Paavo Arhinmäki, head of the Left Alliance, was quoted as saying in Joensuu that Finland has never been a “monocultural” country. This is true but how many Finnish politicians understand never mind speak out and defend multiculturalism or cultural diversity? Unfortunately, too few.
The fact that too few politicians have the courage to speak up for Finland’s cultural diversity is one of the factors that is throwing sand in the gears of acceptance and respect for minorities.
Read Finland never was, is, and will be only “white” here.
Those that claim that Finland is a ”monoculturally homogeneous” country, aim to turn back the hands of time to the days of nationalism and fascism of the 1930s.
Which groups speak of Finland as one cultural bloc and fight tooth and nail against culturally diversity?
The first political group that comes to mind is the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party and its many cronies like the Suomalaisuuden liitto and Vapaa kielivalina, which aim to demote the Swedish language to elective status at schools.
But these are not the only ones who see cultural diversity as a threat to white Finnish-speaking Finland.
All political parties have strong anti-immigration voices. One of these is the youth wing of the National Coalition Party, which has given us the likes of Wille Rydman.
So what should you know if you want to understand the mindset of Finland’s present anti-immigration sentiment?
First and foremost we must understand history. After the Finnish Civil War of 1918, right-wing and far right forces had a carte blanche to build a country based on nationalistic, conservative and fascist values prevalent in Europe during the 1930s and first half of the 1940s.
That changed after the war, when those forces that furthered right-wing and conservative-nationalistic forces were put in cold storage.
Those very forces are now lifting their heads through parties like the PS. The issues are the same as before the war but in a different time-frame context. Before communism was the enemy and today it is immigration and cultural diversity.
As post-war Finland showed, values like mutual acceptance and respect between different political forces is possible. Not only did it learn to coexist together in peace, it was one of the factors that made Finland prosper as a nation.
I wonder what type of country Finland would be today if the Nazis, which the Finns fought side by side with against the former USSR, would have won.
Today we need the same recipe for success that was in force after the Continuation War (1941-44): political acceptance and respect for all groups in Finland. Today we need acceptance and respect for cultural diversity – not failed ideologies that promoted racism and “monoculture.”
Finland never was, is or will be white and Finnish speaking.