“Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.”
Pierre Berton (1920-2004)
Many visitors have come and gone on Migrant Tales. Those that jump the MT ship the soonest are those who choose to justify a social ill like racism. Some have gone as far as to claim that there is no racism in Finland.
A recent blog entry by Mark highlights how hate and racism are perpetuated even by the police.
Establishing an autocratic regime is relatively easy in a country with poor infrastructure. In Argentina, where the country’s telephone network was mostly out of order, it was simple to shut the country from the outside world and spoonfeed censored news by the military rulers to the public.
Irrespective of the censorship that was imposed on Argentina in the 1970s, people did have access to newspapers like Le Monde, The Guardian, Washington Post and others that wrote regularly about the human rights violations committed by the military junta.
If we have in Europe enough historical information and evidence that show us beyond any doubt the destruction that xenophobia and racism have caused on our continent, why do we still consider such social ills worthy of our support?
If you are a pessimist, the answer you may hear may shock you: People and politicians support xenophobic and racist behavior because they are xenophobic and racist themselves. In Argentina, the military regime, which was one of the most ruthless in Latin America in the last century, was able to carry out its crimes thanks to the support it had from the public.
There must be something wrong with our educational system if we’re still influenced so much by xenophobia, racism or autocratic regimes, which are the enemies of our freedom.
A journalist from a local newspaper told me recently that the reason why they don’t write a lot about racism cases is because they don’t want to give racism any attention.
That kind of a stance is exactly what has made xenophobia and racism grow in Finland and Europe. Not noticing it, or ignoring such a social ill, will not help it go away. It will, contrarily, encourage it to become bolder.
We cannot afford to be silent in the face of those forces that aim to usurp our freedom and well-being.
Like Berton pointed out, racism must be faced head-on and stamped out.