Exposing white Finnish privilege #49: When white privilege backfires


Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s hardline asylum and immigration policy reminded me of the 1980s when former Aliens Office director Eila Kännö’s tough line against migrants turned against her. I see the same thing happening today with the government’s asylum and immigration policy.

People react when a system is impractical and unfair. It is precisely what happened in the 1980s and what is happening today when an Iraqi asylum seeker called Ali was killed in Iraq.

Other Iraqis have suffered similar fates as reported in 2016.

How can the Finnish Immigration Service continue to claim that countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are safe when they’re not.

In the 1980s and earlier, migrants, who were called “aliens,” had to get residence and work permit for each job.

We all know that the tightening of present immigration policy has the signature of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and Blue Reform parties. The strategy is ineffective because it hinges on myths and prejudices which end up falling flat on their faces.

In order for immigration to work you need effective and fair policies. The ones we have in Finland now are shameful to put it lightly. One of these is the government’s decision to do away with residence permits on humanitarian grounds, which have forced the number of undocumented migrants to soar manyfold as a result.

Not only are there signs that matters are turning against the government’s asylum and immigration policy, but abroad as well. A  French court ruled that it could not send an asylum seeker back to Finland because it returned them to Iraq and put in harm’s way.

Back in the good old racist days of the 1980s, laws such as the Restricting Act of 1939 (law 219/1939), which became redundant in 1992, prohibited foreigners from owning real estate and acquiring a majority stake in Finnish companies—limiting this to 20% normally and 40% under special permission. The Restricting Act stipulated that foreigners could not own shares in sectors like forestry, securities trading, transportation, mining, real estate and shipping. Foreigners weren’t allowed to establish newspapers, never mind organize demonstrations and be politically active.

Were such restrictions effective? What role did they play in keeping Finland a closed country to the outside world? Were they in conflict with our sense of justice and fairness?

White Finnish privilege #49

When a government like Sipilä’s goes too far and treats asylum seekers with disrespect and breaches their human rights, it’s clear that such a policy will eventually backfire in their faces.


Asylum seeker in detention cell 406: “I got my second rejection [for asylum]”


Remember the young twenty-one-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker who was detained in Lappeenranta or 32 days from October 27 to November 23? Things aren’t going well for him because he got a second rejection after applying for asylum a second time. 

“When I got the decision [about two weeks ago] from Migri [Finnish Immigration Service] I was confused and felt helpless,” he told Migrant Tales by phone. “Before I got the decision, I was hopeful that matters would go well. I was wrong.”

The young asylum seeker alleges that his father was killed in Iraq for being a Christian, like him. The asylum seeker converted to Christianity last year and fears for his life if he returns to Iraq.

Despite Migri’s assurances that Iraq is a “safe” country, the latest news of Ali’s death is another sign that Iraq is a dangerous place.

“When I heard of what happened to Ali, I said to myself that I do not want to live in hiding if I am sent back to Iraq,” he said.



Before and after. Read the original posting here. Photo of mourning dove by Nicole Beaulac.

Life is hard when you are young and have to wait for over two years in uncertainty if you will get asylum.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: Exposing Finland’s asylum policy for what it is


To blame Finland’s inhumane asylum policy on the Perussuomalaiset and Blue Reform parties would be a mistake because the silence of the National Coalition Party, Center Party, Christian Democrats and others concerning their policies incriminate them as well. It’s a good matter that Finland’s asylum policy is exposed for what it is, and what it has always been: inhumane, impractical, ineffective, racist and bigoted. 

* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.

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.

Finland’s asylum policy is the story of complacent silence and crocodile tears


Iraqi asylum seeker, Ali’s death, reported by YLE have shocked some while others shed crocodile tears

The Finnish Immigration Service responded in October 2016 to Migrant Tales in a tweet about the death of two Iraqi asylum seekers in Iraq. We even published a story about the death of a naturalized Finnish citizen killed in “safe” Afghanistan shortly after his marriage.

What did Migri tweet?

“Good morning Marianne. Without confirmation, we cannot comment on the fate of those [asylum seekers] that have been refused to stay [in Finland].” We now have confirmation of Ali’s death certificate. Will Migri comment on the case? Nope, because they “don’t comment on individual cases.” Go to the original story here.

That tweet above pictures to the tee how much Migri and the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä care for the safety of asylum seekers. Such people have very low priority and should leave the country voluntarily or by force.

Like Ali’s tragic death, Migri has a long history of anti-human rights policies against asylum seekers. It’s not the first time that it has returned asylum seekers to autocratic countries and put them in harm’s way.

During the cold war years, Migri returned Soviet citizens to the USSR despite such people asking for asylum. It was a disgraceful era we should never repeat but are with Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

Finland was never an escape to freedom.

Not then, not now.

Ali’s death is another sign on the road that Finland’s government would care less for asylum seekers


We heard today that case of a returned Iraqi refugee who died in Baghdad after being refused asylum in Finland. The only explanation that the new interior minister, Kai Mykkänen, can offer is that the murder was “sad and tragic.”

YLE reported the death of the Iraqi asylum seeker and interviewed his daughter, who is still in Finland.

Ali’s death is not the first one. Migrant Tales has reported other cases like the death of two Iraqi asylum seekers in 2016.

Politicians like Interior Minister Mykkänen don’t take responsibility but allow the unjust and inhuman asylum policy to continue. With comments like “sad and tragic,” followed by washing his hands of the problem, reveal a lack of leadership and contempt for asylum seekers.

When Mykkänen states that there were too many asylum seekers who came to Finland in 2015 and thus some mistakes could have been made, he is saying in retrospect that too many Muslims came and we want most of them out of the country.

Read the full story here.

The real culprit is the indifference of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government, which simply doesn’t care if asylum seekers live or die when sent back to countries like “safe” Iraq.

An asylum seeker, who has been waiting for his residence permit for two years and a half, admits that the government and the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) just don’t care.


Abdi Muhis: Lauantaisen Puhoksen “ratsia” puhuttaa yhä


Operaatio on hyvin tuttu toimenpide Puhoksen alueella, sujuvuus on molemmilta osapuolilta taattua koska yhdellä osapuolella on mukanaan iso joukko virkavaltaa sekä koulutetut koirat. Kukaan meistä ei kiellä sitä että tälläisiä operaatioita on hyvä välillä tehdä jos epäillään rikoksesta. Mutta tapa millä tämä toteutettiin oli mielestäni aika rajua. 

Se on ikävää että profilointia harrastetaan näin isosti ja me joudumme vuosi toisensa jälkeen siihen alistumaan. Maahanmuuttajia tai heidän näköisiä pyydetään todistamaan henkilöisyytensä ja vastaamaan kysymyksiin joihin ei kantasuomalaista joudu vastaamaan. Jos kyseessä on tietyn liikkeen epäileminen niin onko pakko koko kauppakeskus ja sen asiakkaat teho tarkastaa? Mukaan lukien rukoushuone? En ole kuullut tälläisestä tapauksesta muualla kuin Puhoksella.

Puhos ostokeskus sijaitse Itä-Hlsingissä. Kuva: Muhammed Shire.

Esimerkkinä operaatioon annan tilanteen josta muutkin voisi ymmärtää miksi olemme pettyneet tähän toimintaan. Esimerkiksi jos vaikka itäkeskuksen kauppakeskuksessa yhtä tai jopa kahta liikettä epäiltäisiin jostain rikkomuksista niin kohdistuisiko operaatio kaikkiin liikkeisiin ja heidän asiakkaisiin sekä myös itäkeskuksen kirkkoon? Ja jos kohteena olisi aina vain tietyn näköiset ihmiset? Miltä tämä tuntuisi? Ikävintä tässä on se että tämä on jo niin tuttua että maahanmuuttajat ovat jo väsyneitä valittamaan näistä asioista, tämä on normia heille.


Exposing white Finnish privilege #48: Allow me to smear your religion so mine can shine


What is surprising how Finnish white society has brought new topics in the discussion about the white Finnish narrative. A classic of this narrative is, with the help of denial, that we don’t have any issues with racism. If we deny racism we can smear other groups at will. 

The 1960s was a good decade for the xenophobe and Islamophobe. Finland’s geopolitical isolation from the world and its suspicion of foreigners allowed academics like Heikki Waris to claim the following:

“Racial homogeneity particularly characterizes the Finnish people who have practically no racial minorities…Consequently, racial prejudice and discrimination are nonexistent.”

Parties like the Perussuomalaiset, Blue Reform and others who are overtly or covertly hostile to cultural and ethnic diversity (non-white society), still use Waris’ argument. By having fewer people or restricting altogether migrants who are Muslims and from outside the EU, we can “reduce” racism as Waris incorrectly argued. It’s one of the false reasons why some want to return to the stuffy 1950s.

As one can appreciate, Waris wasn’t thorough in his deduction and critical enough about his whiteness. If you wanted to see racism in Finland during Waris’ time in the 1960s, all you had to do was ask the Roma and Saami minorities for an update.

The same denial and arguments used to whiten our society and weaken minorities and migrants today are, unfortunately, still blooming.

A radio talk show on YLE (in Finnish) below is a case in point. With little respect for our Constitution and our Nordic way of life, the talk show host uses her prejudices about Muslims to set the tone of the debate. The title of the program is revealing: The use of the Muslim veil – is it or not a personal matter?

Listen to the whole program (in Finnish) here. One question that I ask about the radio program is why are only Muslims targetted.

White Finnish privilege #48