Migrant Tales insight: We get a lot of email and tip-offs from our readers. The latest one we got is of three blog entry translations in English of Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted for ethnic agitation. This last one, Do not tolerate the intolerant one, was published in Scripta on December 20, 2007.
Apart from understanding how racism in Finland thrives and which arguments are used to spread hatred of other groups, one matter is clear from all three writings: They are repulsive and we apologize if anyone is offended by them. The writings have nothing to do with a PhD’s critical thinking; they are simply urban tales and prejudices that have been piled high and deep.
Another important aspect that we must acknowledge about these writings is that they are hostile towards migrants and intended for gullible Finns. They are hateful writings that fuel prejudice, which in turn fuels social exclusion.
Acceptance of these two anti-immigration parties this week in the ECR with “MEPs with criminal records,” proves that shoplifting is a worse offense for a politician today than being sentenced for ethnic agitation. It sadly exposes as well why racism has grown in Europe and why mainstream politicians and the media have helped fuel such intolerance.
Our only motive for publishing these blog entries is so that other Europeans who don’t speak Finnish can read what kind of politician Halla-aho is.
For more insight into the PS, take a look Far-right and anti-immigration quotes in English by the PS.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names 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.
Quotes within the text taken from the summaries of EU legislation, “Framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia.”
Through the Gates of Vienna- blog I came across a proposition made in the EU concerning legal actions in the combat against racism and xenophobia. The EU has never interested me very much. Maybe it should.
“The purpose of this framework decision is to ensure that racism and xenophobia are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties in the European Union (EU).”
The beginning is already a promising one. Because racism, being a perception of the existence of different races, perhaps of their differences and of their relative value hierarchy, is an opinion and xenophobia an emotional state, I can’t quite figure out what the case might be here, other than attempting to legislate one’s thoughts.
Nonetheless, all depends on the definitions of “racism” and “xenophobia”:
“Public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined on the basis of race, colour, descent, religion or belief, or national or ethnic origin.”
Is it, therefore, intended to criminalize the feelings of repugnance?
“Certain forms of conduct as outlined below, which are committed for a racist or xenophobic purpose, are punishable as criminal offences:
– public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined on the basis of race, colour, descent, religion or belief, or national or ethnic origin;
– public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material containing expressions of racism and xenophobia;
– public condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (Articles 6, 7 and 8) and crimes defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, when the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group.
Instigating, aiding or abetting in the commission of the above offences is also punishable.”
Crimes matching the descriptions above surely take place in Europe. For example, the leftists in Sweden have publicly incited to assault skinheads (conviction), Muslims have on separate occasions incited to kill infidels (conviction) and Jews (religion and ethnicity), and have either denied the holocaust and the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, or in turn glorified them. Audio materials have been handed out in the mosques of Britain and Germany, in which all these deeds are being perpetrated.
But perhaps these aren’t the sort of crimes that the EU signifies.
Speaking seriously, the first two types of crimes are interesting. Incitement to violence or intimidation is easy to define. For instance, if I were to urge the killing of Muslims or threatened to do so myself, I would be the perpetrator of these acts. But what is public incitement to hatred or a public insult? Is the insult defined by one’s false and negative argument towards another, or rather by a true one that – although true – happens to violate the target?
Muslims are offended if Islam is called a violent, pedophile religion that oppresses women. Are these claims insulting, in the sense that the EU means them to be? With the mouths of the most highly learned, Islam calls to a holy war and to conquest the world. A significant proportion of Muslims are either ready for religious violence or silently condone it. Those highest learned ones in Islam refer to women as creatures lower to man, who are to be struck unless they otherwise obey, and to be raped unless they are dressed modestly. In almost all Islamic countries little girls are married off to older men, and there are no influential schools of thought to call these practices into question. Even the founder of the religion was a pedophile in the current sense of the word.
Since all criticism made towards Muslims or Islam violates the Muslim people, taking their offense into account and making it a yardstick of some sort only leads to a situation where the Muslim people and Islam, unlike any other, are not to be criticized. Surely a situation such as this can not be tolerable.
I understand that there are also deliberate violations of Islam. For example, rolling the Koran around in pig’s shit and uploading it to YouTube as performance art would obviously be a deliberate insult. But would the purpose of prohibiting such an act be equal treatment for all, or would it be intended to protect only the Muslim people?
In October , Swedish neo-Nazis in Lund destroyed works of art in the History of Sex- exhibition using axes and iron pipes. They were motivated by the desire to prevent presentation of “perverted art”. One of the pieces was called “Piss Christ”, a statue of Jesus on the cross submerged in a container of the artist Anders Serrano’s urine.
The museum’s director considered this to be an attack on democracy and freedom of expression. Maybe it was, but I think it’s pretty obvious that Piss Christ had no other function than to offend Christians. The art crowds themselves would probably call it deconstruction, de-dramatization and so forth, but is the EU going to allow the analogous de-dramatization and deconstruction of Islam as well? When the Swedish Democrats Party published Danish cartoons on its website, security forces in accordance with instructions handed from a ministerial level, and in violation of the law, closed the site.
I do not remember the art crowds being all that concerned on an attack on democracy and freedom of expression. Although these cartoons, after all, contained a political message that was both clear and topical, as opposed to (at least in my opinion) Piss Christ.
Let it be noted that when an organization called Suomen Sisu published the same drawings on their website, the Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja condemned the act and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen called for forgiveness from the Muslims burning the world. Finally the case ended up with the state prosecutor. And even here, I do not recall anyone to have been very concerned about democracy and freedom of speech.
Therefore, in the EU of the future, does the framework only concern those who have the intelligence to be offended? Does it also conclude the de-dramatization of Christianity?
What is meant by incitement to hatred? For I can not decide what kind of sensations some of my writings, for instance on the delinquency of immigrants, evoke in the reader. I admit, of course, that my intention is to stir up anti-immigration attitudes. This results from the fact that immigration is, in its current form, fatal to those things which I consider important, and there isn’t going to be a shift in the immigration policy unless people’s (=voters) attitudes change. I can not criticize immigration without criticizing the doings and beings of immigrants. Criticizing them, needless to say, is likely to increase the negative feelings towards the more relevant groups of immigrants. This is inevitable.
If, therefore, I were to argue that the Somali immigration and their emigration are a disaster for Finland, would it be considered hate-mongering towards the Somalis? In a way, yes, but mostly not. For I am not judging them by their color, what God they believe in or what kind of food they eat, but rather by what their presence means to Finland. If their actions and the way they carry themselves are due to the fact that they are Somalis, I can not help it.
The anti-immigrant and anti-immigration attitudes stem from the fact that certain groups of immigrants are living like pigs in a field. It is natural that knowledge of what these groups are doing is only adding to the negative attitudes, even hatred, towards said groups. By EU’s definition, therefore, knowledge alone can be incitement to hatred that is punishable. But can facts – and presenting them – be criminalized? Well, they can of course, but is that what they want to do?
It is interesting that the one of the subjects under protection includes “belief”, a.k.a. opinion. However, the definition of the crime will ultimately lead into being permitted to have only one and the same view of immigrants and immigration. Any criticism of Islam or the immigrants could be interpreted as offensive or hate-mongering. What sort of “beliefs” are this legislation meant to protect? Is hate-mongering against anti-immigrants or nationalists a punishable crime?
And what about the penalties? Proposals include such strong echoes from the Soviet Union, that it creeps the back of my spine:
* For public incitement to “racial hatred”, terms of imprisonment for a minimum amount no shorter than two years
* Alternative penalty of community service or participation in training
* Confiscation of all material used in the crime
* Denial of public assistance for legal entities
The latter mentioned might contain the possibility to withhold political party subsidies from organizations that criticize immigration.
The EU is busy imprisoning and organizing re-educative camps to those who express the wrong opinion. Perhaps the day when the mail delivers bad news or the door bell rings at night is not as far away as I thought. I’ve always laughed at the paranoia that is so common amongst the nationalist circles, but then again two internet writers have just been summoned to Districts for incitement. In addition, we know that the ex-Commissioner on National Minorities Mikko Puumalainen, before moving on to other tasks, frantically produced requests for investigating hate-mongers, so who’s to know what more is to come from consultation?
With these sentiments, I would like to say something to all my fellow-writers who are concerned about their future: You shouldn’t take your own life too seriously. On behalf of your convictions, you should go to jail or get shot. Everything we can accomplish by crawling or repenting vanishes, when our time is up. Rather soon, that is. Instead the consequences of our choices live on. We remember Andrej Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn because they did not give up for their personal good, but we do not remember the millions of Ivan Ivanovs, who apologized for what they said and carried out thorough self-criticism. If they had not given up, the end of the Soviet Union might have become a little more swiftly.
Totalitarianism is to be forced to control by violence, as it will reveal itself. If it manages to rule simply by fear, silencing wrong-thinkers one at a time, people think they are living in freedom and the cancer menacing our society grows undisturbed.