Remember the hostile reception that Romany beggars have got in the past from some Helsinki municipal politicians like mayor Jussi Pajunen, Christian Democrat Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MPs like Olli Immonen and National Coalition Party MP Arto Satonen, who wants to make begging illegal?
The Finnish police now claims that Romanian and Bulgarian Roma beggars that come to Finland aren’t victims of human trafficking or in league with organized crime but come on their own will, according to Tampere-based daily Aamulehti.
The news is quite a setback for those that lobbied for a get-tough approach to Roma beggars. Just like the ludicrous claim that Muslim women should stop wearing veils and headscarfs because they are “being oppressed” by men, a similar argument is being used by some Finnish politicians to “help” Roma beggars.
The only way to end begging by the Roma – they argue – is by criminalizing it on the grounds that those that do it are either human trafficking victims and/or exploited by organized crime.
Left without any credible excuses, it’ll be interesting to see what politicians like Satonen come up with to continue victimizing Roma beggars, who make between 10 and 20 euros a day, according to the police.
PS MP Immonen said last year on his Facebook page that the only way to deal with Roma street beggars from Eastern Europe was to make begging a crime and forcibly deport them back to their home countries.
Even if the Roma are the ones being targeted by some politicians, it’s the same suspicion and fear of foreigners that we have seen for so long in this country.
The police’s findings coupled with the reactions of politicians reinforce what Migrant Tales has suspected all along: Shameful ignorance and racism towards the Romany minority by members of the National Coalition Party, PS and Christian Democrats.
We wrote in a blog entry over a year ago:
“But let’s try to understand the recent red-herring debate in parliament between the opposition PS and government [concerning Romany beggars]. Why are we so concerned about these people coming to Finland? Is it our racism and loathing that reflects back on us when we see them begging? Is it our failure as a society to deal with our own Romany “problem?” Are we shocked to see that there are actually people in Europe who are poor and exploited?”
Are these Roma, who make small sums of money daily, a threat to us or have they revealed that some of us are just greedy racists.