinki Railway Square I stopped to speak with two young men holding a poster with the Finnish words OIKEUS ELÄÄ (right to live) who were organising a petition. Jamal was from Mosul in Iraq and Adnan from Aleppo in Syria. We went across to the Ateneum museum cafe to talk in the warm over coffee, whereupon they showed me pictures of their children and families and, in a smattering of different languages, told me their harrowing story of being two displaced refugees fleeing from war and global conflict. They were living in a local reception centre and had applied for asylum to stay in Finland with the hope that their families could join them later. However, they were worried because only about 1 in 5 applications are successful, and the political climate has recently changed thanks largely to the rise of the populist far-right.