By Jos Schuurmans
“Hello? This is the nineteen-thirties calling. Can we have our nazi family snap shots back, please?”
How is it possible that Sanoma, one of Finland’s largest, most professional and most respected media firms, gets away with publishing a cosy, three-page family portrait of far-right MP Jussi Halla-aho in its November 1, 2012, issue of Me Naiset, the mainstream human interest women’s magazine?
Headlined, Jussi and Hilla Halla-aho: “Intelligence is sexy”, the article (web-version here) runs photos of Halla-aho and his wife at home and at the diner table with their children. On the cover of the magazine they are quoted as saying:
“Home is a place where one doesn’t need to face criticism.”
Well… tell that to the visible immigrants whose homes have fallen prey to arson attacks from anti-immigration extremists in recent years!
Halla-aho is a contender to the leadership of the far-right ‘Perussuomalaiset’ party. Not hindered by political correctness, his blog writings are crudely critical of immigration and multiculturalism. He has been convicted by the country’s Supreme Court of enticing intolerance.
Yet the article doesn’t go into details concerning his political actions or agenda. The closest writer Essi Myllyoja and photographer Milka Alanen come to touching upon his controversial track record is this:
“(…) Jussi is a man who evokes emotions – even fears. His radical opinions and provocative blog articles have taken him even to court. But when Kerttu jumps onto Jussi’s lap and drowns her father in kisses, what springs to mind is that there is surely also a softer side to the man. (…)”
Excuse me, I feel slightly nauseous. Saisinko vatin, kiitos?
In June 2012, following Halla-aho’s appeals after conviction in lower courts, the Supreme Court of Finland found him guilty of both disturbing religious worship and ethnic agitation. He was sentenced to pay fines as well as to remove parts from his blog.
Halla-aho had remarked that the prophet Muhammad was a paedophile, and Islam a religion of paedophilia, because Muhammad had intercourse with his 9-year-old wife and according to Sunnah Mohammed’s life is exemplary in every way.
He also asked if it could be stated that robbing passers-by and living on taxpayers’ expense are cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Somalis. This was apparently stated in sarcastic response to a Finnish columnist who wrote that drinking excessively and fighting when drunk were cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Finns.
The Supreme Court considered the blog posts’ descriptions to be defaming and abusive to an ethnic group. It found the writing in itself to evoke intolerance, contempt and possibly even hatred. (Sources via Wikipedia, Wikiquotes, HS.fi, Migrant Tales)
Of course the man’s unattractive political accomplishment is very disturbing and a cause of outrage in itself. We’ve known for a while that Timo Soini’s Perussuomalaiset (which translates into ‘True Finns’, although the party adopted ‘The Finns’ as its official English name in August 2011) harbor dangerously right-wing elements and it’s really objectionable that the party leader doesn’t seem to have made any effort to dis-associate them from his movement.
The far-right thugs in this country are receiving way too much air time already and I wouldn’t want to add to that.
But with this article in Me Naiset, the boundaries of what is considered to be acceptable in mainstream journalism are being pushed to a new level. This should not be allowed to pass without notice.
It’s staggering that Sanoma can publish such politically and historically ignorant fluff without causing a public outrage and without repercussions for its insensitive and irresponsible management.
This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.