Ministry cuts funding for Perussuomalaiset Youth in 2019 over racist tweet(s)

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THIS STORY WAS UPDATED

The ministry of education and culture decided to cut 115,000 of funding for the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Youth for violating the Youth Act 2017, according to Yle News. The news was hailed by some anti-racist activists as a step in the right direction on how Finland should challenge institutional racism.

One of the important aims of the Youth Act 2017 is to promote social equality and inclusion.

PS Youth chair Asseri Kinnunen said he could appeal the decision.

The latest racist tweet that got the Youth chapter in trouble came in March. A black couple is smiling happily at their newborn child with a tweet by the youth chapter: “Vote for the Perussuomalaiset so that Finland won’t look like this.”

The racist outbursts by the PS Youth are a part of their DNA and political addiction. Below are a few recent examples:

Read the full story here.

While it is a positive matter that institutions like the ministry of education and culture are taking steps to address growing racism in our society, a lot more has to be done to address this social ill that is mocking and attacking our institutions and values.

Here is a good column (in Finnish) by Yrjö Rautio about how hate speech and racism have undermined the rule of law in Finland.

As the PS and its youth chapter cry us a river about how the decision to cut their funding this year is an infringement on their free speech and their right to be racists, we should not give them any further funding until we see a change in their ways.

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.

Will the new Finnish government bring an about-turn in asylum policy?

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Social Democratic Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s government promises sweeping changes in asylum and immigration policy as well as a shift in the polarized debate. Green League Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo said she is not only confident that asylum policy will change but how it is debated by society.

“We can counter hate speech,” she was quoted as saying in Helsingin Sanomat. “I am not afraid to speak about such topics as the chairperson of the Greens’ party. I’m not afraid of Nazis and trolls.”

If 2015 was a watershed year for Finland, when a record 32,476 asylum seekers mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan came to the country, the following year was characterized by a tightening of asylum policy.

Green League chairperson and Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo.

Apart from stricter family reunification guidelines, appeal times were shortened from 30 days to 21 days after the second rejection for asylum, and to 14 days in the third instance. Finland kept in the past the number of undocumented migrants to a minimum by granting residence permits on humanitarian grounds to asylum seekers.

When the latter was scrapped, the number of undocumented migrants soared from a few hundred to thousands. Another change in the law that was detrimental to asylum seekers was access to legal services during the asylum process.

Pia Lindfors, executive director of the Finnish Refugee Advice Center, considered the new government’s plans to overhaul the asylum process as a “paradigm change” when compared with the previous government’s policy.

Pia Lindfors, executive director of the Finnish Refugee Advice Center, and Section 6 of the Finnish Constitution that reads, “Everyone is equal before the law.”

“I see a lot of big changes in Rinne’s government with respect to [plans to overhaul] asylum policy,” she said. “This government talks about the rule of law when the last government believed that increased control could achieve security.”

Lindfors said that before 2015, the asylum process in Finland was known for its good standards, but that has now changed.

“This is unfortunate considering that a lot of work had been done to train officials in order to have an effective asylum process,” she said. “Such achievements took years to accomplish and a lot of work to reach such a good level.”

Lindfors felt that matters can change rapidly for the better for asylum seekers.

“Reinstating previous appeal time and giving asylum seekers the right to legal counseling would be steps in the right direction,” she added.

Miro Del Gaudio, attorney-at-law and founder of Lex Gaudius, which handles a lot of asylum cases, was optimistic about the new government’s asylum policy but said that time would tell how things pan out.

Celebrating Hayder Al-Hatemi release in February 2017 in Helsinki. From left to right: Eero Pellikka, Al-Hatemi, and Miro del Gaudio.

“While matters look good, it is still too early to tell how this will work out in practice and how long it will take for these things to happen,” he said. “Will the government’s measures be enough?”

QUOTE OF THE DAY Jane Elliott: On white supremacy

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In the same way, as in the United States and other predominantly white countries like Finland that are witnessing a growing culturally and ethnically diverse society, Jane Elliott, an anti-racist activist, and educator offers some sound advice below.

In Finland, some of us are so afraid of losing power to ethnic minorities that we saw the rise of an Islamophobic party that is the second biggest in parliament. The Perussuomalaiset* party’s youth organization recently tweeted voters to vote for the PS unless they want Finland to have people of African descent.

Here is Elliott’s advice:

“If you want to get ready for the future, if you want to be treated well in the future, treat others well in the present. What we do in the present constructs the future.”

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.

Perussuomalaiset MP dehumanizes asylum seekers as “invasive species”

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Perussuomalaist* MP Juha Mäenpää, a member of the far-right Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu, labelled asylum seekers in a session of parliament as “an invasive species.

Mäenpää is the same person who in 2015 stated that god had answered his prayers after a reception center that was going to house asylum seekers was razed to the ground.

In a tweet by Martin Scheinin, international law and human rights professor at the European Institute University calls out MP Juha Mäenpää’s usage of the word “invasive species. He states that Perussuomalaiset vice president Juho Eerola kept silence. Referring asylum seekers as “invasive species” could bring ethnic agitation charges against Mäenpää.

The interesting matter to watch is if, like Scheinin correctly points, if ethnic agitation charges will be brought against Mäenpää.

In combating social ills like racism, the role of the state and its institutions should be clear: any form of discrimination or hate speech that dehumanizes people is unacceptable.

One of the biggest challenges of combating racism and discrimination in Finland is due process, which is too slow, and symbolic fines that are a joke. Even so, a conviction brings shame and that may deter others.

Still, too much racism and discrimination exist in Finland because they are allowed to exist and live another day. It is like giving protection and cover for anti-social behavior.

In my opinion, it is important that the state prosecutor bring ethnic agitation charges against Mäenpää, who speaks of other human beings as if they were animals.

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 was 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.

MP Aimo Turtiainen’s ignorance and 1 + 1 = 2 views permit his foot to end up in his mouth

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“The inhabitants of Juva are quiet about [MP] Ano Turtianen.* It is a sign that there is a lot of shame.”

A Juva resident

Ano Turtianen is an MP from the town of Juva (pop. 6,500) in Eastern Finland. Anyone who has visited Juva will most likely note a lot of pensioners walking with rollators. Just like the village’s demographic woes, Turtiainen has made a lot of enemies.

One of these, who spoke on condition of anonymity, considered Turtiainen an image problem for the town.

“Even if he got over 426 votes from Juva [out of a total of 3,265], it shows that there are a lot of people set in their ways,” the Juva resident said. “No matter what you do, their opinions will not change.”

If what the village resident says is true, then Turtiainen is how some of the residents of the town see the world.

Some believe that he is more interested in being in Helsinki than Juva.

“He has a lot of contacts there and I believe what is going to happen evntually is that he will forget Juva for Helsinki,” the resident said.

The most recent outburst by Turtiainen, that Ebla in Africa is nature’s way of keeping overpopulation in check, shows ignorance, and a total lack of respect for human dignity and human rights.

Certainly a person like Turtianen has got in trouble with the law. He has a conviction for inciting people to burn asylum reception centers managed by the Red Cross. His comments about migrants and refugees are as well an example that white supremacy has a strong following in Juva.

Further reading:

Nature is helping in keeping population growth in check. #ebola #Afric

When Iltalehti asked Turtainen if he understood that the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second worst in history, he placed the blame on overpopulation.

“If it is in your opinion the second worst epidemic, my opinion is that the biggest problem is that there are too many people,” he was quoted as saying to Iltalehti.“That’s the biggest problem, the biggest epidemic. These kinds of things happen as a result.”

While it is clear we have not heard the last of Turtiinen’s racist outbursts, his behavior as an MP offers other political parties a reminder that doing business with the PS is making a pact with the devil.

In the same way, the former PS chairperson, Timo Soini, made a pact with far-right extremists and Islamophobes and, as a result, got his fingers burned badly, the same danger looms for the present head of the PS, Jussi Halla-aho.

“The problem with the Perussuomalaiset party is that far-right ideology has found a home [thanks to Halla-aho and people like Turtiainen] as has [nativist ethnonationlist groups like] Suomen Sisu,” the Juva resident said. “This creates friction because some party members don’t think this way.”

“I don’t know if Turtiainen is a member of Suomen Sisu, but I have my doubts,” said the Juva resident
.”I doubt that he will be reelected for a second term.

*”Ano” is a real name in Finland. The equivalent name for women is Anna. The translation of “ano” in Spanish is the anus.

[1] * 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 was 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.

The Perussuomalaiset is a far-right party. Finland will sleep safer if we call them out.

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The Perussuomalaiset* joins the newly formed Identity and Democracy (ID) group in the EU led by far-right politicians like Matteo Salvini, and Marine Le Pen. This is one of many examples of the PS’ far-right colors.

One of Finland’s most significant acts of denial is not fully acknowledging that the Perussuomalaiset (PS) is a far-right party that is openly hostile to migrants, minorities, and to our Nordic institutions. The mainstream European media calls the PS correctly a far-right party as do NGOs like HOPE not hate.

At Migrant Tales, we could not agree more with other European newspapers like the Financial Times of London, The Guardian, Politico, Spiegel Online, EUObserver, The Local SE, Madrid’s El País and others that see the PS as a far-right party.

A “perfect” far-right couple: Matteo Salvini and Laura Huhtasaari.

One of the big political pitches that parties like the PS make directly or indirectly the the hateful language of white supremacy. The most recent case implicating its youth organization is a case in point. In a tweet by the PS Youth group, showed a picture of a black couple smiling contenedly at their newborn child: “Vote for the Perussuomalaiset so that Finland won’t look like this.”

While it is a good matter that there was a reaction to such a racist message made possible with the help of tax-payers’ money, time permitted the hateful message to sink in.

One of the oldest tricks used by parties like the PS do to communicate with their voters is making outrageous claims usually racist and in code. Parties like the National Coalition Party use the same trick as we saw with Piia Kauma’s false claims about baby carriages.

This is how it works: A politician makes an outrageous claim to a journalist, who doesn’t bother to question its veracity. Eventually, the journalist may do some investigating and find out that he or she was fed a generous spoonful of malarkey. By then it’s too late because the story is already out there.

There are many reasons why the national media does not label a party like the PS as far right. Finland has good journalists like internationally acclaimed Jessikka Aro, who exposed pro-Russian Internet trolls, Tuomas Muraja, Kati Pietarinen, and others.

In the face of such good journalists, their valuable work ends up in the dustbin thanks to a lot of poor and toothless journalism. It’s a bit like writing a lot of blockbuster articles, but the last one you did does not make the grade. Your good articles will be forgotten because you are as good as your last story.

What are some reasons why the Finnish media does not call out parties like the PS:

  • The media is too white to notice the difference when it comes to racism;
  • The media tends to speak in code;
  • Finnish consensus and naive expectations that the far right isn’t a threat and will eventually become “normal;”
  • In the latter case, racists and anti-racists will join hands and love each other;
  • Journalists also house closet white supremacist views as far-right parties;
  • Lack of leadership and vision;
  • Opportunism.

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 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.

Sono alla ricerca della sua famiglia in Italia. Era un tuo avo?*

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Dante Tessieri, che era di Cecina, per ragioni politiche a fine ‘800 lasciò l’Italia per il Brasile, dove ebbe due figli da Aida Guaimonti, tra cui Nemo, mio nonno, nato nel 1899.  Nel 1900 circa si trasferì in Argentina ed ebbe altri tre figli nella sua nuova patria: Sara, Iris e Carlos.

Dante Tessieri fu un matematico e probabilmente servì nella Marina Militare Italiana.

Sono alla ricerca della sua famiglia in Italia. Era un tuo avo?

Se sì, ti prego di metterti in contatto con me: etessieri@gmail.com

Questo è stato trovato per caso su eBay. Dante Tessieri è il guardiano del faro dell’isola di Pantelleria. La firma in calce è di suo padre, Serafino Tessieri.
Spedita a Serafino Tessieri a Cecina, in provincia di Pisa.



*Un ringraziamento speciale va a Chiara Sorbello per aver tradotto il testo.

Do you know who was Dante Tessieri?

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Dante Tessieri, who was from Cecina, left Italy for political reasons in the late 1890s to Brazil and moved to Argentina about 1900 after the death of his first son with Aida Guaimonti. He had three children in his new homeland: Sara, Iris, and Carlos after Nemo, my grandfather, was born in Brazil in 1899.

Dante Tessieri was a mathematician and apparently served in the Italian Navy.

I am searching for his lost family in Italy. Was he your relative?

Please get in touch if he was: etessieri@gmail.com

This was found by chance on eBay. Dante Tessieri is the lighthouse keeper of the island of Pantelleria. The signature below is of his father, Serafino Tessieri.
Posted to Serafino Tessieri in Cecina, province of Pisa.