Those who give freedom of expression a bad name in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

One of the most incredible claims by anti-immigration groups like the True Finns is that they are not allowed to criticize immigrants and Muslims in particular. When they bash and insult minorities they claim that all they are doing is exercising their right to freedom of speech.

I sometimes get really confused when I hear the True Finns and other anti-immigration groups’ reasoning. On the one hand they claim that nobody can criticize immigrants and religious minorities in this country because the law “protects” them.  A quick visit to their blogs would, however, reveal another reality.

Let’s get one matter straight: People who have been accepted in our country as legal immigrants or have refugee status are not perceived as a threat by society. If their backgrounds have been rigorously checked and double-checked by the authorities, why do some like far-right groups insist on seeing them as a threat?

When speaking of freedom of speech, there is a big difference  if we live in a country where the government abuses human rights. Censorship and self-censorship are never acceptable under such circumstances. Many anti-immigration groups treat and attack immigrants and refugees as if they were despotic regimes.  They do so because they don’t have the faintest idea of what it would mean to live in a totalitarian society.

Whenever you hear a True Finn or another candidate of the far-right claim that certain immigrant groups are being protected from their criticism they should take a  look at what they say publicly.

What you will see are their blatant and shameful remarks.

  1. Tiwaz

    And what is your stance on the opposite?

    You see insulting native population and majority, Finns, to be A-OK?

    Double standards Enrique? I guess you really love them, like any good racist does.

    • Enrique

      –Double standards Enrique? I guess you really love them, like any good racist does.

      All this you are saying is what you have been saying for years without thinking about the issue much deeper.

    • Enrique

      Tony, I have mentioned to you that this is a blog. A blog is not a newspaper. We do publish stories directly from the Finnish media which follow these guidelines. A blog, like an editorial and column, can be opinionated and take stands.

    • Enrique

      –Thanks Enrique for showing to us that you are not fair when writing about the True Finns to this blog.

      People have opinions and they can take stands. I am sorry but I am against xenophobia and far-right nationalism.

    • Enrique

      –How about Muslims or far-left terrorism?

      In our society all types of fanatism and violence by taking the law into one’s hands should be condemned. We have insitutions for people to express their democratic rights. What do you do if you live in a country that is ruled by a junta or an autocratic government? What do you think? Should the people stay put and obey their unelected representatives?

  2. Tony Garcia

    Once I think my previous question is a bit too inconvenient for you to answer I’ll ask another.

    Have you notice that your attitude against the True Finns is the very same that you claim they have against Immigrants? Suspicions, prejudice and mistrust. How can you criticize a behaviour that you have yourself?

    And, no, you don’t really need to answer that…

  3. Tony Garcia

    “In our society all types of fanatism and violence by taking the law into one’s hands should be condemned.”

    But amazingly the less violent and dangerous group is the only one that bothers you enough to write about it.

    “What do you do if you live in a country that is not ruled by a junta…”

    I think you mean that IS ruled by a junta, I did live in such a country, you didn’t, that’s why you are for controlled freedom of speech and I’m not. You grew up blessed by the first amendment, so once you took it for granted, you are now quite happy to give it away.

    “What do you think? Should the people stay put and obey their unelected representatives?”

    As far as I know Europe is a solid democracy. That’s exactly the problem with Muslims, they won’t rest until it becomes a Islamic theocracy, and then, my friend, you kiss goodbye your beloved diversity. If you think the right is intolerant you have seen nothing yet…

    • Enrique

      –But amazingly the less violent and dangerous group is the only one that bothers you enough to write about it.

      The biggest mistake in my opinion with your view is that you include ALL Muslims and this in not true. A minority, yes, just like their are a minority who never adapt in any culture. Are the majority of the Muslims in Europe law-abiding? Of course they are and they should be respected, given the benefit of the doubt like any resident/citizen living in the EU.

  4. Tony Garcia

    Why them you never write about this minority? Why you never write about far-left violence?

    And why do you think being unfair to True Finns will make your case stronger? Why do you think behave with them the same way you claim they behave with immigrants will give you more legitimacy?

    I’m sorry but I think you have great prejudice and suspicions against Finns. Your reaction to both arsons (Buddhist temple and pizzeria in Tampere) and you calling the school quotas poll racist, using the “no-in-my-neighbourhood” analogy, are great examples of it. I’m sorry to say that, I have no joy in saying so, but this is what we get from your comments. Whatever Finns says or do, for you, there is always a racist motive behind. You talk about benefit of doubt, don’t Finns also deserve that? If so, why don’t you give it?

    Think about it, my friend, I’m not here trying to offend you, but trying to show to you what I’m seeing.

    • Enrique

      –Why them you never write about this minority? Why you never write about far-left violence?

      If you look back we have mentioned separatist movements and the violence they have brought. ETA is an example. But where do you have far-left violence in Finland?

      Any party that uses xenophobia, populism and racism to gain votes should be condemned. How can I have “suspicions against Finns” if I am one through my mother and have lived here for decades? Just because people debate and speak out does not mean that they hate a country. On the contrary, those that do not speak out are the ones that are a danger. Maybe segregation is ok in Brazil like in Argentina (poor excluded from society) but I grew up in the US where it was finally condemned and abolished.

      Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt but when there is discrimination it is another story. I guess the big difference between your world and mine is that I was brought up in the US in the 1960s and saw the changes that took place in the 1970s. I even remember being at school when I heard about Martin Luther King’s murder and a person on the radio said that he deserved to die. If you claim to be religious, the most important lesson (if it were enforced) is the power of love and to forgive. What you and the True Finns want is to retard and excluded immigrants and their children from society with the chains of suspicion and prejudice. It is exactly what has happened to the Roma in Finland.

    • Enrique

      When did I say that the pizzeria in Tampere was an act of racism? Did I say that or did I state that we must wait for the final police report? Moreover you still insist that the Buddhist temple was lit after a group of well-intentioned people were grilling sausages. Here is the story from a reliable source (YLE):

      …Finland’s first Buddhist temple has been under construction for some years, funded primarily by donations from the community. Last summer the roof was put in place, while the wooden frame and tile roof covers are ready.

      “This is shocking and worrisome,” said Vuokko. “Do worshippers dare use this temple; can people practice their faith in Finland?”

      Recent Acts of Vandalism

      Vandals have used the construction site as their playground for some time. Just weeks ago, windproofing panels on the outer walls were punctured, while a temporary altar in the building’s interior was desecrated. At the same time the perpetrators also attempted to set fire to some books. Threatening messages have also been left in the area, as recently as last Friday night.

      “Swastika signs had been drawn on nearby traffic signs, creating a sinister effect. I don’t know whether this is related to the September 11 anniversary, or some kind of celebration but it feels rather threatening, and this makes me feel ashamed of being Finnish,” said Vuokko.

  5. Tony Garcia

    Ok Enrique, then you blog is fair and impartial and you don’t have any prejudice or suspicion against Finns in general. Everything you say about the True Finns or have accused me of is true. I’m a racist who wants to retard and exclude immigrants. If that makes you sleep better, so be it.

    My only hope is that outside this blog, where you don’t have to wear any mask or be on your guard, you meditate a bit on what I have said.

  6. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby reminds me of those thick-as-a-brick Sun readers in the early 1980s who thought their paper supported the UK Labour Party:

    outside this blog, where you don’t have to wear any mask or be on your guard

    Enrique Tessieri is not a pseudonym, nor doies the author of this blog seek in any way to distance himself from the views that he expresses here.

    Given the violent behaviour and mentality of the stormfront element, I find that this shows commendable intestinal courage of the kind not learned at private schools for rich white Brazilians.

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