I was asked this week what I think is one of the best ways to tackle racism in Finland. One of the best ways, I responded, is challenging urban tales spread by politicians, the media and public.
It’s clear that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party’s hostility against foreigners with the help of urban tales is moving full steam ahead. In the latest issue of the party’s newspaper, Perussuomalainen, there is a sensationalist story suggesting that refugee centers are holiday resorts for terrorists.
The story appears only on Perussuomalainen because no reputable publication in Finland would publish it.
Why wouldn’t it be published in other publications?
Because of what it represents and promotes: hatred and suspicion of foreigners as well as a cheap trick to lure susceptible voters to the PS.
Migrant Tales has only copied and pasted part of the Perussuomalainen article because of its provocative racist message.
Finland is going to have to get a grip on itself and ask some hard questions: Do we want to believe these types of racist sensationalist stories and impoverish ourselves as a country, or tell those that spread such malarky that we’ve had enough?
Why is xenophobia hazardous to Finland? Because it will scare away skilled migrants, entrepreneurs and foreign investment. Who wants to live and bring up a family in a country that accepts and supports intolerance?
In many respects, and in our own context, the influence of the PS on anti-immigration and nativist nationalist sentiment is similar to far-right Jobbik in Hungary. Has Hungary become more tolerant to Jews and Roma after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán started to play political ball with Jobbik?
It’s clear that the more recognition you give to parties that have far-right ideology and racism as there main agenda, the more they’ll grow.
Those spreading this type of fear-mongering on the Perussuomalainen article are none other than PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who was sentenced for ethnic agitation, and PS MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who was sentenced to prison for robbery and become a household name due to his issues with racism, alcohol, and now teenage girls.
I will not spend any energy on translating the ludicrous claims by the PS because the headline speaks for itself.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party 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.