I’m fed up. I’m fed up of certain commentators visiting us here on Migrant Tales to spread lies and personal insults and to disrespect other cultures. Those that ONLY have terrible things to say about specific peoples (as opposed to cultural criticism) really are practicing extremism. How could it be otherwise?
When we condemn totalitarianism, do we always imagine that the people subjected to it are happy with that? There will always be supporters of extremism, some that will win or benefit from the privileges that come from those political or social systems. But we should NEVER blame the people as a whole, the nation or the nationality. Otherwise, no country in the world would allow Brits, the French, the Germans, the Italians and the Spanish into their countries because of the atrocities these ‘nations’ have carried out in the past.
There are two commentators on here in the last week that have finally snapped my patience. It seems very clear to me that Allan and Göran [they only ever use their first names, so I am not identifying them] have allowed themselves to become radicalised. I do not say this lightly. I have studied radicalisation for over 20 years, both from psychological, political and religious perspectives. They have nothing good to say about Somalis, in particular, with Afghans and Iraqis also mentioned in the same vein from time to time.
The fact that Allan and others HAVE to say that we are Finland-haters in order to maintain their world-view and to resist having to take seriously our arguments tells a lot about the psychology of radicalisation. To maintain a war, there must be an enemy.
If your ‘enemy’ starts to look too human, then you must dehumanise them, you must destroy any semblence of respectability that they have. Call them liars, call them haters, even if they are preaching love and tolerance.
I’m sure Allan believes I hate Finland. What can I say to that? My kids are Finnish. It doesn’t get any more personal or hurtful to hear that kind of crap from Allan. But it isn’t just about my kids. I was only yesterday walking around the streets of my home town here in Finland thinking about how much I appreciate many of the things in Finland.
It’s not perfect and it has, to different degrees, much the same social problems and inequalities of British society, but there is still a sense of safety about Finland that perhaps we have lost in the UK. There is not, or has not been to a great extent, the kind of cynicism and social division in Finnish society that we have seen, either historically or in recent times, in parts of Britain. Yes, in Finland there are inequalities of income to an extent and even of cultural perspectives and education, but not anything that has led to ‘war on the streets’ in the way that it has in the UK at times in the last 50 years. I really hope that doesn’t happen here in Finland.
What I do know is that some of the problems in the UK in regards to race relations were made much worse by Far Right groups stirring up hatreds in much the same way that Allan and Göran and others attempt to do when attacking this blog in the comments. Sometimes the response to this ethnic agitation in the UK at least has been reasoned, other times, it is expressed as an equally blind anger and bitterness, probably not so different in kind to the hatred that Allan and Göran so obviously display towards certain immigrants. Who’s to blame then? When does the hating stop? That is always the problem when you start down that kind of road to war. And it is a road to war, make no bones about it.
People in Europe are banging the war drums, telling us that Christianity and Islam are fundamentally opposed in their values, regardless of the fact that Muslims have been living peacefully in Europe for hundreds of years. They are banging the war drums because people seek a better life here in Europe, and rather than give those that manage to get here, for whatever reason, the opportunity to succeed and contribute, the talk is only of the costs of adaptation –
seeing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
I’ve had enough of Allan. The danger whenever you are ‘forced’ to engage with extremists is that you give them a platform. The words of hate have a way of getting inside, of manipulating our fears and our sense of what’s right. Who thinks crime is right? Who thinks rape is right? Who thinks oppressing women is right? Of course, if all it takes is to discover these things in our culture, then we are truly all guilty.
But ultimately, crime is a deed of the individual, and we have no business making it into an ethnic or cultural matter. Researchers are very clear in what factors are known to affect crime, in quite complex ways, and they are poverty, disempowerment, social anger, marginalisation, inequality, etc. It must always be recognised that people are free to be different, to choose a law-abiding life, regardless of their culture. The vast majority of people on this planet want peace and prosperity and the freedom to express themselves.
There is every reason to stand up for the rights and values of the West, but we would be making a huge mistake if we think that we have a monopoly on those rights, or that those in developing or conflict ridden countries have a monopoly on intolerance, inhumanity etc.
A multiethnic society requires a common bed of values which are understood and shared. If we take the guests in Finland and attempt to portray their values as always being negative, always being inferior, always being somehow in conflict with our own values, then there will be no peace. This is war-mongering. It is dangerous and it is absolutely unnecessary.
If you are concerned about these rights and values, then there is every possibility to study them, to understand them, and to be active in trying to protect and promote them.