What have we learned after 22/7? That we have a great ability to deny and forget?

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Today marks the day when a white Norwegian terrorist called Anders Breivik murdered in cold blood 77 people. Mentally deranged? This is how some want to interpret such a vile act of terrorism.

One of the matters that the monstrous attack by Breivik has proven eight years after it happened is that we have a great ability to forget and cover up our racism with the help of collective amnesia with denial.

The system also produced Anders Breivik and 22/7. Source: Facebook.

But what can you expect? We have had centuries of training. European history is proof: initial horror is always covered up by collective amnesia.

Disagree?

Where are the news stories remembering this day of infamy?

After the horrors of World War 2, the Holocaust, genocide, and the persecution of minorities, we are witnessing in Europe today the rise of populist parties and politicians (with the toothless approval of mainstream parties) that parrot the same hatred that brought the same horrors of the past.

Wake up Europe or succumb to the horrors and wars of the past. People like Breivik is a toxic warnings that are watered and fed by our denial and racism.

2018: (Migrant Tales July 22, 2014) Anders Breivik: Three years after the horror of 22/7 in Norway

2017: Six years after 22/7: What can one person do?
2016: Five years after 22/7 the Nordic region continues to bleed hatred

2015: Let’s (not) forget 22/7  and Anders Breivik

2014: Anders Breivik: Three years after the horror of 22/7 in Norway

2013: Migrant Tales (July 22, 2012): What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7?

2012: What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7?

2011: Breivik, Europe’s counter-jihadist mass killer, gets at least 21 years

Migrant Tales Podcast: An Afro-Nicaraguan in Finland

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From left to right: Rodolfo Walsh, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin, and Mercedes Sosa.

Shirlene Green Newball is an Afro-Nicaraguan activist who moved to Finland 13 years ago and lives today in the capital Helsinki. Shirlene tells us in the interview about her life in Finland and those of Afro-Nicaraguans and other minorities. Is Finland a good country to live in if you are a black woman from the Caribbean region?

Migrant Tales Podcast: Una afro-nicaragüense en Finlandia

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Rodolfo Walsh, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin y Mercedes Sosa.

Shirlene Green Newball es una activista afro-nicaragüense que se mudó a Finlandia hace 13 años y actualmente vive en en la capital, Helsinki. Shirlene nos cuenta en la entrevista sobre su vida en Finlandia y de la situación de las afro-nicaragüenses y otras minorías.  ¿Es Finlandia un buen país para emigrar si eres negra y mujer?

A Migrant Tales classic from 2012: Don’t trust, don’t give the benefit of the doubt to populist and Islamophobic parties like the PS

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The cartoon was originally posted on May 26, 2012.

Ever since he 2011 parliamentary elections, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party won 39 seats from 5 seats previously, we have never trusted this party even though the Finnish media gave it the benefit of the doubt.

Not only did the Finnish media give the PS the benefit of the doubt, but too many were fascinated by its racism and Timo Soini’s populism.

After three parliamentary elections, it is now clearer than ever before that the PS is not only an Islamophobic and populist party but far-right as well.

Migrant Tales was right to suspect and be critical of this party: The PS is not only a threat to our growing culturally diverse communities but to the whole country. Supporting such a party is like shooting our democracy and values in the head.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

Why was former PM Sipilä’s government so xenophobic? Will the new government change matters?

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Only MP Ozan Yanar, Jani Toivola and for about two years Nasima Razmyar, or 1.5% of all 200 MPs during the 2015-2019 term, were the only visible minorities in parliament. In the present 2019-2021 term, matters aren’t much better: Bella Forsgrén and Hussein al-Taee, who is on sick leave, are the only MPs who are visible minorities.

While there are many reasons why former Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government was one of the most hostile towards visible migrants, especially Muslim asylum seekers, the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* played a crucial role in the government’s tightening of immigration policy and bolstering Finland’s hostile environment.

A group picture of Finland’s MPs taken in 2017. Can you spot a minority? Source: Eduskunta.

With the last parliamentary election in April, new hope arose when the Social Democrats, Green League, Center Party, Left Alliance, and Swedish People’s Party formed a new government.

Even if there is hope that this government will be less xenophobic than the previous one, all of the ministers in Prime Minister Rinne’s government are white. One positive matter, however, is that 11 of the 19 ministers are women.

Can you spot a minister that isn’t white in Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s government? Source: Yle.

So what do these two pictures tell us?

They clearly state that there is too little if no minority representation in parliament as MPs and in the government as ministers.

Am I hopeful that matters will change for the better during Prime Minister Rinne’s government?

Experience has taught me to see deeds first and then offer an opinion later.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

Jussi Halla-aho and his ilk have made it clear: the only “real Finns” are white and Christian

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White Finnish supremacy is not only limited to the Perussuomalaiset (PS).* It is found in other mainstream Finnish parties as well.

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED

This is how a far-right white supremacist like Jussi Halla-aho attempt, like in a Yle interview in February, argue why people of color and other minorities can never be Finns: “If I would for some reason go to Somalia and become a Somali citizen, would that make me a Somali?”

Even if the host Kirsi Heikel stood silent while the head of the PS made the statement, the example is another hallow defense of how Halla-aho attempts to exclude migrants and minorities in Finnish society.

The answer by Halla-aho is what I call a yes-but-no response. It may sound at first logical but you soon notice that it is full of holes. It is like an apple that is shiny from the outside but rotten from the core.

Many people who aren’t white don’t want to be white like Halla-aho, PS Vice President Riikka Purra never mind party secretary Simo Grönroos. For me, that would be horrible. What we want, instead, is to be treated with respect, enjoy equal rights and stop hearing near-constantly toxic othering so common to Finland’s hostile environment.

Take a good look at Halla-aho, Purra, Grönroos and others like them and ask yourself the following question: Do I want to look and be like them?

Never!

Certainly, it would also be difficult, if not impossible for some, to change their skin color and ethnic background to appear as white as them.

The surge of racism, hate speech and crime in Finland during this decade is so dire that some children of color learn at an early age to feel inferior and ashamed of their dark skins. Some, even try hiding from the sun because it tans their skins.

What kind of a country and society do we live in where children, yes children, don’t feel at ease with who they are?

In an attempt to keep Finland an imaginary 99% white and Christian country in the future, Halla-aho and his trusty right-hand woman, Purra, turn to the supernatural to define who is a Finn. According to them, you can tell who is a Finn by intuition.

Both Halla-aho and Purra don’t tell you if that Finn they claim to see by intuition is a black person, a person of color or a visible migrant and minority.

Both of them are so white-Finn centric that they most likely mean a white person.

They call it intuition, I call it bullshit.

Parties like the PS, with the help of other mainstream parties, are trying to normalize racism. We must do everything in our power to stop this type of social ill from spreading more.

What makes the PS a far-right Islamophobic party that is a threat to this country?

  • It supports ethnonationalism;
  • Even if it the party’s leadership claims that it does not support ethnonationalism, it does nothing to ban it from the party;
  • PS party secretary Grönroos is an ethnonationalism;
  • The PS supports the social exclusion of Muslims;
  • It requires groups like Muslims to give up their culture and identity;
  • It copies and pastes far-right Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric used by such parties in Europe,
  • It openly aims to make naturalization laws stricter for migrants thus retarding their participation as equal members of society;
  • It supports one-way adaption (assimilation) not two-way integration of migrants;
  • Cultural and ethnic diversity are four-letter words for the PS;
  • It fears that white Finns will become a minority in their own country and makes a big deal about this;
  • Without reading European history, it believes that Europe is only white and Christian and should stay that way;
  • It aligns itself in the EU parliament with similar far-right parties like Italy’s Lega and National Rally of France that are pro-Moscow;
  • It is a member of the far-right EU parliament Identity and Democracy political group;
  • It supports policies that make and keep migrants and minorities as second- or third-class members of society;
  • All of its EU candidates didn’t mind if asylum seekers drown in the Mediterranean;
  • It is a homophobic party that supports neo-liberal economic policies.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

White Finnish media story of the day*: Yle labels as well people of color as “people of migrant origin”

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After Helsingin Sanomat Monday published a story where oddly termed four progressive US congresswomen of color as “people of migrant origin,” state broadcaster Yle used the same term on Monday for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar.

Even if Finland’s largest daily corrected the story, the old headline was still found in some tweets from Helsingin Sanomat.

Not only have members of “the Squad” revealed Trump’s racism towards people of color, but they helped expose it here in Finland and how our leading media talks about people who are not white.

Here is a simple definition for the media: If you are a USAmerican or Finnish citizen, you are a USAmrican and Finn. Considering the racism that exists in our societies, it is too much for some to stomach this fact.

This means that representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Pressley, and Omar are USAmericans who call themselves people of color. Disagree? Tell me a single person from the United States who isn’t of migrant origin.

The use of the term by some Finnish journalists shows how far off Finland still is from being an inclusive culturally and ethnically diverse society.

See [40:11 min] the news broadcast here.

What do you think a congresswoman of the Squad would react if a Finnish journalist would refer to any of them in an interview as “people of migrant background?”

I suspect there would first be a smile and then irritation.

“Is that what you call people of color in Finland,” they may ask.

Monday’s story in Helsingin Sanomat. On the left is the first take and on the right the corrected version.

*White Finnish media story of the day highlights how the national media racializes Finland’s ever-growing culturally and ethnically diverse society by maintaining antiquated, even racist and exclusive views about who has the right to belong and call this country their home.