Over the weekend a lot of things happened: The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) hosted a seminar in Helsinki on anti-migration racism Saturday that was overshadowed by a closed Finnish police Facebook page with racist comments, a comprehensive story on ethnic profiling in Finland, and another terrorist attack in London that left seven killed and 48 injured.
If so much bad news can happen in one day, it shows once again the crucial importance of anti-racism activism, human rights, the rule of law and exposing those who want to capitalize politically on terrorism and water down our inalienable civil rights.
ENAR’s seminar on Saturday in the Eastern Helsinki neighborhood of Myllypuro discussed a lot of salient issues facing Finland such as equality data collection, ethnic profiling, anti-racism education, hate crime laws and migrants in sports.
If there was one clear message from the panelists and the participants that took part in the seminar, it was that activism, lobbying and intersectionality are just a few vital tools to challenge social ills facing our society.
At the end of the seminar, the participants voted in favor of advancing the cause of equality data collection in Finland as well as hate crime legislation.
The aim of the seminar in Helsinki was to debate, identify and prioritize burning issues in Finland concerning racism.
With ENAR’s resources and expertise, the participants plan to further equality collection data collection and improve hate crime legislation.
A follow-up seminar will be held at the end of October.
Three events that overshadowed ENAR’s seminar over the weekend was a racist Finnish police closed Facebook site that was exposed and made Interior Minister Paula Risikko and National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehminen look awkward after their countless assurances that the police service has zero tolerance for racism.
The catchphrase, zero tolerance for racism, is meaningless because it is only an empty statement that gets wiped out by the racism, bigotry and near-silence spread by politicians, public officials and the media.
Instead of saying “we have zero tolerance for racism” why doesn’t the police have a program to employ visible minorities, for example?
If Finland is serious about challenging racism, our politicians should get out of their denial mode.
You don’t have to have a PhD to grasp that the spread of social ills in Finland is due to the fact that there is an undercurrent of racism in our society that gushes out whenever the conditions are right. The Perussuomalaiset* (PS) phenomenon is a good example of public racism and denial.
We are paying a high price for our lame stances against racism. Our very laws, Nordic values and ways of life are being attacked and undermined by groups like the PS as well as a long list of other forces.
This comment on the closed police Facebook wall claims that blacks and Africans haven’t succeeded anywhere in the world due to their culture and genes (sic!). Source: Long Play.
And then there was the terrorist attack in London and UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s predictable response to it, which is perfectly illustrated in the cartoon below by Martin Rowson.
Just like Finland and Europe’s racism problem, May reinforces our deep denial of the root causes of a problem like terrorism and how her government is ironically fueling it.
Terrorism will grow as well as racism in Europe. The lack of leadership of our politicians clearly ensure its rise.
See the original cartoon here.
* The official translation to Finnish of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is the Finns Party. In our opinion, it is not only a horrible translation, but one that is misguided. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Such terms like the Finns Party of True Finns promote as well 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 thereafter the acronym PS.