By Enrique Tessieri
Some claim that one should forgive some Finns for their outrageous statements on immigrants and refugees since they are fuelled by ignorance. If there are serious shortcomings in our immigration and integration policy, it can be blamed on our lack of experience.
If we were to give Finland the benefit of the doubt, it could offer us an effective solution to brush all the problems related to immigrants under the rug and blame it on inexperience.
Can, however, an issue that affects tens of thousands of people’s lives, their children and grandchildren, be conveniently blamed on ignorance?
A recent editorial by Jyväskylä-based Keskisuomalainen, which was against Finland taking the multicultural road, incredulously suggested that refugees should be helped in their home countries and brought to Finland as a last resort.
Helsingin Sanomat, the countries largest daily, continues to use the demeaning term “mamu” in headlines to refer to immigrants.
What about politicians such as Jutta Urpilainen, Timo Soini of the True Finns and others, who knowingly or unknowingly vilify all immigrants in this country by suggesting that they must follow the law because in this country we do things the Finnish way?
What about the Finnish Border Guard, Finnish Immigration Service and others that create and maintain a climate of fear and suspicion of certain immigrant groups through their statements that Finland is in danger of being “invaded” by these people? They even play at being social scientists by suggesting that these groups can never adapt to our culture.
One could correctly turn the question around: Are these examples of misinformation intentional and what role does ignorance play?
Or is this the shape and way racism manifests itself in Finland?