Doesn’t Perussuomalaiset (PS) leader Timo Soini bear responsibility for giving people like Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Olli Immonen and a very long list of others a platform to spread their hatred and intolerance? Why does the media let Soini get off the hook so easily?
Is Soini the culprit for anti-immigration sentiment and xenophobia or does he represent something much deeper about ourselves that we’re not yet ready to openly admit never mind challenge in earnest?
If I’d draw a cartoon of Soini, I’d put him in a concentration camp standing in front of people like Jussi Halla-aho, Olli Immonen, Teuvo Hakkarainen and many others. Soini would tell the media with a poker face and then smile at the end of the following statement: “I’m against anti-Semitism and racism.”
One matter that has perplexed me for quite a while is how the media and journalists, who should know better, is that they treat Soini as some “good guy” in the face of the party’s near-constant anti-EU, anti-immigration, anti-Islam, homophobic and conservative values.
If we search through the maze of answers and explanations, I believe that what we’ll find at the end of the day will find the word denial as the root of the problem.
I’ll never forget April 17, 2011 when the PS won their historic election victory, rising from the minor leagues with 5 to 39 MPs! Some thought it was something passing that wouldn’t last too long. They claimed that it’s only a question of time when internal bickering would cause the PS to implode like the Rural Party did in the 1970s.
One of the most incredible matters about the rise of the PS is how little opposition it has had and how easily it has been allowed to spread its intolerance. Institutions like the media have played a helping role. From a migrant’s or minority’s standpoint, however, the view is quite different since the PS is seen as hostile and dangerous.
Since one of the PS’ main messages is that non-white migrants and refugees should not be allowed to move to Finland never mind marry Finns because they are lazy and even stupid, it’s pretty clear how the PS exploits fear and racism.
Certainly the denial that takes place in our society of the PS wouldn’t be possible without the help as well of the other parties, which may have the same closest racists among their ranks like the most outspoken anti-immigration voices of Soini’s party.
The PS are not a threat to Finland per se, but our denial of them and our own intolerance are.