Migrant Tales and ten years of anti-racism activism 2007 – 2017

by , under Enrique Tessieri

I never believed when I published my first posting in Migrant Tales that I’d be writing about our tenth anniversary today. The journey from that Wednesday a decade ago to today has been a long one helped by the fuel of support that Migrant Tales has received during these years.  

Migrant Tales not only defends the rights of migrants and minorities in Finland and elsewhere, but human rights and Nordic values like social equality as well.

During the last ten years, Europe and Finland, have regressed instead of advanced when it comes to migrant and minority rights. While this is clear to us and to many other people, too many don’t see racism and discrimination as a threat to our societies.

Migrant Tales has never doubted the threat that populism and parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* pose for Finland. It is the same story for other ones in Europe like the Danish People’s Party, Sweden Democrats, Front National of France, UKIP and others, which capitalize on racism.

All of the above parties pose a threat to our democracies in Europe. Believing otherwise is wishful thinking. Since such parties need to scapegoat minorities they must always single out a victim. If they succeeded at eliminating one group they’d go for another.

It’s a cycle of hate that never ends because in scapegoating there is power, wealth and fame.

Migrant Tales has throughout the years taken up a lot of causes for migrant and minority rights. This picture was taken last year in front of the Little Parliament protesting Finland’s asylum and deportation policies. In May we exposed the mistreatment of asylum seekers at the Kolari reception center that led to the sacking of the deputy manager, Jari Sillantie.

The fact that we still exist after ten years proves that there is a big demand for voices to speak out and defend those that are heard faintly by society. We are honored to be one of the many voices that are speaking out for migrant and minority rights.

While those who are hostile to cultural diversity, otherness and minorities want to tell us that our activism is futile, all we have to do is to show them our readers and contributors to prove them wrong.

We grow stronger as we age, not weaker. Thanks to our activism, our enemies are easier to recognize because we’ve exposed them to the light.


ANNOUNCEMENT

The European Network Against Racism will host on June 3 a seminar on anti-migration racism in Finland. The aim of the seminar is simple: Identity burning issues and act on them. Why not join us this Saturday? Tell us if you’ll be attending here

PROGRAM

1-1:20pm Welcome ENAR board member Enrique Tessieri and Juliana Wahlgren, senior advocacy and network development officer, which will be televised from Brussels.

1:20-1:40pm Poetry by Roxana Crisólogo and Zoila Forss

1:45-2:00pm Photo Exhibition on asylum seekers by Mikko T. Hemminen

1:45-3:30pm Panel and discussion will be moderated by Minna Seikkula. The panelists participating in the seminar are:  Zuzeeko Tegha Abeng (hate crime legislation), Jean Marc Alingue (migrants and sports), Johanna Ennser-Kananen (anti-racism education), Markus Himanen (ethnic profiling) and Amiirah Salleh-Hoddin (equality data collection).

3:30-5:00pm  More discussion, planning and deciding an issue and substitute issue that we believe is important and that should be challenged in Finland. All the participants will be able to give their input on which burning issues does Finland face on the anti-racism front. Coffee and tea.

The official translation to Finnish of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is the Finns Party. In our opinion, it is not only a horrible translation, but one that is misguided. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Such terms like the Finns Party of True Finns promote as well in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and thereafter the acronym PS.

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