UPDATE (Mar. 1): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism


Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link

Mar. 1

Surmatut ja epäilty ovat ulkomaalaistaustaisia, mutta asuneet Suomessa pitkään  (MTV3)

What’s wrong with the headline? Three migrants were killed by another foreigner on Sunday in the small town of Laukaa, located near Jyväskylä. While the victims and the suspect are non-Finns, MTV3 makes a distinction in the headline about this fact. It states that those killed and the suspect are foreigners “but have lived a long time in Finland.” While the headline was brought to my attention by a post on Facebook, there is an obvious question: What is the difference if the “foreigners” had lived a long time or not in Finland? Are they suggesting that foreigners that have lived a shorter time in Finland are more prone to be killed or be suspected killers? Makes you wonder.

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Amnesty International cites (again) Finland’s human rights violations against refugee, migrant and transgender rights


Amnesty International criticized Finland in a 2014-15 country report on human rights violations for its treatment of asylum seekers, migrants, transgender people and conscientious objectors, according to YLE in English. It said that police inaction agains women and girls was another cause for concern. 

Should we be surprised? Not really. Finland has had a poor human rights track record with asylum seekers, migrants and conscientious objectors.

It wasn’t too long ago when Finland returned Soviet citizens who asked for asylum to the former USSR.

After over 20 years of searching, Migrant Tales made contact with Aleksandr Shatravka in 2009 thanks to this blog.

One of the saddest cases that Amnesty International documented was that of Vyacheslav N. Cherapanov, who was forcibly returned in July 1980 to the USSR after he had allegedly been beaten by Finnish police in Ilomantsi. This was done after Finland had pledged to respect the human rights of asylum seekers after it hosted and signed the Helsinki Accords of 1975.

The human rights situation under Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen has deteriorated. Amnesty International had launched a petition against the imprisonment of asylum seekers who are children.

According to Amnesty International, the government of Finland promised in 2011 to forbid the detention of unaccompanied children and to develop alternatives to detention. The promise was written in the government’s program, but it has not been fulfilled. Alternatives to detention have not yet been developed and children are still detained.

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Read full report here.

Writes Yle in English:

A new addition this year to the [Amnesty International] list of complaints concerning Finland was discrimination against transgender individuals. AI says that the law on obtaining legal gender recognition is too onerous, requiring lengthy medical studies, sterilisation or a mental disorder diagnosis, and proof of single status.

Female residents of Finland, meanwhile, are all too often subject to sexual violence, according to the report. It cites a 2014 survey by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, which indicates that nearly half of women in the country had experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. However only one in 10 victims has contacted police, even in serious cases of violence.

Some Finns are still scratching their heads about the surge of intolerance in Finland and why an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* became the country’s third-largest in parliament in 2011.

As long as Finland does little to nothing to improve the human rights of groups like asylum seekers, migrants, transgender people and women, it continues to fuel a climate of intolerance that has been with us for decades.

* The English name of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) is officially the Finns Party. 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. 

UPDATE (Feb. 26): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism


Migrant Tales’2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link

Feb. 26

Koraaninluku radiossa nosti raivon – “Sotkee nuorten päät ja vihasoppa on valmis” (Helsingin Uutiset)

What’s wrong with this story? Helsingin Uutiset is a community paper that is distributed for free to Helsinki residents. One of the unfortunate qualities of Helsingin Uutiset is that it is known for its anti-immigration stand. The story below about the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) beginning to read the Koran on air has raised a lot of opposition, which Helsingin Uutiset writes a story about based on anonymous comments on its website, some of which are hostile and Islamophobic. One comment claims that the program “mixes young people’s head and ensures a hate brew to be concocted” while another one says it promotes terrorism. The paper asks its readers to vote if they think it is a good idea to read the Koran on radio. About 80% say it’s a bad idea. Since when were anonymous comments credible? Poor opinionated journalism at its worst.   

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Where to catch up on news about immigration, immigrants and cultural diversity


Where does Migrant Tales get its information? Apart from getting tip-offs from readers, another important source is Uutiskynnys as well as other social media sites like Facebook (Rasmus and others) and Twitter. We only read racist diatribe on Facebook instead of following hate sites like Hommaforum and Scripta

Following the latter sites as well as other ones like James Hirvisaari is an absolute waste of time because what they put out only confirms what you read about them over five years ago.

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I used to visit Mediaseuranta but stopped going there after it became clear that the editor appears to be connected to the Hommaforum network. We recommend a thousand times Uutiskynnys over Mediaseuranta.

One of the best blogs on cultural diversity in Finland is Uuninpankkopoika Saku Tiimonen, Reija Härkönen, Marian Abdulkarim and Zuzeeko. There are many others that I read like Abdirahim Husu Hussein and Anna Gutiérrez Sorainen.

A “new” blogger on the block is Ozan Yanar, who knows his stuff and writes well.

It’s great to see today that the ongoing debate on our ever-growing cultural diversity is no longer controlled by anti-immigration bloggers. This has been the case for some time but matters are changing.

Other good sites include I Care, which gives you a good picture of what is happening in other countries.

Being informed and having a good network to access and double check information is crucial if you want to take part in the ongoing debate on immigration, immigrants and cultural diversity.

When it comes to the Finnish media, only a few publications get it right most of the time when it comes to migration and cultural diversity. Some of these include Karjalainen, Savon Sanomat, Kainuun Sanomat, Hämen Kaiku and Kansan Uutiset.


UPDATE (Feb. 26): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism


Migrant Tales’2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link

Feb. 26

Rasismi motiivina somalitaksikuskin pahoinpitelyyn Lieksassa? (Karjalainen)

Why such an odd question in the headline? Migrant Tales has published, like the national media, a number of stories on racism in Lieksa, a town located in Eastern Finland. Karjalainen, a Joensuu daily, has played an important role in tackling racism in this part of the country. The headline of the story, Racism could be a motive in the attack against a Somali taxi driver of Lieksa, is an odd headline. The story states that not only was the taxi driver attacked by the white Finnish male client, but was that the driver was also a victim of his racist language and harassment. While everyone is innocent before proven guilty, why are we questioning if this was a hate crime? Are we playing down what happened by asking if it was a hate crime? The headline should have been bolder like, White Finn attacks and hurls racist language against Somali taxi driver.

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Anonymous: Humanity ushers


By Anonymous

Humanity humanity

we speak of issues of humanity

can`t stay tight-lipped against brutality

spur reactions toward our predicament

deliberate on issues of humanity

humanity………………….……. humanity


you are a fresh breath against worlds insanity

enlightens on pervading concerns against humanity

draw boundary between humanity and inhumanity

you spell genuine surface of humanity

quell wrath against inhumanity

yell globally, you crusade for humanity

like a mirror vanity

reflect not distorted image but world insanity

but also reality and spearhead true values of humanity

you lift a lid for those who suffer from inhumanity

speak for them in language of humanity

for the voiceless give a voice of humanity

shed light on their predicament and inhumanity

call attention for cause of humanity

for those without supper and in adversity

you nourish them with hope for humanity

those in danger buffer against inhumanity

their distress calls crave for humanity

touch their lives and save them from inhumanity

for those tortured revive their trust in humanity

recognize their fate and call for a cause for humanity

feed our soul with a cold breeze of humanity

against harsh reality

and everyday life attrocity

humanity………………….……… humanity


the common spirit that binds us all in uniformity

human rights as our watchdog speak-up for humanity

humanity………………….………………. humanity

not an entity but multiplicity and diversity

against man-made and natural calamities calls for humanity

modern world crisis and turmoil

calls for a shield of humanity

for our every day life in disarray seeks you humanity

lets walk and talk humanity

in unisom embrace humanity

to usher us to the next millinieum with faith in humanity

Reija Härkönen: Soinin sirkus ja Mestarin lista


 Reija Härkönen

Maahanmuuttajavastainen islamofoobikko, vaaliehdokas Jussi Halla-aho julkaisi vaalien 2011 alla listan ehdokkaista, jotka olisivat riittävästi ”aatteen” miehiä ja naisia ja joita sopisi äänestää siellä, missä häntä itseään ei, vaikka kuinka haluaisi, pääse äänestämään. Useat listatuista olivat äärikansallismielisen Suomen Sisu- järjestön ja/tai Hommaforumin jäseniä.

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Nyt on aika tarkastella sitä, ketä tuolta listalta silloin pääsi läpi, miksi he ovat olleet Jussi Halla-ahon, ”Mestarin” listalla ja mitä he ovat kuluvan vaalikauden aikana tehneet Suomen ja sen asukkaiden hyväksi. Se kai kuitenkin on ollut tarkoitus?

Juho Eerola oli valituksi tullessaan Suomen Sisun jäsen, mutta erosi myöhemmin päästäkseen parempiin julkisiin asemiin puolueessa ja eduskuntaryhmässä. Toiminta ”maahanmuuttokriittisessä” ryhmässä on kuitenkin jatkunut ennallaan. Kun Suomen vastarintaliikkeen johtohahmo puukotti järjestysmiestä Jyväskylässä Äärioikeisto Suomessa –kirjan julkistustilaisuudessa, Juho Eerola piti väkivaltaa hyvänä mainoksena kirjalle ja antoi uusnatseille ohjeen: ”Älkää seuraavan kerran näyttäkö “patriooteilta”, kun pyritte tuollaiseen tilaisuuteen sisään. Älkää myöskään menkö ryhmässä, vaan muina miehinä muiden joukossa.” Jo v. 2011 vaaleihin valmistautuessaan Eerola tunnusti avoimesti ihailevansa fasismia ja Mussolinin Italian talousjärjestelmää.

James Hirvisaari aiheutti puolueelle jatkuvaa hallaa rasistisilla ulostuloillaan. Viimeinen pisara oli vihapuhementorin kutsuminen eduskuntaan natsitervehtimään. Hirvisaari erotettiin puolueesta. Yhteistyö ”Mestarin” joukkojen kanssa kuitenkin jatkuu. Maahanmuuttajavastainen liike ei toimi vain yhden puolueen sisällä. Helmikuun 19. pv, kun Hirvisaari vaalikampanjansa osana järjesti eduskunnan tiloissa äärioikeistolaisen esitelmätilaisuuden, siihen ottivat osaa myös kansanedustajat Juho Eerola ja Olli Immonen.

Olli Immonen oli myös jo valituksi tullessaan Suomen Sisun jäsen ja hänet on sittemmin valittu järjestön puheenjohtajaksi. Olli Immonen tuottaa järjestelmällisesti omaan blogiinsa, Uuden Suomen Puheenvuoroon ja Facebook-sivuilleen antijihadistista, muslimivastaista ja rasistista materiaalia. Kirjoittelu on laadultaan sellaista, että on vaikea uskoa yhdenkään varteenotettavan suomalaisen eduskuntapuolueen olevan sen lähteenä.

Maria Lohela oli yksi Jussi Halla-ahon laatiman ”Nuivan vaalimanifestin” allekirjoittajista ja siten siis jo alun perin yksi kantavista hahmoista perussuomalaisten äärioikeistolaistamisprosessissa. Lohela, kuten monet muutkin ”kriitikot”, suhtautuu nuivasti muihinkin vähemmistöihin. Kuvaava on hänen huolensa siitä, että muslimien kokoontumistilojen rakentaminen Turkuun toisi mukanaan ”toisten oikeuksia polkevaa toimintaa”, kun hänellä itsellään on ollut vaikeuksia hyväksyä homoseksuaalien yhtäläisiä oikeuksia lain edessä: ”Homoseksuaaleillakin on oikeus mennä naimisiin vastakkaisen sukupuolen kanssa, jos he niin haluaisivat. Kolmella ihmisellä ei kuitenkaan ole oikeutta mennä naimisiin keskenään, vaikka haluaisivat.”

Pentti Oinonen, vaaleilla valittu kansanedustaja, jättää vuodesta toiseen menemättä tasavallan presidentin järjestämään, Suomen itsenäisyyttä kunnioittavaan tilaisuuteen sillä perusteella, että muut Suomen kansalaiset, myös muut kansanedustajat, tulevat kutsutuiksi asemansa tai saavutuksiensa perusteella riippumatta iästä, etnisestä tai kansallisesta alkuperästä, uskonnosta tai sukupuolisesta suuntautumisesta. Oinonen saa perussuomalaisen sateenvarjon alla kaikessa rauhassa julistaa inhoansa homoseksuaaleja kohtaan myös eduskunnan puhujapöntöstä.

Jussi Halla-ahon uusin vaalikirjoitus oli maahanmuuttajaehdokkaita halveeraava ulvahdus, jossa hän luokittelee tummaihoiset ehdokkaat ö-luokan ehdokkaiksi ja lähinnä itsestään kiinnostuneiksi sirkushahmoiksi. Näin siis perussuomalaisten maahanmuuttopoliittisen vaaliohjelman laatija kertoo, mistä on kysymys: väärän väristen ihmisten pitämisestä yhteiskunnan alempana kastina, jota ei olisi pitänyt edes päästää maahan, saatikka osallistumaan päätöksentekoon.

”Mestari” Halla-aho on nyt julkaissut uuden listan henkilöistä, joiden hän haluaa nykyisten kansanedustajien ohella pääsevän toteuttamaan valheelliseksi, rasistiseksi ja perustuslain vastaiseksitodettua ohjelmaansa. Soinin siipien suojista.

Alkuperäisen blogikirjoituksen voi lukea tästä.

Tämä blogikirjoitus julkaistiin Migrant Talesissä luvalla.

Racism Review: #JeSuisCharlie? Maybe if you’re white!


Raul Perez

Now that some of the dust has settled following the shooting of 12 cartoonists from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the numbers are in.

According to a recent Pew survey  (n=1,003), 3 in 4 Americans heard about the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and 60% supported the magazine’s depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, echoing the rallying call “#IAmCharlie” that took the internet by storm in the days following this tragic incident. In fact, #IAmCharlie became one of the most tweeted hashtags in Twitter history.
Je Suis Charlie protest in France

(Image source)

Among those who defended the cartoons as acceptable, the study finds two things were key among supporters. 70% cited “freedom of the press” to defend their positions, and roughly 1 in 10 defended the magazine as an “equal opportunity offender” that took jabs at all groups, not just Muslims. But a closer look at the numbers reveals a significant gap between whites and non-whites and their approval of the cartoons. While 70% of whites believed it was “Okay” for the magazine to publish insulting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, only 37% of non-whites believed they were acceptable.

In other words, if you tweeted #IAmCharlie in the days following the incident, it’s safe to say you were probably white—and male (67% of males and 52% of females thought the cartoons were “Okay”). Even among liberals we can see a clear racial divide on this issue. Among liberals, 66% of whites supported the cartoons, while only 39% of non-whites did.

What this survey reveals is that beliefs in notions like “free speech” and “the sense of humor” are colored by race. Moreover, it illustrates that a “white racial frame” was at play for individuals making sense of this tragic incident. According to sociologist Joe Feagin, a white racial frame is a dominant ideological perspective that allows whites (and often non-whites) to interpret discriminatory and oppressive events and information in ways that defend and accentuate white actions as righteous. From this perspective, the insulting cartoons of the Prophet may be “tasteless,” but they were merely an exercise in “free speech,” a core Western value after all. Moreover, a white racial frame suggests the magazine was vulgar and offensive in a “responsible way”—it mocked everyone, even the Pope! Therefore, the real problem is Islam, not the cartoons.

While some have tried to defend this kind of humor on grounds that the tradition of satire has always been to “punch everyone,” my research on racial humor suggests that an “equal opportunity offender” strategy is a more recent phenomenon. For instance, in the U.S. it was only after communities of color publically challenged the decades long use of racial ridicule by whites (e.g., blackface minstrelsy) during the civil rights movement that white humorists began to diversify their targets to avoid being labeled “racist.” Moreover, countless examples illustrate that “satire” works most effectively when it “punches up” not down the social hierarchy. That is, when it challenges the prevailing power structure (Richard Pryor and George Carlin come to mind. See Hari Kondabolu, Aamer Rahman, and John Oliver for more recent examples). Otherwise, such “humor” is little more than taunting and bullying and only works to confirm existing power relations.

Yes, we should all condemn the killing of the cartoonists. But, in the wake of the routine shooting of black and brown bodies by police officers, the ongoing “war on terror” that targets Arab-Americans as suspect, and let’s not forget the ongoing wars in the Middle East, historic levels of incarceration of blacks and Latin@s, and the mass deportation of Latin@s, it’s no surprise that for people of color in the U.S. it’s was kind of hard to #IAmCharlie.

In the end, the attacks on Charlie Hebdo will work to strengthen a white racial frame if we do not work to challenge it. This incident will be used to highlight Muslim extremism and violence as the rule, rather than the exception, and further justify racial profiling. It is worth pointing out that the reverse does not make sense through this powerful racial frame. White shooters are not viewed as terrorists, and their actions are not reflected upon all whites. And therein lays the danger of this dominant racial frame in reinforcing a system of racial inequality.

~ Guest blogger Raúl Nguyen-Pérez is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at University of California at Irvine

The post #JeSuisCharlie? Maybe if you’re white! appeared first on racismreview.com.

Read original blog entry here.

This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.