THE LONG READ: Dr Jeevana Subasinghe – How inappropriate behavior and discrimination happen at a health center and higher education in Finland

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For the past four years, Sri Lankan-Finnish dentist Jeevana Subasinghe has experienced multiple forms of inappropriate behavior and discrimination by his employer at the Porvoo Municipal Health Center. But the treatment and discrimination he allegedly claims bring to light a wider systemic problem that affects some Finnish dentists as well.

Dr Subasinghe’s relationship with the Porvoo Municipal Health Center started in 2012. He joined them as a permanent staff member in April 2013 as an orthodontic assistant and a surgery assistant dentist. The appointment was offered due to his experience and professional background. Prior to coming to Finland, he had his own practice in Newbury, Royal County of Berkshire, United Kingdom.

Dr Subashinghe, who has lived on and off in Finland since the 1980s, said that networks are everything in this country. Without them, it is very difficult to advance in a career never mind find employment. Finns have these networks while foreigners don’t have as many.


Dr Jeevana Subasinghe. 

On Wednesday, November 21, 2018, everything came to a head when Dr Subasinghe’s employer terminated his employment. He believes that the decision is wrong, and will challenge it. His last official day at work was January 21, 2019.

According to Dr Subasinghe, the employers of the Porvoo Municipal Health Center have tried to discharge him for the past two years.

A difficult relationship

“My problems with the Porvoo Municipal Health Center started when I wanted to specialize in orthodontics at a time when there was a great need for such specialists at the health center,” he said. “The waiting lists for children at the time were almost three years, or when the best time for correct intervention had passed.”

Dr Subasinghe said that he had approached the chief dentist at the center and asked her about getting orthodontic training at the University of Helsinki.

It is normal in Finland that a part of the specialist training in orthodontics is carried out under health center supervision. Since Dr Subasinghe had worked for seven years treating orthodontic patients in the United Kingdom in collaboration with Göteborg University professionals, he was confident that such training would give him the opportunity to use the latest techniques that would improve and save time in treating patients.

“The need for an orthodontist [at the Porvoo health center] arose from poor planning by the management,” he continued. “There was no replacement plan for the orthodontist that was going to retire soon.”

After he found out that health centers in Vantaa, Riihimäki, Kirkkonummi, Helsinki and others in the Greater Helsinki were arranging in-house specialization programs for dental specialists, Dr Subasinghe decided to approach the chief dentist and requested that he could pursue such training in the Porvoo health center.

At first, the chief dentist appeared surprised by the request, but she agreed only if he arranged everything himself with the University of Helsinki.

The professor of orthodontics at the University of Helsinki agreed that such specialization could be arranged for Dr Subasinghe. The next step was that the request should come from the Porvoo Municipal Health Center, which should provide a supervising specialist orthodontist.

“But to my surprise,” Dr Subasinghe continue, “the chief orthodontist declined to be my supervisor. An even bigger shock came when the health center nominated two young orthodontic assistants immediately after this discussion.”

By nominating the two dentists, one of whom was the chief dentist’s daughter, Dr Subasinghe felt that his professional career was undermined. Even his name as an orthodontic assistant was removed from the health center’s reception list.


 

Dr Subasinghe visited Sri Lanka in December-January where he assisted multiple medical professionals including military plastic surgeons. The experience gave him knowledge in treating geriatric patients. “I can use this new knowledge in my work in Finland,” he said.  

“Thus, I was unilaterally demoted from treating orthodontic patients from two days a week to almost none,” he said. “This was outright discrimination, professionally unfair and would impair my chances of getting into an orthodontic training position in universities. It also deprived  children of treatment by an experienced dentist.”

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Afghan asylum seeker in Joutseno: “Good morning to [you] too”

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In September, an Afghan family consisting of three adults, two minors and their parents left Finland for Germany for fear that they would be deported to Afghanistan. One of them, a 24-year-old  young man, was sent back to Finland from Germany this week. From the Metsälä Immigration Removal Center, he sent to the Joutseno, which was a former prison. 

We will be following this asylum seeker’s life in the Joutseno Immigration Removal Center and do everything possible so they will not deport him to Afghanistan.

If you want to send him a message to him via editor@migranttales.net.


 

The view from an Afghan asylum seeker’s cell at the Joutseno Immigration Removal Center. Photo: asylum seeker

PS’ Jussi Halla-aho on TV offerng simplistic views on migration and Finnish identity

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iety Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairperson Jussi Halla-aho was a guest on Yle’s Ykkösaamu. Convicted for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion in 2012, the PS chairperson gave his usual simplistic views on immigration and Finnish identity.

One of these was when the reporter asked him about the party’s youth wing and their Finnish white supremacist ethnonationalistic views on who is a Finn.

Halla-aho didn’t condemn this view but blamed it instead on linguistics.

“The question who is a Finn is [an] interesting ,” he explained. “The problem is that in Finnish we don’t have a term that classifies who is an ethnic Finn and a Finnish citizen.”

And then adds: “If I would for some reason go to Somalia and become a Somali citizen would that make me a Somali?”

Possibly, Halla-aho, you could be a “Somali Finn” or whatever you would want to call yourself. I doubt that minorities are aiming to be white like you but seek social justice and recognition. They are tired of being labelled by Finnish white supremacists and society as eternal “people of foreign origin.”


Watch the full interview (in Finnish) here.

Halla-aho and his party have inflicted harm to migrants and minorities. Their racist rhetoric has no interest in making such people equal members of society. Their main aim is to label and exclude certain groups and attack groups like the Somalis.

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Faisa Kahiye: Muukalaisviha ahdistaa toisen polven maahanmuuttajia

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Itse olen hyväksynyt kohtaloni siitä, että lapsenlapsistanikaan ei puhuta suomalaisina, kirjoittaa Faisa Kahiye.

Suomen ilmapiiri on kiristynyt merkittävästi maahanmuuttoa kohtaan, ja pienen ryhmän tekemät rikokset ovat johtaneet kokonaisen väestöryhmän leimaamiseen. Tästä ovat kärsineet niin turvapaikanhakijat kuin muutkin maahanmuuttajataustaiset ihmiset, jotka ovat kohdanneet entistäkin enemmän valitettavan normalisoitunutta vihapuhetta ja rasismia. Vihamielinen ilmapiiri on entisestään vaikeuttanut myös toisen polven maahanmuuttajien asemaa. Tällä viikolla käynnistyi Ihmisoikeusliiton, HSL:n ja HKL:n  STOP! Päätepysäkki syrjinnälle -kampanja, jolla yritetään puuttua joukkoliikenteessä tapahtuvaan syrjintään.

Monet toisen polven maahanmuuttajista, eli Suomessa syntyneet ja kasvaneet suomalaiset, joiden vanhemmat ovat muuttaneet ulkomailta, kokevat jatkuvasti identiteettikriisiä oman taustansa vuoksi. Kahden merkittävästi toisistaan poikkeavan kulttuurin välillä kamppailu ja tasapainottelu sekä hyväksynnän hakeminen valtaväestöltä aiheuttaa nuorissa tunteen, ettei ole hyväksytty kumpaakaan yhteisöön täysipainoisesti. Epävarmuutta koetaan esimerkiksi siitä, voiko sanoa ylpeästi olevansa suomalainen vai pitääkö samaan hengenvetoon todeta, mistä vanhemmat ovat kotoisin. Itse olen hyväksynyt kohtaloni siitä, että minun lapsenlapsistakaan ei puhuta suomalaisina. Tämä kertoo lähinnä sen, miten kapea käsitys kantasuomalaisilla on suomalaisuudesta.


Lue alkuperäinen kirjoitus tästä.

Toisen polven maahanmuuttajanuorten identiteettikriisiä ruokkivat Suomen muukalaisviha ja rasismi, jota ovat lähes poikkeuksetta kokeneet kaikki Suomessa asuvat, eri etnistä taustaa omaavat ihmiset. Suomi on jo toista perättäistä vuotta Euroopan unionin Perusoikeusviraston FRA:n tutkimuksessa osoittautunut yhdeksi EU:n syrjivimmistä maista. Tutkimuksessa on vuoden 2017 aikana nostettu esille se, että toisen polven maahanmuuttajat kokevat vielä enemmän syrjintää kuin ensimmäisen polven maahanmuuttajat.

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Count to ten when people talk about migrants “embracing Finnish values”

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I will count to ten very slowly if I hear one more time, just one more time from a politician, that migrants should embrace Finnish values. Most of them, when they make that ethnocentric statement, don’t tell us never mind give us a clue what those “Finnish values” are. Do they even know?


Finance Minister Petteri Orpo considers Iraqis “a challenge” to Finland. He suggests that all Muslim men are chauvinists who oppress women (sic!). Read the full story here.

The next time when a person says “migrants of foreign origin,” which is usually code for non-EU citizens, Muslims, Africans, ask him the following questions and see how he or she is at a loss for good answers:

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Yle’s coverage of the Oulu sexual assault cases is an example of overkill and Islamophobia

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THE STORY WAS UPDATED

How would you describe Yle’s coverage of the Oulu sexual assault cases? From November 27 to February 13, the state-owned broadcaster published a whopping 77 stories on the topic. This is not counting all the other stories that the tabloids and other print media published during that period. 

On January 14, Yle published 13 stories about the topic.

Considering the hype, victimizing and labelling of migrants and Muslims, few if any members of these communities are interviewed in these stories.

Apart from the media, the police put out 11 statements between December 1 and February 13.

On top of all this hype and attention, the president, ministers, members of Islamophobic and anti-Muslim parties like the Perussuomalaiset,* Blue Reform, and the National Coalition Party throwing dirt on Finland’s Muslim community with statements like “how poorly they understand our values.”

How many suspects are we speaking of in Oulu? About 15? Finland’s Muslim community is estimated at 70,000-100,000. That means that the suspects make up  0.02%-0.15% of the total Muslim population of Finland.

Let’s make one matter clear: sexual assault is unacceptable as the #metoo campaign has brought to light. Even so, the reaction by Yle and others raises an unsettling question: Are we make a huge deal about this because the suspects are “people of foreign origin,” a code word meaning non-EU citizen and/or Muslim. Is public outrage as strong if the suspects were white Finns?

Pinning the blame on Muslims and migrants for what happened in Oulu is keeping our eyes off the ball and finding ways to challenge sexual assault cases.

Some questions I would ask is what is the role of the police and social workers in allowing such sexual assault cases to happen in the first case? They did happen on their watch. Is it easier to pin the blame on the migrant and Muslim community instead?

The coverage and hype in Finland about these sexual assault cases are best described in two words: overkill and Islamophobia.

Coverage by Yle of the Oulu sexual assault cases during November to February:

November  (1 story)

27.11. Poliisi tutkii Oulun Tuirassa epäiltyä kahden alaikäisen …

December (37 stories)

3.12. Poliisilla on lisää epäiltyjä alle 15-vuotiaan tytön törkeästä …

3.12. Oulussa tapahtuneen alaikäisen tytön raiskauksessa lisää …

4.12. Oulussa esiin tulleet epäillyt nuoriin kohdistuneet …

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Soldiers of Odin pull a fast one or find understanding from the Finnish police

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Charges against the far-right vigilante group Soldiers of Odin could be dropped if they neutralize the impact of the video that incited violence against suspected migrants and Muslims, according to Detective Chief Inspector Pekka Hätönen, reported MTV.

Hätönen said that while the video may be guilty of inciting ethnic agitation, he sees it more as an outburst of anger than a direct threat.

While the MTV story does not interview any Muslims, I wonder if they would agree with Hätönen’s claim.

If a Muslim or migrant would make a similar video, would the police see it as an “outburst of anger” against the racism that is even being fueled by the police?


The original video looked something like this.

“There is a repentance clause that may free you of any charges if you neutralize the impact of an aggravated crime that you are planning to carry out that threatens a person’s life and health,” he said.

Apparently, both the MTV reporter and the detective chief inspector don’t understand how far right and Islamophobic messages spread in society.

A politician, or in this case a video by the Soldiers of Odin, may make a violent statement or spread a lie as National Coalition Party MP Piia Kauma did with the fake news about migrant women and baby carriages.


Read the full story here.

The Black Female Explorer wrote about Kauma’s fake news: “Baby carriages aren’t the question. They never were. The question is this society’s cancerous racism and the human value of black mothers, who our politicians appear to care very little about.”

In other words, it does not matter if the fake news is true or not, the main aim of such news is to tell it to her followers. Even if the fake news is disproven, it has already been consumed by the public.

This is how the Soldiers of Odin video works.

It is no longer on the Internet. It does not matter because it spread and attracted a lot of public attention.