By Enrique Tessieri
A court case involving eight suspects accused of inciting ethnic hatred in Lieksa via the Facebook page, “Mamu keskustelu ilman sensuuria (lieksa),” or “Immigrant debate without censorship (Lieksa),” began today. The deputy state prosecutor is calling for two of the accused to serve four-month prison terms, with lesser sentences and fines for the rest.
Traffic on the Facebook site has now come to a near-halt, but racist jokes about groups like Somalis and Roma can be still found on the site’s wall.
The Facebook group is a good example of the good name of a town and community can be ruined by a handful of people. Lieksa is a city of 12,800 inhabitants with roughly 200 immigrants.
There are many ways to shake off a bad reputation. When it comes to racism, the only way is through community action and the law. In both cases the message must be crystal clear: racism is unacceptable.
The face of racism, when it dares to show itself in public, is not only shameful but can threaten the community it claims to be defending. All the noble values that we consider dear, like social justice and equality, are destroyed in an instant.
There is much more at stake in the ongoing trial of eight defendants accused of inciting ethnic hatred than meets the eye.
What is at stake is who we are as culturally diverse Finns.