Sara speaks out against the racist harassment her son endured at a school in Mikkeli, Finland

by , under Enrique

What would you do if you heard that an African single mother decided to leave Mikkeli for Helsinki because her eight-year-old child was a victim of racist harassment or bullying at school? Would you just register the news and brush it conveniently under the rug and reassure yourself that these types of things don’t happen where you live?

Migrant Tales got in touch with Sara, an African single mother that spoke on condition of anonymity, to ask what had happened to her son at school. She said that her problems began when her son Julian, then a seven-year-old boy, went to Kattilansilta School.

Migrant Tales published in October 2010 a blog entry about racist spray paintings that were on the school’s walls for months.

Valkoinen valta-2_edited-1
While Sara believes that the teachers and principle did everything possible to stop the racist bullying of her son, a teacher in 2010 didn’t seem too concerned about the racist graffiti on the school’s wall. After the teacher admitted that the racist graffiti above had been there since spring and didn’t represent his values, he asked why anti-immigration groups like the Perussuomalaiset and Muutos 2011 are labelled racist whenever they criticize immigrants for getting more social welfare than Finns.

By Sara

I had heard before that racism is a problem in Mikkeli but my child and I were never its victims.  My problems started when I finished my studies and when my son Julian started first grade at the local school. Finding real work in Mikkeli was impossible for me. I served as an intern at different workplaces but never got a job that paid me a salary.

One day my son Julian came home and told me that a boy at school was bullying him in a racist manner. He was too young to understand why he was bullied.  He asked me why I had given birth to him as a black African and why he wasn’t white like the rest of the children at school.

Soon the majority of his classmates started bullying him. They named him a black monkey and told him to go to the toilet bowl because the color of his skin was like the color of feces. (Sara stops for a moment to contain her tears. She succeeds).

Matters got worse for Julian as the months passed at school. There were fights and nobody wanted to play with him. One day he said he didn’t want to go to school because nobody liked him.

The teachers and the principle were understanding and they spoke to the classmates’ parents. Things got better but for Julian for a while but then things returned to “normal” and the bullying started again. Julian’s classmates are the same age as he so what they know about racism is what they learned from their parents and other children.

Not only did my son complain that he didn’t have friends at school, but he didn’t have anyone to play with after school either. At the apartment block where we lived in Mikkeli, he did have a friend who wanted to play with him but the boy’s mother forbade it.

Last year for the first time in my seven years in Mikkeli, I got two hate mails telling me to go back to where I came from.

Taking into account what was happening at school to Julian and the feeling that things had changed for the worse in Mikkeli for us, I decided to move to Helsinki last fall.

Since then my life has changed for the better. There are more Africans where I live and my son is no longer bullied at school.

It’s incredible, but if you are the only black child at school like Julian was, you’ll get bullied. If there are more black children, bullying doesn’t happen that easily.

I sincerely hope that what happened to me and my son won’t happen to anyone.   I don’t wish such pain to befall anyone.

Silence is not the way to challenge intolerance.

Read story in Finnish here.  

 

  1. Farang

    he asked why anti-immigration groups like the Perussuomalaiset and Muutos 2011 are labelled racist whenever they criticize immigrants for getting more social welfare than Finns.

    Actually it is true that immigrants get more than Finns, thus there is actual discrimination against Finns.

    There is now proof of this discrimination against Finns in favour of immigrants, please refer to this document:
    http://webdynasty.pohjoiskarjala.net/Dynasty/Lieksa/kokous/20121240-10-4.PDF

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Actually it is true that immigrants get more than Finns, thus there is actual discrimination against Finns.

      There’s nothing that supports what you say. And please don’t generalize. If the social workers did things illegally, they would lose their jobs.

      This claim, that immigrants get more welfare than Finns, is an old broken record used by anti-immigration groups. You can source your claim to James Hirvisaari but I doubt his claims have much credibility in the world outside his anti-immigration bubble.

    • Farang

      Enrique, I just linked you an official document which proves what I said. If you don’t understand Finnish, please ask someone to translate it for you.

    • Mark

      Bollocks again. The service system is geared to need. When a heart patient receives a stent, and a healthy patient gets nothing, do you call that discrimination too?

    • Farang

      Mark, read that report!

      It’s not about someone getting more because of need. It’s about immigrants getting more even WITHOUT need. It is all clearly stated in the report.

      That reports is from the audit which was initiated because it was suspected that immigrants and finns were treated differently and the results of the audit is in that report.

      Do you need help in translation?

    • Mark

      Well perhaps this time it would make a pleasant change if you actually gave the proper background and summary of the relevant part. I’m not doing your homework for you. So what did they get extra and what was it for officially? Kela do not give money away, so to speak.

    • Farang

      I need to put more time to it as I’m not that familiar with legal terminology in English. It’s easier if you just ask your wife to translate it for you 🙂

      The beef is on page 4, so start with it.

    • Mark

      No. Farang, you must get used to supporting your claims with some kind of evidence. It’s hardly legal language to simply state what benefits they received that were extra and if they were paid for a specific reason and if so, what it was.

      This is an important claim you are making, the least you can do is actually support it with proper evidence, rather than pointing your finger vaguely in the direction of a report and saying, it’s in there!

    • Farang

      Ok, here it is:

      – Decisions about benefits for refugees have been made without mentioning the amount of benefit in the decision and based on the decision vague sums have been paid. As a reference, for every FINN a clear calculations have been done for each decision to pay out exactly the sum that is needed.

      – Decisions about benefit have been made even without an application. For every FINN an application is required for each payment.

      – Several decisions (for refugees) miss the calculation and payments have often been so called rounded sums, which gives clear indication that the sum is not based on real need.

      – Many approval decisions (for refugees) have no concrete grounds for the need, still it has been approved. For every FINN the grounds had been required before approval.

      – An example case which shows that the calculated need has been 156,72 euros, but still the payment has been significantly higher.

      – Based on the decisions made it is evident that for FINNS significantly more strict criteria has been used for example requiring documentation (receipts, bank account statements), even when every benefit receiver should be treated equally.

    • Mark

      Farang, I’ll treat your points as numbered items

      1) So this is a problem in regard to how ‘decisions’ are filed. Is it a requirement that all decisions must have an amount of benefit stipulated? Why is this different for immigrants? And can we say for sure that ‘every’ Finn receives clear calculations? Also, what is the reason for this? This is Finns doing Kela administration – there are set procedures, so why are these workers not fulfilling administrative procedure? Is the mentioning of ‘every Finn’ in the report, or did you add that?

      2) Why was the application not made? Was it not possible because of language restrictions? We need more information about this. Is this again a ‘language’ problem? Does this refer to a one-off application, based on a lack of documentation, as you appear to suggest below? Is the mention of ‘every Finn’ requiring an application in the report or did you add that?

      3) How do you mean ‘miss’ the calculation? Miss out? Rounded by how much? And why has the sum been rounded? Why would this ’rounding’ apply only to ‘refugees’? Is the mentioning of ‘not based on real need’ mentioned in the report, or did you add that?

      4) What do you mean by ‘concrete grounds’? And how do you do know that this applies only to ‘refugees’, and not to Finns?

      Yes, every benefit receiver should be treated equally, but that is not to say that every benefit claimant is equal. It is also true that documentation for a native Finns is far easier to come by. Bank statements imply that one has a bank account or, importantly, knows how to use it (in Finnish).

      Kela has a certain amount of discretionary power. This is a fact. There is an appeals system, and Kela officers can choose to respond to the unique circumstances in making their decisions. Kela has always had this degree of discretionary power and has exercised it in the case of Finns. So your suggestion that everything that happens to Finns is absolutely automated, while refugees are the only beneficiaries of discretionary decision-making is absolutely false. It’s just plain wrong. I’m sure you can check this by calling your local Kela office and inquiring, Farang, if you doubt me, a foreigner.

    • Farang

      Mark

      Is the mentioning of ‘every Finn’ in the report, or did you add that?

      Yes, it’s in the report. That is the main reason why they came in to conclusion that refugees are treated differently compared to Finns.

    • Mark

      Well, I find that odd. Perhaps you could attempt to answer some of my other questions, as these may be relevant.

    • Farang

      Mark

      How do you mean ‘miss’ the calculation? Miss out? Rounded by how much? And why has the sum been rounded? Why would this ’rounding’ apply only to ‘refugees’? Is the mentioning of ‘not based on real need’ mentioned in the report, or did you add that?

      Miss = the calculations for the actual need hasn’t been done

      Rounded figures = amounts are sums like 200 euros, 300 euros. In reality all exact calculated sums based on need are sums like that example 156,72 euros. It is very unlikely that the actual calculated need would be a sum of exact 100, 200, 300, etc. euros.

      And yes, the mention is in the report. Why do you ask such stupid questions? I translated the report to you, I didn’t make it up. Your wife is Finnish, why can’t you ask her as you obviously have some problems in trusting my translation.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Why do you ask such stupid questions?

      Behave yourself!!!! These are perfectly valid questions. Stop fucking whining and make an effort to address them.

      So figures appearing in the accounts have been rounded, so we really don’t know whether they are being rounded up or down? If we find ‘one’ case where it’s rounded up, we then assume they are all rounded up? The REAL question is how different this rounding is from actual payments made based on thorough calculations. The other REAL question is how long does this go on for? Is it a one-off payment that is made while a family sorts out documentation? These are important questions.

      Nevertheless, it is important that local administrations are transparent in their processes. However, this Lieksa audit does not tell us the reasons for these discrepancies. It is a not a policy to pay foreigners more, so we would see this as administrative errors that should and probably were corrected. It is a massive stretch to go from this report to saying that Finns are systematically and officially discriminated against.

    • Farang

      Mark

      Well, I find that odd. Perhaps you could attempt to answer some of my other questions, as these may be relevant.

      What do you mean? Why do you find it odd?

      So, when we finally get some proof about immigrants being treated better than Finns regarding welfare, you just say you find it odd…

    • Mark

      No, what is odd is that they would claim that EVERY Finnish application is treated ‘automatically’ the same. This ignores discretionary powers and the appeals process within Kela.

      This ‘report’ is an internal audit at Lieksa, a population of 12,000, with some 200 foreigners, a mixture of mostly Somali, Russian and Arabs. This is not necessarily representative of the whole of Finland.

      Also, if this has been an audit, then it’s very likely that these discrepancies have already been corrected, no? So it would be false to make that claim now, no?

      So, when we finally get some proof about immigrants being treated better than Finns regarding welfare, you just say you find it odd…

      Actually, I said a whole lot more than that, but you are not really responding to those questions, are you?

    • Farang

      Mark

      So your suggestion that everything that happens to Finns is absolutely automated

      Why do you add your own? I never suggested it was AUTOMATED. The audit did show that application by Finns are handled by a clerk etc (not automated) but before decisions the clerk require the exact proof of the need from the Finnish applicants. But they don’t require them for refugee applicants and even when they do, they sometimes pay more than what is needed.

      This is all proven in that report, so why can’t you accept it? Instead you are just trying to figure out explanations to nullify the report.

      That is very dishonest, Mark.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I never suggested it was AUTOMATED.

      You interpret automated to mean handled by computer. That is not the only form of automation. Automated in a beaurocratic sense that you feed the details into the computer, which automatically knows exactly what you are owed, and then you are paid. Kela make discretionary payments and decisions can be to an extent discretionary for several reasons. The idea that this discretionary element applies only to immigrants seems irrational. However, one can see that with refugees, the need for discretionary judgments might be greater, i.e. due to lack of normal documentation.

      That is very dishonest, Mark.

      Why are you fucking whining again? You are asked VERY straightforward questions and you refuse to take responsibility for the CONCLUSIONS that YOU put forward. If you DON’T KNOW the answers to these questions, how the fuck can you expect us to take your conclusions seriously?

      And you are dodging the important questions, as per fucking usual. If these are administrative errors in Lieksa identified by an audit, then how can you claim that this is in fact an official policy of discrimination applied throughout Finland? You cannot. In fact, to make that claim would be DISHONEST, Farang.

      But really, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here and giving you an opportunity to properly support your claim. You seem incapable of rising to the challenge.

    • Farang

      Mark

      Behave yourself!!!! These are perfectly valid questions. Stop fucking whining and make an effort to address them.

      No, they are not valid questions if you address the questions to me. You should address the questions to the persons who did the audit and report, not at me.

      It’s like you try to nullify the report based on the fact that I (Farang) don’t know the actual data on the background.

    • Mark

      Farang

      No, they are not valid questions if you address the questions to me. You should address the questions to the persons who did the audit and report, not at me.

      They are addressed to you because it is YOU that draws the conclusions from this audit. If you draw the conclusions, then you open yourself up to the questions that underlie those conclusions.

      It’s like you try to nullify the report based on the fact that I (Farang) don’t know the actual data on the background.

      I haven’t nullified anything. I’m trying to get to the bottom of the issue.

  2. Farang

    Mark

    4) What do you mean by ‘concrete grounds’? And how do you do know that this applies only to ‘refugees’, and not to Finns?

    What is your problem? Why do you ask what I mean by ‘concrete grounds’? I don’t mean anything, that was in the report and I just translated it to you.

    Do you still have problems to understand that this report is not done by me? I only translated in Finnish what was in the report. Do you understand?

    To help you, ‘concrete grounds’ would mean that it is investigated and calculated that how much money would the person actually need and then the payment is done on that grounds. Simply put: If you would need 156,72 euros to survive the month, you are paid 156,72 euros, not 200 euros.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Do you still have problems to understand that this report is not done by me? I only translated in Finnish what was in the report. Do you understand?

      These are questions that you should be asking too.

  3. Farang

    Mark

    Also, if this has been an audit, then it’s very likely that these discrepancies have already been corrected, no? So it would be false to make that claim now, no?

    No, you can’t assume those have been corrected. We would need a documentation about that to know that.

    • Mark

      Why not? Audits are there to find faults which municipal managers would seek to correct. By all means, contact Kela in Lieksa and ask them if this audit has been followed. By the way, was this an internal audit? Was it leaked or is it made publicly available? The pdf was scanned, which is a bit suspicious.

  4. Farang

    Mark

    They are addressed to you because it is YOU that draws the conclusions from this audit. If you draw the conclusions, then you open yourself up to the questions that underlie those conclusions.

    No, I didn’t make any conclusions. The conclusion was in the report. I simply delivered information without taking any stance on my own.

    • Mark

      Farang

      No, I didn’t make any conclusions.

      Oh, so it wasn’t you that wrote this?

      There is now proof of this discrimination against Finns in favour of immigrants, please refer to this document:

      What we have is not proof of discrimination against Finns. For that to be proved, we would need to know a lot more information about the cases cited in the audit. In any event, this would not be discrimination ‘against’ Finns, but rather an inefficient application of rules by Kela staff in the case of immigrants who may lack the normal documentation required by benefit applicants. We don’t know if these ‘errors’ have been corrected in terms of clearer or more transparent decision making. We haven’t even got to the bottom of why these discrepencies emerge. We are only half-way into an effective audit and evaluation process, to be honest.

      So, if you are going to make this claim about ‘discrimination against Finns’, then you will have to do a lot more than point at this report and squeel ‘there’s the proof’. And you will have to addres the questions not dealt with in the report.

  5. Farang

    Mark

    And you are dodging the important questions, as per fucking usual. If these are administrative errors in Lieksa identified by an audit, then how can you claim that this is in fact an official policy of discrimination applied throughout Finland? You cannot. In fact, to make that claim would be DISHONEST, Farang.

    Until we get proof of different handling in other cities, we should assume it’s not different.

    What we have is not proof of discrimination against Finns. For that to be proved, we would need to know a lot more information about the cases cited in the audit

    We have the proof, it’s all in the report. No matter how you try to dodge it, it’s all there plain and simple.

    Systematically refugees have been treated different compared to Finns and it hs been proven and reported.

    You just refuse to acknowledge that because it is against your own views. This is what makes you a dishonest person: you ignore FACTS if they are against your view/agenda.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Until we get proof of different handling in other cities, we should assume it’s not different.

      lololol! Yeah, right. Proof of what? We don’t even know for sure what is happening here. There are discrepancies, but they are not explained. We know that documentation causes problems. And we know that SOME cases lacked transparency. These are administrative errors at worst. Are you really trying to tell me that all errors or difficulties of this kind are to be treated as cases of DISCRIMINATION? Have you no respect for the people working in Kela?

      We have the proof, it’s all in the report. No matter how you try to dodge it, it’s all there plain and simple.

      Rubbish. It is NOT ALL in the report. You’ve already pointed out that you cannot answer even basic questions about these cases on the basis of the report.

      Systematically refugees have been treated different compared to Finns and it hs been proven and reported.

      hahahahaha. You mean refugees have had difficulties providing Kela with the appropriate paperwork and Kela have had to make arbitrary decisions to ensure a level of social security is fulfilled.

      Your notion of ‘treated different’ is authoritarian and naive. You apply ‘treated different’ even in cases where errors are made or where decisions involve any degree of arbitrariness. You cannot have rules that can be applied 100% of the time or cannot be applied at all. Such a view of societal function is unworkable. Clearly the difficulties here are not about benefiting foreigners but of dealing with the challenges of undocumented persons.

      What is your solution when a refugee falls through the ‘documentation’ crack? You leave them to starve? Of course Kela must make a decision. But accountability and transparency are important too, and I’m sure the audit will have done its job in alerting managers for the need for better accountability. It is extremely unfair on the Kela staff to take these difficulties as ‘proof of discrimination’.

      You just refuse to acknowledge that because it is against your own views. This is what makes you a dishonest person: you ignore FACTS if they are against your view/agenda.

      If you can see past your own nose for a second here, you will see that you just have to be far more critical about these matters before you jump to conclusions. If you are unprepared to be critical and prefer to end your investigation the minute you arrive at a point where ‘an immigrant was treated more favourably than a Finn’, then that is your problem, your agenda and your ignorance. You will get nowhere persuading people that this was discrimination until you properly investigate it.

      You ignore the importance of getting to the bottom of things. Instead, you jump to the first ‘anti-anti-racist’ conclusion you can and then pat yourself on the back for having found ‘proof’. Pathetic. And dangerous.

    • Mark

      Farang

      This is what makes you a dishonest person: you ignore FACTS if they are against your view/agenda.

      I have not ignored a single point. I have taken your points and asked very simple questions to get at the bottom of things. You call that being dishonest and ignoring facts. What can I say? It’s really just fucking pointless, isn’t it! And you accuse me of having an agenda!

      If the ‘facts’ tell me something that contradicts my view, then I will modify my view. I have been doing that my entire adult life and that is why I can clearly see that I was an extremely naive 18-year-old when I first started exploring life. Not ‘guilty’ or ‘dishonest’, but just naive. I’m sure that in ten years, I will be even wiser, meaning that I am almost certainly naive about some things even this very day. But I’m not ashamed of that and I will not accept that it is in any way ‘dishonest’. On the contrary, I am happy to look at facts, because you certainly don’t get any wiser about the world unless you make an effort to see it ‘as it is’.

      But that is genuinely not easy. When you read other people’s descriptions and accounts, you must keep a degree of criticality. It’s not that people are out to deceive necessarily, but that we can only report what we see and it may well be that we miss important information.

      This report raises interesting and important questions. But it leaves a whole lot of other important questions unanswered. It is at best a starting point for an evaluation of whether immigrants are getting beneficial treatment.

      The way you jump onto it holding it aloft saying it is ‘proof’ really suggests that you are just looking for ANY excuse to create animosity towards immigrants. The irony is that these decisions are being made BY FINNS, and yet it is immigrants that would suffer from the public falsehood that ‘Finns are being discriminated against in favour of immigrants’.

      Such a rallying call invokes prejudice and darkens our understanding. It does nothing to get to the bottom of this.

      Like I said, an audit is done EXACTLY to get to the bottom of problems and discrepencies so that they can be addressed. But you assume that this ‘photograph’ of the situation will apply for all time – frozen and beyond influence. You have a duty to phone the Kela managers in Lieksa and ask them how they responded to this audit.

      UNTIL you do that, you are being extremely dishonest in presenting this as ‘systematic’ and ‘willful’ discrimination against Finns. Come on, Farang, show some fucking integrity!

  6. Farang

    Mark

    lololol! Yeah, right. Proof of what? We don’t even know for sure what is happening here. There are discrepancies, but they are not explained. We know that documentation causes problems. And we know that SOME cases lacked transparency. These are administrative errors at worst. Are you really trying to tell me that all errors or difficulties of this kind are to be treated as cases of DISCRIMINATION? Have you no respect for the people working in Kela?

    Let’s ask this way. If the doorman of a restaurant systematically let’s only white people in, but never let’s black people in, would you call it discrimination or administrative error? Or would you start to seek for “more information”?

    • Mark

      Farang

      If the doorman of a restaurant systematically let’s only white people in, but never let’s black people in, would you call it discrimination or administrative error?

      Your idea about ‘systematic’ is unproven. Like I said, this audit appears to have investigated refugee claims. Is that correct? What if it had also investigated normal Finnish cases? Do you think it would have also found ‘errors’ and would you then consider that ‘discrimination against Finns’? You are the one trying to ethnicise this audit report.

      There is nothing in this audit to suggest this was ‘systematic’ errors, than in all cases involving refugees, they were the beneficiaries of ‘unclear’ decision-making or ‘arbitrary’ sums.

      There is so much about this ‘audit’ and the problems highlighted that remains unclear.

      I want MORE clarity, not less.

  7. Farang

    Mark

    hahahahaha. You mean refugees have had difficulties providing Kela with the appropriate paperwork and Kela have had to make arbitrary decisions to ensure a level of social security is fulfilled.

    Here is one thing that everyone should notice. You start to challenge whole report based on this “documentation issue”, even when that was only a one part of the report. There was also proof that refugees were paid bigger sums of money than which was calculated to be the need. Documentation has nothing to do with that.

    You always do the same thing. You try to find one single item that MAY have different interpretations and you try to use that to nullify the whole thing.

    • Mark

      I try to get to the bottom of things. Until we know why an immigrant has been paid ‘more’ than was ‘calculated’, then we cannot draw conclusions. By the way, please repeat the exact Finnish phrase where it says ‘bigger summs than which was calculated’?

      I am not nullifying this report, Farang. Let’s at least get that straight. This audit report is a starting point for addressing difficulties in processing refugee claims for social security. On the contrary, you present this report as evidence of DISCRIMINATION, which you derive purely on the basis of ‘different treatment’. That in itself is ridiculously naive. You are exploiting these mistakes and discrepencies to suggest discrimination. This is extremely unfair on the Kela staff in Lieksa. At the least, you should try to get to the bottom of things. You refuse to even see the need to do that. Your mind is closed.

    • Mark

      Farang

      There was also proof that refugees were paid bigger sums of money than which was calculated to be the need.

      Do we have ANY idea about the number of cases we are talking about? Was it one case? Two cases? 50% of cases? You see, even such basic and important information about the SCALE of the problems is missing, at least from your reporting. Was this information in the audit report?

  8. Farang

    Mark

    Your idea about ‘systematic’ is unproven. Like I said, this audit appears to have investigated refugee claims. Is that correct?

    No, it’s not correct. This audit investigated ALL claims
    and they then made the comparison between handling refugee claims and Finnish claims. That’s how they found out the systematic difference in handling these.

    There is nothing in this audit to suggest this was ‘systematic’ errors, than in all cases involving refugees, they were the beneficiaries of ‘unclear’ decision-making or ‘arbitrary’ sums.

    You got it wrong. Claims by Finns were systematically handled by the book. But refugees claims were handled otherwise: Some by the book, some not. The systematical “discrimination” comes from the fact that ALL claims by Finns were handled by the book, exactly how rules say.

    Analogy would be:

    Doorman let’s some Finns in, some Finns not. But Doorman let NO foreigners in. That is also systematical discrimination.

    By the way, please repeat the exact Finnish phrase where it says ‘bigger summs than which was calculated’?

    “tulonvajauslaskelma osoitti lokakuulta 2011 tulonvajauksen olevan 156,72 euroa, mutta ko. päätöksen perusteella on tukea maksettu loka-joulukuussa merkittävästi suuremmat tuet”

    As I can’t get in the head of the staff, I can’t know their reasons. But here is what I assume is the reason:

    The staff feels that it is more difficult to handle the issues with refugees, mostly because of language barries. Therefore they just handle their cases in a way that they can get rid of them faster.

    And please notice, that is only my personal assumption what MIGHT be the reason. Therefore don’t come to demand any facts to back that up.

    • Mark

      You got it wrong.

      Apparently not. You claimed systematic errors, but cannot give information about how widespread those errors were. That is not systematic. Claiming that Finns were ALL treated systematically does not equate to ‘systematic’ discrimination against them. You are extremely confused if you think this is true.

      On the issue of the tulonvajauslaskelma’, it is unclear what is a ‘significant’ gap. Is it 10 EUR or 100 EUR? I’m assuming that someone is responsible for this claim, a social worker, and there must be some rationale for why the person was paid more. Is it just that this was undocumented, or documented in the wrong place even?

      So, this is one case, being cited, yes?

      Therefore they just handle their cases in a way that they can get rid of them faster.

      I find that hard to believe. We need proper answers.

      Also, I find it extremely hard to believe that all Finnish cases were ‘by the book’. Kela do mess up, and going by the popular perception, they seem to mess up quite a lot. For example, there is an appeals process for Kela claims, and I’m assuming that not all decisions will have been upheld in Lieksa for 2011. That is something else I would want to see answered before I accepted the premise of this report that Finns were all treated ‘systematically’ without error in Lieksa.

      The key thing is to get at the bottom of the problems, whether its language or documentation. The other KEY thing is that this is not how the system is supposed to work or designed to work, so it’s not an official bias in the handling of cases. That’s important, because it shifts the emphasis away from policy and towards quality control procedures within Kela.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Claims by Finns were systematically handled by the book.

      I’ll tell you why I find this odd. On the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health website they say that Kela process about 22,000 appeals a year to their decision (13 million), 14 per cent of which are changed in some way. So, the idea that all claims were ‘by the book’ appears to contradict the data provided by Kela.

      For a town the size of Lieksa, you would expect perhaps 16 appeals (0.165%), one of which (14% of appeals) would see the decision changed. So I suppose in a town the size of Lieksa, it IS possible that in any one year, there might be NO actual cases of Finns having a falsely processed benefit claim. But it would not be then true to claim that all claims across the whole of Finland or even in Lieksa every year were ‘done by the book’. Clearly this is false. You simply have to go to a bigger town or city to see it. Those are FACTS Farang. Relevant FACTS.

      That’s called ‘investigation’! You know, that thing that you are very rarely prepared to do, instead crying that everyone else should do it instead. Did you do that with your homework at school, ask everyone else to do it for you?

  9. Farang

    By the book means that the applicants were required to present all necessary documentation and the amount paid was the same that which was in the decision. This was done to all Finnish applicants. Of course there might be errors etc, but that was systematically how Finnish claims were handled.

    But refugees claims were not handled this way.
    – documents were not required (100% of Finns were required)
    – even application was not required (100% of Finns were required)
    – paid amount was more than in the decision (100% of Finns were paid the same amount which was in the decision)

    etc…

    It’s hilarious that you try to fight against clear facts that have been presented 😀

    But I understand this must be hard for you, because this pretty much takes the credibility out of everything you have been saying here in MT during these years.

    • Mark

      It’s not hard at all, Farang. What ‘bothers’ me is that this is simply not the whole story. Finns, especially those working for Kela, or not known for being inefficient. So the question is why these conditions prevailed. The other question, WHICH YOU HAVE FAILED TO ANSWER, is the extent to which these refugee claims are handled differently. Without this information, it is impossible to come to ANY useful conclusion about the nature of benefit claims and refugees.

      The only evidence presented so far that would offer any kind of explanation is that documentation was not present. This is understandable. It is also unclear in the case where an ‘application’ was not required what the circumstances were.

      It is clear that refugees are a ‘special’ class of citizen and that much of the documentation available to a Finnish citizen may not be available to a refugee. So moaning that there are differnces or that claims have to be processed differently in these circumstances doesn’t in itself demonstrate discrimination.

      Do you know what is ironic, Farang? Usually you claim the exact opposite of what you now claim. You often complain that we do not exercise enough criticality when it comes to examples of discrimination, simply jumping to conclusions whenever the opportunity arises. You have made this claim more times than I can count. And yet when we come to a claim for discrimination that YOU put forward, and we apply quite normal rules of critical thinking, trying to get to the bottom of the situation, you accuse us 1) of not accepting ‘facts’, and 2) of ‘asking stupid questions’, and 3) of being dishonest for even daring to want to find out more!

      Irony, irony, irony!!!

      because this pretty much takes the credibility out of everything you have been saying here in MT during these years.

      Wow, talk about extrapolating beyond the facts. Your reliance on absolutes as a way to knock MT merely demonstrates your stupidity in thinking such a fallacious argument actually works!

      Even if we were wrong about this case, though I’m not sure how you can be ‘wrong’ for calling for more facts, this would not mean that we MUST be wrong about everything else we write about on MT.

      This audit is a very good example of how some individuals take a little bit of information and attempt to use it to spin us yarn about how much Finns are ‘victims’ when it comes to anything to do with immigrants. The advantage is also in mentioning ‘immigrants’ and ‘benefits’ in the same breath, over and over. That is why the Left thought for so long that there is no ‘winning’ in debating with the Far Rigth about immigration. The point was further emphasised by Juudo’s citation of the Daily Mail story, where talking about honour killings and the stigmatisation that comes from them was seen to ‘paint certain ethnicities’ in a bad light, which was seen to be an ‘increase’ in intolerance. In other words, discussing racism ‘increases’ racism.

      That is how the Far Right have always tried to handcuff anybody trying to have a real conversation with them. By talking about the shit that they peddle, they accuse you of peddling that shit just that little bit further! Well, we are not peddling shit here – we are trying to show it for what it is and hope that the smell is so revolting that people would naturally be swayed away from it.

  10. Farang

    Mark

    The other question, WHICH YOU HAVE FAILED TO ANSWER, is the extent to which these refugee claims are handled differently. Without this information, it is impossible to come to ANY useful conclusion about the nature of benefit claims and refugees.

    Why do you ask me? I don’t have those figures, as I didn’t make the report. The persons who made the report, considered the amount significant and therefore they put that in report.

    Even if we were wrong about this case, though I’m not sure how you can be ‘wrong’ for calling for more facts, this would not mean that we MUST be wrong about everything else we write about on MT.

    Yes it does. Because this proves that you twist the facts so that you can fit them to your own agenda. Therefore we can’t give any credibility to any case you have been debating.

    This audit is a very good example of how some individuals take a little bit of information and attempt to use it to spin us yarn about how much Finns are ‘victims’ when it comes to anything to do with immigrants.

    Give me a break 😀 The discrimination has been considered so severe that officials have demanded a special audit because of that, and you just call it a small misunderstanding 😀

    • Mark

      Farang

      Why do you ask me? I don’t have those figures, as I didn’t make the report. The persons who made the report, considered the amount significant and therefore they put that in report.

      If you don’t have those figures, then how can you claim it is systematic discrimination? You cannot, without being deceptive. They put it in the report because it was a discrepancy. Auditors do not put mistakes in a report only if there are ‘lots of them’. They have to detail all discrepancies. I guess you have never done auditing.

      Yes it does. Because this proves that you twist the facts so that you can fit them to your own agenda.

      I am not twisting facts, Farang, I am asking for facts. And you cannot provide them.

      The discrimination has been considered so severe that officials have demanded a special audit because of that, and you just call it a small misunderstanding

      Considered by whom? PS councellors pushing an anti-immigration agenda? And what was the outcome, a half-arsed audit that was completely unclear about the ‘scale’ of the problems they described. This audit could have been talking about just ONE case, about when they drew several conclusions: no application, rounded up figure, etc. It could be just a handful of cases, out of the several hundreds of applications they get in Lieksa every year from immigrants.

      I don’t call it a ‘small’ misunderstanding. In fact, I was very clear in saying that there should be accountability and transparency. But the Audit itself lacks transparency, and that is also a problem here. That lack of clarity opens the door to misrepresentation. Was it written this way deliberately to stir up antagonism? Now that IS a question worth asking!

      I have worked in auditing, and I can tell you for a fact that an audit that does not give precise details on the scale of a problem is a completely inadequate audit.

  11. Farang

    Mark

    If you don’t have those figures, then how can you claim it is systematic discrimination?

    Dear Mark

    The ones that created the report say it’s systematic and they have the figures.

    • Farang

      Where do they say it is systematic? Quote please!

      “toimeentulotukipäätöksistä käy selville, että ns. kantaväestöön on sovellettu huomattavasti tiukempia kriteereitä mm. tositteiden ja pankkien tiliotteiden esittämisen suhteen”

    • Mark

      There is no mention of ‘systematic’. It says that the main population have had much stricter criteria applied – but without any information on the extent of this application of ‘stricter’ criteria, we cannot make any conclusion as to it being ‘systematic’. Presenting it in a general case, ‘have received’ (on sovelletu) can certainly imply it being systematic, but it’s poor writing more than anything, because really, information on the frequency of these problems is absolutely crucial to making decisions about how to respond to it, both politically and operationally.

      I’m not saying there are not ‘systematic’ or common problems in processing the applications of refugees, but with such little information as provided by this report, NO-ONE can really move forward with this. In fact, the only ‘purpose’ this audit seems to serve is establishing a basis for antagonism towards immigrants. I would really start to call into question the quality and objectiveness of those carrying out the audit if this is the case.

      However, this is one document presented in isolation. It may well be that information on the scale of the problem and the reasons are in another more detailed document. Also, it might be the case that changes have already been implemented to improve the situation. In which case, your claim of ‘discrimination’ carries little weight if it is a problem that has already been addressed.

      What you seem to give absolutely no credence to is the fact that this is a ‘grey’ area of Kela regulations and that Kela staff are left to figure it out for themselves, thus leaving themselves open to all sorts of charges of unequal treatment. As this is the Lieksa office, does this also mean that this is ONE individual’s case load? Or are several people involved. What kind of training have they had and has that training been improved as a result of the audit?

      There are so many more useful and practical ways to respond to this audit than to cry about the ‘discrimination against Finns’, which has NOT been demonstrated. This is not discrimination, Farang. It remains to be seen what this actually is – whether administrative error, poor regulation, or poor implementation of service. It’s just such a huge stretch to say that immigrants were given more because ‘they were immigrants’, which is what this would have to be for it to be discrimination. It is far more likely that this is a problem of refugees not fitting to the usual criteria of citizenship that native Finns can take for granted, such as having a bank account, or having identity papers, or being able to find and produce receipts. It might not even be apparent to refugees exactly how to ‘function’ as a receipient of benefits.

  12. Farang

    Considered by whom?

    The auditors. Did you know that the accounting of Kela is audited every year by officials? And when the official auditors did the audit of year 2011 they noticed this discrimination. Therefore they initiated a special audition to check the whole thing and that is reported here.

    This was no political party who initiated the audit. I really don’t understand how you draw PS in this case.

    • Mark

      Yes, because auditors have no political leanings whatsoever.

      How can you call this a ‘special’ audit when it does not reveal any information on the scale of the errors or any information on the reasons for those errors or arbitrary decisions?

      There is nothing ‘special’ about this audit and I’m not particularly impressed with their ability to ‘notice discrimination’.

      In fact, if they began their ‘special audit’ with the idea that this was a case of ‘discrimination against Finns’, then I would say that they are already starting from a very twisted and unjustified ideological position. In fact, I would call this a very serious case of institutional racism if that was indeed the starting point.

      Any ‘difference’ that appears in the way that refugees are handled by Kela may well be down to the unique circumstances and difficulties in processing those circumstances. This would have NOTHING to do with discrimination but rather address problems in how the rules of Kela are written in such a way that they naturally ‘discriminate’ against the effective processing of those individuals that in any way stand outside the normal system.

      You are stuck on the word discimination.

    • Farang

      Ok, so next time an immigrant is not given a job, don’t come here to preach about discrimination. By the logic you show here it is not discrimination, but just a case of unique circumstances, which resulted in employer to hire a Finn instead of an immigrant.

      No discrimination done, even if the company systematically hires only Finns, and no immigrants.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Ok, so next time an immigrant is not given a job, don’t come here to preach about discrimination. By the logic you show here it is not discrimination, but just a case of unique circumstances, which resulted in employer to hire a Finn instead of an immigrant.

      You are so confused, its fucking sad!

      In issues of discrimination, the question is whether the immigrants have received a decision on the basis of their ethnicity rather than their qualifications, circumstances etc.

      1) In the case of a job applicant who is rejected ‘because they won’t fit in as their ethnicity is so different’, this is clear discrimination, and the role of ethnicity, whether positive or negative, is also clear. It is the reason the decision is made.

      2) In the issue of the Kela payments, it is absolutely UNCLEAR at this stage of my understanding that the discrepencies in the payments were as a result of these persons’ ethnicity. It might simply mean that a refugee of certain ethnicities is more likely to have problems with documentation. The difficulty in accurately or consistently processing that payment decision is likely caused by their circumstances, not their ethnicity, i.e. lack of specific documentation.

      Confusing these two things as both being discrimination is a failure in understanding. You need to better educate yourself about what constitutes ‘discrimination’.

  13. Farang

    How can you call this a ‘special’ audit when it does not reveal any information on the scale of the errors or any information on the reasons for those errors or arbitrary decisions?

    It is said in the report. I call this “special” because this was done in addition to the annual audits because of the noticed discrimination.

    • Mark

      What is said in the report? That it’s special or the scale and reasons for the discrepencies in service delivery?

    • Farang

      “Pakolaisten toimeentulotukiasioissa kesäkuussa 2011 tehty tarkastus oli osoittanut puutteita pakolaisten toimeentuloturvan myöntämismenettelyissä. Tarkastuslautakunta päätti 21.5.2012 tehtäväksi lisäselvityksiä pakolaisten toimeentuloturva-asioista. Suoritetussa tarkastuksessa on todettu, että:”

      “Audit about refugees welfare done in june 2011 showed deficiencies in refugees welfare payments. Board of auditors decided on 21-May-2012 an additional audit to be done. In this additional audit it was shown:”

      And below that is the list that I translated to you in the beginning of this thread.

    • Mark

      Okay. I think I understood already what was meant by special audit. The key thing was whether immigrants alone were being studied. I’m not sure yet that this is entirely clear, even from what you have said. Indeed, the ‘special’ audit seems to have come about from looking at refugee payments, so is the special audit looking specifically at refugees, and the idea about ‘stricter criteria’ on bank statements etc., refers to the general policy within Finnish welfare system or specifically to cases involving natives?

  14. Farang

    so is the special audit looking specifically at refugees, and the idea about ‘stricter criteria’ on bank statements etc., refers to the general policy within Finnish welfare system or specifically to cases involving natives?

    It was noticed in this audit, so it’s not referring to general policy.

    • Mark

      It was ‘noticed’ in the general audit. But we do not have the conclusions of the general audit, so we cannot say the extent of problems. But I have already demonstrated that there ARE discrepencies in native-Finns cases, but that in a town as small as Leiksa that these discrepencies fall off the radar. That doesn’t mean that you can ignore them, Farang. 😀

    • Farang

      1. The discrepencies in refugees claims were noticed in the annual audit

      2. In the special audit it was clarified that with applications from Finns there were no discrepencies, but ONLY with refugees.

      About Lieksa, next time someone reports racism from city like Lieksa, should we also say that it’s off the radar because it’s so small city?

    • Mark

      Farang

      About Lieksa, next time someone reports racism from city like Lieksa, should we also say that it’s off the radar because it’s so small city?

      And if we say that, shall we also say that that was Farang’s ‘special’ interpretation of Mark’s words. Let me tell you once again, as this point does not seem to have registered yet – Lieksa is a small town with about 12,000 inhabitants. Taking the national average per population of ‘appeals’ cases to Kela, we would have about 16 appeals in Lieksa in a year. That is cases where someone thought the application was not done correctly. On AVERAGE, just over 1 of those cases would see the original decision overturned. ONE CASE. That is what we would expect statistically…now in the normal course of events, we would expect some distribution in that average over several years. So perhaps 2 or 3 cases in one year, or perhaps one or several cases where there were NO discrepencies found in the processing of claims. Just because this year was a ‘none’ year doesn’t mean that on the larger scale, (beyond the size of Lieksa), the phenomenon isn’t real and shows what we all know, that Kela is not perfect.

    • Farang

      Mark

      Taking the national average per population of ‘appeals’ cases to Kela, we would have about 16 appeals in Lieksa in a year. That is cases where someone thought the application was not done correctly

      Do you really think the refugees who have been paid more than they deserve are going to appeal for the decisions 😀 Crazy dude…

    • Mark

      Farang

      Do you really think the refugees who have been paid more than they deserve are going to appeal for the decisions Crazy dude…

      Yet another distasteful comment from the FARANG. ‘deserve’ is almost certainly NOT the right word to use here. Entitled to is the phrase. By using the word ‘deserve’ though, you do highlight the value system that you are bringing to the table.

      Anyhow, how do you suppose they know what they are supposed to be entitled to, enough to know that they should say something? And hey, many claiments are bitten in Finland because they receive a payment that is then later seen to be incorrect and has to be paid back, often when the person is already in a state of poverty!!!!! There is a lot of incentive to make sure that Kela is not ‘overpaying’ you!

  15. Farang

    Mark

    2) In the issue of the Kela payments, it is absolutely UNCLEAR at this stage of my understanding that the discrepencies in the payments were as a result of these persons’ ethnicity.

    No, you got it wrong. It is absolutely CLEAR that it was about the persons being refugees. There is nothing unclear in this case, therefore there is no reason to debate anymore.

    This was anyway just to prove that one point that was quicky referred in the original post.

    • Mark

      Farang

      It is absolutely CLEAR that it was about the persons being refugees

      Exactly …. NOT their ethnicity, but their refugee status.

      Glad you finally came around to agreeing!

    • Mark

      Are you sure? You said it is Finns who are discriminated against. Perhaps you should say ‘non-refugees’, and then you would make it less about ethnicity or nationality!!!!

    • Farang

      Farang

      It was the report, which used term “kantaväestö”, which is appropriate to translate as finns. Or should we use term “natives”?

    • Mark

      It was the report, which used term “kantaväestö”, which is appropriate to translate as finns. Or should we use term “natives”?

      Well, in this context I would translate it as ‘main population’.

      I think you are unnecessarily ‘colouring’ this debate when you refer to Finns, especially as you are putting it forward as a form of ‘discrimination’. It all too easily appears that your complaint is based on ethnic discrimination.

  16. Farang

    Mark

    Yet another distasteful comment from the FARANG. ‘deserve’ is almost certainly NOT the right word to use here. Entitled to is the phrase.

    I agree, they don’t deserve anything, but they are entitled to the money because of the system.

    • Farang

      How can you say it’s racist if I didn’t even bring up any ethnicity?

    • Mark

      Only a racist would make a statement that immigrants don’t deserve any benefits, in my view. This isn’t a dispassionate comment about the economics of affordability, this is a very negative value judgment about those in a very vulnerable position, a judgment that cannot be explained without a pathological hostility towards foreigners, I.e. racism!

    • Farang

      So, you are using your selective reading skills again…

      I wasn’t referring to immigrants with that statement. I was referring to ALL people who live off welfare.

      And saying they don’t DESERVE anything, I was referring to the fact that nobody should deserve anything just by doing nothing. People who does something, deserves to get something in return. Our social system entitles people to welfare, so that is a better word. They are entitled to welfare payments, even while they don’t deserve it.

      You revealed your true self again by immediately calling me racist even when you had no idea what I was talking about.

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, you are using your selective reading skills again…

      I wasn’t referring to immigrants with that statement.

      My reading skills are fine. This is what you wrote:

      Do you really think the refugees who have been paid more than they deserve are going to appeal for the decisions Crazy dude…

      This is your value system. You direct your hatred and bitterness at society’s most vulnerable groups because they are easy targets! Not only that, but you selectively choose the groups that you scapegoat based on ethnicity. In my book, that makes you a racist. I don’t care if you don’t like the word or the fact that I use it. I don’t know where this ‘immediately’ comes from either, because we have been discussing for many months and I only rarely call you out on racist statements that you make!

      You don’t have to be a racist, Farang. You can change your perceptions and values. I’m sure you probably don’t want to be a racist, but you are also reluctant to really understand how this works in terms of values and attitudes, and so it’s a case of having to point it out again and again your misdirected hostility towards immigrants. You bury it well, but occassionally it comes out in such an obvious way that there really is no other conclusion.

    • Farang

      What the h*ll Mark?

      You quoted totally different sentence? That sentence was from earlier message where we were discussing REFUGEES and that they had been paid MORE than they should.

      It was later on on different situation where I said that people don’t deserve the money, and like you said, ‘entitled to’ is better form.

      You really are struggling with this issue? You even try to defame me by taking something I said from totally different situation and then twist it and try to make it look like I meant something else. If you can’t win with truth, maybe you should start thinking that maybe you are wrong. Normal people would.

    • Mark

      Farang

      It was later on on different situation where I said that people don’t deserve the money, and like you said, ‘entitled to’ is better form.

      Later on? It was the next sentence in the conversation and nothing had changed in the topic, you were further justifying your hostility. The ‘group’ being discussed was still refugees, as stated specifically in the previous sentence. Why am I supposed to believe that suddenly you are talking about someone else, when you have used exactly the same verb again!

      And anyhow, the comment still stands. You take the most vulnerable people in society and stand above them morally telling them that they don’t deserve the social protection that society gives them and which we all pay for and demand. Specifically, you addressed this comment in the first instance directly at refugees. You cannot say that you didn’t write that or that it was ‘another situation’. You mean another situation IDENTICAL to this one? 😀

    • Farang

      How many times do I have to say:

      1. I am not a racist
      2. I don’t have anything against immigrants
      3. Every person is as valuable as others, unless he/she commits a crime against someone innocent
      4. In my opinion every person should be treated equally
      5. All people should have same human rights (for exceptions, look section 3)

      It is just easy for you to accuse me racist whenever you are losing a debate with me.

    • Mark

      Farang

      It is just easy for you to accuse me racist whenever you are losing a debate with me.

      Don’t flatter yourself. The issue of how you refer to immigrants is far more important than ‘winning’ a debate. The issue is the hostility. It’s blatant and it’s directed at immigrants, for all that you tell yourself or write on paper your list of ‘principles’.

      It is not unheard of these days that Far Right groups that have held prejudiced agendas for many decades have suddenly come out with exactly the same lists as you just did. Do you think that society should forgive and forget and just let these groups continue to scapegoat immigrants because, well, they’ve told us that everyone ‘should be equal’? NO fucking way. Judge them by their fruits.

      When you take responsibility for the hostility that you are creating, then I will accept that these really are the principles that you want to live your life by. Until then, all I can say is that your actions have spoken louder than your words, and NOT JUST ONCE!

    • Farang

      When you take responsibility for the hostility that you are creating, then I will accept that these really are the principles that you want to live your life by.

      I have never created hostility against immigrants, so I don’t have to take any responsibility for it.

      If there are hostility against immigrants, and I bring it to your attention, it doesn’t mean that I created it.

      Like if someone comes and tells you there is a fire, would you also accuse him of starting the fire?

    • Mark

      Farang

      I have never created hostility against immigrants, so I don’t have to take any responsibility for it.

      How can I believe you when you wrote that immigrants don’t deserve social protection?

      If there are hostility against immigrants, and I bring it to your attention, it doesn’t mean that I created it.

      Agreed.

    • Farang

      Mark

      How can I believe you when you wrote that immigrants don’t deserve social protection?

      Do you have some problems? I’m not asking this to defame you, but because I am worried.

      You make things up. I have never said that immigrants don’t deserve social protection.

    • Mark

      Farang

      You make things up. I have never said that immigrants don’t deserve social protection.

      Well, why did you write this?

      I agree, they don’t deserve anything, but they are entitled to the money because of the system.

      I don’t know how you want me to interpret this, but this and the previous sentence together appear to suggest that refugees do not deserve social protection. You seem to imply the system gives them the money, but they don’t deserve it.

      Perhaps you meant that the system has given them this money accidentally when they are not entitled to it (don’t deserve it). I do accept that that could be what you intended. In which case, I apologise.

  17. Farang

    The ‘group’ being discussed was still refugees, as stated specifically in the previous sentence.

    No it wasn’t. The discussion was changed to whether ‘deserve’ or ‘entitled to’ as a term suits better.

    And then I used an example sentence to show that it actually is better to use entitled to, as it reflects the reality better. That sentence had nothing to do with immigrants.

  18. Farang

    You take the most vulnerable people in society and stand above them morally telling them that they don’t deserve the social protection that society gives them and which we all pay for and demand.

    I said they are entitled to get welfare money. It was you who first said that it is better to use “entitled to” than “deserve”. And now that I used the term YOU suggested, you try to turn that against me?

    You really are a something…

    • Mark

      My problem was with your use of the word ‘deserve’, because this carries very strong moral value in English. But I accept that your English is not always going to be perfect. But you really should have avoided using the word ‘deserve’ AGAIN in the next sentence:

      I agree, they don’t deserve anything, but they are entitled to the money because of the system.

      You ought to see that this is open to massive misinterpration, and not by a ‘twisted’ mind, but just someone trying to understand what you meant.

    • Farang

      I see. You propably understood that sentence as “They deserve nothing”?

    • Mark

      Yes…’they don’t deserve anything’ usually means ‘they deserve nothing’.

    • Farang

      As I’m not native English speaker, I’m not sure how it goes but in my understanding the word ‘deserve’ means to get something in return etc. So if someone deserves something, he must have done something first. A bit like word ‘earn’.

      Therefore in cases where someone get something for free, like welfare, we can’t use the word ‘deserve’?

      I think this was your point earlier and I understood it and changed the wording to ‘entitled to’. But what I don’t understand is how come you started to use that against me?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Therefore in cases where someone get something for free, like welfare, we can’t use the word ‘deserve’?

      Welfare is not free. It’s paid for by taxes, often by the taxes (past or future) of the people receiving the support. Welfare is a social protection system that guarantees a minimum level of subsistence to guarantee a life of dignity.

      NO, you should definitely not use the words ‘don’t deserve’ in regard to welfare unless you want to violate the Nordic principle of universalism that underlies Finnish welfare society. You are free to argue that, and many people do. But using the word ‘deserve’ carries more moral indignation than a word like ‘earn’.

      Even using the word ‘earn’, saying people having ‘earned’ the benefit violates the principle of universalism and the shared and equal right to social protection. It is not something that needs to be earned, though clearly its something that needs to be paid for. Most people don’t want to be on welfare, but their opportunities and resources might be very limited. Support and welfare is not just about ‘giving away free money’, it is about the state supporting the individual and directing the individual back into a productive situation.

      Saying people don’t deserve something strongly implies that they have done something wrong and LOST their normal entitlements.

    • Mark

      Farang

      The absolutely key issue here is whether or not you or any other person posting this report around the internet is going to incite anger and hostility towards immigrants, especially when you choose to present it as DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FINNS. That is a distortion of the issue. The issue itself may be simply administrative. We have one document that gives an extremely narrow view and leaves all the very important questions unanswered, and YET you still take this as ‘proof of discrimination’. It’s proof of discrepencies or more likely difficulties in processing the applications of refugees, and issue that can be corrected easily with improved training of staff in the small town of Lieksa.

      It is your exploitation of this issue that leaves me feeling that you are on the wrong side of the fence on this issue, if you really are committed to NOT creating hostility towards immigrants. As long as you continue to create that hostility and seek out ‘proof’ that gives you an apparent platform for that hostility, I will see you as a racist.

  19. Farang

    So Mark. Now you are effectively saying that if I report or deliver information which reveals the problems which are likely to cause negative attitudes against immigrants, I am a racist?

    So people should shut up about all problems, then they would magically disappear?

    Good luck, Mark. With your recipe racism is never decreased. And it seems to me that it is your intention. You have an illusion of being somehow superior to others as an ultimate fighter against racism. If racism would go away, you wouldn’t have that position anymore, would you? Therefore you will even invent more racism, if you can’t find it anywhere.

    I have nothing else to say to you.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Now you are effectively saying that if I report or deliver information which reveals the problems which are likely to cause negative attitudes against immigrants, I am a racist?

      So, now you are innocent. 😀

      You wrote this a couple of days ago:

      Truth is that there is no discrimination against Romanys but instead they are treated better than normal Finns. They are given a special benefit called “hameraha”, which normal Finns don’t get.

      Point 1. You point blank deny ANY discrimination against Roma in Finland. That is a plainly racist comment. And fucking ridiculous.

      Point 2. More than that, you were generating hostility towards Roma by insisting they are treated better than Finns, getting more benefits.

      You followed that up two days later with this comment:

      Actually it is true that immigrants get more than Finns, thus there is actual discrimination against Finns.

      There is now proof of this discrimination against Finns in favour of immigrants, please refer to this document:

      So, here you are telling us that it is TRUE that immigrants get more than Finns. And worse, there is discrimination against Finns. You repeated this ‘against Finns/more than Finns’ THREE times in two lines, just to make sure we got the point! And you expect me to believe that this is NOT you generating hostility, or even a ‘them and us’ atmosphere?

      So, based on this, I find it extremely hard to believe that you are merely presenting information that “reveals problems likely to cause negative attitudes against immigrants”. Farang, you are utterly full of shit!!!!!! You are now lying through your back teeth when your OWN words, on the page, clearly contradict your claim to be merely ‘delivering’ information about problems likely to cause negative attitudes. You are generating those negative attitudes and hostility and putting all of your weight behind the arguments – “it is true…” he said, with almost religious fervour!

      With your recipe racism is never decreased.

      And you know this how? Because you have not changed your opinions 😀 My aim is not to change your attitude, I think that is unrealistic. What I would be happy to do is to make it as difficult as possible for you to propogate racist propoganda and at least to give some voice of opposition and criticism to that propoganda.

      You have an illusion of being somehow superior to others as an ultimate fighter against racism.

      Farang. Your arguments are almost always poorly researched, poorly argued, fallacious and, when you are criticised, you get personal, you lie and misrepresent other people’s arguments and words, you manipulate and squirm yourself silly. Forgive me for feeling just a little bit superior to that! I think there has to be some value judgment here. Either your arguments carry more value or mine do. I know the critical standards I hold myself to, and I can see the lack of standards that you are willing to apply to your own reasonings and other people’s. On that basis, I would say that ‘my approach’ is superior.

      That has nothing to with being ‘superior’ as a person. My life is as valuable as yours. You deserve as much respect and dignity, even while you work to undermine that of others.

      If racism would go away, you wouldn’t have that position anymore, would you? If racism would go away, you wouldn’t have that position anymore, would you? Therefore you will even invent more racism, if you can’t find it anywhere.

      There is something sick and twisted about this comment. Why do you attack the motivation of people who would stand up against racism and bigotry? Is it so hard to understand why someone would choose to open their fucking mouth and actually argue against attacks on immigrants? Do you have to assume some personality flaw or self-indulgence?

      I co-founded and still work with a charity in London that deals directly with refugees. Many of them became very good friends of mine. I deeply appreciated them as people, their willingness to try to adapt, their hard work, their willingness to take jobs that were well below their education and experience so that they could begin to be productive in their new community. I admired their fortitude and felt for them in their struggles to cope with a new language, with poverty, and with living in a strange city.

      The fact is that when you get close to people who have been dislocated from their homes and communities, often through no specific fault of their own, you realise just how challenging life can be. You also realise that the world is full of good people, looking out for their families, seeking ways to be productive and striving in even difficult circumstances. You also see that many people suffer too, they become tired, they become weary of the strangeness of it all, they long for friends and family back home, some of whom are not safe. They become depressed and dishearted, and this struggle can be made 100 times worse if they feel that there are strong and numerous forces that are hostile to their presence in this so-called place of sanctuary.

      I’ve seen it up close and personal. And you just don’t forget. So, here I am, responding to your comments about immigrants, because I actually do care about these people and their situation. I care, Farang. I care deeply.

      So, make of that what you will.

    • Farang

      Mark, are you insane???

      How come in your opinion, if I say A is discriminating against B, that is hostility towards C and D?

      How is it hostility towards Romas or immigrants, if I state a fact that some Finns are discriminating against other Finns?

      Why do you attack the motivation of people who would stand up against racism and bigotry?

      You are not standing against racism. You are only shouting that there is racism, but you do absolutely nothing to prevent racism. I have tried to prevent racism, but in those cases you have attacked me.

      Like every sane person should understand, this is how it should go:
      1. We identify the causes behind racism
      2. Then we identify why these causes are generated
      3. Then we think how we could change this so that these causes wouldn’t be generated.

      Your way will never work. You don’t even try to identify the causes, instead you attack anyone (for example me) who tries to identify them. You only focus on seeing racism everywhere and saying it’s bad. Do you really think you can get rid of racism just by saying those people who are racists: “Don’t be a racist”?

      Let me tell you an example of how my way works:

      Lot’s of racism against immigrants in Finland are because of the negative attitudes towards immigrants. These negative attitudes are generated for example when people notice that immigrants are getting more benefits than Finns. This is not a fault of immigrants, but still it’s causing negative attitudes against them.

      Now, my way is to tackle these issues BEHIND the attitudes, eg. fixing the payment of benefit issues and then letting people know that immigrants are not getting any more than Finns. This would prevent the negative attitudes.

      But this doesn’t suit for you. In that moment that I identify this cause, you start to accuse me of being racist.

      That is what you are, Mark. You are fighting against everyone who REALLY wants to get rid of racism.

    • Mark

      Farang

      How is it hostility towards Romas or immigrants, if I state a fact that some Finns are discriminating against other Finns?

      You probably have one small sentence in your head where you ONCE made something like a reasonable comment on Roma and you use that to blind yourself to all the other SHIT that you write about them. Here, let me remind once again! This is what you wrote in last couple of months alone in various posts!

      Finns have paid very high price [for Roma not assimilating] too, considering how many people Romas have murdered, robbed, etc.

      and this:

      Well, to be honest, they couldn’t even have their culture without us finns. Their culture can live only because finns let them live on our expense.

      and this:

      How many percent of Romas are employed and how many live off with benefits.

      and this:

      No, I wouldn’t hire her [Roma who wanted to wear her traditional costume].

      and this:

      Why can’t that immigrant/muslim/roma be the one that needs to do the work and adapt to the situation which is already ok for everyone else?

      and this:

      What harm would it cause if a roma would wear normal uniform [be like us]? Nothing, zero.

      And this:

      Roma jokes are not hate speech.

      You haven’t the first idea what racism is and when someone tries to tell, you do your level best to demolish them with fallacious arguments, and basically calling them insane.

      You are not standing against racism.

      Why? Because you say so?

      Ironic that the vast majority of people within the ethnic minorities support Migrant Tales and the case we make against racism. You, however, appear to disagree with them. I think I know whose opinion I value more.

      Your way will never work.

      And what way is that, I wonder? It’s not like I have put a manifesto on the net. My very first article here put out some ideas about how I think we should understand racism. The idea was to illustrate that in policy making today on discrimination, the idea of ‘racism’ and bigotry is broader based than some members of the public understand. It’s not merely a dislike of someone’s skin colour.

      Anyhow, even that wasn’t a manifesto, so unless you can read minds, I have not made public what I think society’s approach should be, so I find it hard to believe that you would therefore ‘know’ that ‘my way won’t work’. The task I try to do through these comments is to provide some real criticism to idiots like yourself who deny racism and at the same time, make no effort to understand it, and, quite the contrary, perpetually spew out racist comments and opinions. That’s what I do, and I will continue to do it whether you like it or not, Farang.

      Lot’s of racism against immigrants in Finland are because of the negative attitudes towards immigrants. These negative attitudes are generated for example when people notice that immigrants are getting more benefits than Finns. This is not a fault of immigrants, but still it’s causing negative attitudes against them.

      And who is it that is telling them, Farang, even when it isn’t correct? YOU, you fucking muppet! The irony of you lecturing me about the causes of racism in Finland is fucking staggering.

      But this doesn’t suit for you. In that moment that I identify this cause, you start to accuse me of being racist.

      Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. You were not ‘identifying a cause’, you were pushing the very reasons that create the negative attitude, with NO FUCKING MENTION that this might be a bad thing. No. You were too busy telling us it was THE TRUTH.

      This conversation will have to stop now. Because you are just taking the fucking piss and I’m starting to get fucking ragged.

  20. Farang

    Here, let me remind once again! This is what you wrote in last couple of months alone in various posts!

    Everything you quoted there, were FACTS, and TRUTHS. There was nothing racist there. If a roma murders someone, it is not racist to say it.

    Ironic that the vast majority of people within the ethnic minorities support Migrant Tales and the case we make against racism.

    That is because they have a false illusion that you are doing something against racism.

    And who is it that is telling them, Farang, even when it isn’t correct? YOU, you fucking muppet! The irony of you lecturing me about the causes of racism in Finland is fucking staggering.

    So now you are boldly saying that truth must be cencored and not be talked about. That’s very honest approach.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Farang, it is evident that you see things differently from us. We take Finnish values that promote acceptance and respect found in our constitution seriously.

      One of the matters that worries me in Finland is how some interpret these values freely with the help of their prejudice. Here’s on example: After 500 years of defending their culture, some Finns still believe that Roma women should not wear their traditional dress in public. They make up excuses that suit their prejudice to justify their argument(s). Is the problem with the Roma woman or with the Finn who has an issue with accepting another person who is different from him or her?

      Your comments show beyond any doubt that you are having a difficult time coming to grips with diversity that is now an integral part of your environment.

      If MT can help you to understand this reality better so it won’t be such an issue in your life, we will be more than happy to oblige.

    • Farang

      I have never heard anyone having problem with Roma women wearing their dress in public.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –I have never heard anyone having problem with Roma women wearing their dress in public.

      Some do, Farang. I’ve heard such comments before.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Everything you quoted there, were FACTS, and TRUTHS. There was nothing racist there. If a roma murders someone, it is not racist to say it.

      Well, actually it can be racist to mention this to innocent Roma who are thereby forced to live with the stigma of it. People (including you!) have a tendency to insist that if you belong to an ethnic group and that group has a ‘bad reputation’, then everyone in that group carries the stigma and blame. That is completely unfair. So, yes, presenting a ‘fact’ can indeed be a racist.

      That is because they have a false illusion that you are doing something against racism.

      I don’t think you are in a position to say what other people are thinking!

      So now you are boldly saying that truth must be cencored and not be talked about. That’s very honest approach.

      I am the one asking for more information regarding the audit. We need to get to the bottom of these issues. What we don’t need to do is present it as something other than what they are. It’s not censorship; it’s about how things are presented. I see this as a problem in how refugee claims are processed by Kela. You choose to see it as discrimination, something you claim is in fact systematic, while actually neither you nor I actually know what the scale of these problems in Lieksa are!

      It’s not about censorship. It’s about perspective and balance. It’s also about not using information to further stigmatise minority groups.

    • Farang

      Mark

      I see this as a problem in how refugee claims are processed by Kela. You choose to see it as discrimination,

      Actually, those are not excluding each other. Both are true: It is problem of Kela and it’s also discrimination. I even said that earlier, so you should already know that I see it both ways.

      So, you don’t see it as discrimination?

      Let me tell you, if we have a situation where everyone should be treated equally and someone of these are treated better or favoured, it is discrimination against all others.

      Like in job applications. If you have equal applicants and employer decides to favour men and hires only men, it is discrimination against women.

      And when the state forces men to go military, but not women, that is discrimination against men.

      It’s quite odd that you don’t understand what is discrimination. It seems that you only understand discrimination if it is done against some ethnic minorities.

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, you don’t see it as discrimination?

      I doubt this is a situation where they are being given ‘more’ BECAUSE they belong to an ethnic group. And Finns are certainly not being given LESS than their entitlements because they belong to an ethnic group. Kela is very strict about people receiving exactly what they are entitled to. Anything less is potentially fraud and very serious. So, the reasons underlying these discrepencies are almost certain not to be discriminatory. But it is an issue that needs correcting.

      According to the ridiculous way you are trying to use the word ‘discrimination’ here, then any error in any area of life would be interpreted as discrimination. That effectively makes it a pretty useless tool in tackling racism, or discrimination and stigma. The key thing with discrimination as a social concept is that people receive less because of a stigma attached to their identity. Your version of ‘discrimination’ simply ditches that important distinction.

      Finland is full of serious inequalities. And yet you pick on these audit errors in a small town in Eastern Finland and somehow claim they are indicative of ‘systematic’ discrimination against Finns. Only problem is, you don’t even know how many cases this relates to or what the reasons for the discrepencies were!

      You are exploiting bureaucratic inefficiency for political gain.

  21. Farang

    Mark

    According to the ridiculous way you are trying to use the word ‘discrimination’ here, then any error in any area of life would be interpreted as discrimination.

    If something is done by error, it is NOT discrimination. But if you had read this report of the audit, you would know these wrong payments were not errors, they were intentional.

    Finland is full of serious inequalities. And yet you pick on these audit errors in a small town in Eastern Finland and somehow claim they are indicative of ‘systematic’ discrimination against Finns. Only problem is, you don’t even know how many cases this relates to or what the reasons for the discrepencies were!

    You still don’t understand it, do you?

    This is one of the cases that CAUSES RACISM in Finland. And as I already said earlier, YOU try to silence everyone who tries to find the things that causes racism. These facts that immigrants are getting more benefits as Finns are major factor in the racism and hostility towards immigrants. These should be addressed.

    But you don’t want that, because you want racism to live in Finland. And this comment of your proved it once again.

    You want racism to exists so that you could feel that you have a purpose.

    • Mark

      Farang

      If something is done by error, it is NOT discrimination. But if you had read this report of the audit, you would know these wrong payments were not errors, they were intentional.

      Okay, explain. What where the intentions? Give me some examples. You can quote the Finnish if you want.

      Also, you dodged the issue of discrimination involving stigma. What is the ‘stigma’ attached to Finns that leads to discrimination against them, in this case? Even if this turns out to be some kind of favouritism, it is not the same as discrimination. It is very misleading to refer to it as discrimination, as you distort the true meaning of that word.

      This is one of the cases that CAUSES RACISM in Finland.

      I don’t agree. I think this merely gives racists an excuse for their racism. If you are against racism and all the evil that it represents, you don’t grab at the first opportunity to ditch all your moral values just because a small town in Eastern Finland has problems properly processing its refugees.

      And why is the ‘anger’ directed at immigrants when it’s clearly the responsibility of Kela to ensure that the service is applied correctly?

      YOU try to silence everyone who tries to find the things that causes racism.

      More bollocks. Here you are freely allowed to bring up this topic and discuss it at length on Migrant Tales and you dare to suggest that you are being silenced. The only think that you are being asked to do here is provide MORE facts, which you have been unable to do. I want more information, not less.

      It is important to understand how racism works in any country. But understanding how examples like this are exploited by racists or opportunistic or extremist politicians doesn’t mean that we have to accept the situation as given, without question. That is extremely dangerous. In any process of validation, you accept the sense of grievance, you hear the grievance, but you don’t necessarily have to act on that grievance. The important thing here is that immature people PROCESS their emotions rather than demand that the world has to change to address their lack of emotional maturity. If someone is genuinely getting angry at this kind of thing and attacking immigrants, then I would say they need to mature – because the answer here is not to stigmatise immigrants, but to correct any errors or uncertainty in the benefit system. That is so obviously the sensible answer that you really have to ask where the hell all this ANGER is coming from, because racism is fundamentally a form of HOSTILITY towards immigrants. If the issue is therefore one of emotions, then really, the respsonsibility on all of us is to process those emotions.

      These facts that immigrants are getting more benefits as Finns are major factor in the racism and hostility towards immigrants. These should be addressed.

      Yes, they should be addressed, but part of that work to address them should be to make quite clear that this is NOT discrimination against Finns. This is not an ethnic issue. This is about refugees and non-refugees. The circumstances of refugees is causing problems for Kela staff to properly process those claims and for that reason, it’s quite possible that the transparency also suffers.

      Addressing these examples means also NOT allowing racist politicians to exploit it to FURTHER generate hostility. They and YOU should be quite clear when addressing this issue that it is not the fault of immigrants and that it should NOT be seen as discrimination against Finns. Those interpretations are what generates the hostility and both of them would be false. But rather, YOU do exploit these examples to say exactly that, that it is DISCRIMINATION. So, you are part of the problem, in my book.

      But you don’t want that, because you want racism to live in Finland. And this comment of your proved it once again.

      You can be such a fucking dick, sometimes, Farang! I would be very happy if there was less racism in Finland. I would be very happy if dicks like you actually understood what racism and discrimination actual are and that you wouldn’t be writing here. I am happy if I never have to comment here again.

  22. Farang

    Mark

    Okay, explain. What where the intentions? Give me some examples. You can quote the Finnish if you want.

    I think you know we can’t get into their heads and find out their intentions. It is impossible to know. But that in no way mean we couldn’t know if the actions was intentional or not.

    If calculation says that person A should be paid 153 euros and you knowingly pay 200 euros, then it is intentional, even if nobody knows what your intentions are.

    And for example, if A should be paid 153 euros and you by mistake type 135 euros, that is a mistake or error, not intentional.

    You already know this, but you desperately try to use the “intentions” as some magical tool to dodge this issue.

    If you are against racism and all the evil that it represents, you don’t grab at the first opportunity to ditch all your moral values just because a small town in Eastern Finland has problems properly processing its refugees.

    That’s not how it works. People already feel hostility because of the rumours that immigrants are paid more than finns. And this report just proved those rumours.

    And why is the ‘anger’ directed at immigrants when it’s clearly the responsibility of Kela to ensure that the service is applied correctly?

    Yes, the anger should not be directed at immigrant. But in reality this is how majority of ordinary people think. Simple people.

    You can be such a fucking dick, sometimes, Farang! I would be very happy if there was less racism in Finland. I would be very happy if dicks like you actually understood what racism and discrimination actual are and that you wouldn’t be writing here. I am happy if I never have to comment here again.

    I think this dick understands racism and discrimination way better than you. If we compare you and me, I am the one who treats people equally and you are the one who always considers discrimination etc. based on the ethnic background of the persons. It has been seen here many times:

    If we have two identical, with only difference that the ethnicity of people involved is different. Then you give two different responses on discrimination/racism questions depending of the ethnicity. That is racism in it’s purest forms and you don’t even see it.

    • Mark

      Clearly we disagree about what is racism and how to tackle it.

    • Farang

      Yes, but it would be interesting to hear your opinion what is racism.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I think you know we can’t get into their heads and find out their intentions.

      When someone working for a public authority does something that appears to ignore the ‘rules’, then clearly an explanation should be sought, whether by the auditor or the managers. For us, looking in on this issue with only the benefit of a single document, it is IMPOSSIBLE to say what the reasons for these discrepencies are. So claiming it is discrimination is assuming far too much. In fact, it’s down right unfair on the people working at Kela to accuse them of discrimination when you haven’t even sought an explanation for the discrepencies. You really have not dealt with this absolutely crucial issue, Farang.

      You talk about what sane and sensible people think and how they would interpret this and then you tell me that it’s really actually quite ‘simple’ people who would allow themselves to become more racist after reading this. You contradict yourself at every turn.

      You already know this, but you desperately try to use the “intentions” as some magical tool to dodge this issue.

      Why is trying to get to the bottom of something suddenly a ‘magical’ thing? It’s just fucking basic intelligence Farang. If I wanted to dodge this issue, I would not have discussed it with you. I think it’s hilarious that you continue to claim that I am trying to dogdge/censor/silence this issue, and yet I’ve been discussing it with you now on an open public forum for several days. 😀

      People already feel hostility because of the rumours that immigrants are paid more than finns. And this report just proved those rumours.

      At least, that’s what you told people. I think you are a fucking huge scumbag arsehole for trying to argue that you are only bringing these problems to our attention and denying that you yourself believe them when in fact you presented these to us as ‘THE TRUTH’. It’s in black and white above and I’ve quoted you once over this point already. YOU BELIEVED IT. Now you are telling me that it’s actually only simple people that would see it like this:

      But in reality this is how majority of ordinary people think. Simple people.

      Personally, I don’t think people are that stupid. And they certainly aren’t stupid enough to see you trying to change tack half way through the discussion!

      I think this dick understands racism and discrimination way better than you.

      No, you are a fuckig dick for saying that I want racism to exist, that it’s purely a personal ego thing. That’s basically saying that someone who writes about racism only does it as a kind of psychological pathology. That kind of criticism of people standing up for human rights sounds like Nazi propoganda to me.

      Then you give two different responses on discrimination/racism questions depending of the ethnicity.

      Hang on a minute, didn’t you just tell me in one of your recent posts that this example of the Kela payments was NOT about ethnicity.

      I do not give different answers. This is just a fucking myth that the FAR RIGHT put out every time anyone dares to open their gob and challenge their racism. Seriously, you need a thick skin to take these bastards on, because they will strip you of any fucking dignity or self-respect given half a chance. The narrative is simple. When someone claims there is racism – deny it. Then provide counter-examples of what they call ‘real’ racism against the native population that 1) increases hostility to immigrants, and 2) makes it seem like it’s the majority that are the victims and 3) completely blurs the definition of what is racism and what is not. Only the grievances of the native population are taken seriously. Put forward any old discrepency that makes it seem like immigrants are getting ‘special’ treatment, and when anti-racists complain it’s not real discrimination, just accuse them of being in denial and being the real racists. Even if it isn’t convincing, it will at least annoy the hell out them 😀

      You are giving a masterclass in fascist propoganda, Farang.

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