Happy MLK Day: The silence of our leaders and friends is more harmful than the words of our enemies

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In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King Jr.  (1929-68)

Happy MLK Day!

I have no respect for those who preach “social equality” in Finland but who would not raise a finger to challenge social inequality. They are the ones who support and reinforce institutional racism in Finland. 

The fake promises coupled with their silence reminds me, today commemorating Martin Luther King, of a famous quote by him: “…remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

We should ask politicians and others after they talk about “social equality” (yhdenvertaisuus) and “gender equality” (tasa-arvo) what they have done to further these important values.

You would be surprised by their answers that are nothing more than shrouded in silence.

Miriam Attias and Camila Haavisto: A false sense of urgency is hurting social cohesion

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                                          Miriam Attias                                                                Camila Haavisto

In times when the public debate is overheated and citizens and non-citizens alike may feel that they have to quickly form a strong opinion on a topic, it is crucial to ask ourselves how real this feeling is. The sensation of being under threat triggers bodily reactions and these reactions can undermine our capacity to form a rational opinion of an event or a phenomenon. When this happens on a societal level, there is a risk that simplified models of causes and consequences overtake the public debate.

Hence, in the midst of a so-called mediated scandal of morality, as we are now experiencing in light of the debate over sexual crimes and migration, it is important to remember that we do not immediately have to form a strong opinion even if it seems that everybody around us is doing so. When the public debate is fed by a false sense of urgency, the voices of people and groups with narrow agendas tend to gain ground. However, these hastily formed solutions by such individuals and groups with political and ideological interests, rarely form long-lasting strategies for social cohesion.

Responsibility should be also put on the gatekeepers of the so-called legacy media. The timing is now perfect for journalists and other media professionals to calm the overly heated public debate on sexual crimes and migration. If the debate is allowed to escalate freely, more polarisation and hatred will come out of it. The danger: Deconstructing an already polarised debate is very difficult. The good news: There is concrete advice at hand.

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The wise tales of Uncle Toms and the unbalanced reporting of the Finnish media

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Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, which was complicit in the early 1990s of spreading racism wholesale in Finland, hasn’t yet apologized for its reporting about groups like the Somalis. In an interview with a Kurdish Islamophobe, Sheida Sohrabi, Ilta-Sanomat signals that it will never apologize for its shoddy and one-sided reporting. 

Sohrabi, who would be called in the United States an Uncle Tom, or Tuomo setä/Mamu setä in Finnish, is a good example of that label. While there are many definitions and explanation of what is an Uncle Tom, I consider it a close synonym of Stockholm Syndrome.

Articles like the one below are a good example of how tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat use so-called migrants to get across their prejudiced message of other migrant groups like Muslims. It is questionable if Shorabi, who came to Finland when she was five and who is a Kurd, even remembers where she was born.

Moreover, the Kurds are fighting to gain their independence and create their own country from Iraq, Turkey and Iran.


Sohrabi speaks of “cultural differences” in the story even if she came to Finland when she was five years old. Sohrabi is an aspiring National Coalition Party politician who wants to make her mark with Islamophobia. Read the original interview here.

An example of the “quality” of Finnish tabloid journalism of the early 1990s. The Ilta-Sanomat billboard affirms that Somali asylum seekers swindled the authorities in granting them refugee status.

Junes Lokka, Marco de Wit, Gleb Simanov, Miki Sileoni and too many others are examples of people who hate migrants, especially Muslims, even if they are people of foreign origin.

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Dr Abdul Mannan: Muslims want to live in harmony with the rest of Finnish society

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Dr. Abdul Mannan, the imam and the president of the Oulu-based Islamic Society of Northern Finland, is adamant about one matter: Those who are guilty of sexual assault should pay for their crimes. He said that the suspects, which number 16 men, have also brought shame to their community.

“These types of crimes [committed by the suspects] are unacceptable in all religions,” he said. “We strongly condemn what they did because of their gravity and the friction they cause with the rest of society. The whole community is suffering because of their crime.”


Dr. Abdul Mannan.

Dr. Mannan, who has lived 26 years in Finland, said he knows well the country’s Islamic community, which is the second biggest religion in the country with more than 100,000 members after the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Muslims account for 2.8% of the total population.

Being a Muslim in today’s Finland and Europe is sometimes challenging. Since September 2017, the mosque in Oulu was vandalized eight times.

The sexual assault cases in Oulu are a good example of how whole groups are easily labelled.

“The media and journalists carry a lot of responsibility on how others see us [in a negative or positive light],” he said. “Journalists must understand that they play an important role in society. What they say has a big impact.”

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Twitter Oula Silvennoinen: A justified question to the Finnish government

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Amid the hysteria caused by nine sexual abuse cases in Oulu, and the eagerness of the government to punish all Muslims and Finland’s migrant community, Oula Silvennoinen* makes an outstanding point by retweeting @JanneKuusi’s comment. 

He tweets: “In the face of the ministerial delegations and the millions of subsidies, how were the other 1,400 pedophile cases treated with respect to the nine cases [of Oulu]? A justified question. @JanneKuusi. #moraalipaniikki

See Oula Silvennoinen’s tweets here.

 

* Oula Silvennoinen is a historian. 

 

 

 

Oulu has turned Finland into a more hostile place for migrants, especially Muslims 

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A journalist asked me what I thought about the reaction of the politicians to the sexual assault cases in Oulu. Certainly, any sensible person would condemn such acts. But what could we say about the politicians and the media?

My answer: The reaction of the politicians and the media is a clear sign of Finland’s ever-worsening hostile environment for migrants, especially Muslims.

A number of studies published last year, like the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, revealed that out of 12 EU countries studied, Finland was the most hostile to blacks. Racism is an issue in Finland as it is in other parts of Europe.

One may ask why is there a growing hostile environment in this country against migrants and minorities?

The answer is right under our noses: Not challenging our prejudices effectively enough and the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party in 2011. Even if the PS imploded in June, Blue Reform continues to beat the same hostile drum against Muslims.

The PS are the first modern party that vowed to “solve the Somali problem” in Finland.


Is this the bottom line for understanding what happened in Oulu?

In light of the sexual assault cases in Oulu and Helsinki, Blue Reform, which has five ministers in Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government, is ratcheting up and returning to its old populist ways by suggesting changes in Section 9 of the Constitution. The Section states: “A foreigner shall not be deported, extradited or returned to another country, if in consequence he or she is in danger of a death sentence, torture or other treatment violating human dignity.”

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Onko normiraiskaaja parempi, kuin mamuraiskaaja?

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sira moksi tph pakenee (2)
Maahanmuuttokeskustelussa vähän väliä ja etenkin silloin, kun kuulemme turvapaikanhakijoihin liittyvistä ikävistä uutisista, heidän tekemistään tai heitä kohtaan tehdyistä rikoksista, kansanedustajasedät ja -tädit puolueista riippumatta esittävät ratkaisuksi sen, että tuodaan tänne naisia ja lapsia. Tällä viitataan kiintiöpakolaisiin ja mahdollisuuteen lähettää oikeita suomalaisia leireille valitsemaan sopivan näköisiä lapsia äiteineen Suomeen hoitoon ja poseeraamaan mediassa, jotta suomalaiset hyväntekijät saisivat hyvän mielen.

Tässä toiminnassa on sellainen ongelma, että määrät ovat niin pienet, että se jää lähinnä kuvaamani kaltaiseksi turvapaikkaturismiksi. Kiintiön kasvattamisesta keskustellaan vuodesta toiseen, joidenkin satojen lisäyskin tehdään ja joidenkin poliitikkojen omatunto tyydyttyy. Pakolaisten hädän helpottamisessa sillä on hyvin vähäinen merkitys. Määrien pitäisi olla kymmenkertaiset ja saman tien, kun tänne on saatu äiti ja lapset, olisi ryhdyttävä toimenpiteisiin, jotta puoliso ja isä pääsisi myös turvaan. Näissä tapauksissahan on – niin ainakin tätä käytäntöä suomalaispoliitikot puolustavat – jo valmiiksi selvitetty oikeus pakolaisstatukseen ja harva perhe lienee omaa puolisoa ja isää paossa.

Tuollainen tapa pelastaa ihmisiä on kuitenkin hidas ja kallis. Paljon järkevämpää olisi ollut alkaa urakalla pelastaa niitä hädänalaisia, joita tuli tänne 30.000 vuonna 2015. Sen sijaan, että olisimme alkaneet heitä nopeasti kotouttaa, järjestää asuntoa ja elantoa ja sitten auttaa heitä kutsumaan tänne äidit ja isät, puolisot ja lapset, aloimmekin säilyttää heitä neljän kerrossängyn bunkkereissa, toimettomina ja toivoa vailla. Valtiovalta julisti heti kättelyssä tavoitteen: 65 % ulos niin nopeasti kuin mahdollista.

Poliitikot kiihottivat väkeä pakolaisia vastaan kaikin mahdollisin keinoin: presidentti totesi, että ne tulevat pahat mielessä ja pääministeri väitti vielä kolme vuotta myöhemmin, että suurin osa tuli vilpillisin mielin, taloudellisessa tarkoituksessa. Turvapaikanhakijoita, perheitäkin pienten lasten kanssa, alettiin rahdata säilöönottokeskuksiin, joskus jopa kuukausiksi odottamaan pakkopalautusta. Usein turhaan, sillä monia on mahdoton palauttaa.

Sydän syrjällään koko yhteisö odottaa, vuodesta toiseen, milloin ovi yöllä kolahtaa ja poliisi astuu susikoirien kanssa sisään. Kotoutuneita, täällä elämään asettuneita ihmisiä haetaan vuosien oleskelunkin jälkeen töistä ja lapsia koulun penkiltä. Jotkut rahdataan yksityiskoneilla Irakiin ja kohta samalla koneella takaisin, kun pakolla palautettavia ei suostuta vastaanottamaan. Osa pelotellusta ja kiihotetusta kantaväestöstä suhtautuu vihan sekaisin tuntein moisiin rikollisiin. Suomalaisten rasistien määrä mitataan Euroopan suurimmaksi.

Tätä se Suomen ”maahanmuuttopolitiikka” on, parhaimmillaankin sosiaalipornoa, normimallissaan kyykyttämistä, pelottelua ja pelkäämistä. Maastapoisto on tämän päivän virkavallan keskeinen tehtävä, vaikka väki vähenee. Nyt, kun lasten seksuaalisten hyväksikäyttäjien keskuudesta nostettiin esiin “ulkomaalaistaustaisia”, ollaan tuollaiseen normikyykyttämiseen kilvan etsimässä lisäkeinoja. Jopa kansalaisuus halutaan anastaa niiltä ”ulkomaalaistaustaisilta”, jotka ovat syyllistyneet samaan rikokseen, johon vuosittain syyllistyvät tuhannet ”oikeat suomalaiset”. Normiraiskaus on siis parempi, kuin mamuraiskaus. Pakolaisena maahan tullut ei oikein tunnu kelpaavan suomalaisen yhteiskunnan jäseneksi.

#suomionrasistinen

sira moksi tph pakenee (2)

An Iraqi family in Finland and their brave 13-year-old daughter

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Asylum seekers and migrants commonly get in touch with Migrant Tales like a Turkmen Iraqi family below who feared being deported back to their former home country. Their daughter is 13 years old and she speaks at least five languages. Since she is the only one who can speak Finnish, she not only interprets language but the family’s anxiety and fear. 

What a brave teenager she is. Always ready to help her parents at any time of the day.

How many more children and teenagers like her of families seeking asylum in Finland?

Many.

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), with the backing of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government, has used asylum seekers as pawns for their own political aims.

Many asylum seekers who came to Finland in 2015 will soon have waited for almost four years for their residence permits.

What is Migri’s response to these people?

Grin and bear it – let’s see for how long.


The Iraqi family that feared being deported has a respite. They are away from danger, momentarily.

Finland’s immigration and asylum policy is inhumane and brings suffering to people who have seen their fair share of it.

When is this societal bullying going to end?