EDITORIAL: Has racism inflicted Finland?

By Enrique Tessieri

Taking into account the underwhelming size of the immigrant and refugee community, what have we done wrong and why are we the target of daily insults, racism and abuse by opportunistic politicians and their parties? Even the Social Democrats, the party that has championed for the rights of the working man, appears to have aligned itself close to the True Finns on immigration.

I recently asked in a Kokoomus blog two questions: Is Finland a multicultural society and if Kokoomus had an official immigration policy? I never got a response for the first question. For the second one, Kokoomus gave me a link to a report published in November. When I asked them the second question again, if the party had an official immigration policy, I got no response.

The truth is that no political party in Finland has an official policy on immigration. Without such an official stance, it leaves the political playing field inside a party to a wide range of contradicting views: from xenophobic to pro-immigration.

In this sense, the immigration policy, “in Rome do as the Romans do,” suggested by Social Democratic Party chairwoman Jutta Urpilainen, is novel since the SDP will become the first party in Finland with an official immigration policy.  Whether the party’s stance on immigration is the right one or if it will be successful is another question, however. Many countries have suggested this nationalistic approach by forcing immigrants to sign contracts that they will follow the laws of their new homeland.

SDP’s immigration policy will fail not only because it is ethnocentric, but because it is unconstitutional. How can you force people to comply to a narrow view of Finnishness (whatever that is) if the Constitution and Non-Discrimination Act permit diversity and other matters such as freedom of worship?

The one-sided ongoing immigration debate has turned into a farce and an insult to all immigrants and refugees living in Finland.

It would not be a bad idea if immigrants went on strike like thousands did in Italy and France to drive home the point that we are not anyone’s pet political fodder.