Victimizing and labeling immigrants for political profit

by , under Enrique

UK’s David Cameron is one European PM who is using immigration to bolster his Conservative Party’s poll ratings. It’s a recurring and worrisome political story across Europe: let’s get tough on immigration so we can gain a few percentage points in the polls. This type of campaigning is not only cowardly, but racist and disgraceful.

 

Näyttökuva 2014-11-15 kello 10.26.26
Source BBC.

 

In Finland, we do matters in the same way but the methods we use are different.

Finnish politicians have always been aware of the undercurrent of hostility and fear of foreigners. For decades they have been careful not to upset voters by speaking up for immigrants and cultural diversity.

Something happened in the April 2011 election, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) attained their historic victory. It was the first time that a party during modern Finnish times openly used anti-immigration rhetoric to lure voters.

This is understandable taking into account that Finland was effectively a closed country to immigrants and foreign investment up to 1995, when it became an EU member and matters started to change.

I asked a Social Democratic Party MP in the mid-1980s why doesn’t she doesn’t stand up for immigrants. She told me that it wasn’t a smart idea because you could anger voters. Anti-foreign sentiment was deeply rooted in Finland.

When I approached around 1984 National Police Commissioner Olli Urponen in parliament and asked him why Finland made life so hard for immigrants, his answer was straightforward: “We want to keep the criminals out of Finland.”

When I asked Urponen that question, 0.3% of Finland’s total population was foreign in 1983-86. according to the Population Register Center. Many of these so-called foreigners, who totaled in 1984 15,702 people, were Finnish expats.

Finland’s immigrant population totals today 195,511, accounting for 3.6% of the population.

While there are many Finns who believe in cultural diversity, there are still many who oppose it tooth and nail. A good example of Finland’s anti-immigration undercurrent was the April 2011 election, which gave the anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam Perussuomalaiset (PS) their historic election victory.

Coming to terms with our ever-growing cultural diversity isn’t easy. Unfortunately,  Finns have been taught in the past at school and at home that this country is white and that foreigners should be perceived as a threat.

This perception of diversity is odd considering that over 1.2 million Finns emigrated between 1860 and 1999. If all of them would have stayed in Finland, our population today would be about 7 million.

We have a lot of work to unlearn what we have learned about ourselves and others.

The sooner we begin in earnest this task, the better for Finland.

 

 

  1. Klay_immigrant

    Enrique please explain this figure of 1.2 million Finns who apparently left Finland between 1860 and 1999 to go abroad.

  2. Yossie

    Its a good thing if politician wake up that not everyone want their country to take part these kinds of social and demographic experiments.

  3. Brave

    Yossie,
    They are not politician but simple ones, they can play with dolls and balls in front of you and invite you to play with them their evil games…
    Finland won’t grow up
    Because
    Ur politician are some children in a big kindergarden u call it parliament
    Now Finland is a dry tree without a root… so nothing can help

  4. Brave

    Klay_immigrant
    All this means is as they grow up there would not be a confusion of identity where their cultural interests lie in different directions, where there could be a chance of alienation and low esteem for not fitting in. They will be just like any other fully Finnish child in the way the are brought up, attitude, and interests apart from having a father that happens to not be Finnish but as I’ve already mentioned my actions would not be an obstruction to that.
    ………….
    Klay,
    Even this is belong to 2011
    And we r not talking about that blog… but how can you klay???
    You are yourself an immigrant and then u fall in love with Finnish culture? How can you teach to ur children that they are fully Finnish?
    Do u hate ur roots? what then? What color are you? Where are you from?
    Whats different between Finnish children and other children? If u telling this… then it means Finnish adults are better than you who is an immigrant adult, u agree?
    your PHD does not make u better than immigrants who are working here as a labor do not forget that.
    There are many simple workers in this social and world that are very useful for the world… no/one has right to insult them.
    What kind of PHD teaches u to break ur roots?
    Self confident is my name.

    • Klay_immigrant

      To answer your questions Dana no I do not hate my background. Quite the contrary. If I did I would tell people I’m Finnish and when they made further inquiries as it’s obvious by my background that isn’t the case then I would behave like Enrique and co. and label them racist.

      I want to teach my children by example not by ‘do as I say and not as I do’. For instance I believe wholly in universal conscription in Finland. I think it should be compulsory for females too, so much for gender equality. But for my country Spain I just missed out on it as conscription ended in 2001. Now to show my children how important it is I’ve enlisted as a volunteer reserve lieutenant officer in the Spanish Armada (navy) very recently meaning for the next 3 years at least I have to spend a minimum of a month each year serving there.

      That’s hardly the actions of someone who hates their country.

    • Mark

      Klay

      If I did I would tell people I’m Finnish and when they made further inquiries as it’s obvious by my background that isn’t the case then I would behave like Enrique and co. and label them racist.

      Stop lying Klay. That is not what we do.

  5. Brave

    To answer your questions Dana no I do not hate my background. Quite the contrary. If I did I would tell people I’m Finnish and when they made further inquiries as it’s obvious by my background that isn’t the case then I would behave like Enrique and co. and label them racist.

    Klay,
    I am also one of Enrique and co here…however
    I have a very hard stuff racist experience in here and all are true.
    So no label at all but fact
    I am standing for my rights in my real life and on net too
    so
    Its a brave of me and Enrique and co
    You should be proud of us… because you Klay yourself is an immigrant too.
    You should not feel angry at us because we are with you not against you… and am glad you like your country,
    your country is your root and living without root is very hard… i am always living with my won root.
    Enrique and co are volunteers in here too…they want help both side foreigners and Finns as well because
    We all living in same social.
    If no/one speaks about racist and facts then it means we are liars and we scamming ourselves, our minds and hearts.
    speaking about real stuffs makes me alive.

Leave a Reply