The dark side of Finland that has me concerned

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

When historians look at this period and study how the ogre of racism got such a big foothold in Finland, they will probably conclude that it was always there but found one of its homes in the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party. When they point out how some Finns tried to make xenophobia and racism a “normal” matter in Finland, a long list of PS politicians will emerge.

The most startling fact these researchers will stumble upon is that the role of racism got a more public face thanks to the paralysis that struck the country’s main politicians and the media, which is today starting to be more outspoken against this social ill.

This kind of country, which has its values in the right place but has taken for granted a threat like racism, is what scares me. It shows how easily we can lose our society to extremists. All you need is to feed spite, find the right scapegoats and spread myths and exaggerated rhetoric.

That is why we not only need to defend our civil rights every day but distinguish those who are dressed in sheep’s clothing and who want to destroy them.

Parties like the PS have no place ruling Finland as long as they do not even respect the will of the majority. By the majority we mean the overwhelming  majority (80.9%) who didn’t vote for the PS or side with their anti-EU policies and populist style of politics.

The fact that the PS didn’t even want to take part in the formation of the next government is a good example of how Timo Soini’s party is more talk than action.

Holding a whole country hostage to Soini’s anti-EU policies should outrage Finns as well as many other aspects of the PS.

  1. Allan

    All you need is to feed spite, find the right scapegoats and spread myths and exaggerated rhetoric.

    Speaking from experience I see.

  2. Mark McGreevey

    I remember a month’s language course in Volgograd, USSR, summer 1985. I was surprised to see a lot of Asiatic men, Uzbeks and so on, who must have been there to work in the factories as extra labor. Then, there were lots of foreign students, blacks from Africa, various shades of brown from India and South America, and then various Asian groups. They were all housed in separate dormitories depending on skin color, as was done in China at that time, so for example, if a black from Jamaica arrives with a mixed blood colleague, the black went to the African dorm and the mulatto to the “brown” one. It was quite amusing to see people truly classified by their skincolors! Meanwhile, although I found these foreign students interesting to meet and talk to (since they knew English, were educated young people), I found that I was frowned upon even dealing with blacks from any nation. The black med students told me that their job was to retrieve the cadavers from the Volga river after a weekend’s drinking, fighting and stabbing: plenty of bodies for their anatomy classes.

    I think that native-born Finns are at the stage where Russia and China were: the most obvious thing about a person is his/her skincolor, so that is the best way to classify people at first glance.

    But a Finn who’s frowning at such immigration is not necessarily racist; he or she may simply be angry at the politicians who allow so many new people to come into their country, without consulting the Finns themselves. If it had been put to the vote from the beginning in any country, the resounding vote would be NO! Especially when the Finns could see had happened already by the 1980’s in Sweden and Denmark!

    So Enrique, why is it that a Finn has no say in what happens to the immigration policy of his country? Is it some kind of dictatorship where the people’s will is of no consequence? Why such nasty policies in a free democracy? If you are from Spain, I am glad to hear that your home country is inundated with North Africans lately, and how willing the Spaniards are to accommodate them. Or did I hear wrong about that? Don’t worry, the Spanish citizens will have these decisions crammed down their throats, no matter what.

    • Enrique

      Hi Mark are you related to Mary Meko? Thank you for joining us on Migrant Tales.

      Since when did you think that people in Finland don’t have any say on immigration matters? Your view of immigration and cultural diversity is pretty well seen on your thread. Do you suggest that everytime an immigrant moves to Finland we should post this on walls and people should give their thumbs up or down?

      I doubt that after all the hostility and the Teuvo Hakkarainens immigrants will be moving to Finland in large numbers. Even in good economic times there weren’t that many either. If we look at skilled labor, the situation becomes more acute.

      Just because I have a Spanish first name does not mean that I am from Spain. The world is not divided that way as you pictured in your language course in Russia in 1985.

  3. Allan

    Mark, I kind of fail to see your analogy. Finnish student dormitories in fact give a privileged position to non-resident and foreign students, the locals need to queue up and find free market acommodation. Besides which Enrique is the only person here classifying people according to their skin color.

  4. Yossie

    Enrique, you think immigrants wont be coming here because Hakkarainen said “nigger”? Honestely? and you blame PS for exaggeration? How about skilled and educated people dont come here because taxes are high, weather and climate are just horrible, remote location and hard language? Obviously welfare shoppers will be coming here as long as we give more money than other countries.

    • Enrique

      –Enrique, you think immigrants wont be coming here because Hakkarainen said “nigger”? Honestely? and you blame PS for exaggeration?

      The PS represent a part of the anti-immigration sentiment in Finland through a political party. I would never move to a country where there is a hostile attitude towards immigrants. Many who could would move to friendlier countries. And there are many of these around.

      Finland is one of many countries in Europe that is competing for skilled labor. Does the prevailing attitude help? I don’t think so.

  5. Arto

    Enrique: “I would never move to a country where there is a hostile attitude towards immigrants.”

    What do you mean by hostile attitude? For example, critical attitude towards taking new immigrants does not mean we would be hostile towards those immigrants we have previously accepted, does it?

    • Enrique

      –What do you mean by hostile attitude? For example, critical attitude towards taking new immigrants does not mean we would be hostile towards those immigrants we have previously accepted, does it?

      Arto, I think it boils down to this question: Are immigrants seen as a threat or beneficial to Finland? Having immigrants is as normal as having an airport with flights going to different points of the world; it is as normal as having the right to visit a foreign country. Immigration is a normal aspect of modern societies and with it cultural diversity.

  6. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    Do you have some magic X-ray vision enabling you to perceive how long an immigrant has been in Finland?

  7. Arto

    JD: “Do you have some magic X-ray vision enabling you to perceive how long an immigrant has been in Finland?”

    And I thought I was expressing myself clearly. Luckily Enrique got it right anyway.

    “Having immigrants is as normal as having an airport with flights going to different points of the world; it is as normal as having the right to visit a foreign country. Immigration is a normal aspect of modern societies and with it cultural diversity.”

    OK, that is your opinion. I personally think immigration needs much stricter regulation than just visiting other countries.

    My point is: if we have “strict” policies about immigration by some criteria, does it somehow mean we would be hostile towards the immigrants that are allowed to move here nevertheless? Think the Canadian model that I have referred to earlier: do you feel Canada is hostile towards immigrants as they prefer work related immigration? They still accept huge amounts of immigrants. They also actively advertise in other countries to get educated people to work there. I would really be interested in your opinion about it.

    • Enrique

      –Think the Canadian model that I have referred to earlier: do you feel Canada is hostile towards immigrants as they prefer work related immigration?

      I think many on this blog, and I am certain we can agree, FInland’s immigration policy is strict. The big difference, however, between Canada’s and Finland’s immigration policy in general terms is a premis: Canada sees immigration as vital while Finland is undecided at least politically. There are still too many policemen, too many public servants from the cold war days that are fixated into a view that immigration is a threat. Keeping it a threat means that you have to allocate money to protect Finland. It’s all a vicious cycle. The truth is, Arto, with that kind of an attitude Finland is the biggest loser.

  8. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    The Aliens Act is a public document. What would you change? Some policy proposals would also require changes to the Finnish Constitution and withdrawal from international treaties. What measures would be appropriate, and would reciprocal measures taken by other countries be similarly acceptable?

    Unless you have clear ideas in this area, your pontificating is just that.

  9. Arto

    Ennrique, should I interpret your answer so that you don’t see Canada’s immigration policy hostile? And if so, do you think we could seriously discuss about a comparable policy in Finland (emphasis on work related and not humanitarian immigration)?

    JD: “Some policy proposals would also require changes to the Finnish Constitution and withdrawal from international treaties.”

    That can be done if necessary. I don’t believe any reasonable changes would require changes to Finnish Constitution. International treaties? Yes, withdrawal is an option if needed. Truly. It is about our country and our decisions.

    “would reciprocal measures taken by other countries be similarly acceptable?”

    I do not immediately see any problem. There is no humanitarian immigration from Finland to other countries.

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