BBC’s HARDtalk grills Timo Soini on racism

by , under Enrique

Finally Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman, Timo Soini, has met his match Wednesday on the BBC’s HARDtalk. The Finnish media should take notes on how BBC journalist Stephen Sackur doesn’t let Soini off the hook when it comes to racism. In a short part of the interview, Saucker reveals Soini and the PS for what they are: a sham and a party that treats racism with kid gloves.

The last time that Soini got thrown a good question was not by Finnish journalists but by high school students in Järvenpää during the presidential election.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-2-20 kello 23.56.10
Here is the link.

My favorite question by Sackur to Soini: “Is there a strand of racism inside your party?”

Soini: “No. I’m a Catholic Christian by definition, I cannot be a racist.”

Sackur: “I’m not sure that would convince everyone listening to this interview. Is there a strand of racism inside your party?”

Soini: “No I don’t hate anybody, nobody is hated by the Finns Party…Of course there are one or two outbursts but we have 19% out of people voting for us…If there are some individuals or even some MPs you cannot personally be in charge.”

Sackur: “You’re a leader. That’s your job. ”

Soini: “That is my job I’m not a kindergarten [teacher]…”

Sackur: “You have 39 MPs and you are saying it’s simply impossible to ensure that none come up with a racist statement?”

And a little later on Saucker brings up PS MP Teuvo Hakkarainen and his use of the n-word in Finland which is “completely unacceptable and racist.”

Soini: “I said [to Hakkarainen] don’t use that kind of [racist] language.”

Sackur: “Why didn’t you fire him?”

Soini: “Why should I?”

Saucker: “Because if people use that sort of completely derogatory word towards people of a different race it suggests that they are racist.”

Soini: “Yes, but he hasn’t said he’s a racist and I don’t believe he is a racist.”

Sackur: “So if you use that kind of language, inflammatory language, then deny you’re a racist, that’s ok.”

Soini: “That’s not ok . You should be improving in your behavior.”

 

 

 

  1. Joonas

    I actually watched the interview and got to admit: it was really pathetic from Soini’s side. All his answers made me grimace. Really, Hakkarainen is not a racist? He is the most stereotypical redneck racist there is!

  2. Farang

    N-word has been a normal word earlier to describe certain races. Its only lately that some people decided its an offending word. Anyway, using that word doesnt mean the person is racist.

    There is absolutely nothing Hakkarainen has done which would make him a racist. If you have some proof, please provide. If he doesnt want to hear muslim prayer calls in the morning, that has nothing to do with racism. Its same as if someone doesnt like to hear ambulance sirens during night.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Anyway, using that word doesnt mean the person is racist.

      I find this hilarious. Illka Palmu, the journalist who reported Hakkarainen using the N-word during an interview specifically said that Hakkarainen said much worse things during the interview but that his paper could not report them because he feared they would be sued, clearly implying that Hakkarainen had broken the laws on hate speech during the uninhibited interview.

      Ironic isn’t it. Hakkarainen’s most racist comments cannot be properly reported because they are so bad the paper fears being sued for propogating hate speech!

    • Joonas

      Meaning of the words are changing over time and this N-word has been an offensive word something like 30 years now (in the 70’s it was still a neutral word). I bet even Hakkarainen knows that. There are ways to talk about ethnic groups without using insulting words.

  3. Farang

    That is a fault of the flower hat society. Even if Teuvos speech is racist it doesnt make Teuvo a racist. For example I often talk in racist way, even though I am not a racist. I hate racists. But still people should be free to talk how they like.

    • Mark

      Farang

      But still people should be free to talk how they like.

      So, free to shout ‘fire’ in a cinema? A yes or no will do, as you typically put it.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Even if Teuvos speech is racist it doesnt make Teuvo a racist.

      So what does it make him, a fool? The clear fact is that it makes him guilty of hate speech. That should be enough to ask him to curb his lazy tongue! Or are you going back to that stupid argument about racism being a victimless crime?

  4. Farang

    Mark, why are you so black abnd white? Ofcourse it depends on action if there is a victim or not. If someone beats up an immigrant, there is a victim. If someone says n-word, there is no victim.

    • Mark

      Farang

      If someone beats up an immigrant, there is a victim. If someone beats up an immigrant, there is a victim. If someone says n-word, there is no victim.

      Verbal abuse can be more damaging to health than physical abuse. I guess you just didn’t know that. Shall I put it down to your general level of ignorance?

    • Mark

      Farang

      This comment of yours in regard to racist abuse is generally regarded as cognitive distortion in psychology, and is a large component of pathological bias, which is the psychological deficit at the heart of racism.

    • Mark

      Farang

      If someone takes damage of verbal abuse, he can only blame himself.

      This is a ridiculous and extremist statement. So now you want the victims of verbal abuse to blame themselves for the harm that arises from the abuse they suffer? What is this, positive thinking gone mad?

      I guess you think that if no-one was at all sensitive to the words of other people, it would be problem solved. That explains a lot of your thinking, Farang, but it also reveals the strong possibility of a personality disorder – perhaps counterdependency, but more likely destructive narcissism, given your pleasure in engaging ‘enemies’ in so-called dialogue. You can measure your narcissism here if you like: psych central. Maybe you can report back on your score 🙂

      It is not a ‘mental problem’ to be sensitive to verbal abuse or especially being vilifed simply because of your race or ethnicity. Yes, as individuals we have to do the best we can to exercise coping skills in the face of such abuse, but the idea that society has to stand idly by while this happens is laughably evil. I mean, it’s hard to imagine that people actually think like that, but here you are, living proof.

    • D4R

      I came to Finland by the agee of 7 and lord knows what ive been through by people like you Farang. All the daily verbal abuse and physical abuse at that age by people who think like you, i do not wish that even to my worst enemies. I can’t describe by words how i felt and still feel up to this day. I still suffer in my adulthood from trauma caused by people like you. People like you enjoy by the suffering of others, that’s what you live for. I pity you Farang.

    • Farang

      D4R

      I came to Finland by the agee of 7 and lord knows what ive been through by people like you Farang. All the daily verbal abuse and physical abuse at that age by people who think like you

      What are you implying? Why do you say people like me and then refer to people who verbally and physically abuse you?

      I have never and I never will even verbally assault anyone. I am 100% against that.

    • Mark

      I don’t have time now, but if I have an hour or two over the weekend, I’ll draw you up a rap sheet! 🙂

      From the top of my head, you’ll find a long list of insensitive, demeaning, insulting, dishonest, manipulative and passive aggressive postings directed at all the writers here at MT, at other posters, and especially at immigrants in Finland.

      On the other hand, you will find from Farang an impassioned, dedicated and determined defence of fascism, fascists, racists, xenophobes, Islamaphobes and homophobes!

      That’s how the narrative unfolds with Farang, over and over again, in thread after thread on this blog!

  5. merkkierkki

    Hakkarainen is pretty harmless guy. He might be a bit xenophobic and simple, but I would hardly call him a racist.

    Halla-aho in other hand is a racist. In other hand the writing he was sentenced for stated that Muhammed was a pedophile as he had a child bride. He stated that Islam is a pehodphile religion since it is ok in many cultures to have child brides. Though everyone can say that his conclusion was stupid, wrong and generalizing he used something that is a fact to base it on. This makes me wonder would he have been sentenced for saying that anywhere else in Europe.

    • Mark

      merkkierkki

      Hakkarainen is pretty harmless guy.

      Now you are being an apologist. More cognitive distortion, minimizing the hurt that can come from his highly provocative statements. I guess you are not the victim, so it’s genuinely hard to understand how destabalising it is to hear POLITICIANS actually vilifying and defaming you publicly.

      he used something that is a fact to base it on.

      J-Ha went well beyond a discussion of the facts relating to Mohammed and child marriages. He drew vile conclusions about the nature of Islam as a faith. There is nothing wrong in discussing child marriage, though it would be useful to discuss the original context and also to be careful to draw accurate conclusions about present day practices or attitudes among Muslims. He did neither. His conclusion was not merely stupid or wrong, it was a deliberate baiting of the public prosecutor over hate crime laws in Finland that would limit his ability to vilify Muslims. That much should be clear.

    • eyeopener

      Hi Merkkierkki.

      I do understand you want to bring forward your opinion about the influence of some PS MPs.

      Yet, It is my opinion to find it a kind of pity that you play down the mentality of PS MPs. It would be a clear statement if and when YOU say: “H.IS A RACIST” In this dialogue you leave room for reactions that support “weak racist behavior or speech” Your point of view can be considered as “room for racial attacks -verbally or physically-” and consequently seen as acceptable by some people. Start of a vicious circle!!

      Strict positioning is needed when dealing with this growing “hyjacking of the Finnish common mental property”

      Agree??

  6. merkkierkki

    Farang

    This is a ridiculous and extremist statement. So now you want the victims of verbal abuse to blame themselves for the harm that arises from the abuse they suffer? What is this, positive thinking gone mad?

    Usually to be convicted of abuse you have to point someone who was abused by his comments. Has anyone showed up?

    • Mark

      Merkkierkki

      Usually to be convicted of abuse you have to point someone who was abused by his comments. Has anyone showed up?

      I cannot speak for Finnish law, but in the UK, in the case of malicious communications and hate speech it is enough that judges decide that a reasonable and sane person would find the material offensive, likely to cause pain or injury. Defamation does not have to establish that this injury has happened, but only that it is likely.

      Hate speech is a special form of malicious communication and it has its own legislation, but the principles are typically the same as those that govern defamation and malicious communications in general, meaning that there doesn’t even have to be a recipient of a malicious message for it to be a crime, it merely has to be put into the public domain. Likewise, hate speech is not strictly a ‘victimless crime’ as that is generally understood. A victimless crime would be something like illegal gambling.

  7. merkkierkki

    Now you are being an apologist. More cognitive distortion, minimizing the hurt that can come from his highly provocative statements. I guess you are not the victim, so it’s genuinely hard to understand how destabalising it is to hear POLITICIANS actually vilifying and defaming you publicly.

    I say he is harmless because he is typical redneck and also came to light that he was an alcoholic, despite claiming to be an absolutist. In his past he was convicted of stealing silvers from a church and cutting down trees while drunk.

    That’s why I found him more as a humorous character that individual who knows about his actions can’t take his words seriously and be harmed by them. He got in as sort of leftover member in the finns party as they didn’t have many good candidates but got a lots of votes. He also has apologized quite a few times for his statements. To me showing that he just wants attention and to be on the tablets.

    Halla-aho is more serious as he actually he got second most personal votes in Helsinki district. He has many followers.

    • Mark

      Merkkierkki

      That’s why I found him more as a humorous character that individual who knows about his actions can’t take his words seriously and be harmed by them.

      Fair enough, I know what you are getting at. But to many immigrants, the fact he is a politican that appears to be supported by his party (though he was censored for his comments) and perhaps not realising his lack of serious reputation among Finns might not be so apparent.

      Halla-aho is more serious as he actually he got second most personal votes in Helsinki district. He has many followers.

      He is one of the most dangerous politicans in Finland. I’m sure he doesn’t feel like an extremist. In fact, it is very typical that an extremist thinks that mainstream politicians are in fact the extremists; he clearly sees the ‘ideology’ of multiculturalism as some evil being foistered onto Finland by left-wing extremists. The fact that he has to dismantle a great part of the human rights framework and argumentation in the process of trying to redefine the relationship of Finland to immigrants doesn’t strike him as at all odd or extreme.

      He provides a so-called ‘intellectual’ front, so that those lazy bastards that like to clothe their prejudices in a thin veil of ‘intelligence’ and ‘culture’ have a figurehead who can give them some clever sounding phrases and provocative statements with which to defend their prejudice. The strength of those arguments doesn’t matter, because by the time you’ve got through trying to show their inherent flaws, they’ve shovelled another pile of manure into the debate.

      You could say that this is the game of all politics, but it is a question as to where the final standard ends up – with him, it’s in the bottom of the barrel, I’m afraid.

      His notion of culture, for an educated man, is laughably stiff and academic, except that academics these days are not known for being so dry and absolutist, but rather delight in the nuanced realities and ambiguities of society. He’s a smart guy, but there is just something twisted about the whole starting point of his philosophy – a blind spot.

  8. merkkierkki

    Yet, It is my opinion to find it a kind of pity that you play down the mentality of PS MPs. It would be a clear statement if and when YOU say: “H.IS A RACIST” In this dialogue you leave room for reactions that support “weak racist behavior or speech” Your point of view can be considered as “room for racial attacks -verbally or physically-” and consequently seen as acceptable by some people. Start of a vicious circle!!

    I don’t play down their mentality. I maybe did remember his speech as lighter than what it was and mark was more correct on his account.

    But what I do think is that silencing these people is more dangerous. We might end up in situation where people have elected representatives who are racist but outside only appear to be “EU critics” as sort of trojan horses. If these could openly say what they think, people would not vote for them. As Finns generally don’t agree with extreme views, all such movements since 30’s have come down when they have showed their true colors.

    Also if they openly said what they think, more sensible people could shoot their arguments down. If there is no open discussion, people will not know the obvious flaws in their logic. Also people like Halla-aho get to ride into the parliament as martyrs of freedom of speech. I think that is one of the reason why many normal people voted for him, I doubt that he would be in the parliament without that.

    • Mark

      merkkierkki

      If these could openly say what they think, people would not vote for them. As Finns generally don’t agree with extreme views

      I’m not sure this is borne out by the facts. The most vocal of immigration critics and perhaps the most obviously vile in his comments was also the second most popular PS politician in terms of votes. It’s perhaps true that today’s racists prefer a smart racist as their figurehead because it reflects better on their own self-image.

      The other issue that you are dealing with is that society has a responsibility to protect vulnerable minorities and allowing this kind of hate speech to sit in the public domain is almost certainly going to reinforce hatreds and extremism – just look at how influenced a man like Breivik was by the writings of Far Right extremists from all parts of Europe. The more they are allowed to make their views visible, the more accessible they are, the more likely it is that it will corrupt young and impressionable minds. Clearly a balance has to be struck between upholding standards of public discourse and protecting freedoms of expression.

      It’s true to say that any of the immigration concerns that Finns might have can be addressed without invoking racism or stigmatizing immigrants. That most of the PS politicians seem incapable of that kind of simple debate just goes to show what a poor talent pool they are drawing from. No wonder they hate intellectual elites, because it so obviously shows them up for what they are – mostly rednecks with more bile and bitterness than brains and problem-solving skills.

      Also people like Halla-aho get to ride into the parliament as martyrs of freedom of speech. I think that is one of the reason why many normal people voted for him, I doubt that he would be in the parliament without that.

      This is a very good point. I think the answer is to point out how it’s perfectly possible to debate all sorts of controversial elements of immigration and immigrants without resorting to racist language or ideas. I would say that stigmatisation is much more of a long-term problem than racism in Finland, though the two are very closely linked. Stigma is almost like a hidden label that people carry and to which people often don’t make any visible or verbal reference, but which nevertheless affects greatly the opportunities and relations of the people affected. An example is constantly mentioning immigrants and crime in the same breath with no other more normal narrative to offset it.

  9. Migrant Tales

    Olen eri mieltä sinun kanssa, Ahpoinvointia. Soini on myös maahanmuuttovastainen. Jos ei olisi, miksi hänet aina löytyy sängyssä mm. Toni Halmen, Jussi Halla-ahon, Juho Eerolan, Teuvo Hakkaraisen ym kanssa? He’s the good cop, toiset ovat “bad cops.”

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