By Enrique Tessieri
Why are we so passionate at Migrant Tales about immigrant and minority rights? Because such groups are effective yardsticks that reveal the state of civil rights and democracy. The more social inclusion we succeed in promoting, the healthier our society is.
There are clear examples in some recent elections in Europe that blaming immigrants and minorities for a country’s problems has become the trend.
We have even seen the rise of political parties that are keen on promoting social exclusion. Naturally they will not tell you this outright but may resemble the neo-Nazi Golden Eagle of Greece, which won 7% of the vote on Sunday.
This video clip of the party’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, is a good example of what a financial meltdown can bring. And it’s not at all pretty.
In a very common style, Michaloliakos pointed his guns at Greece’s undocmunented immigrants: “Out of my country, out of my home! How will we do it? Use your imagination.”
Do we have far-right groups in Finland? What does it say about the state of our society if a right-wing populist party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) sees its support rise fivefold in last year’s election?
One thing that is clear about the PS is that it is anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam.
The way of thinking in anti-immigration parties, “this is our country so leave if you don’t like it,” is one of the reasons why integration isn’t working as effectively as it should.
One of the worst lies told about immigrants is that they do not want to adapt.
A Somali I met on Monday while interviewing the father of Abdisalam Mohamed Abdulahi revealed what we know but don’t want to admit. He speaks Finnish like a native. He’s lived in this country two thirds of his life.
“The worst thing in Finland is that if you have a different religion, culture and language, you are left on the fringes of society,” he said. “No matter how much you try to integrate you are always left outside.”
Spreading an urban myth like “immigrants don’t want to integrate” is a very effective way to exclude whole groups and build high walls around them.
Why do we do this?
To control resources like wealth and jobs by excluding other groups.
It is no myth that excluding others and promoting social inequality is the costliest approach in social and financial terms.