In many respects, Finland is a fortunate country when it comes to a social construct like national identity. We are still a young nation actively searching for our roots. We have learned many things about ourselves as a society thanks to the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS).
One of the matters that the PS has done is encourage some Finns to test the waters of their worst prejudices. Is there anything good about this?
Like this Saami woman in the picture, we Finns are from many places and come from diverse backgrounds. Source: New York Public Library.
Paradoxically, the PS has brought out more inclusive and positive values about ourselves than ever before thanks to its anti-immigration, anti-EU and anti-outside-world views. While this may be true, social-media platforms like Hommaforum and associations like Suomalaisuuden liitto (Association of Finnish Culture and Identity) continue promoting the opposite.
As the municipal elections near in October, it’s clear that embattled PS chairman Timo Soini still pins his hopes on the anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity message. Matias Turkkila, Hommaforum editor, was named in May editor-in-chief of the PS’ newspaper and web page.
Turkkila was PS MP Jussi Halla-aho’s campaign manager. If there is any person that has spread the PS’ anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam message, it is Turkkila.
The Finnish Alliance, chaired by PS EuroMP Sampo Terho, is another example of how the PS and anti-immigration groups have hijacked our national symbols and dressed up history to suit their exclusive views of Finnish culture.
One of the aims of the Finnish Alliance is to undermine the role of the Swedish-speaking minority by lobbying against mandatory Swedish-language lessons at schools.
The aim of the PS, Hommaforum and Finnish Alliance is to hinder and place obstacles on the growth of our culturally diverse society and retard acceptance. They have no solutions except promoting deep divisions in our society. There is no strategy except to make life as hard as possible for immigrants and visible minorities.
Considering that over 1.2 million Finns emigrated from this country between 1860 and 1999, it is incredible how some in this country continue to promote a race-and-blood view of our Finnish identity.
Our national identity is rich and diverse. Accepting this fact could be one of our most exciting goals in the new century.