By Enrique Tessieri
If the Perussuomalaiset (PS) enter the next government what will it mean for Finland and for the immigrant community in particular? Will anti-immigration rhetoric start to pick up and the attacks against anyone who is not white reach alarming heights?
If there is one quality of the PS that raises concern it is their hostility to immigrants. Everything is quiet now but PS MPs like James Hirvisaari are getting impatient and are starting to smell blood.
In his latest blog entry, Hirvisaari, who is one of the few PS MP members of the Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu association, assures us that his party’s success on April 17 was due to its anti-EU and anti-immigration stance.
Since 19.1% of the population voted for the PS for these two main reasons, Hirvisaari believes that he and the party now have a carte blanche to tighten immigration policy further and make life harder for immigrants in this country.
Even if Timo Soini has said that the anti-immigration vote played a minor role in the election, Hirvisaari is one of the most eager Muslim and immigrant bashers of the PS. He, if anyone, leads social media lynch mobs against foreigners on the net with his xenophobic writings that normally demonize Muslims.
A good example of his enthusiasm to discredit refugees and immigrants in Finland was an alleged rape case of a seventeen-year-old girl last year by a suspected asylum-seeker. In his blog entry, Hirvisaari wastes no time in pointing the accusing finger and conveniently forgets that in Finland people are innocent before proven guilty.
Even if the Lammi rape case appears to have been a fabrication by the girl, it shows how racism and eager politicians wast no time to feed their followers with xenophobic theatrics.
The finger-pointing and pseudo-theories put out by some politicians who seek political profit from spreading stereotypes of immigrants make life harder for immigrants who work, pay taxes and raise families. They reinforce everything that is questionable in Finns.
If the PS sit on the next government, it is doubtful that they will change their ways and their anti-immigration stance. Shouldn’t the racist outbursts of PS MP Teuvo Hakkarainen have been enough proof that the party is unfit to govern. Racism does not ruin political careers in Finland but seems to help them.
While everyone has the right to express his opinions in this country, the rhetoric put out by some PS MPs is not conducive to building bridges between the immigrant community and Finns. They create, instead, resentment.
Taking into account the possibility that the PS may form part of the next government, it is vital that immigrants and Finns of all backgrounds join hands and challenge one of the darkest periods in history for immigrants in this country.
We will have ourselves to blame if we allow the likes of Hirvisaari and others turn Finland into a shooting gallery against immigrants and minorities.
We aren’t standing up for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren so they may live and be treated with dignity in this country.