Are politicians like Jussi Halla-aho and parties like the PS racist?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Jay Smooth offered in early March some good points on how to spot a racist by sticking to the that-sounded-racist conversation as opposed to they-are-racist conversation. The former conversation allows you to focus on what the person said and why what they said is unacceptable. The other one will take your focus away from the issue. 

Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to spot racist and unacceptable comments by politicians like Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho and others.

Taking the question a bit further, what does it say about the media, our politicians and society when they forget these racist rants and treat politicians who made them as if nothing happened?

It sadly reveals that if you are a white Finn you can nearly say anything you want about refugees, visible migrants and Muslims and almost get away with it. Even if Halla-aho got sentenced for ethnic agitation, the national media continues to give politicians like him inflated respectability and importance.

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Searching for easy targets and scapegoats is a dangerous and slippery slope that some witnessed in last century in Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler and his henchmen were hostile to cultural diversity like some politicians and political parties in Europe today. The more they executed their plans “to make Germany Jewish and minority free,” the tighter the noose around its neck got until it snapped and become lifeless in 1945 with the fall of Berlin.

With European parliamentary elections (MEP) on May 22-25, there’s a danger that anti-immigration, far-right and nationalistic parties will make big gains.

No matter if these parties are from Finland or Italy, United Kingdom or Bulgaria, they lack credible solutions. Many voters will be shocked and disappointed if they ever get an opportunity to implement their policies.

Their negative and hostile stances on immigration and cultural diversity raise an eerie question as well. Considering that Europe already is culturally diverse, how are these parties going to make Europe white again? Are their actions and attacks against minorities going to get ever-merciless? Did Geert Wilders of the Islamophobic Party for Freedom give us a glimpse in March when he ensured supporters that there would be “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands?

The recognition we give people who spread racism, prejudice and hatred makes a big difference. Look at former PS MP James Hirvisaari after he was sacked from the party in October for taking a picture and posting on social media a person making a Nazi salute in parliament.

Hirvisaari, who was sentenced as well for ethnic agitation, became a political nobody and joke after he got the boot from the PS.

Contrary to Hirvisaari, Halla-aho has played his political cards differently. For Soini’s favor and protection, Halla-aho has toned down his racist rants without changing his views on “multiculturalism” and “runaway immigration.”

If you want to spot a politician who sounds racists look at what he or she said. What the person said is written in stone and can’t be denied with the usual “I’m not a racist” defense.

Here’s one of many quotes that got Halla-aho in hot water: “Robbing passers-by and living as parasites on tax money is the national, maybe even genetic characteristic of Somalis.”

In another blog post in June 2008, he wrote that the Islamic prophet Mohammed was a pedophile and that Islam was a pedophilic religion because its prophet had intercourse with his nine-year-old wife, Aisha.

Are these statements racist? Any sensible person can tell that they are because they single out, victimize and exaggerate a whole group of people. These statements weren’t made with the intention to foster healthy debate but to insult and insight ethnic and religious hatred.

Here’s another one by Halla-aho, who states that people from Africa live in the Stone Age and therefore should not live in Europe. One of the pet arguments of anti-immigration politicians is to stress how different people are in order to justify their racism of different groups. Here’s one he made in 2007:

An African who’s been brought to Helsinki from the savannah pollutes no less with his conspicuous consumption than an ethnic Finn. He will probably pollute more because moving from the Stone Age directly to the modern world, he lacks consumerism and eco-conscience, which Westerners have. 

If you still have doubts whether the PS makes racist and unacceptable statements, visit The Truth about the True Finns blog and Halla-aho’s quotes (in Finnish) on Wikiquote. Read a long list of racist, homophobic, fascist and neo-Nazi quotes by PS politicians here.

Juho Eerola, who is the PS’ third vice-president,  is another MP who has toned down his views. Check out what he said on Hommaforum, a hate site, on July 6, 2010:

I myself am attracted to Benito Mussolini’s fascism, and in particular the economic policy [the country] pursued. Entreperneurship was encouraged but it was under strict government control. Vital large corporations could not be owned by foreign investors but were firmly in government hands. Italy achieved during those times full employment and strong economic growth. We could learn a lot from such a model.

Apart from migrants, visible minorities or gays, the rise of the PS especially in 2011 was seen as a new and interesting addition to the Finnish political scene. Even if the PS are a knee-jerk reaction of voters to ever-growing poverty and social inequality in Finland, what is surprising is that some voters picked a party that is provincial, hostile and scapegoats migrants and minorities.

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It’s no secret that the UKIP and PS are close ideological allies in Europe. The Guardian of London published an opinion piece that gave ten reasons why you should not vote for the UKIP. The exact same reasons apply to the PS.

  • Its stances are bonkers
  • It has nasty friends in Europe
  • It’s a magnet for unsavory types here
  • It has rewarded offense (in the case of the PS it has rewarded party members who have been sentenced for ethnic agitation)
  • It hates the EU but cashes in
  • Its MEPs are not actually worker bees
  • It is vulnerable to special interest as any other party
  • It speaks with fork tongues
  • Its only plan is Nigel (or in the case of the PS it’s Timo)
  • It makes a sensible debate on Europe less likely

Another opinion piece on the conservative Telegraph explains how UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage has taken British voters for fools.

The PS are doing the same thing in Finland. Like their ally in the United Kingdom, both parties may have their victory in the upcoming MEP elections, “but then they will begin the long march back into political obscurity,” according to the Telegraph.

  1. Yossie

    “Many voters will be shocked and disappointed if they ever get an opportunity to implement their policies.”

    Enrique Tessieri’s broken record of prejudice going on once again.

    “It sadly reveals that if you are a white Finn you can nearly say anything you want about refugees”

    on the countrary. Halla-aho’s sentence proves that you can say anything about finns, but get sentenced if you say same thing about immigrants. You keep repeating Halla-aho’s sentece but never actually tell the facts involved.

    “Robbing passers-by and living as parasites on tax money is the national, maybe even genetic characteristic of Somalis.”

    This ofcourse is taken totally out of context. The point was that you indeed can say anything you want about finns and how there are double standards. What was said about finns was:

    “Killing while drunk is the national, maybe even genetic characteristic of Finns.”

    This apparently was ok to say, yet Halla-aho got sentenced for what he said. He pretty much proved the double standards.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Could you enlighten us Yossie and tell us what concrete solutions has the PS, Halla-aho and his band suggested to resolve “multiculturalism?” Please tell us what he’s going to do with those who aren’t white.

      Out of context? Go do Wikiquote and see the stuff he’s said. That’s evidence, it’s written in stone.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      This ofcourse is taken totally out of context. The point was that you indeed can say anything you want about finns and how there are double standards. What was said about finns was:

      Are you joking? So, to discuss the issue of Finland’s laws on hate speech, he just had to mention something horribly negative and demeaning about Somalis, reinforcing a negative stereotype that is extremely damaging, increases hatred and mistrust towards African immigrants, and indeed, is mocking towards them in the most arrogant and disgusting manner? He just had to do that because there was no other way to discuss hate speech laws in Finland or people discussing the genetic characteristics of national groups. That was the only way…..

      I don’t think so. He was peddling hate speech and complaining that such hate speech would get him a prosecution, which it duly did. He didn’t give a monkey’s about how Finns are characterised – he’s only interested in having greater freedom to bash Muslims and Africans. Just read his blog, Yossie, and you can see this is very clearly true.

    • Yossie

      Enrique

      “Could you enlighten us Yossie and tell us what concrete solutions has the PS, Halla-aho and his band suggested to resolve “multiculturalism?” Please tell us what he’s going to do with those who aren’t white.”

      During last elections, some PS members Halla-aho included had their manifesto which outlined what they would like to do. Also as far as I have understood, the idea is that immigration needs to be tackled now while we still can, because it is not something you can undo. What are you going to do if your multicultural ideology fails?

      “Out of context? Go do Wikiquote and see the stuff he’s said. That’s evidence, it’s written in stone.”

      Yes, out of context. It gets totally different meaning when you know the context. What evidence is the other short quotes gonna give?

  2. Yossie

    Mark

    “reinforcing a negative stereotype that is extremely damaging, increases hatred and mistrust towards African immigrants”

    Only ones that are doing that are the people who spread the quote without it context.

    However you would have wanted him to adress it, however you want to spin it, it doesnt change the fact that it was double standards.

    • JusticeDemon

      Yossie

      Do you really think that the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho chose to refer to Somalis entirely at random in order to “test the double standard”? Why didn’t he refer to Swedish speakers, Sámi or Jews? There are plenty of derogatory stereotypes to draw on, so why fasten on Somalis in particular?

      All legal instances in Finland found unanimously that this was deliberate ethnic agitation, but you would have us believe that no malice was intended and no offence should have been taken, because the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho is merely a misunderstood nerd trying to make a clever academic point.

      And if you believe that, then I have a hot stock market tip that you really must hear…

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Only ones that are doing that are the people who spread the quote without it context.

      Don’t insult people’s intelligence. A comment made by a Finn about Finnish drinking habits and pondering whether its genetic is in a totally different league to describing Africans the way that Jussi did. And the CONTEXT is not just the stupid argument he was trying to make to justify making such racist comments, but all the other commentary and filth he has been writing over the years about people from Africa. Of course, that’s a context you are quite happy to ignore or deny, because you share so much in common with his ideas, clearly.

    • khr

      Just piping in a small correction
      JusticeDemon:

      All legal instances in Finland found unanimously that this was deliberate ethnic agitation, …

      The ethnic agitation charge was dismissed in the two lower courts, but the decision was changed in the highest court. The decision about the disturbance of religious peace (“Uskonrauhan häiritseminen” – can’t think of a better translation at the moment) stayed the same in all courts.

      Link to the KKO decision (in finnish) for the interested: http://www.finlex.fi/fi/oikeus/kko/kko/2012/20120058 ,
      It also contains summary of the lower court decisions.

    • JusticeDemon

      khr

      Pleased to see that someone is paying attention 🙂

      Yes, the conviction for contempt for freedom of religion (this is probably a better translation than breach of the sanctity of religion used unofficially by the Ministry of Justice) was upheld by all instances.

      The Supreme Court upheld the prosecutor’s appeal against the findings of lower instances concerning the offence of ethnic agitation, providing detailed grounds for its verdict in this respect with reference to judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.

      On hearing the judgement of the Supreme Court the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho announced his intention to petition the European Court of Human Rights – an interesting move in the light of Halla-aho’s published position on human dignity – but we have heard nothing further on this. The petition should have been submitted by the end of 2012. Halla-aho is fortunate that ECtHR does not share his views of human dignity, so he is unlikely to receive a finding that the extrinsic value of a scholar of Old Church Slavic does not suffice to warrant wasting the court’s time on such a petition.

      The convicted racist criminal also showed a degree of public disrespect for the Supreme Court verdict that was sufficient to precipitate his removal from chairmanship of the parliamentary committee for administration.

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