By Enrique Tessieri
The ongoing debate on the role of immigrants in Finnish society boils down to one big issue for the right-wing populists: How to keep Finland white and curtail non-European immigration. The view, that Finland must remain white, is as racist as a white man’s claim in the United States during the Civil Rights era that blacks don’t have a place in society.
The language that some parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) use to hit home their racist and exclusive message is cannier: “We are against multiculturalism and certain groups like Muslims are incompatible with our culture and way of life.”
The real message behind that line of thinking is: “Finland must remain white.”
By “remaining white” they mean there is very little room for diversity in our culture.
Those who preach an ethnically homogeneous Finland that never existed will rarely tell you the fate they wish those who aren’t white in our society. Is our place in this society eternal exclusion confined by the walls of racism and prejudice?
Due to Finland’s minuscule foreign population and Finns’ little contact with immigrants in the past have created an opportune breeding ground for spreading urban myths and racism. Only after the horrific events that hit Norway and the world on July 22 are we now beginning to awaken to the potential of racism to inflict grave harm to our society and values.
We must understand that at least a part of the PS are a serious threat to Finland. If we allow their “keep-Finland-white” ideology to get the upper hand in this country, it will end up impoverishing us as a nation. The more we fail to incorporate all the parts of our society into the mainstream the more we will blame others – the further we will sink in that abyss of our failure.
Those Norwegian Labor Party representatives and common people who died at the hands of Anders Breivik would have certainly wanted us to speak out for them.
Their message comes in loud and clear: Don’t forsake us with your silence against those who are intolerant and spiteful of others.