Immigrants in Finland must have a voice

by , under All categories, Enrique

One may ask why unemployment among foreigners was three-fold higher than the national average of 7.6% in the month of August. Certainly those that take a stricter view on the role of immigrants in Finland may claim that it is due to lack of language and job skills.

While this may be partially true,  it is only a partial answer to the serious problem.

In my opinion, the reason for the present situation is because immigrants do not have a representative voice in Finnish society. Why would politicians care less about representing this group if they account for a small percentage, or fraction of a percentage, of their votes?

Another factor why immigrants do not have a voice in Finland is because there are still too few qualified teachers, social workers, civil service employees, policy makers with immigrant backgrounds representing and looking out for their interests.

Even though the government and laws of Finland may have the best of intentions, they are only that: good intentions with a sour aftertaste of patronizing.

High unemployment is, in my opinion, a clear way to measure how well immigrants are doing in Finland. At present over 20% jobless rates, or even over 50% for some national groups, many immigrant groups are doing very poorly in this country.

If immigrants want to have a greater say in their new home, they must rise to the challenge.

The present path of accepting high unemployment as if it were normal because those with foreign backgrounds lack sufficient skills will no do as an excuse.

The only way when things will start to change for immigrants  in Finland is when they start to have a voice in this society.

  1. Tiwaz

    -“In my opinion, the reason for the present situation is because immigrants do not have a representative voice in Finnish society”

    So is your solution that this insignificant minority should be granted power above it’s statistical importance?

    Do you consider tyranny of the few, which is another way to describe such condition, to be equal and just?

    -“Another factor why immigrants do not have a voice in Finland is because there are still too few qualified teachers, social workers, civil service employees, policy makers with immigrant backgrounds representing and looking out for their interests.”

    And is this failure of Finland or immigrants?
    You yourself said the magic word. QUALIFIED.
    If immigrant is not qualified, then he is not qualified.

    How about immigrants getting off their collective arses and starting to get qualified?

    -“The present path of accepting high unemployment as if it were normal because those with foreign backgrounds lack sufficient skills will no do as an excuse.”

    It is not excuse. It is fact of life. Finland is not there to custom make jobs for immigrants based on whatever skills immigrants have, immigrants are supposed to get skills which make them useful in jobs that are there.

    If there is no need for Somalian goatherder, perhaps he should start thinking of learning new tricks which ARE in demand…

    Of course, this would require immigrant to actually do something, to learn and change to adapt to their surroundings, which appears to be anathema for multitude of posters.

    -“The only way when things will start to change for immigrants in Finland is when they start to have a voice in this society.”

    To have voice, you need to matter. To matter, you must contribute positively.

    If all you do is whine how things are not like at home, how are you contributing?

    One should notice that those immigrants who have decided to rise into challenge, learn how nation works and learn USEFUL skills do not face the problems you present here.

    Nor they really demand for more voice. Because they have found a route through existing system. They do not need “immigrant party” in parliament, they choose from existing parties one who represents their interest group.

    • Enrique

      –So is your solution that this insignificant minority should be granted power above it’s statistical importance?

      It will get more recognition as time goes by. However, the reason why things are as they are, and why you can freely bash some immigrant groups, is due to the fact that you think it is a “normal” right. One thing I enjoy about this blog is that we have the opportunity to question your thinking and do away with all the patronizing…

    • Enrique

      –Nor they really demand for more voice. Because they have found a route through existing system. They do not need “immigrant party” in parliament, they choose from existing parties one who represents their interest group.

      I am not only talking about belonging to a political party but actively taking part in society. A voice, such as this humble blog.

    • Enrique

      –If there is no need for Somalian goatherder, perhaps he should start thinking of learning new tricks which ARE in demand…

      This is the racism that you think is NORMAL and which is quite abnormal and unacceptable. Have anyone of us gone about insulting Finns with these types of racist comments? In some countries, and probably some bloggers who visit us, would give you a few lessons on how to interact with people from other countries. I, for example, would not lower myself and label a WHOLE group with such an insulting word. Goatherders are needed and they play an important role in some societies just like COW HERDERS in this country who cannot even compete against these people in the developed world because they don’t get subsidies from the EU.

  2. Tiwaz

    -“It will get more recognition as time goes by. However, the reason why things are as they are, and why you can freely bash some immigrant groups, is due to the fact that you think it is a “normal” right. One thing I enjoy about this blog is that we have the opportunity to question your thinking and do away with all the patronizing…”

    Answer the question, should they be granted more “voice” than their statistical portion qualify for? And let’s not forget that voting is privilege of CITIZENS.

    Do I bash immigrants? So now they are above criticism as well?

    -“I am not only talking about belonging to a political party but actively taking part in society. A voice, such as this humble blog.”

    IF THEY WANT TO ACTIVELY BE PART OF SOCIETY, THEY HAVE TO ADJUST TO SOCIETY. Nobody is holding them out, they just refuse to meed the admittance requirements. If they are outside society because they are unemployed, perhaps they should learn skills which are in demand.

    You speak of voice without asking if immigrants have anything worthwhile to say. You speak of rights but ignore duties.

    -“This is the racism that you think is NORMAL and which is quite abnormal and unacceptable.”

    You mean Somalia is not 3rd world nation where most of population are involved in old fashioned agrarian way of life, part of which is goat herding? (Herding commonly being duty of males in African societies)

    -“Have anyone of us gone about insulting Finns with these types of racist comments?”

    Constantly. “Finns are evil” “Finns are backwards” “Finns are this and that”. Just read what those enlightened foreigners (from Finnish point of view) write here.

    -“In some countries, and probably some bloggers who visit us, would give you a few lessons on how to interact with people from other countries.”

    Sorry, not interested in lessons in asskissing and appeasement. Those have never led to anything productive.

    As for those people you speak of, I think THEY should take lessons in how to interact with people from other countries.

    _I_ do not have issue in understanding that my cultural norms stop applying to world outside borders of my country. People you speak of do not. So THEY should learn something.

    You do NOT go to another country and try to impose your own cultural norms in another society. That is not only rude, ignorant and arrogant but also extremely stupid.

    -“I, for example, would not lower myself and label a WHOLE group with such an insulting word. Goatherders are needed and they play an important role in some societies just like COW HERDERS in this country who cannot even compete against these people in the developed world because they don’t get subsidies from the EU.”

    MAJORITY OF THAT GROUP DO NOT HAVE SKILLS BEYOND GOAT HERDING OR OTHER SKILLS OF SIMILAR NATURE.

    Not only that, but comparison of Somalian herder and farmers, or cow herders as you say, is invalid as well. Farmer in Finland has to know huge amount of things beyond how to get cows home. Finnish farmer is quite a handiman you know. Do you think your average Somali knows how to plow the land with tractor and perform minor or even major maintenance? And it does not end there. You have to harvest too. And take care of animals. And do the paperwork. Oh and huge amount of other things.

    You clearly have no grasp on what is involved in farming.

    You also fail to grasp that IMPORTANT ROLE IN ONE SOCIETY DOES NOT EQUAL IMPORTANT ROLE IN ANOTHER SOCIETY. Person with only skills relevant to agriculture in SOMALIA is one without huge amount of skills essential to agriculture in FINLAND.

    They are worthless, useless. They meet few if any requirement for being useful to this society because they do not have skills. And to top if off, very few of them are willing to go through the work and trouble to obtain such skills.

    If they did, they would not be so useless. Hell, look at Vietnamese people. These “boat refugees” did not settle to loitering at the station and getting dole. They WORK. They figured out what they could do which would be in need here, then set off to make themselves viable for this.

    And these are people who should have more “voice”.

  3. Tony Garcia

    Amigo Enrique,

    Your idea is interesting but I’m having a little trouble trying to see how this would work in practice.

    Let’s get an example. One we are, again, talking about unemployment we need to talk about Somalis, who don’t do very well in Finland, do they? Very well.

    If tomorrow we have 10 Somalis in the parliament, what difference would that make? What can they do to help their own people? What rule/law do you think they could change/implement to achieve this goal?

    Are you suggesting to implement in Finland the positive discrimination policy? Remember that even in the UK, where positive discrimination has already been implemented, they aren’t doing very well…

  4. Tony Garcia

    Let me tell you a quick story…

    Actually first I’d like to ask you how many Brazilians there are in the Finnish parliament? Can the Finnish society hear our voice?

    Anyway…

    I moved to Finland 31/12/2001 without have never been there before, even on holidays. 03/01/2002 I got my Kela card. That day I sent about 4 job applications. My first call I received 5 days after. My first interview was about 2 days later. 28/01/2002 (only 28 days after arrive in the country for the very first time) was my first working day at Hermia 6.

    September 2004 I was sent for a 3 months project in a company called NetHawk, north of Oulu. Middle of November 2004 the NetHawk’s line manager offered me a permanent fulltime senior position with a very interesting salary.

    All the years in Finland the only state benefit I ever received was paternity leave. Nothing else. Now I wonder how did I achieve that? By having my voice heard or by having enough skills to fight equally against Finns in a highly educated society? Am I the only one?

    What do you need to succeed in Finland? Voice or skills?

  5. Mateus

    Tony, you’re Brazilian, right? Like, really Brazilian, or simply born in Brazil? Tu falas portugues?

    I always like to know the reasons that lead my fellow citizens to go abroad for good, so I would appreciate if you briefly told me your story.

    Enrique, I don’t think immigrants in Finland need to have their voices heard. As far as I can tell, Finland already has a good legal system that protects their rights. The burning issue is (if there is any) the way foreigners are seen in the eyes of individuals.

    One cannot force an entrepreneur to employ an immigrant instead of a native, for example. Well, it IS possible to force him/her to employ X amount of foreigners, but that is a preposterous suggestion.

    • Enrique

      Hi Mateus, great to hear from my friend in Santa Catarina. By immigrants “not having a voice” I meant that there is very little input on matters that affect us. Too few qualified teachers, policy-makers, civil servants, etc… This means that others are dictating policy for the minority. I agree with you that one cannot force an employer to hire anyone, but he does have a legal obligation to choose according to talent. If the employer cannot see talent because he/she is too preoccupied with skin color/ethnic background, then that is their loss. It is also illegal.

  6. Tony Garcia

    Oi Mateus, falo sim. Lembrancas da Irlanda, espero que tudo esteja bem ai em Floripa.

    “…really Brazilian, or simply born in Brazil?”

    Good question, my dad was Spanish and my mom is Italian, but I was born and grew up in Sao Paulo, I think that makes me kind of Brazilian.

    My story is simple, I left Brazil for two reasons.

    First I was tired to live in a jail. The building where I was living had electrical fence and 24/7 security guards.

    Second I grew up hearing about my “other” home, so I decided to move there. First I decided to go to the UK for a while, but there I met my wife who took me to Finland, and I thank God everyday for that. For the wife, obviously, and for her being Finnish. Today I’m proud that my children are Finnish.

    “Enrique, I don’t think immigrants in Finland need to have their voices heard. As far as I can tell, Finland already has a good legal system that protects their rights”

    BINGO…

    “The burning issue is (if there is any) the way foreigners are seen in the eyes of individuals.”

    Some individual are seen just fine, some are not. The question is why some individuals are seen differently. Because they insist in being different, perhaps?

    “ it IS possible to force him/her to employ X amount of foreigners”

    Yes, this is called quotas, UK has tried but it didn’t work. The antidiscrimination laws was preventing that.

    “One cannot force an entrepreneur to employ an immigrant instead of a native”

    UK has been trying this for a while, it’s called “positive discrimination”, a way to bypass antidiscrimination laws (only in favour of minorities, of course). You can employ a black/asian even if he/she is less qualified than a Caucasian (in the UK the multicultural laws are based on race, not nationality).

    However we have been talking here how to achieve community cohesion and if multiculturalism (or its laws) is good for Finland, well I’ll let everyone make their own mind about that…

  7. Tony Garcia

    Sorry a little typo, where I wrote individuals I meant foreigners.

    Some foreigners are seen just fine, some are not. The question is why some foreigners are seen differently. Because they insist in being different, perhaps?

  8. Tony Garcia

    In my humble opinion the problem starts when we look at the problem but refuse to see the cause of it. Let’s take the UK example…

    They had the same problem than Finland, high unemployment among some ethnic groups. In fact they still have, 80% among Somalis, but some people prefers to ignore this and keep blaming the Finns, anyway…

    So what they did? Forced public offices to have quotas. MET and BBC in particularly. But It didn’t work, their employment rate for BME (Black and Minority ethnic) were still very low.

    Then they came with another solution, grants. If they achieved their quotas they would get government grants. Apparently Trevor Phillips even proposed fines for those who didn’t, but even for NuLabour it was a bit too much, so they stick to the grants only. Still didn’t work. Why?

    Unfortunately (sarcasm) the equality law was quite “unfair”. It says that every job position must be advertised to all, and the recruitment process must be transparent and only the most qualified should get the job. Can you believe a western society with this kind of law? (even more sarcasm). For many reasons BMEs, especially those who just came from war thorn countries like Somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan have less qualifications than native British, therefore they couldn’t get the jobs.

    So NuLabour with some help from Trevor Phillips the head of the “Equality” commission (if you pardon me the expression) had a new idea. How about if we change the law, just a little bit? After the “no one can be discriminated” part we can add “unless to give the job to a member of an ethnic minority group”. This was then called positive discrimination. In the eyes of the “Equality” commission (sorry again) there is good and bad discrimination.

    Well I’m sure some had opposed to it saying that the people won’t be very happy, but NuLabour knew that they could count on the PC brigade. So the new “law” has been put to practice last year, so the people complained about it, and so the PC brigade labelled everyone as racist, xenophobic, islamophobic, dirt kuffar who will burn in hell forever and ever. The usual…

    As Trevor said himself, “UK is the best place to live in Europe if you have a dark skin colour (or a wicked religion)”. However the question is, and if you don’t?

  9. Mateus

    Tony, I’m from Blumenau (ein prosit!), not from Florianópolis!

    “I think that makes me kind of Brazilian”. But do you feel Brazilian? Will you ever move back?

    “First I was tired to live in a jail. The building where I was living had electrical fence and 24/7 security guards”

    It’s really upsetting to read this, Tony. Brazil will never become a developed country if we don’t stop the ever increasing violence. Blumenau used to be a much (I mean MUCH) safer city. I, myself, used to play in my neighbourhood without worrying about anything. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea nowadays.

    More and more people move from other parts of the country to Blumenau seeking better opportunities, and now you can already see areas that are potential slums. It’s just a matter of time.

    Interestingly enough, the situation of immigrants in Finland is the same as that of people from the north of Brazil who move to Santa Catarina. They are mostly unqualified, dark-skinned and end up living in the peripheries of society. Why?

  10. DeTant Blomhat

    But the employer has to hire by talent – disregarding natiionality or ethnicity. So the problem is: “too few qualified” – get qualified and stop whining. Thats what everybody else does. The only voices we hear is those whining and complaining.

    • Enrique

      –So the problem is: “too few qualified” – get qualified and stop whining. Thats what everybody else does. The only voices we hear is those whining and complaining.

      …or maybe an over-inflated view of one’s abilities and keeping others abay by claims that they are “not qualified.” Whining and complaining? Nah. It’s called healthy debate, which you, for some unexplainable reason, think is wrong. You state that Finland got a bum deal when it lived next to the Soviet Union. Censorship and, worse, self-censorship was rife. Now you are asking groups living in this country to be quiet just like Finland was in the cold war with the USSR concerning issues such as human rights violations. Those days are gone, Henrik.

  11. DeTant Blomhat

    And Enrique why do you still deny that you claim:

    “Ben “veryhardname” Zyskowicz is not an “immigrant” or of “immigrant origin”

    • Enrique

      –And Enrique why do you still deny that you claim: “Ben “veryhardname” Zyskowicz is not an “immigrant” or of “immigrant origin.”

      Refresh my memory. All of us were once immigrants. You would be quite exceptional if your relatives stayed in one place since the dawn of time.

  12. Tiwaz

    -“…or maybe an over-inflated view of one’s abilities and keeping others abay by claims that they are “not qualified.” ”

    What qualifications average guy coming from Somalia has? Goatherding experience? Good and useful skill there, but in Finland we have no goats to herd in any notable amount.

  13. Tiwaz

    Let’s have a little mental exercise….

    Let’s pretend there is this immigrant called Ahmed who has origins in region which tends to produce most immigrants who have issues in many things…

    For start, let’s pretend Ahmed has all the education required…

    Alas, Ahmed has firm attitude (one shared by great many foreigners in this blog) that he does not need Finnish language or Finnish culture.

    Ahmed wants a job…. What kind of job he could expect to find? Someone will say “Nokia-kind of job!”. That much is true, Nokia and handful of big ones have English as office language and enforce company culture which trumps all cultures in office.

    Problem for Ahmed is, that for every single Nokia-job there are dozens of other Ahmeds lining up, and dozens of native Finns lining up. He is one little fish in really big school of fish. If he is really, really lucky he will land that job. Huge majority of applicants do not.

    Nokia-jobs are tiny fraction of job market in Finland. Most jobs are in smaller companies who do NOT have company culture and do NOT have English as office language. Ahmed, through his own decision not to bother learning language and culture has denied himself huge majority of jobs.

    Who is to blame? Finns or Ahmed? Ahmed.
    (And no, we cannot have Nokia-jobs for foreigners only or foreigner quotas. It would be discrimination and discrimination is ALWAYS wrong)

    Let’s pretend Ahmed managed to learn the language now. But he still has firm belief that his cultural ways are right way to act.

    Ahmed actually got an interview with smaller Finnish company. Ahmed goes to his interview like he would at home, perhaps he is little bit late. He acts in the way he would at home. He essentially lives according to his own cultural tradition. And fails to get the job.

    Why? Because interviewer finds Ahmed rude, obnoxious and flat out annoying. This because Ahmed again failed to understand that he is not the chooser, he is the beggar (as it tends to be in case of applying for job).

    His task is to convince his interviewer that company wants Ahmed. For this purpose, Ahmed must act in a way which fits the expectations of interviewer. And since interviewer is Finn, he/she expects Finnish standards for behavior to be respected.

    And before anyone gets all excited, no, interviewer does NOT need to understand Ahmed’s culture. Applicant is responsible for making their impression. So who has failed when Ahmed cannot get a job because he would not fit to work community? Finns who have working community and want to keep it that way or Ahmed who refuses to adjust to conditions of society surrounding him? Ahmed.

    Now, if we look more critically at region from which Ahmed originates… We notice that Ahmed actually has very little if any education! Odds for immigrant/refugee coming from Africa being able to read or write are around 50% at best.

    That just does not work in society which is built on principle that 100% of people over 15 can read and write fluently. (and less fluently in two languages besides their native one)
    Much of essential information in Finnish work is in WRITTEN form. Employers are not interested to start teaching Ahmed to read and write, they want someone who can do job they have open. So is it racism of Finns that they need someone who can actually do the job instead of spending next year or two paying to Ahmed to learn to read? No, failure is in Ahmed, or more precisely crap conditions he originates from.

    And reading and writing are just tip of the iceberg. Because Finland tends to put great deal of importance on education. No papers proving qualifications from at least vocational school equals failure. This is because nobody wants to start teaching someone from zero to some task. Welders in vocational school learn to use their tools of trade with proficiency before leaving school. So employers only have to teach specific requirements of their job, thus cutting time between new guy arriving and starting to make income for company.

    What are odds that Ahmed has such papers? Less than odds that Ahmed can read and write. So again, are Finns racist by expecting people to have proper training to learn their exact duties quickly and efficiently? No, Ahmed is to blame again. Or more accurately his origins.

    So what about skills Ahmed HAS? Well, he has really little skills really. Region he originates tends to employ very labor intensive methods of agriculture and herding cattle of one or another kind is common.

    Problem is, you can’t really make a living in Finland with such methods. So what knowledge Ahmed has is worthless. Of course, he could become dishwasher. But problem for Ahmed is that there are again dozens of others who line up for every open job as dishwasher.
    There just aren’t enough jobs as dishwashers to employ every Ahmed in Finland.

    So why Ahmed needs a voice? To say things are not fair? How they are not fair? His condition is direct result of his OWN failings and shortcomings.

    Foreigners are treated rather fairly in Finland. They are subject to same requirements and expectations as Finns are. It is not fault of Finns or Finland that foreigners are unable to live up to these expectations.
    And lowering expectations for foreigners would be racist and discriminatory.

  14. Tony Garcia

    “ …or maybe an over-inflated view of one’s abilities and keeping others abay by claims that they are “not qualified.”

    Sorry but do you have solid proof for this accusation? Or you believe it’s like that?

    • Enrique

      –Sorry but do you have solid proof for this accusation? Or you believe it’s like that?

      I think that since immigration is such a new phenomenon in this country, people will make up many excuses not to hire immigrants. It is as simple as that. Since immigrants don’t have a voice and since they don’t even count as a voting block, they are at the total mercy of populist politicians and employers who will not give many even the light of day.

  15. Tony Garcia

    “…but he does have a legal obligation to choose according to talent”

    So Enrique, you’re saying that Finnish companies are giving jobs to less qualified Finns instead more qualified BMEs?

    This is, again, a serious accusation, and I believe you, as a responsible journalist, knows that . What bases do you have to conclude that besides only the raw unemployment data? Do you have solid evidence that a less qualified Finn won a job from a more qualified Somali (or whatever nationality)?

    Once I applied for a management position in my team in Nokia, but I lost the place for a Finn. I can tell you she was far more qualified than I.

    “This means that others are dictating policy for the minority”

    I asked you before but you didn’t answer, so I’ll ask again. Please give us a concrete example on what law/rule/policy should be made/changed.

  16. Tony Garcia

    “But do you feel Brazilian?”

    Don’t know, I don’t think much about that. My mom’s parents were immigrants, my parents, myself, my wife and children are immigrants. This is a family tradition, so I think I learned that I’m where I’m, not what I’m (I hope this make sense). As I said before, today the only thing that I’m is a member of the Irish society.

    “Will you ever move back?”

    Nop, I left more than 10 years ago and haven’t gone back since. My mom comes here from time to time, she wouldn’t leave Brazil.

    “Brazil will never become a developed country if we don’t stop the ever increasing violence.”

    Mateus I compare the violence in Brazil with suspicion against some foreigners here, both exists, both aren’t good, but both aren’t the problem either, they are the result of other problems.

    Violence in Brazil is a direct result of a wide spread corruption. All the other social problems are just consequences, therefore if corruption is tackled, many other problems will be solved automatically. At least good part of it.

    Suspicion is just the same, IMHO it’s a result how some foreigners behave when coming here. If as soon as you set foot here, you start lying about your age, place of origin, family ties, reasons for coming and just about everything else you can to make your case to stay, even if you don’t have case at all, you can really complain of people’s suspicion, can you?

    The Finnish government is having to make DNA test to check the age of Somali/Iraqi/Afghan war “children”. They wouldn’t spend all this money if there were just a hand full of asylum seekers who lie about it. The UK is think about DNA test to check seekers place of origin. The same reason, they say that they come from some area, but in fact they come from another. Ireland is using linguistic specialists to check the accent and the way seekers speak.

    The suspicion is not against all foreigners, just against some groups. Coincidently these groups are the same that need to be tested.

    So we can keep complaining about suspicion, blaming the Finns for it. But I always believed that to solve the problem we must look at the real reasons, even if they are uncomfortable to us.

  17. Mateus

    Enrique, now I understand what you meant. Immigrants need to be better represented within society through immigrant-descendant intelectuals. But don’t you think that this would generate more clashes between groups and spark tensions? People might think that the interests of foreigners will be considered to the detriment of the interests of locals. I believe that there has to be a cultural change first, or else the voices of foreigners will be heard but will be despised, and will conflict with the voices of natives. What do you think?

    • Enrique

      –But don’t you think that this would generate more clashes between groups and spark tensions? People might think that the interests of foreigners will be considered to the detriment of the interests of locals.

      Of course it would. Here is where the real clashes of conflict come when more political power is sought. However, if a society is founded on strong democratic principles, I do not see why there should be huge conflicts. In sum, how do we share a society as well as contribute to it. In our societies in Latin America we have lots of social problems because matters such as education is a privilege not a right. You have one minority that wields power over the rest. It does not even have to do with capitalist pinciples such as the “hard work ethic” because you will never attain a better place in society because the aim of the system was to exclude you.

    • Enrique

      Mateus, it is a great honor. If I may ask, what kinds of students do you teach?

  18. Mateus

    Well, surprisingly enough, I teach English as a foreign language! But as you can imagine, my classes usually tend to become sort of a discussion on all kinds of topics…

    • Enrique

      Mateus, what is surprising about that. I am happy that you can speak about important social topics. I am certain those discussions get very interesting in your class, especially when you speak of a hot issue such as education.

  19. DeTant Blomhat

    “Refresh my memory”

    Ben Zyskowicz’s father Abraham was a Polish Jew who had been in a Nazi concentration camps, while his mother Ester was a Finnish Jew . He has been married to Rahime Husnetdin-Zyskowicz, a member of the Finnish Muslim Tatar community. Not an example of “immigrants”?

    And Elizabeth Naucler is not “immigrant” enough for you either? Ah but because she is not a “real immigrant” being from Sweden apparently.

    Hey I voted for Zahra Abdulla Back in the day when she was on the green party ticket just to tick off Ilaskivi and Lax. She might make it one day. Though you might be better off voting for Freddy Van Wontergehem of the Perussuomalaiset ticket.

    So immigrants do have a representative voice in Finnish society! Only these immigrants have done something to get there – earned the trust and respect instead of just demanding it.

    • Enrique

      –So immigrants do have a representative voice in Finnish society! Only these immigrants have done something to get there – earned the trust and respect instead of just demanding it.

      If you study your own self, you will find a streak of “somewhere else” in your blood. According to you, we should close shop and bite the bullet, right?

  20. DeTant Blomhat

    “Have anyone of us gone about insulting Finns with these types of racist comments? ”

    You do all the time claiming Finland this and Finland that?

    “Goatherders are needed and they play an important role in some societies”

    Yes but they are not needed in Finland and why should we care of “some societies” when we have our own society to mind about? I do not care what foreigners do in their own countries. I care what they do in my country.

    Yoiu being a foreigner imposing your standards on me is what is unacceptable. Maybe you should take a few lessons on how to behave and interact with native peoples?

    • Enrique

      –You do all the time claiming Finland this and Finland that?

      Sorry, Hank, you should try to find a balance with your thoughts. But that is your right to think as you please. You cannot claim to help “immigrants” and then “bash their heads” on the other. Your discourse his highly provocative (that is ok) and insulting (not ok).

  21. DeTant Blomhat

    //“ …or maybe an over-inflated view of one’s abilities and keeping others abay by claims that they are “not qualified.”

    Sorry but do you have solid proof for this accusation? Or you believe it’s like that?//

    There is a tendency of after having a bad experience with some foreigner to tighten up the screw a bit. For example finding your first job you are usually demanded pretty fluent Finnish even you wouldn’t need to speak much. However this isn’t really a question about language itself as they could hire a deaf mute to do the same job – its more the problem that Finns know how Finns do things. Finns expect certain behaviour, certain things “everybody knows”… which foreign people with foreign ways straight off the boat do not know and if you do not have the time nor resources to teach them… then the language requirement is more or less of a shibboleth. Someone who has learned the hideously difficult language is by all probability been here for a while and picked up enough “unwritten rules” to be able to function in the society.

    Its like you get immigrants living in a block of flats. OK lets take a crude example of all cliches, they keep the doors open, kids run amuk, they don’t recycle their trash, cook with a bit strong smells, park their car wherever, don’t use the booking times in the laundry and use their sauna to heat up their flat and some other small annoying things. Finns don’t find this “refreshingly multicultural” rather than make complaints to the caretaker to get them evicted as if you go communicate the first thing you hear is “racist”. So then you lose your nerve and move – do you want to go live in a block with immigrants?

    I should think that person would say “people foreign backgrounds lack sufficient skills to live in a block of flats” – I wonder why it would no do as an excuse?

  22. DeTant Blomhat

    “According to you, we should close shop and bite the bullet, right?”

    My ancestors didn’t “make it” by whining, they “made it” with hard work and perseverance. Probably there were also ancestors who found it was a free country…

  23. DeTant Blomhat

    Enrique, you insult me by your mere ungratefulness towards this country. You should thank us for having you – instead you insult us in every one of your anti-Finitic posts. I insult you only to make you feel what I feel reading your posts.

    And yes, bashing in the heads makes people tougher and being tough means surviving. Or do you think army drill sergeants make you run less if you cannot make it through the obstacle course? Finland is not an easy country to live in for a Finn, so I would expect it to require double the perseverance from a foreigner.

  24. DeTant Blomhat

    BTW this is a bit OT, but have you read Edward Dutton’s articles? Finns being kin to Mongolians etc? He’s got a new book out: “The Finnuit Finnish Culture and the Religion of Uniqueness” which I should be interested in hearing your review about, as hes only been here for what ? 3-4 years and in Oulu and you’ve been here since the 1970’s

  25. Tiwaz

    -“I believe that there has to be a cultural change first, or else the voices of foreigners will be heard but will be despised, and will conflict with the voices of natives. What do you think?”

    So, Mateus, your view is that Finns must change so that foreigners coming to Finland do not have to?

    Don’t you see serious racist undertones in that attitude?

    Why every time I see foreigner, or almost every time, speak of need for cultural change and adjustment, it refers to Finns having to bend over backwards to appease immigrants?

  26. intternetnetsi

    What you think local politician Freddy Van Wonterghem who also is leader of Maassa maan tavalla RY. Is he voice you are asking for?

    • Enrique

      –What you think local politician Freddy Van Wonterghem who also is leader of Maassa maan tavalla RY. Is he voice you are asking for?

      Anyone who incites the waters of nationalism to get votes is, in my opinion, a pitiful example of a politician. Here is an example of a “foreigner” who is more nationalistic than some so-called mainstream Finns. Why does he use this card? Votes, attention, votes, attention, votes…

  27. intternetnetsi

    What if he is honest and really thinks what he says, he do have long history about doing as saying.
    He is also example of immigrant who really immigrated in here and has no problem with living in here.
    As i see he doesnt use any card, he just tells obvious fact that he is foreigner and makes fun of it.

    • Enrique

      –What if he is honest and really thinks what he says, he do have long history about doing as saying.

      Hannu, he has a right to his opinions. I respect that right. However, I have a right to disagree and be critical of his platform.
      What did you consider “funny” of his campaign promises?

  28. intternetnetsi

    You dont see funny? Are you slow or what 🙂
    How i and 5 finnish and 3 foreigners were able to find it.
    Hint is european vote. Read it.
    He also disagrees your view that foreigner is incapable to function.

  29. Lucita

    I guess it is very difficult to compite with a Finn as a foreigner, considering most of them have high qualifications and the University system here is one of the best in the world. I just arrive to Finland and I am quite worried about my job perspectives here. I am from one of those third world countries but highly qualified with diplomas from the UK and the netherlands, and work experience at international organisations, and speak 3 languages.

    I was based in the Uk where the jobmarket is open to everybody. Here, it is like in my home country: nothing is open, and it seems you need to have connections.

    About the racism things here: Actually I think there is racism everywhere in this planet. Human beings do not like what is different or what question them to some extend. In my own country situation is terrible: people there dislike very much black people ( eventhough we have black material in our genes), and there is a huge discrimination based on social clases. Not to mention that they dislike Scandinavias because they think they support communist parties in the country.

    Actually I think Finland and my country share something: when I say I am from xxxx, people usually say: ohh, poor of you. Lately when I say I live in Finland, they say: ohh, uy, poor fo you. My country is lovely, and I do think Finland is the best country in the world.

    About the behaviour of people here. They have been so use to live isolated for centuries that they behave accordingly. I think Finns are very transparent people, they have manners and they respect. I think they talk too much!!!!Even the police behave accordingly. Yes, they have checked me at the airport! I think with time ( I mean when we get older) no matter where I am or where we are from, people get more introvert and it is diffcult to make friends. It is a fact of life.

    Some human beings have to carry a cross of being from arabic countries, or drug producer countries, or poor countries, or even the USA ;o). That is a reality from us and we need to cope with it. All the time we need to demonstrate we are not those muslim, those black, those latino, those drug dealers, those thai. Unfair? Yes, considering that the UK was built on the Opium business, Spain on the resources stolen from Latin america, and not to mention all the Eu countries that still are stealing from African countries. Yes, they have been really bad too.

    Do you think we can change the world? it is a matter of power, I do not think Europeans will give it up to defend human rights of the whole humanity. That is the fallacy they have created.

    I think if I were Finn, I will some how to stop the inmigrations of muslim people. There are evidences in France and Germany that situation is really bad because they want to impose their religion to everybody via sharia law. I do not think Finland cant afford it, muslims love to have big families, and it will mean the “finn” culture as such will dissapear eventually. I do not know how strong is the Finn goverment, I mean compared to Canada that is a inmigrant country and some how, the situation can be controlled, but when I look at Finland, to me I think foreigners muslim can control this country eventually.

    Bye for now ;o)

    • Enrique

      Hi Lucita and welcome to Migrant Tales. I read your post with interest. I wish you the best of luck in Finland and that you may have a lot of luck in your endeavors.

      –About the behaviour of people here. They have been so use to live isolated for centuries that they behave accordingly.

      I believe the isolation that Finns have seen happened during the Cold War. Finland was never isolated. It was part of Sweden for about 500 years and part of Russia for about 100 years. If Nazism and Communism were one of the worst matters to befall Europe in the last century, they were also felt in these parts especially hard.

  30. intternetnetsi

    Enrique you forget some important words.
    Finland was oppressend by sweden 700 years and was oppressed by russian 100 years. Now its free.
    Swedes used finland as cannonfodder for their wars.

    And few russians or germans in here in those times, well it was integrate and produce or die. Thats why we had good jude and muslim minorities.
    We dont have german or russian miniotiries since they are only surnames.
    Well i know one german descent from 1800s and he is officer like his fathers and i dont know other more patriotic than him. He would go on war with germany.
    Well war to anyone who threats finland.

    • Enrique

      –Finland was oppressend by sweden 700 years and was oppressed by russian 100 years. Now its free.

      Don’t you think it is time to set these grievances to one corner and move on? When Finland was part of Sweden (1150-1809), there were a lot of issues. For a people to be ruled for such a long time suggests a passive acceptance of one’s rulers. This changed in the 1860s with JV Snellman. Those minorities that you mentioned, the Jews and Muslim (Tartars) minorities, were pretty much thrown into the Finnish ethnic furnace. As I told you, it was a shameful matter in the past to be a Jew in Finland. That is how many must have become, what you called, “good Jews.”
      Anyway, one day Finland will have to learn, as the Russians as well, to live like good neighbors.

  31. Tiwaz

    -“I believe the isolation that Finns have seen happened during the Cold War. Finland was never isolated. It was part of Sweden for about 500 years and part of Russia for about 100 years. If Nazism and Communism were one of the worst matters to befall Europe in the last century, they were also felt in these parts especially hard.”

    You again show that you have not actually read history.

    Finland WAS isolated all that time. There was huge wall between Finns and rulers. There was not “multiculturalism”. Foreign rulers only wanted to see and hear their own culture when in Finland.

    This is why out of what are called Swedish speaking Finns, only around quarter might actually have any genetic connection to Sweden. Most are Finns who had to “Swedish” themselves in order to be able to go to school or do anything.

    -“Those minorities that you mentioned, the Jews and Muslim (Tartars) minorities, were pretty much thrown into the Finnish ethnic furnace. As I told you, it was a shameful matter in the past to be a Jew in Finland. That is how many must have become, what you called, “good Jews.””

    And those minorities became part of Finnish society. They became productive members of society and do not try to force their traditions on majority. They are fully accepted into society.

    Same thing must take place with new immigrants.

  32. Non-libertarian liberal

    Don’t immigrants already have a voice/voices in Finland? Several powerful main-stream parties have taken it to the heart to ease integration to society and ease the burden immigrants face in Finland. Sure, there is racism but when talking about jobs it’s not really an issue. Discrimination is against the law and furthermore, employers are qualification-nuts: You need degrees, diplomas and/or work experience to land a job, never mind where you are from. Is it really so unjust? There’s talk about immigrants’ problems and how to help solve them on the papers weekly, if not daily. These issues are taken seriously.

    I dare the blogger to show me a country where more resources (in proportion to size, there are only 5 million inhabitants here!) are used to ease integration and provide foreigners with means to survive everyday life and have the means to improve oneself and one’s living.

    When talking about the employment situation, you should really take into account the fact that it’s not easy to land a job if you’re a Finn, either. The way all you talk one gets the idea that a prospective employer hires the first Finn he/she interviews but disregards all of non-Finnish origin. That’s simply not true, it’s a bitch trying to get a job in Finland, take it from me. Of course, if you are qualified, eventually you will get one.

    Oh, and about the immigrant voice. Lot’s of politicians and civil servants voice out for immigrants in their everyday work. Do you think they invent the issues they allocate resources to? Or, are they perhaps coming from immigrants’ mouths’, thus being immigrant voices. Do you think the job would be easier and/or more successful if it were done by an immigrant? Say, a russian, who has embraced the vibrant political main-stream views of his/her native country about, for example darkies from caucasus, or other “non-white” people?

    Voice out, please, and let your opinions and worries be heard, but hey, don’t ask about five million people to change their views about some non-essential peculiarity of your native country, let’s say about “circumcision” of girls just because YOU think it would be racist not to emrace it full-heartedly. There are more than six billion people in the world, five million in Finland. There are limits to what we can do. Don’t ask for a free ride and don’t ask five million people to change their views for you about for example fundamental human rights, unless the issue regards genuine equality, genuine equality.

    P.S. Perhaps it should be noted that the issues concerning immigrant unemployment are false and dishonestly make Finland look like a racist country. The papers cry about “immigrants’ unemployment rate”, when amongst these figures are also the unemployment rates of refugees! The starting point for individuals is completely different when you compare someone who has come here to work/marry/relocate and someone who has come here as a refugee (usually from a society with numerous other “development” issues than the war/instability that has caused their refugee status, ie. economic backwardness, repressive regime etc.).

    • Enrique

      Hi Non-Liberterian Liberal, thank you for sharing your ideas with us. Even though landing a job may be difficult in Finland, unemployment among foreigners (immigrants and refugees) is three times higher than among the regular population. This suggests that Finland is a country of unequal opportunity. Even for qualified immigrants finding a job can be difficult. If the opposite were true, then statistics figures would show a different reality.
      I don´t buy the idea that because “we are only a country of five million” we cannot accommodate others into our society. The truth is that the Finnish government spends a lot of money in schooling/training but for some reason unemployment continues to be excessively high. Is it discrimination, labor markets. social welfare system or all three?
      With respect to politicians taking to heart the immigrant question in Finland, I think that you may be right. When you have Social Democrats and Perussuomalaiset agreeing on being tough on immigration you understand how distorted the debate is here in Finland. The truth is that only three parties – Swedes, Greens and Leftwing Alliance – have taken the immigration issue to heart. These are small parties.

  33. Non-libertarian liberal

    Side-note: hyper-active “multiculturalism-critical” (usually in this context means racist, if truth be told) commenters represent a tiny, tiny part of the population and usually talk out of their a??es in other issues than immigration, as well.

  34. Tiwaz

    -“This suggests that Finland is a country of unequal opportunity. Even for qualified immigrants finding a job can be difficult. If the opposite were true, then statistics figures would show a different reality.

    This suggests that immigrants are lacking essential skills.

    Short of few and far between niche jobs, every job requires ability to communicate fluently with people.

    Those people are bound to be Finnish speaking in huge majority.

    So who is to blame for not being employed, customer who wants service in their preferred language, employer who wants to provide service for which the customer is willing to pay, or immigrant who fails to work their ass off to LEARN to speak that language required?

    Qualified banker who cannot communicate with their client is unqualified. Qualification is not just having paper saying that John Smith may sell apples. Qualification is also skills required to sell apples IN FINLAND. Which means speaking fluent FINNISH.

    -“When you have Social Democrats and Perussuomalaiset agreeing on being tough on immigration you understand how distorted the debate is here in Finland. The truth is that only three parties – Swedes, Greens and Leftwing Alliance – have taken the immigration issue to heart. These are small parties.”

    No, it shows that there is something seriously wrong with immigration policy. And it is good that something is done to this problem.

    We do not want Finland to become next UK or Sweden.

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