Finland election result: No evil lasts 100 years

by , under Enrique Tessieri

No hay mal que dure 100 años.

The saying in Spanish means that since a human doesn’t live for 100 years, his or her evil cannot last that long. One day it will end when the person dies.

 Even if the PS is not a human per se, the damage it has inflicted on Finland can last a very long time.

Näyttökuva 2015-4-19 kello 23.46.28

Sunday’s election result means that Finland will continue to have one of the biggest anti-immigration and populist parties in Europe. Figure out what this means especially for migrants and minorities that live in this country.

Even if the PS won big, they only captured 17.6% of the vote, which means that they’ll have to work with others like the Center Party.

PS chairman Timo Soini played down the role of the party’s anti-immigration message in the 2011 election. After today’s results, he can no longer deny that it is one of the main pillars of the party.

In today’s Finland it is perfectly possible to make a name for yourself as a politician by scapegoating migrants and petty nationalism. They are a successful combination for any candidate seeking office. No prior experience required.

A good example of the latter is Jari Ronkainen of Hollola, who is a carpenter and whose only merit appears to have been upload an anti-immigration video in February that has got almost 19,000 views today.

There was some good news, however. Nasima Razmyar of the Social Democratic Party and Ozan Yanar of the Green Party got elected to parliament.

I am not concerned about myself but about the future of my children and grandchildren. If this country, which claims to have one of the best educational systems in the world, doesn’t understanding why social exclusion is costly and wrong reveals to me that it has learned very little at school.

What kind of a message do these elections send to the world? If you are a foreign investor or a skilled laborer don’t move to Finland especially if you are black or a Muslim because you can never trust populism and nationalism.

Definitely the biggest loser of Sunday’s parliamentary elections is Finland.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.

  1. PS voter

    I think your writing is quite rude towards Perussuomalaiset. Perussuomalaiset is relatively moderate party after all. And it is quite valid political opinion to set target for humanitarian immigration to lower level than it is a the moment, which is what many members of Perussuomalaiset wish. It is unsustainable to say that only raising the number of new humanitarian immigrants is right, especially as Finland has very difficult economic situation at the moment.

    I would also like to remind that many members of Perussuomalaiset have closer personal ties to immigration than many other. For example Juho Eerola has married a black woman with whom he has mixed race child, Mika Raatikainen has married Lebanese woman, PhD Jussi Halla-aho considers Kiev his home town in addition to Helsinki and Tampere ad speaks both Ukrainian and Russian language etc.

  2. PS voter

    I would also add that immigration critical Perussuomalaiset is mainly against humanitarian immigration that costs a lot of and not against work related immigration, especially if we are talking about skilled workers which bring money to the country and who are not a security threat.

    • Mark

      Do you really think this list of Raatikainen’s work posts abroad is enough to convince people that his representation in a Far Right anti-immigration populist party is of no significance?

  3. Mark

    I’ve been saying for some years that I thought the PS vote would stabalise around this level. No doubt, this is the future for populism throughout Europe, at or around the 20% level, sometimes higher in some places. The question that still remains to be answered is what actually happens when one of these populist anti-immigration parties actually gets into power and whether the claims to be a genuine force in politics survives their inevitable difficulty in crafting an actual policy program that goes beyond the populist and grievance-based issues that they have typically campaigned on.

    I’m not as hysterical as Enrique is about this situation, but I am concerned. At some point, the rhetoric coming from all sides has to calm down and people’s actual needs and rights have to be protected. I’m disappointed that Migrant Tales has not done more to reach out and diffuse the debate, while being determined and single-minded in challenging the negativity built up around immigrants.

    The fact is, you simply cannot dismiss 17 per cent of the population as losers or nutters. You have to recognise they are largely ordinary people and that you have to engage them over their fears and dissatisfaction with the political establishment, and their sense of fear over their cultural integrity.

    In a climate where any criticism of populist parties is often disarmed through accusations of reverse racism or just simply a denial of any danger attached to rampant nationalism, it is difficult to have a reasonable debate. But the key is respect and a recognition of the values that we share in common and seek to protect. Nothing wrong in having a strong national identity, the question is whether that freedom is equal for all of society’s different citizen groups.

    • Migrant Tales

      We have done a lot to “diffuse” the debate by giving many Other Finns a voice by giving their side of the ongoing story. Diffusing the debate begins by challenging and bringing down those structures that maintain systemic racism in our society. Your role in this debate hinges on how these structures affect you. I do agree that it’s high time that politicians must confront those arguments that are fueling intolerance and anti-immigration parties.

    • Mark

      The direction of the debate has to move. Talking about an evil lasting a 100 years or not is demonising people at the end of the day.

      What has to be done is not to talk about history, as if the lessons would leap off the page and completely change a person’s views about their own security in today’s world. We need to show people that we are all members of a minority, even while we belong to the majority. This is why it is important to understand and protect minority rights and to address the needs of minorities.

      If you get ill tomorrow with cancer, you are in a minority, but you rely on the majority having decided that the expensive care and treatment of this minority through the benevolence of the majority is a necessary dynamic in a modern society. Tomorrow you might have a house fire, and lose everything, but an insurance policy will hopefully provide a safety net, while the state will provide housing. Only 9% of people in Finland are unemployed, but the taxes of the majority go to pay in part for the basic needs of the minority.

      And the other thing that needs to be stressed is that diversity exists within Finnish culture, and that we will not fully appreciate the diversity between cultures until we properly appreciate the diversity within Finnish culture. In that sense, it is how PS talk about Finns and other Finns that will be crucial to undermining any message against cultural diversity. At the moment, here on this website, we are limited to talking about how PS talks about foreigners. That is missing the big picture. And it WON’T communicate to ordinary Finns.

      What will communicate is when those ideas of monoculturalism are challenged from within Finnish society for denying and undermining cultural diversity WITHIN Finland, both contemporary and historically. Win that debate, and you will have taken a huge step towards building a platform for providing immigrants with the respect and dignity they deserve.

    • Migrant Tales

      A saying like “evil cannot last 100 years” means that everything bad comes to an end one day. That evil or bad comes from people. People don’t live for a hundred years so it will end one day. In Argentina we used it a lot when things looked hopeless.

      I disagree with your statement about history. We have to know history to not only understand the present but most importantly not commit the same mistakes of the past. Certainly the history you know has to be put into context and how it sits today.

      Winning the debate is not only the debate in itself but promulgating new laws, writing books and being politically and socially active. The Civil Rights Movement in the US is a good example how a racist system could be challenged. One of the many tools it used was a clear vision of its aims and goals. What were those goals? A paradigm shift, more jobs and civil rights to name some. There was little debate for centuries about such rights until someone said that this must stop like it or not.

      I would rather work with the 83% of people who didn’t vote for the PS than the minority that did. I will get much more done and reach my aims faster with people who are on the same wave length as I. I can speak as well with those who disagree. That’s not a problem.

    • Mark


      I would rather work with the 83% of people who didn’t vote for the PS than the minority that did. I will get much more done and reach my aims faster with people who are on the same wave length as I. I can speak as well with those who disagree. That’s not a problem.

      That’s not a particularly helpful argument. For a start, you have no idea of that 83% what their views are on immigration – simply that it’s not high enough up the agenda to make a difference to their voting. And the idea that you can ignore 17% of the electorate because ‘they are a minority’ is a complete anti-thesis to the whole notion of striving to protect the rights of minorities.

      The difficulty in this situation is that it IS an minority that make life difficult for immigrants in Finland and talking to a majority that would be more positive does nothing to solve the problem of what the minority are doing. I find it quite bizarre that you would look at it like this Enrique?

    • Migrant Tales

      Have I said that the PS hasn’t made life difficult for migrants and minorities in Finland. Just check what I have written and you’ll find the answer. So what are you saying Mark? Are you stating that we should accept this 17% for what it is or that we should challenge their arguments? It’s not clear. Moreover, 17% doesn’t give you a majority which means that they will have to compromise if they get into government. I don’t know if this is a consolation but it is a reality.

    • Mark


      Have I said that the PS hasn’t made life difficult for migrants and minorities in Finland.

      No. But then that wasn’t why I mentioned it. You said you were going to talk to the 83%, which I find odd if it’s not them that’s causing the problems.

      I think there needs to be a change in tone. That’s all. It’s not about compromising, it’s about not losing one’s integrity during the debate. It’s about avoiding a polarised debate.

      I said some years ago that the PS vote would consolidate around the 17 – 20 per cent mark. I also said that Migrant Tales should focus on giving a voice to Migrant’s, but actually, most of the stories are giving voice to what the Far Right are doing in Finland. And the other thing is that PS is NOT just a far right organisation, it’s a populist organisation in the true sense of the word. The only thing that will eventually undermine them or transform them as a party is if they get into power – then the gloss and novelty will rub off.

      I am quite convinced that in this debate, we have to set the example. We are asking people to understand and listen to migrants, because what they have to say changes the debate about immigration, brings depth and realism to it, and that without that voice, it’s a stupid ideological tug of war. But to take that debate to those most strongly opposed immigration, you have to practice what you preach, that is, listening and validating people’s voices. This is not about agreeing or compromising, it’s about not forgetting that you are talking to human beings.

    • Migrant Tales

      Mark, I have been in this debate pretty actively for many years and one thing I’ve learned: Don’t waste your time with people with extreme views. It’s a total waste of time. Even so it doesn’t mean that I cannot debate with such people. Certainly that’s your right to chose your strategy in this debate. Good luck!

      One more point: Did I ever say that I’m ONLY going to talk to 83% of those that voted in this election. I didn’t.

    • Mark


      Don’t waste your time with people with extreme views.

      You will generally find that people with extreme views on some topics can be quite moderate on other topics and it’s not necessarily the case that these people are callous and heartless. Perhaps I never told you Enrique, but one of my very best Finnish friends votes PS and we have debated for many years on the topic. While I can see the ‘extremism’ in some of his views, or at least, the possibility for extremism, in actual fact, it’s mostly down to a basic conservatism and desire to not weaken Finland’s position. It’s certainly not based on a hatred of foreigners. And that debate has not been a waste of time – and he remains a good friend who I respect for his many personal qualities. That’s the thing Enrique – people are a mixture, and if you take one idea or opinion that they have and inflate it to the point where it drowns out their humanity, you have failed big time, especially if you do it in the name of ‘human rights’.

      I think you need to understand that about the people involved in this debate and learn how to talk to them in a respectful way. I’m not going to flog a dead horse any more on this issue though.

      Please remove my name as an associate editor.

    • Migrant Tales

      I’m sorry to hear that but I understand. Good luck in your future endeavors, Mark!

  4. PS voter

    Mark, I could have post even more facts. Like the fact that Juho Eerola has worked several years with re fu gees. Or the fact that Olli Immonen befriended Nimo Samatar (a So ma lian-Finnish woman whose blog I have advertised here before) during the Is la m-ilta on TV.

    Mentioning those facts won’t probably change the minds of true believers who feel that Perussuomalaiset is the beast from Book of Revelation or even worse, but I hope that the things I mentioned, make rational people think that maybe they should try to find out the real facts by themselves instead of relying on very one-sided propaganda.

    • Migrant Tales

      PS voter what are the “real facts” you are speaking of? Oh, right, because Eerola worked with refugees and because Immonen befriended someone. What they have said and their actions against immigrants and Muslims is too incriminating. Or should I point out that Bin Laden once helped a lady across the street and that’s why we shouldn’t be too harsh on him? Your logic is the one used to see the PS as something “normal” when, in fact, it’s far from that.

  5. jack73

    If you use that logic, as an Argentinian you are much worse than any PS voter. Minimal number of refugees accepted, minimal contributions to UNHCR, not to even mention the recent dark past of your country. 20 years of military junta and up to 30000 people disappeared and were very likely all killed.

    The irony is that PS as party is supporting in immigration policies the same kind of system that Australia, Canada and USA all have. Nothing less, nothing more.

    Canada for example takes 10000 refugees yearly but on top of that 240 000 immigrants, mostly skilled ones. Very comparable to Finland’s number of refugees per capita.

    For you, PS is instead of some kind of second coming of Nazis! Maybe you should clean up your own house before accusing us Finns of being mad racists with zombie eyes!

    • Migrant Tales

      Jack73 sorry to disappoint you but this is not a match between countries. Moreover I think it would be apprpriate if you ask me about my identity instead of just assuming. When you assume you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”

      Try to be more constructive with your arguments. Right now you sound like a raving ANONYMOUS voice who doesn’t have the guts to speak with his own name. Until you do this discussion with you is over.

  6. jack73

    Ha ha!Typical for your kinds…when you are confronted with facts, you try to derail the discussion.

    Nobody else seems to be here with their own name, including also you obviously. You are not Mr. Tessieri, right? So you are actually writing comments so that people will assume you are him!

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