As long as we have politicians and other community leaders who support hate speech overtly or with their silence, and as long as parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* base their support on racism against people who are different from them, Finland will not be a safe country for everyone.
The map below is shameful considering that we’re one of the most affluent and apparently safest countries in the world.
Politicians, the media and the public are ignorant of the sheer hardships and destruction that the war, which we’ve been accomplices in, have brought on the people of the Middle East and Africa. We’re only outsiders looking in and what our eyes reveal is enough for some of us to turn our backs.
But what about if I told you about the horrors of war and gave you a ringside view of the raw violence and utter despair of people who are commonly blown to shreds by bombs and hate? Would you want to know? Would what you’d see change your life forever?
Municipalities where asylum reception centers have been attacked and where there have been problems. Source: Yle.
There are probably more attacks against asylum reception centers in Finland than the YLE map above suggests. Migrant Tales wrote in early November a suspected arson attack against the Pitäjänmäki reception center that was not reported by the media.
YLE cites the following reception centers that have suffered attacks since September 24:
UPDATE Oulu (21.11): Five men aged 20-24 years tried unsuccessfully to set fire to an asylum reception center, according to YLE. The men were later apprehended by the police and have been charged with aggravated arson.
Kangasala (17.11): Three unknown Finnish men attacked and stabbed an asylum seeker when speaking on the phone outdoors. The wounds weren’t life-threatening.
Lahti (15.11): The windows of the reception center were shattered after midnight with bricks.
Espoo (14.11): A drunk male entered a reception center that housed minors with a signalling gun, which he shot in the air.
Helsinki (6.11): A man was apprehended in a car with a handgun and tommy gun near the Pitäjämäki reception center. On the same night there was an arson attack at the center or another one in Espoo that was not reported by the media.
Ylivieska (8.10): The asylum reception center was a target of an arson attack.
Lammi (8.10): The asylum reception center was a target of an arson attack.
Lahti (24.9): Firecrackers and stones were thrown at asylum seekers and Red Cross workers on a bus. Finland’s very own Ku Klux Klan impersonator is photographed and appears in newspapers throughout the world.
Kouvola (24.9): The asylum reception center was a target of an arson attack. The suspect was apprehended and given a one-year prison sentence.
The list cites as well three reception centers were there were scuffles between asylum seekers in Rovaniemi (8.10) and Oulu (3.10). In Lahti (10.11) a suspected asylum seeker was taken into custody by the policy for trafficking human beings.
A Nazi flag was hoisted in April at a asylum reception center in the northern Finnish city of Tornio.
* The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.