Forssa, Finland: A hotbed of racist behavior where words turn into bullets

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The southwestern town of Forssa is located 116km from Helsinki. A mass fight took place there on Tuesday between white Finns and asylum seekers, according to YLE News

Writes YLE News: “Police in the town of Forssa on Wednesday detained several people in relation to disturbances outside an asylum reception centre which occurred on Tuesday night.

Witnesses say that a large group of locals approached the reception centre, fighting a group of residents of the centre once they arrived. Police say that both groups used weapons in the brawl.”

Näyttökuva 2016-8-26 kello 9.26.21
A warning: “Fuck off [asylum seekers] from my Forssa.” Source: Kirsi Hipp.

Forssa has established a committee with the Red Cross to calm tensions in the town. We wonder how many asylum seekers, migrants and minorities form part of such a committee. It they are members of such a committee, will their suggestions be taken seriously?

The latter reality, asking migrants and minorities to have a say is one of the biggest challenges that our culturally diverse community faces today. Our voices aren’t usually heard because we don’t have power. We aren’t taken seriously because we’re not trusted.

The  interior ministry reported earlier this week that there hasn’t been a spike in violence last year perpetrated by extremist groups despite some 32,500 asylum seekers that came to the country in 2015. The ministry cites Sweden and Germany as countries where violence against migrants committed by extremist groups have apparently grown.

Even if this is good news, it doesn’t say anything about the hate crimes committed by Finns who don’t belong to far-right groups.

While extremists are adding fuel to the fires of conflict in Forssa, it is surprising that not a single politician has come out to condemn what has happened.  Only the police service of Häme has made statements about the conflict.

Considering that Finland has a populist anti-immigration party in government, which rules side by side with the Center Party and National Coalition Party, which remain near-silent to the racist overtones of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, it isn’t surprising that we’re seeing more violence, like in Forssa, against migrants and minorities.

Disagree?

Tell me about a recent example of a local politician called Hannu Martikainen, who apologized Thursday for racist postings on Facebook. Guess which party he belongs to. Right, the Perussuomalaiset.

Näyttökuva 2016-8-26 kello 9.55.11He writes in the first posting (we’ve changed the wording because it is offensive and racist): “A n-name walks around with his erect genital in his hand looking for a woman’s you-know-what. ” Second posting: “Fuck off if you don’t believe me you homos. Lesbians have escaped to the woods and they are asking for the national border guards.” Source: Uusimaa.

The posting by Martikainen is an example of the illness that has grown and spread in Finland.

Racism and bigotry have become so “normal” that local politicians can post racist trash like Martikianen.

Their punishment? An empty apology that incites more violence and hostility against our ever-growing culturally diverse community.

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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” 

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