By Enrique Tessieri
The chairman of the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS), Timo Soini, has assured us on numerous occasions how racism and hate speech have no role in his party. He has said that those who wander down such a questionable path will end up being devoured by what they preach.
Aren’t the latest gallup figures a good example of what Soini warned: live by the sword, die by the sword?
When you study an anti-EU and anti-immigration party like the PS and its leader, you have to look right under your nose for the answer to uncover the deception in the statement.
Even if Soini doesn’t use the same hate speech and racist language that many of his PS MPs do, his ideological views about immigration and other matters like women’s rights are very similar to his followers.
This explains why Soini is not moved by the racism in his party never mind about PS members belonging to the neo-Nazi groups like Suomen Kansalinen Vastarinta.
The political nomenclature that the PS leader uses resembles that of a good-cop-bad-cop approach to an issue. While a PS member like Tommi Rautio can suggest on Sunday that the Finn who killed an immigrant and wounded another at a pizzeria in Oulu over the weekend should be given a medal because we are at war against immigrants, Soini will smile back and claim with a poker face: “Racism is bad.”
The ongoing cat-and-mouse debate in Finland, whether racism is a problem or not in this country and the PS, exposes yet a more worrying matter. Our dysfunction as a society to challenge an issue like racism.
We don’t need the PS or anyone to confirm our deepest worries. Our silence confirms it.
The question is not to be in shock-and-awe at the type of Finland we are seeing before us but to tackle the problem.
We are all responsible for allowing the ogre of racism out of its cage in Finland. Politicians, the media and the general public, especially immigrants and Finns with international backgrounds, must join forces and give parties like the PS and those who want to turn Finland into a segregated society a very clear message:
You won’t get off the hook easily anymore. We will not tolerate your racism and we will challenge you everywhere.