In order to challenge a social ill like racism we must be committed to challenging it. It is sad that it had to come to this, but the tragic events in Norway have given us the strength and resolve to grab racism in Finland by the horns. It is as if those 77 victims who died at the hands of Anders Behring Breivik are asking us to act for them.
One of the reasons why racism has flourished and found a sort of eerie renaissance in Finland as of late is in my opinion due to two factors: our silence and lack or leadership, or vacillation.
One of the sources of spreading racism have been websites like Hommaforum and Scripta, both closely connected with PS MP Jussi Halla-aho.
While these websites claim innocently to spur open debate on immigration, what they do is act like a country like North Korea where everyone is of the same opinion and where dissention is strongly discouraged.
Migrant Tales was attacked in September 2008 in a matter of hours by over 800 bloggers from Scripta. Some of them posted angry comments.
How does such a cyberlynch mob get mobilized? One blogger posts something on Scripta’s wall like, “go and hostilely ‘spam destroy’ the debate” on a Migrant Tales blog entry, Are you a target of racism in Finland.”*
Soini appears these days like a politician who sees no evil, hears no evil, speaks no evil. Certainly he is very worried by the impact the killings in Norway will have on the PS.
On Thursday’s Päivän kasvot talk show, he said with a poker face that he hardly visits websites like Hommaforum and knows little of them. Even if Soini appears to suffer from partial memory loss like Halla-aho recently, many like Jussi Jalonen remember what he said on April 8, 2010 on A-talk. Back then he praised Hommaforum by stating that “generally (the website is )very factual even if they sometimes go overboard (with their comments).”
In light of what happened in Norway, Soini has gambled by not distancing himself from the racists and the Counter Jihadists in his party. This can be a costly political mistake by him that could prove fatal.
It will be difficult for him to sell the credibility of the PS if it is associated with Counterjihadists websites like the Gates of Vienna.
If the PS ever want to rule Finland and show leadership, they will have to divorce themselves from the anti-immigration rhetoric and their hate speech of Halla-aho and is followers. It is the langauge of extremists that have no place in our Nordic democratic liberal and open societies.
Finland demands much better than a small group of fanatics who are obsessed by the power that their hate speech has given them.
*“Arvon netsit! Jos ylimääräistä viitseiliäisyyttä löytyy, käykääpä vihaisesti spametdestroyaamassa http://nemoo.wordpress.com/2007/06/07/are-you-a-racist-in-finland/ keskustelu.”