A2 Pakolais-ilta (YLE)
What was wrong with this television debate? Even if one of the hosts on the program was Wali Hashi, it was white Finns’ perceptions and opinions about asylum seekers coming to Finland and how they should integrate to our society. The term “integration” was mentioned a lot of times but it was code for assimilation, or one-way integration. Every form of prejudice Finland has about asylum seekers and migrants, like they are criminals, rapists, social welfare bums and other labels, were pushed around freely during the one-sided debate. Forcing a refugee family to eat porridge and speaking of these people, who are also medics and university graduates, as helpless children who have to learn that zucchini is kesäkurpitsa in Finnish is beyond me. The program did little to dispel the xenophobic climate in Finland but instead reinforced it by not challenging it. On top of this you had one National Coalition Party MP, Susanna Koski, and a pastor, Marjanna Toivianen, who still don’t know that the correct Finnish term for integration is kotoutuminen, not kotiutuminen, which means “coming home.” In 1998 Finland had to invent a new term for integration because none existed before that. That term is kotoutuminen.
If YLE cannot do a descent TV debate on our ever-growing culturally diverse society it should not do one at all.