The action of some exemplary Finns, who are shocked by the growing appetite that some Finns have for racism, played a key role in the political downfall of Perussuomalaiset (PS) city councilman Tommi Rautio. If blogger Ossi Mäntylahti would not have pasted on Facebook what Rautio had said on Sunday, the PS politician would not have faced such a political storm.
Migrant Tales published Rautio’s comments shortly after Mäntylahti’s Facebook entry.
Rautio chose a very bad day to suggest decorating the killer who shot Saturday night a Moroccan pizzeria employee before taking his life. That killing followed another one on Friday, when Migrant Tales revealed the victim to be a Somali.
Why did it take such a long time for PS chairman Timo Soini to condemn what Rautio said? Was he waiting for the storm to blow over on Monday? Or was it the media and common Finns on social media, outraged by the cold-blooded killer being glorified by a politician that made the difference?
When I heard about Soini condemning what Rautio said, I heard his words with a large pinch of salt. Such statements have little meaning except a patch-up job for his party. Take a look at the following news clip shortly after the April 17 election on TV channel Nelonen, where he claims with a poker face “there isn’t one racist” in his party.
Soini was also quick to criticize the foreign media.
Another worrying matter that the Rautio scandal revealed was the police, which first decided not to investigate whether the PS councilman incited racial hatred with his statements. The police announced Tuesday, however, that they would carry out an investigation after all.
I sometimes get the feeling that the police in Finland are more interested in showing that racism isn’t a problem as opposed to exposing the social ill.
Were the police forced to make an about-turn and carry out an investigation on Rautio due to the avalanche of criticism and a loss of face if they had let the PS councilman off the hook?
Just like Anders Breivik impacted negatively anti-immigration parties in the Nordic region, Rautio’s contribution will be similar to the PS’s popularity.
How much of an impact it will have on the PS depends on how much support Finns want to hand to parties and politicians who openly support racism and fascism in a 2010s context.
Fascism thrived in the 1930s from demonizing groups like Jews. Today, fascism demonizes different groups like Muslims, Romany minorities and others.