Finland's growing image abroad now hinges on racism and intolerance

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

The lead story in Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat is about how racism and intolerance at home have tarnished Finland’s image abroad, according to a survey of Finnish expats living in different countries. Even if the daily blames the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party for our country’s questionable image, the real culprits are none other than us.

What Helsingin Sanomat forgets to tell its readers is that such a negative international image will cost us dearly, especially during a time when we need more skilled immigrants and foreign investment in our country.

The economic damage caused to Finland by our near-silence and the vacillating stance of our media and too many politicians to racism and populism is a big one. The longer we remain quiet on this front and flirt with our silence with parties like the PS, the more we will continue to destroy our good image abroad.

Before Finland’s entry into the European Union in 1995, the foreign ministry worked hard to improve our negative international image caused by Finlandization. While our refugee policy and draconian treatment of immigrants before 1983, when Finland’s first Aliens’ Act came into force, officials ran the Aliens’ Office like a state within a state.

Issues like racism took backstage in the international media because of Finlandization and due to the size of our underwhelming immigrant population, which totaled about 7,000 in the 1970s. Most of these “foreigners” were native Finns who were naturalized citizens of other countries.

The experiment by 19.1% of the population in the April election to seek the help of a populist, anti-EU, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim party to lead us in this decade is proving to be a mistake.

There are positive signs, however, that voters have had enough of the PS’ political shenanigans as the presidential election showed.

Apart from voters giving the thumbs down to anti-EU presidential hopefuls like Center Party’s Paavo Väyrynen and PS’ Timo Soini, the party has been damaged by numerous scandals in the media that have exposed the racismhomophobia and anti-democratic credentials of some of its MPs.

  1. Allan

    That HS article was such a laugh. Poor girl from UK writing about “anti-European” she probably hasn’t been reading what Cameron’s been speaking. As for the reputation, I wonder who creates that reputation? Hatemongers like you? Where else would the foreign media source their distorted lies? Oh, HBL of course. But keep up the good work. You are the best PR person PS has on the web for curbing immigration.

  2. Foreigner

    “He who feels it knows it…” How can a white Finn (or any other white nationality), tell a black man in Finland that racism is only a figment of his imagination! Who the hell are you to tell me that racism in Finland does not exist? That it is all “distorted lies” told to the foreign media?

    Believe it or not, Finland’s reputation as a racist, xenophobic country is going to affect each and every Finn. Finns who travel abroad will soon begin to feel “the hate”. How can you be racist towards others, and travel to the USA, etc , and expect the black population there to treat you with anything other than hate, when it is discovered that you are a Finn? Just ask the Germans about their experiences after the whole H episode.The Germans had to work quite hard afterwards to repair their negative image overseas. There was a time when German tourists vacationing overseas were treated very badly by the host populations who branded all Germans as racists. Is that what you Finns want ? Perhaps yes, but just remember that Finland cannot survive on it’s own , and that inevitably, Finns will have to travel to other countries for various reasons. You can’t all stay in Finland, or travel exclusively to “white Europe.” You will someday need some sun or a nice tropical beach……

  3. Yossie

    Foreigner

    “How can you be racist towards others, and travel to the USA, etc , and expect the black population there to treat you with anything other than hate, when it is discovered that you are a Finn?”

    So because some members of group X does Y, It justifies my hate against the whole group? If I have understood right, this is what migrant tales is all against right? Or are we allowed to hate all muslims because of the fundamentalism of some?

  4. Method

    Foreigner, yes, let’s just be very very afraid that someone might not like us. And more to that, let’s fear the black people. Oh wait. Isn’t this what we’re told not to do? C’mon, everyone’s responsible of their own predigiouses. Now if some black folks somewhere decide to hate on someone, because he/she comes from Finland and is white, well that’s the racist bigot in them then. They’ll do what they’ll do.

    Well, back to the subject. This is what I was talking about before. About the mob tactics. Be nice, or be gone. Social pressure to conformity. No while the subject is of course about racism, what about the gay president issue? The exact same arguments are used against Mr. Haavisto. The fear of the homophobes of the world. Even if there’s truth in it, cave in? No.

    Any kind of social tricks or distortion should always be neglected if not answered with all the rage.

  5. Klay_Immigrant

    Let me tell you foreigners in Finland and even Finns themselves that Finland’s reputation abroad is completely insignificant and pointless. Why? Because it’s reputation is non-existent, there is isn’t one, whether good or bad.

    When I first alerted people I was moving to Finland, most people’s face was that of a puzzled look. They couldn’t comprehend why an educated, mixed race person in London with no ties to Finland to want to move there. They didn’t think that because Finland in their opinion was a bad place but because they knew nothing about it, absolutely nothing about it. Unless a person has studied or has a genuine deep interest in Northern European history or politics they will be just as clueless. You will be hard pressed to find somebody who could point to Finland on a map, or even sometimes tell you the capital. Nokia well that’s a Japanese company isn’t it according to most. Yet Finns are worried about what their politics entails abroad, please save yourself the stress.

    Finland is only ever in the news if you happen to watch dedicated politics or economics programs and even then it’s a rare instance and very brief. The parliamentary elections in May hardly got a mention. When programs talk about governments that have changed since the Euro crisis Finland is always missed out. When France and other European countries had their AAA credit rating downgraded, Finland wasn’t mentioned as one of the countries that kept theirs even though they talked about Germany and the Netherlands in the same situation. I had to go online to check as that was the only way to find out.

    Also history, WWII programs never mention the Winter or Continuation War even though they were key features before the big battles began. If one didn’t do their research you would assume that Russia or Germany had invaded and occupied Finland with the ease of Poland, Denmark or Norway. Heck the North Africa and Pacific battles are much more prominent in people’s minds outside of the European battles than Finland’s fight for survival.

    All and all Finland’s reputation abroad should be of least concern. Finland in the eyes of most is and will always remain as some distant, enigmatic, cold, insular place on the outskirts of Europe. ‘America has Alaska, Russia has Siberia, and Europe has Finland’ that’s the beauty of this magnificent country.

    • Enrique

      –All and all Finland’s reputation abroad should be of least concern.

      I disagree. When companies invest and establish themselves in countries they look at the risks. A negative climate for immigrants can spill over to a negative climate for foreign investment. It’s logical and does happen.

      If you have a party like the PS pumping nationalism and hatred of immigrants, it could lead to more serious things like nationalizations down the road. What about if Timo Soini gets his dream come true: leave the EU. Think what an about-turn for investment in Finland. Now the government could promulgate new laws and change the investment climate.

      There is one thing that scares capital: risk.

      So, Klay, bring on the PS and let them get into government and act out their plan. The PS is a risk.

  6. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘But keep up the good work. You are the best PR person PS has on the web for curbing immigration.’

    Allan is right Enrique. You may think that you are doing people like myself (visible immigrant in Finland) a favour but in fact you are doing the complete opposite, a disservice in fact. The Far-right only need to point to people like yourself and ask others ‘do you really want people like this in our country, who despite living here for 30 years, gaining Finnish nationality (for convience purposes obviously), and raising a family, can still only discredit Finland and it’s peoples?’ No one wants that especially from someone who calls themselve a Finn too. Show a bit a humility and gratefulness to the country that you after all chose to settle in. No one forced you.

    • Enrique

      –You may think that you are doing people like myself (visible immigrant in Finland) a favour but in fact you are doing the complete opposite, a disservice in fact.

      Klay, the big difference is that you are first generation and I am second. You seek approval while I went past that stage in my early youth. I accepted who I am but you are still a long ways off but you may see the light one day. Good luck.

      When will I stop this blog? When the menace of the PS is reduced to what it was in 2007, a minor party.

  7. Martin-Éric

    This country doesn’t need more foreigners.

    What this country instead needs is proper salaries in some underpaid sectors. For instance, this country produces plenty of nurses, but they all go to work in Norway or UK immediately after they graduate, because the working weeks there are shorter and the paycheck is significantly better. Result? We need to import nurses to replace those we lost.

    This country also needs to revise its idea of what are acceptable qualifications for some entry-level positions. Honestly, what is this stupid idea that, nowadays, someone cannot become an inter-regional bus driver without acquiring a 3-year long vocational degree in transportation logistics? What about working as a barman or waitress? Sure, getting the hygienic certification is easy and cheap enough, but someone really has to jump through hoops to get the alcohol serving permit. Why is that? Better yet, why someone multilingual cannot get a job at the airport without speaking both Finnish and Swedish, in a situation where integration classes in Swedish are (except for some Botnian municipalities) non-existent, and without having first studied a 3-year long vocational degree in tourism?

  8. Method

    Oh I forgot, PS has lost 2% of it’s support in the latest polls. The protest might be blowing out. I mean, it really didn’t change a thing and those who voted for “whatever, but not this”, are realizing that.

  9. Martin-Éric

    How can PS change anything if they are so spineless as to refuse to join the ruling coalition to really start making decisions and show what they’re made of?

  10. Klay_Immigrant

    Method don’t read too much into a swing of just 2%. That could be down to statistical error. So if did the same poll tomorrow with a different set of people that decline of 2% could easily be reversed.

  11. Klay_Immigrant

    The PS sitting in opposition as opposed to being in government are in a better position in this economic period. Though they can’t control policy they could point out flaws and problems in the government and with the Euro crisis, unemployment and tax rises that’s not a difficult task even though a lot of it is out of the control of government. The PS will be seen as the innocent party while those in government get a battering reminiscent of the Center party in the last government. One must remember the government as a whole is pro-EU so why would the PS join? If the did that would indicate the stabbing of the back of PS voters and expose the PS as a power hungry party willing to drop all their pledges and stances in order to get a slice of the cake.

  12. justicedemon

    Excluding MEK, the main concern for Finland is not the global vox populi, but the sectional interest of international investment capital. Local xenophobia is one of the factors that multinational corporations must consider when establishing and expanding their operations in various countries, as this affects the business climate and the practical ability of enterprises to realise a return on their investment.

    Already a decade ago producers of business intelligence such as ICON Group International were factoring studies of local xenophobia into their advice to investors. The contents page for one such investigation may be viewed online. Chapter 10 may be of interest.

    The old strategy of hoping that nobody finds out about our racism is hardly one to recommend nowadays in any country that relies on international commerce.

  13. Klay_Immigrant

    If you think reputation affects international foreign investment, I have two words for you CHINA and RUSSIA. Two countries that lack any creditable democracy, have numerous human right abuses and are not exactly immigrant friendly. Yet they are booming even in these economic hardships due to investment from abroad. So please don’t try to manipulate people with lies. Another example is the U.K.’s links to Libya and Gaddafi just before the uprising.

    Businesses and governments go where the money is and profit can be made regardless of so called social issues in that country. They turn a blind eye to that. Remember for these kinds of people money is king, the rest is irrelevant.

  14. Klay_Immigrant

    The number one risk for foreign investment is political instability in the country of investment. So Finland doesn’t need to worry on that front having been ranked number one on the Failed States Index of the United States think-tank Fund for Peace and number seven on the The Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

    Why do you think Western governments and businesses prefer dealing with autocratic regimes that have a strong grip on power than democratic governments who are weak and can be easily toppled? STABILITY. No one cares about human rights, xenophobia or corruption.

    • Enrique

      –The number one risk for foreign investment is political instability in the country of investment.

      Yes, right, and having a populist party that see the outside world as a threat is what I call political instability.

      –No one cares about human rights, xenophobia or corruption.

      I know you don’t and your view of the world appears to be lodged in a 1970s time warp. What a contradiction: I hate Muslim countries but support autocratic regimes because they ensure stability. I can enjoy human rights but screw the rest as long as nobody messes with my standard of living.

      Autocratic regimes don’t bring stability. They are ruthless, moody and change depending on the direction of the wind. These types of regimes are usually not that welcoming to foreign investment.

      Did I get it right?

    • Enrique

      Klay, here is a good example of how autocratic stability, the type where the silence of cemeteries rule supreme, turned into a major headache today. Is this what you mean by autocratic regimes instilling “stability?”

  15. Klay_Immigrant

    Enrique no you didn’t get it right. You’re putting words in my mouth. I’m not speaking about my own personal views and opinions but that of businesses and governments in terms of foreign investment. Autocratic regimes do bring stability. Ususally the most most ruthless ones are the most stable as their people are either too scared or don’t have the resources to do anything. Was Stalin’s Soviet Union stable? Very much so. Is North Korea a stable country? Very much so. Do I agree with their practises? Ofcourse not but doesn’t change that they are stable and when dealing with foreign investment that is a positive attribute to have even when achieved through barbaric measures.

    • Enrique

      –Autocratic regimes do bring stability.

      If you look at where foreign investment flows go, they do not go to countries that are run by autocratic regimes. True, China is one, but it is different.

      Autocratic regimes have a problem: they see things autocratically. That’s risky for business.

      How much foreign investment goes to North Korea? Very little, I’d suspect.

    • Enrique

      –So exactly how popular were the USSR and North Korea as targets for foreign investment?

      Good question, JusticeDemon. How many foreign oil companies are operating in Saudi Arabia and in upstream exploration?

      You seem to forget, Klay, that when a country is autocratic it spreads to all sectors of society. Usually autocratic regimes are very anti-foreign investment.

  16. Martin-Éric

    Enrique, your insistence on seeing PS as the root of all evil is rather naive. Pretty much every political party had candidates who based their parliamentary election campaign on elements of blatant racism, in some cases on even more blatant racism than PS candidates.

    Do I really need to remind you of Jutta Urpilainen’s gleefully xenophobic and rather vague “Maassa maan tavalla” and of her refusal to explain why she claims it would imply that all immigrants disobey the law just because of not having been born here, for instance?

    • Enrique

      –Enrique, your insistence on seeing PS as the root of all evil is rather naive.

      True, Martin-Éric, but we have mentioned that the PS is not the only party. Jutta Urpilainen and Eero Heinäluoma are a good example. However, I doubt that you’ll find a party that has gone as far as the PS to capitalize on anti-immigrant sentiment. In the SDP you have people like Tarja Filatov and Liisa Jaakonsaari who don’t necessarily follow the “maassa maan tavalla” line. In Kokoomus you have Rydman and Pönttinen but then you have Alexander Stubb. In the Center Party you have Mari Kiviniemi against Paavo Väyrynen.

      The thing that gives me the creeps about the PS is the far-right wing led by the Suomi Sisu gang.

  17. Klay_Immigrant

    Justicestupid any violence no matter how little is too much in the name of ensuring stability. But like I said Foreign investment businesses and governments don’t care as long as their investment is safeguarded.

    I was using the USSR and North Korea as examples of how autocratic regimes bring stability but obviously as they were/are communist countries foreign investment is non existent. So let’s use Saudi Arabia and Libya as examples of autocratic regimes with foreign investment. Happy now!

  18. Martin-Éric

    JusticeDemon, my point is that PS is merely the tip of the iceberg representing a deeply rooted attitude problem in this country, as attested by the presence of equally racist politicians in other political parties. Wasting so much time on Soini while forgetting the fact that an even more racist Urpilainen became a minister is doing everyone a disservice.

    • Enrique

      –JusticeDemon, my point is that PS is merely the tip of the iceberg representing a deeply rooted attitude problem in this country, as attested by the presence of equally racist politicians in other political parties.

      The PS capitalized politically and opportunistically by using this card: anti-immigration, anti-Muslim and anti-EU.

      I see the PS as a threat to our values because the far right, even neo-Nazis, form part of the part of that party. Take one example, Juho Eerola, who praised Benito Mussolini’s corporatavist economic policy. There are MPs in parliament who think that fascism in 2012 is cool.

      Aren’t you worried? I would be.

  19. Martin-Éric

    JusticeDemon,
    If you had followed the election campain, you wouldn’t be asking that question. You also wouldn’t be focusing on a single individual, but rather look at the big picture and notice that racism is omnipresent across the whole political spectrum.

    • Enrique

      –You also wouldn’t be focusing on a single individual, but rather look at the big picture and notice that racism is omnipresent across the whole political spectrum.

      Yes, true, Martin-Éric, but the difference is that the PS wants to make racism and ideologies like fascism in a 2012 context acceptable.

  20. justicedemon

    Martin-Éric

    Errr… was that an answer? Humour me: is there anything more that you can offer as evidence of Urpilainen’s racism, other than one ambiguous remark?

    Focusing on a single individual? Jutta Urpilainen is a single individual, who you characterised just now as “even more racist”.

    I suspect that we agree that the SDP could be more proactive on these issues in general. So could the labour movement in general.

  21. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘How much foreign investment goes to North Korea? Very little, I’d suspect.’

    True, but not for the reasons you think. North Korea doesn’t want foreign investment not foreign investment not wanting to go to North Korea. You forget China 25 years ago was very similar to North Korea now. When they opened their doors, foreign investment came flooding in and couldn’t get enough despite no improvement on democracy, human rights or xenophobia.

    • Enrique

      –When they opened their doors, foreign investment came flooding in and couldn’t get enough despite no improvement on democracy, human rights or xenophobia.

      Klay, foregn investment does not flood into a country unless there are good foreign investment laws that guarantee return and repatriation of profits, stability and a general favorable atmosphere for foreign investment.

      The point is very clear: if you have a xenophobic and racist government, it will have little respect for foreign investment in most cases. Think of what kind of markets you will find in countries like North Korea. Not much spending power there no matter how efficient of a plant you build.

      So, it all comes down to democracy and economic freedom. These things are not in too high esteem in autocratic countries.

  22. Allan

    Meanwhile, Niinistö said as a president he wouldn’t be meeting with Dalai Lama, so as not to annoy the Chinese. Human rights are bad for the business it seems.

  23. Allan

    @ Foreigner

    People in the USA have enough trouble finding their own ass I would be worrying them knowing where Finland is, unless they live in UP Michigan as its there, next to Oulu.

    And honestly, if people travel they wont be going to hang out with your brainsurgeon astronaut friends in any case.

  24. Allan

    And what comes to this “Finlands image”, it is a perfect opportunity to tap into the Western “white flight” crowd. After all, they are trying to escape the multiculturalism so the less we have it the likelihood of getting educated well- off immigrants instead of diversity celebrators. So keep up building the image, Enrique, someone might believe your propaganda.

  25. eh

    This piece creates 2 false impressions, that (a) Finland should be embarrassed for being too Finnish and (b) that the rest of the world is very upset over Finland’s (well founded) skepticism towards multiculturalism. The press is very powerful and misrepresents public opinion to make the press viewpoint appear more popular than it actually is. The leeway to misrepresent public opinion is multiplied with distance, abetted by the press in all western nations sharing the same ideology. The idea that the world is outraged over Finland is nothing more than a media crafted illusion.

    If you ask a random guy in western country and shove a TV camera in his face he is likely to say he loves multiculturalism, etc because he doesn’t want to be fired his job, fined, or harassed in some other form. Everyone knows what you’re supposed to say if you don’t want to get into trouble. Coerced opinions don’t mean much and shouldn’t taken as evidence that multiculturalism is wildly popular. In the privacy of his own mind, who knows what he really thinks.

    • Enrique

      eh, I don’t know what you mean by “multiculturalism.” Please explain what it means to you.

      –The leeway to misrepresent public opinion is multiplied with distance, abetted by the press in all western nations sharing the same ideology.

      Is this the typical explanation by people like yourself when the media does not mirror what you believe? Did Der Stumer (replacing Jews with Muslims) mirror what you are saying?

    • Enrique

      Here is something interesting I read about the paradox of racism without racists:

      “It is curious that people bold enough to make outlandish racial claims never admit guilt or receive a proverbial trial and conviction by the greater populace. Paul Rosenberg, a political contributor to Al-Jazeera, recently explained that this curious phenomenon of ‘racism without racists’ has become de facto in today’s political discourse and is best described as ‘colorblind racism.’”

      While this happens in the U.S., how does “colorblind racism” manifest itself in Europe? Some anti-immigration politicians in Europe don’t have to worry about hiding their racism in their soundbites because minorities in Europe have not yet had their civil rights movements like in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s. Europe has not seen visionary politicians like Pierre Trudeau of Canada that have their ideas into practice a social policy like multiculturalism.

      These factors explain, in my opinion, why politicians like Geert Wilders, Pia Kjaersgaard, Marine Le Pen, Timo Soini and others can awaken that ogre of ethnic hate inside some of us with a vengeance. It is the same monster, but in a 2010s context, that has sent Europeans to wars for centuries and brought so much destruction. It seems that every time we distance ourselves from a major self-inflicted calamity like WW2, people begin to flirt after a few generations with the same ideologies of hate that brought so much destruction.

      Here is the link: http://www.theroot.com/views/colorblind-racism

  26. Mark

    Klay

    The Far-right only need to point to people like yourself and ask others ‘do you really want people like this in our country, who despite living here for 30 years, gaining Finnish nationality (for convience purposes obviously), and raising a family, can still only discredit Finland and it’s peoples?’ No one wants that especially from someone who calls themselve a Finn too. Show a bit a humility and gratefulness to the country that you after all chose to settle in. No one forced you.

    Of course that’s what the far right do, point at people and say ‘d you really want people like this in our country’. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s fucked up. And by the way, Klay, PS want to CHANGE Finland and Finland’s recent international work to promote anti-discrimination, peace, tolerance and health public institutions around the world. Those of us who support Migrant Tales are pointing out continuously how Finland has already happily made many commitments to tolerance, human’s rights legislation. We do not hate Finland; rather, we do not want to see Finland change. And PS are promoting significant changes to social, cultural, political and judicial values, that would fundamentally alter the human rights climate in which Finland operates. So, stop pushing this ‘they hate Finland’. I love Finland and what it stands for, and I certainly don’t want to see that work of decades polluted by a bunch of people who’s only strong sentiment is ‘do you want people like that in our country?’.

  27. Allan

    Now we can also ask who is responsible for this ” shitting into your own nest”. Before the Parliamentary elections Jan Sunberg of the RKP babbled all kinds of nazi allegations to the foreign press. And Alexander Stubb likewise was hosting this conference. Which means the ” reputation of Finland ” has been taken down by RKP which holds dearest the obligatory Swedish issue

  28. Mark

    Allan

    ‘Shitting into your own nest’ or ‘revealing the nest of vipers’? Why on earth would people WANT to find Nazis in their midst? Is it a virus that forces people to hunt for Nazis?

    You seem not to realise or give any credence to the fact that ordinary people are reacting to the current climate and debate within Finland. And not only that, they are reminded of the ease with which extreme views last entered into the public consciousness within Europe.

    And when people within PS are shown to be members of organisations promoting specifically Nazi ideology, then it’s not even those on the outside who are making the connection.

  29. Mark

    eh

    If you ask a random guy in western country and shove a TV camera in his face he is likely to say he loves multiculturalism, etc because he doesn’t want to be fired his job, fined, or harassed in some other form.

    I can quite easily see how you might easily mistake modern democracies as totalitarian states where no-one can express in public an opinion that goes against the ‘ruling’ authorities. I mean, the rampant free press and constant criticism of politicians of all political spectrums generates a terror among the populace, and the complete lack of political prisoners makes people fear for their personal freedom.

    It’s not like I’ve ever heard anyone publicly attacking multiculturalism or immigration levels. People are too scared, aren’t they. I mean, Brits and Finns are not known for having strong opinions, are they, or standing up for their rights to free speech. It’s unheard of, isn’t it?

    Eh! Stop talking bollocks!

  30. Mark

    Yossie & Foreigner

    So because some members of group X does Y, It justifies my hate against the whole group? If I have understood right, this is what migrant tales is all against right? Or are we allowed to hate all muslims because of the fundamentalism of some?

    Foreigner, Yossie is of course right. It would be racist to say that travelling Finns will be met with hatred by blacks in e.g. the USA., or young Somali men in Helsinki, I sympathise, though, Foreigner. You see, this is how it goes, racists discriminate against and denigrade blacks. This generates a lot of anger within the black community. But you are not allowed the luxury of doing back to them what they do to you. Why? Because then the racists all of a sudden get it; now they understand finally what racism is and that your hatred of them is actually racism.

    Not that this means they will make some retroactive acknowledgement or apology about their own racism towards you. Nope. Not a jot. Not for one second. They acknowledge the concept only at those times when they are faced with a ‘like for life’ response to their own hatred. And it is not self-reflexive in any way.

  31. Foreigner

    When it comes to Finns, I keep things quite basic : you are racist towards me on your home turf, I am racist towards you on mine.

    “And honestly, if people travel they wont be going to hang out with your brainsurgeon astronaut friends in any case.” Is this your idea of being sarcastic? In your twisted, racist mind, the fact that I am a black man automatically means that I am a “gangsta.” Have you ever been to the USA? If you have, then you will notice that there is a sizeable black middle class, made up of educated black folks. There are prominent black doctors, lawyers,business executives,etc in the USA. There are also honest and respectable black working class faimilies , who have absolutely nothing in common with the “gangsta” lifestyle depicted on tv screens.

    Was college educated in the USA, and worked in middle management there. My friends and acquaintances in the USA, though not astronauts, are however not the thugs and “gangstas” you envisage! My friends and acquaintances in my beautiful homeland are also not the “gangstas” you imagine them to be.Moved to Finland (for love), and whilst here, attended one of your top universties,and am gainfully employed. Again, my friends and acquaintances here are not the “thugs” and “gangstas” your racist mind imagines.

    Travel a bit. When you do, you will realize that there are hardworking, decent black families out there. Not every white family in the USA is a “hillbilly” family,and not every black family is a ” ghetto” family.

  32. justicedemon

    One point seems to have escaped some of the commentators here. The respondents to the HS survey were Finnish citizens living abroad. The survey seems to have been arranged in association with the presidential election, so these respondents may be assumed to have an ordinary interest in Finnish current affairs. They care about the reputation of Finland as this affects their own lives, but very typically they overestimate the degree of non-specialist interest in that reputation.

    It’s not so long ago that some USAmericans living abroad were claiming to be Canadians because the reputation of the USA and its people had taken a severe turn for the worse. I wonder who the Finns will pretend to be 🙂

    • Enrique

      Here is a good way to deal with racism on a flight. Thank you Ville Venäläinen for sharing this with us:

      This happened on TAM airlines.

      A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man.

      Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.

      “What’s the problem, ma?” the hostess asked her

      “Can’t you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t seat here next to him. You have to change my seat”

      – “Please, calm down, ma” – said the hostess
      “Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I’m still going to check if we have any.”

      The hostess left and returned some minutes later.

      “Madam, as I told you, there isn’t any empty seat in this class- economy class.
      But I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn’t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”

      And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued

      “Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class.
      However, given the circumstances, the commandant thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person.”

      And turning to the black man, the hostess said:

      “Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”

      And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet.”

      SHARE IF YOU ARE AGAINST RACISM!

  33. Allan

    “Why on earth would people WANT to find Nazis in their midst? Is it a virus that forces people to hunt for Nazis?”

    Mark, Its because you need a scapegoat to denigrate the PS as otherwise you would seem just silly, now you just look paranoid. Watch out for that nazi in the closet, it might bite you in the nose.

    “I can quite easily see how you might easily mistake modern democracies as totalitarian states where no-one can express in public an opinion that goes against the ‘ruling’ authorities. I mean, the rampant free press and constant criticism of politicians of all political spectrums generates a terror among the populace, and the complete lack of political prisoners makes people fear for their personal freedom. ”

    And you can say this with bright eyes after the treatement of SverigeDemokraterna members in Sweden or god forbid BNP members in the UK??? Have you read what happened to the libertarians in Sweden when they tried to form a party and make speeches? The police sided with the left-wing activists who disrupted these meetings and the ombudsman said nothing. If thats not totaliarianism, then what is?

  34. Allan

    “Foreigner” – so what are you then bitching and moaning about? You can blame only your peer group of brainsurgeon astronauts claiming you to be in their peer group. As for being thick, that encompasses all of you septics regardless of color.

  35. Mark

    Allan

    Mark, Its because you need a scapegoat to denigrate the PS as otherwise you would seem just silly, now you just look paranoid. Watch out for that nazi in the closet, it might bite you in the nose.

    That’s quite a skill you have for missing the point. No, not only missing the point, but somehow catching the exact opposite meaning. 🙂

    So, it’s ‘God forbid, BNP members in the UK’, like yourself no doubt. Not anything that’s actually happened, but merely ‘God forbid’?

    If thats not totaliarianism, then what is?

    Well, totalitarianism is something rather broader than the banning of advertising for a well-known fascist organisation like SverigeDemokraterna. Yep, they ‘purged’ the openly extremist members and in an act of extreme cynicism even adopted the Universal Decleration of Human Rights as a so-called ideological pillar. And then they go ahead and breach the very first article which asks people to treat each other as equals in rights and in a spirit of brotherhood. Is that how you would describe their approach to immigrants in Sweden? And Article 14? How on earth do they square that one with their immigration policy?

    Article 14 (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

    And Article 15, how does that square with their policy of ‘assimilation’ among immigrants?

    Article 15(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

    And Article 18

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

    And the right to ‘protection against unemployment’ of Article 23, and the right to freely particupate in the cultural life of the community of Article 27, and finally, Article 30 which forbids any interpretation of this these rights for the purposes of destroying any of the rights and freedoms contained within the Declaration. Their screwed on that one alone!

    SverigeDemokraterna is typical of all the fascist parties that have put themselves through the dry cleaners of late. The exact same policies of discrimination and hate, but without the skin heads, uniforms and chants of sieg heil.

  36. Allan

    So Mark, you only omitted half the articles there

    Article 12

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    as well as:

    Article 19

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    as well as

    Article 21

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

  37. eh

    I mean, the rampant free press and constant criticism of politicians of all political spectrums generates a terror among the populace, and the complete lack of political prisoners makes people fear for their personal freedom.

    There is freedom to say a many things but that freedom doesn’t extend into certain areas. You can’t say that human being feel a natural higher level of trust for their own ethnicity or that ethnicities generate their own unique culture. You can only speak in terms of nations being social and economic constructs.

    Obviously we’re not the Soviet Union where the state more or less holds a gun to everyone’s head. The modern western establishment doesn’t require you to love it or its policies. It only asks that people (a) do not openly speak out against it and (b) shun those that do, That’s it, nothing more and it will leave you to live your life, have a career, move to a yet to be diversified neighborhood, etc. This in concert with propaganda from the media and educational systems is enough to keep most people in line.

    People’s actions rather their words are a better indicator of what people actually think and overwhelming people choose to move away from diversity. It is such a common act that we developed a name for it: white flight.

    Is this the typical explanation by people like yourself when the media does not mirror what you believe? Did Der Stumer (replacing Jews with Muslims) mirror what you are saying?

    1. Godwin’s law. Reductio ad Hitlerum.

    2. You present a false dichotomy between Nazism and multiculti and there are no other choices.

    3. I don’t have a problem with Muslims. I don’t think we should try to change them or make war on Muslims in order to bring them democracy, globalization, etc. What Muslims do in their own countries is their business. I reject multiculturalism and I think races and ethnicities are real things.

    • Enrique

      –What Muslims do in their own countries is their business. I reject multiculturalism and I think races and ethnicities are real things.

      eh, could you please tell me what multiculturalism implies for you?

  38. justicedemon

    eh

    1. What is your specific proof of Godwin’s law? Is this a scientific law? Does it always hold? When it does hold, what are its effects? Why did you refer to it in the context of the current thread? Was this merely a device to avoid answering a difficult question but give the impression that you had something of substance to say?

    2. How about social democracy?

    3. What is your objective test for whether someone belongs to a certain race and are you willing to subject yourself and all of your acquaintances to the same standard of proof? What happens if that test shows that you are completely wrong about your own race? How will this change your behaviour?

    4. Define multiculturalism. Does your definition agree with the definition used by advocates of multiculturalism? If not, then whose definition is correct and why?

    • Enrique

      –Life in multicultural Seved, Malmö

      Allan, even if I haven’t opened this document, I am 99.9% certain that there are no solutions. Is it the usual whining about how “immigrants have ruined Sweden?” Save me the tears.

  39. Mark

    Oh, you mean the blogposter that expresses sadness at Sweden’s mass deportations of Iraqi’s?

    Wow. So multiculturalism is an expression of sadness and compassion. No wonder you are so against it, Allan. I guess it’s too namby pamby for a thug like you.

  40. Mark

    What Muslims do in their own countries is their business. I reject multiculturalism and I think races and ethnicities are real things.

    Well, that’s good. I think ‘races’ are real things too, and that people shouldn’t be discriminated against. I also think people should be free, within the rule of law, to follow their own cultural traditions, while also being free to critique that tradition as well.

  41. Mark

    Enrique

    Actually, it isn’t. It appeared to be someone’s sadness about forced Iraqi deportations. I suppose Allan thinks that these are what all Western countries should be doing with their recent immigrants from conflict zones.

  42. Allan

    [/i] no, actually its a blog about someone living in Saved, Malmo, and about the daily life there. And s/he is not whining as much as observing. Of course, Enrique, you wouldn’t read anything that is reality, you need to live in fantasyworld of your own. A few posts down there is an interesting bit of the mail carrying issue. And how the local thugs have tried to find out who the blogger is and silence him/her. There is no other authority left except the gangs. Google translate gives a pretty good rendition. Future of Finland?

  43. Mary Mekko

    Martin-Eric’s comment that Finland needs to loosen up job requirements and pay decent salaries: that’s true for the USA, too.

    US nurses go to SAudi Arabia to get a decent salary, or they have to move to big cities and get jobs in big-city hospitals. Otherwise, the hospitals across thecountry can’t find enough American nurses and bring in Philippino nurses by the boatload.

    Busdrivers (I am one!) can get a license in CAlifornia in less than a month. ONe simply goes to a buscompany, applies, and they train you. You flunk out quickly or you persevere – when they see that you can manage a big vehicle. No three-year courses – the quicker you’re on the road with a load of customers, the more money for the bus company.

    But then the buscompanies lose drivers if they don’t pay enough. Luckily I am a tourguide too and so can earn enough, doing both.

    Finns have a reputation for being racist? I think the one commentator here is right – no one knows where Finland is, what a Finn looks like, etc. etc, let alone what kind of political ideas they’ve got. When I travelled with a Finn for eight months in the mid-80’s all around Europe, the main thing to outrage her was the common belief that Finland was part of Russia.

    WHEW BOY! THAT would be an argument and a half when we hitchhiked in GErmany!

    Finns are known for being few in number, drinking heavily, living in snow and ice, having a high standard of living, lakes and forest, plain food, good-looking (read: blonde) women, healthy atmosphere -clean and unpolluted and sparsely populated.

    I don’t think that Finns are even really considered on the world stage, and if they’re labelled “racist”, then that is just throwing them into the general ragbag category called “all whites”. A Finn in USA would be considered simply “white”.

    Enrique, what did people in California consider you when you lived here, based on your appearance?

    DId you ever experience racism from any group that was not “YOUR” skin color?

  44. Allan

    Hey MaryMekko, you get to be a busdriver in Finland with the same one-month training. (WTF that 3 years comes from?) immigrants dont even need to have a C-licence for trucks, they can get on with a scratch card. Winter and the new low-floor buses make life somewhat interesting though, but after a while you get a few aspiring rally drivers.

    Big scandal in the UK is even theres huge unemployment, the company just went to Poland to hire drivers for the doubledeckers.

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