We must go to the source if we want to challenge intolerance in Finland

by , under Enrique

Even if the Continuation War (1941-44) and our military alliance with Nazi Germany ended 69 years ago, much of the ethnic ideology that sprung from that period is still alive and kicking. If we are serious about confronting intolerance in our society, we must challenge its many sacrosanct sources. 

When I think of Finland’s short-lived and disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany, I see images of Finnish Marshall Carl Mannerheim speaking cordially with Adolf Hitler and SS head Heinrich Himmler. All of this is happening while millions of Jews, other minorities and innocent civilians are being murdered on both sides of the frontline.

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One murky chapter of Finnish history that hasn’t been answered is our alliance with Nazi Germany during the Continuation War.

Even if Berlin fell in 1945 after Hitler took his life, his racist views continue to live on in countries like Finland and promoted today by anti-immigration politicians from parties such as the Perussuomalaiset (PS).

In a clear rebuttal to Abdirahim Hussein’s blog entry about the riots in the northern Stockholm neighborhood of Husby,  Kai Haavisto of the PS affirms that a New Finn isn’t a Finn. Haavisto has made outrageous claims in the past like solving the refugee problem to Finland with rice exports to Africa and that certain refugee groups should be chemically castrated before being allowed to live in Finland.

While Haavisto’s writings “are his own views,” the PS politician is a good example of how racists in this country see a social construct like the Finn. They see Finnishness as an exclusive club where you not only have to be white, but live hundreds of years in this country.

He writes on Uusi Suomi: “A Finnish citizen with immigrant background isn’t a Finn, his genetic background is foreign. You can never turn such a person into Finns no matter how you look at it. A foreigner is always a foreigner [irrespective if he becomes a naturalized Finn].”

Then Haavisto writes further down the blog entry why he’s a Finn and Hussein isn’t. He claims that his family has lived in Finland for about 400 years.

Nazi Germany and the SS used similar schemes like Haavisto to define aryan ancestry (sic!). As everyone knows, the term aryan was a racist social construct devised by the Nazi regime to exclude, deport and murder other ethnicities and religious groups in Germany.

It should be pointed out that not only were the Nazis racist, but all of Europe. The Nazis, however, used their racist diatribe as a political and geopolitical weapon to wage war and murder systematically six million Jews and other minorities like the Roma and gays.

With the passage of the Nuremberg laws of 1935 under Nazi Germany, a Jew was a person who had at least three Jewish grandparents who had been enrolled with a Jewish congregation. The Nazi regime had a very clear classification system to define who was Jewish. Haavisto and many others speak in the same race-and-blood terms.

It should be pointed out that it’s not the aim of a new Finn to become white. On the contrary, Finnish identity is and always has been diverse. The mere fact that over 1.2 million people emigrated from this land between 1860 and 1999 is ample proof of the latter.

A non-white Finn has the same right as a white Finn to be accepted and be treated as an equal member of this society.

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