By Enrique Tessieri
Finns will go to the ballot boxes on April 17 and some are predicting a big victory for the populist True Finns, a party which bases much of its campaign on anti-EU rhetoric as well as nationalism, conservative values, anti-immigration and Islamophobia. The good news is that the majority of Finns have given them the thumbs down.
Researcher Vesa Puuronen said in an interview on Sunday in Mikkeli-based daily Länsi-Savo that the Islamophobia gripping some parts of Europe is similar to what happened in this continent in the 1930s. “I fear that it (right-wing populism) will rise (elsewhere) and could grow in Finland,” he was quoted as saying in Länsi-Savo. “I hope we’ll pull through this with less damage than from the right-wing populist wave of the 1930s that caused a calamity throughout Europe and the world.”
Another important matter to take into account is that researchers like Puuronen believe that racism based on culture and religion is as dangerous as what eugenics brought us before World War II. One of the favorite pastimes of these questionable “men of science” was classifying and justifying “racial” superiority.
One of these “researchers” of eugenics in Finland was Rolf Nordenstreng. This was the level of his observations: “You cannot expect intelligent children from a Gypsy horse thief and a promiscuous Negro wife (sic!).” (Nordenstreng, 1929, p. 48).
This is an updated 2010 version of the above by James Hirvisaari of the True Finns: “And on top of this we’ll get (from Muslim immigrants) discrimination, intolerable contemptuous bad behavior, hate, degradation of women, mutilated children’s bodies, sexual molesters (sic!)…”
Isn’t it incredible that we live in 2011 and still find these types of affirmations are coming from people who should know better?
This is what General David Petraeus said recently about the buring of the Koran in Florida: “This was a surprise. (It was) hateful, extremely disrespectful and enormously intolerant.” Is there any difference to what happened in Florida and Hirvisaari’s wrath?
Despite the fact that racism has raised its ugly head in Finland, it is a good matter that it is out there for all of us to see. We must not only challenge it but nip this social ill in the bud.
Because I believe in Finland, I know that we will prevail in the task.