White Finnish privilege #30: Whitewashing and racializing the news

by , under Enrique Tessieri

On the fifth anniversary of when Anders Breivik went on the rampage in Oslo on 22/7 by killing 77 victims, we saw another gunman in Munich follow his footsteps. We now know with pretty much certainty that there is a connection between what the shooter did in Munich and what happened in Norway exactly five years ago.  

Reports the BBC:  “Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said there was an ‘obvious’ link between the new attack and Friday’s fifth anniversary of Breivik’s attacks in Norway, when he murdered 77 people.”

Apart from the fact that nine people died and 27 were injured at the hands of a person who appears to like mass shootings and terrorists like Breivik, Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Youth chairman Sebastian Tynkkynen said in a statement a day before that punishable offenses like ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion should be stricken off the penal code.

Considering the role that hate speech had in the killing of victims in 22/7 and yesterday, Tynkkynen’s and the PS Youth’s suggestion to scrap hate speech from the penal code sounds reckless and dangerous.

Definition #30

Gavan Titley exposes with three sentences how the media interpreted what happened in Munich Friday. He writes on his Facebook wall:

‘Could Munich happen in Finland?’ YLE asks.

Well it has. Jokela, Kauhajoki, Myyrmäki, Hyvinkää.

But that’s not the answer this question is looking for.

UPDATE 24.7: The above hinges on an interview [1] with police service chief inspector, Timo Kilpeläinen, and an authority on geopolitical conflicts, Alan Salehzadeh. To many, Salehzadeh is a new name. Even if we don’t know of his credentials he does have strong opinions about Islamic terrorism. The reporter, Sanna Ukkola, keeps the talk alive by racializing the debate around one matter: Islamic terrorism and by sweeping Breivik under the rug.

The interview is another sad example of how the Finnish media fails on reporting terrorism and why racist, anti-immigration and bigotted parties like the Perussuomalaiset* are in government today.

Instead of taking just about “Islamic terrorism” we should be talking about the following matter that wasn’t even mentioned one in the talk show:

The question now being asked in Germany is how [Ali] Sonboly, who was described as a troubled loner, could have got his hands on such a deadly weapon. The interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has already signalled a debate on tightening gun control.

White Finnish privilege permits the media to interpret events from its racialized viewpoint without using hindsight.

Minorities don’t have such privileges and are always imprisoned by generalizations that are made up with the help of selective and opinionated hindsight.

[1] Thank you Abdirahim Husu Hussein for the heads-up. 

* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” 

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