By Enrique Tessieri
The societies of the Nordic countries are still models for the rest of Europe and the world when it comes to social justice, equality, and inclusion. Slower economic growth is not the only threat that they face today, but an ever-growing minority that believes that exclusion of certain groups is acceptable.
Is there such a thing as selective suspicion or hatred? Can you hate one group and claim to be not hate another? What happens to us if we begin to exclude some and include others in our society?
Far right and right-wing populist parties like the Perussuomalaiset of Finland, Danish People’s Party, Progress Party of Norway, and Sweden Democrats have grown in recent years thanks to their anti-immigration rhetoric.
If there is a threat to the Nordic welfare state system and the values that uphold it, it is these parties’ anti-immigrant message that goes much deeper and further than meets the eye.
For one, and if we permit it, their view of society creates a paradox that will end up checkmating those values we hold so dear to us. You cannot further the cause of social equality while on the other hand you aim to make other groups unequal.
Martin Luther King Jr. dealt with centuries of hatred and suspicion when he led and inspired others to the US Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Even if anti-immigration groups are hostile in their approach to their imagined and real enemies like immigrants, we must never succumb to their brand of hatred. We must remember King Jr. words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
It should be one of the rallying cries of our cause.