I rebel, then I exist. Albert Camus (1913-60)
By Enrique Tessieri
The news coming out of our television sets in recent months show protests in the Arab world, Greece and recently in London. Similar demonstrations have sparked in Chile and Israel. Despite differences between these protests, the message is the same: We don’t trust our traditional rulers any longer.
In which form these mass protests appear differ from country to country. On April 17 we saw such a protest in Finland, when the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won 39 seats from 5 in the last election in 2007.
The PS victory has the same message as other ones globally: It is a big thumbs down to the country’s traditional parties and rulers.
Migrant Tales has said on many occasions that there is nothing wrong with protesting and fighting for the rights of others. However, if you link racism and xenophobia to “your struggle” you water down the noble message of your movement.
It would be naïve and short-sighted to think that just because the PS won a big victory in April, they will continue to collect the fruits of discord. Since immigrant groups and parties like the Greens and others now see a clear adversary, the PS, it means that they are growing in strength as well.
French sociologist Alain Trouaine has studied social movements for a very long time, ranging from the May Movement of Paris in 1968 to the Solidarity movement of Poland in the 1980s.
Social movement, according to him, “are central and burn at the heart of society.” In other words, social movements permit society to renew itself. This happens constantly.
One social movement in the making made up of immigrants and Finns could be Minun Suomeni on kansainvälinen – My Finland is International on Facebook.
What is remarkable about this Facebook page is that it already has the ability to mobilize demonstrations thanks to its over 45,000 “friends.”
Those who ask why immigrants and Multicultural Finns are hardly acknowledged, have no history or exist for the majority of Finns ask key questions about how larger groups exclude smaller ones.
If immigrants and Multicultural Finns don’t have a history or a nascent one at the best in Finland, how can they ever aspire to demand more rights never mind control and shape historicity? Since a group doesn’t have any history or very little of it recognized by the majority it means that it does not effectively exist. It is a bit like the debate on whether there is racism in Finland. By denying that there is racism are we affirming that we are not a culturally diverse society?
That is why I believe that one of the consequences of the rise of the PS will be more vocal social movements led by immigrants and Finns that will struggle and fight for greater recognition and acceptance by society.