By Enrique Tessieri
If you want to see the face of racism in the raw in Finland, visit the following Facebook website called “Mamu keskustelu ilman sensuuria (lieksa),” or “Immigrant debate without censorship (Lieksa).” After reading a few threads you will see the face of racism in Finland stare back at you fully exposed and unrestrained.
It is welcome news that the police took action Friday against some of the people on the Facebook site for inciting racial hatred and, worse, encouraging violence against the roughly 200 immigrants that live in the small city of 12,800 inhabitants.
Lieksa is a small city in the eastern Finnish region of Pohjois-Karjala, a region well known in Finland for its issues with racism. Even so, a lot of people as well as organizations like JoMoni in Joensuu are doing a lot of work to challenge the ever-growing face of racism in this part of Finland.
Pohjois-Karjala launched in the 1970s a successful health campaign to lower cholesterol levels and save lives. The region should launch a very strong campaign against racism to save this part of Finland from social and economic impoverishment due to the hostile attitudes of some of their inhabitants.
Who wants to move or live in a region that has a racist label hanging over its head? How many companies would relocate there? How many students from outside the region want to study in a city that has such a dubious reputation?
One matter is clear when reading some of the comments on “Immigrant debate without censorship (Lieksa)” from the festering wound of racism in that city: Shameless ignorance. Some of those that post on the Facebook site don’t even understand that they have serious issues with their racist attitudes.
Sad, but true.