Fatbardhe Hetemaj is a promising National Coalition Party Helsinki city councilwoman who moved to Finland at the age of seven. Since people like Hetemaj are becoming more common in Finland as we become a more culturally and ethnically diverse society, it is important that they speak out against discrimination and promote tolerance and respect for other groups.
Hetemaj came to Finland with her family as a quota refugee from Kosovo. She was named in 2009 as the Refugee Woman of the Year.
In a letter to the editor on Helsingin Sanomat, Hetemaj unfortunately uses the same arguments and language that anti-immigration politicians use and which she criticizes in her piece.
The headline, which claims that immigration is “a problem,” is the first matter that catch’s your eye. While Helsingin Sanomat decides on the headline, it does represent pretty well what Hetemaj wrote.
For those who have been following the debate on immigration and migrants in this country know that it revolves too much around the assumption that immigration and immigrants are “problems” instead of an asset. Even if unemployment is two- to three-times higher among immigrants than the national average, the vast majority of migrants that live in this country work, pay taxes and lead normal lives.
Fueling such an urban tale, that migrants should be treated as a problem, does tremendous harm to the whole migrant and New Finn community. How can you resolve a problem if those judging you see you in almost the same light as an illness?
Read full letter to the editor here.
Probably the most incredible statement made by the National Coalition Party councilwoman is that migrants that move to Finland should sign a contract to ensure they’ll respect our laws. She also claims that we should only accept those types of migrants that respect our laws and have a good chance of adapting to our country.
Apart from suggesting that migrants are prone not respect our laws and therefore must sign a contract, in which countries is such a contract mandatory? The contract for migrants that Hetemaj supports reveals more her prejudices and simplistic views about migrants.
Migrant Tales has great respect for all those who excel in our society. Hetemaj is a good example that second-generation Finns or third-culture members of our society can succeed as well.
One of the important matters to remember as our society becomes more culturally and ethnically diverse is that we do not forget our own roots and identity. Moreover, our country is a Nordic welfare state that speaks of two-way not one-way adaption, or assimilation.
We hope that Hetemaj won’t forget to speak up for those who don’t have and are in need of a voice in this society.