Xenophobia and Islamophobia get to first base in Finland: And now, what?

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Living in Finland after the April 19 parliamentary elections is like witnessing a coup where xenophobia and Islamophobia have strengthened their stranglehold on our country with the blessings of the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP). With the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* in government and the election of PS MP Maria Lohela as the new speaker of parliament send a disturbing signal to many Finns and especially to our ever-growing culturally diverse community.

Finland is already a culturally diverse society. If parties like the PS would have wanted to shut our borders to visible migrants they’re too late. Cultural diversity in Finland is unstoppable and will grow in the years and decades ahead.

The rise of a hostile party like the PS, yes hostile to migrants and minorities let there be no questions about that, hasn’t been clearer and more disturbing than after the elections.  Their message in coded language couldn’t be clearer: We want Finland to remain white.

MLK2
A good source of inspiration for social equality and change in Finland is the Civil Rights Movement (1955-68) of the United States. In some cases what MLK said is applicable to Finland. In 1982 we marched in Helsinki to parliament to speed up passage of the country’s first aliens act. Foreigners weren’t allowed back then to organize marches or participate in demonstrations.

Treat statements with tweezers by the PS like, “we aren’t against immigration as long as you come here, work, pay taxes [and stay quiet].” That statement is a coded message for: We don’t want visible migrants and minorities in Finland.

Another example of the latter is what Lohela said recently about her opposition to so-called humanitarian immigration and that it is one of the “biggest” problems facing Finland.  Former Christian Democrat Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, however, wrote recently that that type of immigration accounts for about 8% of all immigration.

Folks, really! If Finland has only 221,900 immigrants, or roughly 4% of the total population, why is only  8% of the total number of immigrants a major national issue?

The answer is simple: xenophobia and political chicanery.

The anti-immigration rhetoric coming from the PS is a disgrace to any person who believes in justice and our Nordic way of life. Why don’t the Center Party and the NCP, both partners with the PS in government, tell them to stop spreading lies and urban tales against our culturally diverse community that only victimizes and labels its members?

One important matter that they should keep in mind is that Finland’s migrant and minority population will grow. Parties like the PS that are hostile  to our culturally diverse society will lose out. Few if any of these so-called New Finns will want to join and be active in parties that were and still are hostile to their parents and grandparents.

Finland’s second-largest party in parliament doesn’t like you and will do everything possible to exclude you from society as long as you’re not a white German, Swede, Brit or USAmerican that mix near-perfectly with the white ethnic landscape of Finland. 

Some minorities that are being targeted by the PS, and even Juha Sipilä’s government, are Swedish-speaking Finns. The Romany minority, which have faced harsh oppression in Finland for 500 years, will be left alone as long as they don’t integrate too much and start demanding that they’d be treated equally.

The rise of the PS and its membership in government is attributable to a number of factors like rising poverty in Finland and social exclusion of hundreds of thousands of white Finns, but mostly it’s due to ineffective and incompetent politicians like those in the previous government led by Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and Jyrki Katainen.

The narrative that you will find from politicians and the media is clear as day: Let’s blame migrants and minorities for our failures as politicians. Direct your anger at them for your problems. This will let us off the hook.

While I could continue writing about matters that worry me deeply about the path Finland is presently on, there have to be solutions on how to challenge this threat that hasn’t subsided since 2011 but has grown in leaps and bounds.

And now, what?

Here are some solutions:

  • Organize
  • Silence will never be our language
  • Use all the democratic tools at your disposal to show your opposition to xenophobia and parties like the PS
  • Civil disobedience can sometimes be an effective tool in getting your message across
  • If all of the above don’t work, radicalize if necessary
  • Migrants, minorities and Finns of all backgrounds can join in the struggle
  • Write, protest, march, vote, get involved in politics and/or spark a social movement if necessary
  • A good legal benchmark to follow is our Nordic values enshrined in our constitution and non-discrimination act
  • Be on the guard for wishy-washy double talk and learn their code words and red herrings of anti-immigration parties and groups
  • Avoid terms like intolerance but call such social ills by their real names: racism, bigotry, prejudice etc.
  • Don’t forget that racism is costly to tax payers because it is exclusive, never inclusive
  • Don’t forget that xenophobia is not directed at somebody else but at you
  • Study and learn what migrants and minorities are facing in other parts of Europe and how they are challenging racism and social exclusion
  • Express eloquently your opposition to the ongoing anti-immigration atmosphere in Finland
  • Single out the Uncle Toms, Tuomo setä, Setä Tuomo, or mamu in Finnish, that are selling out to the white Finnish establishment that keeps institutional racism intact
  • Be patient and persistent with one clear goal: You are seeking to build a Finland where your children and grandchildren will be treated with respect and have the same social rights as white Finns and where xenophobia is outright shameful

I’m certain that there are more solutions on how to challenge the racism that has today a stranglehold on our country and society.

This list, however, above should set us on our way.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-langauge names 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.

 

  1. PS voter

    What you have is a good example of so called strawman fallacy. While not all members of PS are that critical towards immigation, even those who are, tend to be critical against islamism, rising crime rates, social problems, costs etc — and not immigration in itself or race. For example, typically immigration critical persons admire Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Mona Walker even though they are black and have Somali background. Juho Eerola has even married a black woman with whom he has a mixed race child.

    Perussuomalaiset is also willing to welcome persons with immigrant background to the party. And some of the members of Perussuomalaiset have immigrant background, even inside the immigration critical faction of Perussuomalaiset.

    I also find it dishonest to call Swedish-speaking Finns as somehow oppressed minority, when they are in fact in a privileged position compared to Finnish speaking Finns as they hold those privileges because of the history of colonialism towards Finnish speaking Finns.

    you also mispresent the situation of Romany minority. Pretty much all people in Finland wish that they would finally integrate to western way of life instead of making sure they don’t integrate. And those persons with Romany minority who have integrated to western way of life, have succeeded well in their life just like their descedants. However, those that have failed to adapt, have failed miserably. If I remember correctly, Maryan Abdulkarim has said that Finns have more positive opinion towards black persons than Romany minority. I also think that this is in many ways true and I suggest that other immigrant don’t try to follow the path of Romany minority who have refused to integrate buth the path of Tartars and other ethnic groups who have integrated and have been successful.

    I would also urge immigrants to exchange opinions with immigration ciritcal Perussuomalaiset instead of relying on some immigration activists that often spread distorted facts. They also often offer advise and views that are detrimental not just for Finland, but the immigrant themselves. One example of this kind of distortion is claiming that all the problems the immigrants are facing is because of racism and discrimination and that there is nothing wrong in the immigrants themselves, or that we can take limitless number of immigrants to this country without any negative consequences.

    • Migrant Tales

      PS voter, I’m not going to give you long-winded explanations. My blog entries speak for themselves and I stand behind them. Now read this sentence carefully: As long as you have people in the PS or in any party that victimize and label migrants in a xenophobic manner that party and person isn’t going to get any understanding from me. The PS has a very generous amount of anti-immigration politicians, the bad cops, who are supported by Timo Soini, the good cop.

      What do I base my claim? On the PS immigration program and countless of racist outbursts by Hakkarainen, Sademies, Halla-aho, Immonen, Eerola and a very long list of others that are affiliated to the party.

  2. steve

    Nice, you’ve taken more constructive approach now, you offer solutions, but there’s again these quite dangerous elements here.

    “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

    Why this message now? What laws are you talking about?

    The solutions:

    “- Civil disobedience can sometimes be an effective tool in getting your message across”

    civil disobedience? What does this mean, what message are you talking about? Are you saying, there are laws in Finland, you’d need to break? We have free speech, free possibility for protests? What else do you need?

    “- If all of the above don’t work, radicalize if necessary”

    Radicalize?!? You start to threatening people? I mean, that is what radicalization usually mean.

    What is so much wrong in Finland, that you even consider radicalizing? You want to prevent Lohela from becoming the new speaker of parliament? You want to disband PS? I’m afraid, you have lost your perspective entirely.

    • PS voter

      I hope the radicalization is not the kind of radicalization Malcolm X advocated. We don’t need any radicals to come to Finland or immigrants to radicalize in Finland.

      Remember, when president Kennedy was assassinated, Malcolm X said that it was a case of “chickens coming home to roost”. He added that “chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad.” Fast forward by a year and Malcolm X himself was assassinated, apparently by his fellow African-Americans from Nation of Islam.

    • Migrant Tales

      An answer to you question Steve: If you have a party like the PS and government that will impoverish even more low-income families and migrants, who most of them live in poverty, according to Pekka Myrskylä, certainly there must be some kind of a response. For me radicalizing people is to inspire them to take action for social reform like challenging structural racism and social inequality in general. When you are “radicalized” you want big political or social changes and work tirelessly for them to happen.

      The Vietnam War is a good example of how student and USAmericans became radicalized in speaking out against the war. The same happened in the Civil Rights Movement (1955-68) in the US, when blacks started to demand very big social changes in the United States.

      An example of radicalization and civil disobedience is me and a group of other students who organized in the early 1980s the biggest march ever in Finland where foreigners took part. We published, marched and lobbied in parliament for changes in Finland’s first-ever aliens law.

      Coming from a country like Argentina and having lived in two countries where there has been violence, I shy away from such things. Marching, writing, hunger strikes and civil disobedience if needed can get you a long way.

      What have you done, Steve, to better your community?

  3. PS voter

    Perussuomalaiset is the most left leaning party in the government. However, there is no escaping the facts that Finland is broke and no amount of violence or other kind of radical acts will change the fact. The situation would be somewhat better had we stopped paying development aid and taking quota refugees immediately when the economy started to crumble.

    And I would like to remind the more we have humanitarian immigration and the more we pay development aid, the less money we have to the families in Finland. So when you are complaining about impoverishment in low-income families, then remember that the more we spend money to other countries and humanitarian immigration, the poorer the low-income families in Finland will be.

    • Migrant Tales

      Come on PS voter now you exaggerating and creating a storm in a tea cup. So-called humanitarian immigration only accounts for about 8% of all immigration, which is tiny.

      The Perussuomalaiset are a mixed bag of ideologies. It is, however, classified by many as a conservative right wing party. I see it as an anti-EU, or Euro skeptic, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party that has issues with cultural diversity.

      When you speak of “humanitarian immigration” and when the PS speaks of immigration as a huge issue, what you are doing is shooting yourself in the leg. Your focus is on the wrong thing. Finland, and all parties, should be focused on creating jobs, saving the social welfare state, and kick starting the economy.

  4. steve

    You didn’t answer my question.

    “Marching, writing, hunger strikes and civil disobedience if needed can get you a long way.”

    To go where? You talk about big political and social changes. What changes? Are you talking about new laws. What laws? You know you can suggest new laws, I think this is the place for that:

    https://www.kansalaisaloite.fi/fi

    • Migrant Tales

      Your English seems to be perfect so I must ask you a question: Do you read Finnish media regularly?

  5. steve

    “Your English seems to be perfect…”

    Thanks, well, it’s a bit rusty.
    “Do you read Finnish media regularly?”

    Yes, I follow it closely.

    But you still didn’t answer my question. Perhaps you are thinking? Maybe we see a separate post on the subject?

  6. Medusa

    I think the near future (next 10-15 years) belongs to the right wing and its ideology. No matter how optimistic the financial newspapers sound, the economic recession is still on, and history has shown that recession and right wing ideology go together. Yes these are times that are difficult for immigrants, but then Finland is a challenging country for immigrants even in good times, or so I have been told.

    Islamophobia is real though, and I as an immigrant do not want Europe to turn in to Middle East. The refugee crisis is real too and as long as the first world can come together and bring up solutions to address problems at the root (i.e. in the country where they originally are), the refugee crisis is going to deepen and create a mighty unrest all over Europe. Compound that with the rise of the right wing and yeah it’s a recipe for disaster! I only wish
    the refugees as well as the other immigrants do their best to assimilate, and keep extremism at bay as much as possible. Seamless assimilation or an honest attempt at it is the only way out for us immigrants. And I don’t blame the right wing Finns either…yeah tell me what are they to do when they see a woman in hijab, refusing to blend in, pushing a stroller with 5 young ones in tow? Or a group of ethnic men who behave with women in public as they would if they were back in their home country? And I could go on…

    The bottom line for immigrants: right wing and its rise if for real. Accept it and move on with the times. Blend in or try your best.
    Racism is and will be a part of the world, it’s how we deal with it
    that is important. Sometimes we go soft, sometimes we go hard, but
    we go on still…only in an Utopian society will racism not exist and
    an immigrant be given acceptance, a job, a house, a car and maybe even a local woman as soon as they set their foot in a foreign country. I mean come on get real and keep it real!

    • Migrant Tales

      Hi Medusa, so what are you saying: Racism is a part of life so deal with it? If so, I totally disagree with you. We didn’t get educated and given civil rights to “grin and bear” social ills like racism. Your attitude only makes matters worse.

      Keeping “it real” means to stand up against prejudice and racism.

      The reason why we are seeing so much racism in our society is partly due to the recession but also because of our upbringing. We have been taught wrong at school and in our families.

  7. Toiset Soundit

    @Medusa

    You are making a lot of assumptions there and there is a lot of jumping to conclusions going on.

    No serious historian will agree with you about the correlation let alone causal relation between economic recession and right-wing governments.

    Islamofobia is real you say and then from there you go on to conclude that migrants and refugees (who are all muslim???) better blend in and shut the fek up. Because otherwise…
    How passive-aggressive is that man?

    And the “refugee crisis”? Lebanon harbours 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Remember this: about 10% of all refugees flee to the rich western countries, all the rest finds refuge in poor countries surrounding the conflict areas. Pakistan welcomed 2000 000 Afghans since Uncle Sam started bombing their country. Think about that and feel ashamed about your egoistic and defeatist attitude.

    You do not seem to blame anyone (not blaming right wing Finns as you say) but migrants and refugees…

    “yeah tell me what are they to do when they see a woman in hijab, refusing to blend in, pushing a stroller with 5 young ones in tow? Or a group of ethnic men who behave with women in public as they would if they were back in their home country? And I could go on…”

    Well, if someone wants to dress up like an idiot, then it is their bloody right, if they want to dress up according to their religious beliefs, well then that is their right in a democratic country like Finland.

    About the ‘ethnic men’: very bloody annoying when they act like male chauvinist pigs. Some years ago when I was in Helsinki some ethnic men verbally abused my wife (they said something ebout her bottom). I didn’t like it, but let it slip, because they were drunk and you know, when drunken these ethnic men tend to get nasty when you contradict them (I know this from experience), they say it’s a cultural trait amongst these ethnic men. And you knwo what was worse: they were in their own country, they were behaving as if they were back home in their own country… They were white Finns.

    “only in an Utopian society will racism not exist and
    an immigrant be given acceptance, a job, a house, a car and maybe even a local woman as soon as they set their foot in a foreign country”. Yes Medusa, that’s a utopian society, it simply does not correspond with reality in any country I know of.

    Get real? Get real yourself man, the world is changing and more and more people from abroad will end up in Finland. And Finland will have to deal with it. Especially because it will also benefit from immigration. Look at Germany; within 20 years their economy is going to ruins, since they haven’t imported enough immigrants to keep the economy going in the future. Finland in that respect is even worse off.

    It may not always be easy, but hey: for a nation that survived the Russkies, it should be possible to make things work for everybody.

    • Medusa

      Toiset Soundit
      I am going to come over and pull your goddamn fundamentalist beard over! I meant it! Last time I let you go, but this time you name the place and time and I will put your god-damn Islamist loving ass in place.

      You forget about correlation and first read a bit about European economic or world economic history.

      Yeah blend in or shut up your passive aggressive Islamist loving ass you internet thug.

      I don’t feel bad about my attitude but I will kick the attitude outta your defeatist-ass asshole.

      You are an idiot,dressed and behaving like one. The one and only idiot around.

      White Finns did not do half as bad as you Islamists. Terrorists most of you! So go on…

      You better wake up because Finland and Europe don’t have to do anymore to accept asses like you here.

      So spit out and get out idiot……go on get a life…..damn I am done for now!

    • Medusa

      What’s up fundamentalist low life @ Toiset Soundit.
      Wanna meet me like a man?

    • Medusa

      You know what @ Toiset Soundit low life go live in a country that
      supports the holy war, but you here is a liability bloody low life!

    • Medusa

      @Toiset Soundit,
      There will be no first or second sound after I am done with your Jihadi Islamist ass. Man I so dislike your types around here in Europe. Why don’t you pack up and leave bitch ass Islamist!

    • Medusa

      @Toiset Soundit
      My long winding supposed intelligible reply to you is waiting moderation by the site and meanwhile I had to resort to all sorts of small ended means to get back at you. Seriously come outta your room and away from your screen and tell me what you did in my face and then face the music mate…so are you ready? Name the time and place?! The only thing that can come in between is my schedule, and lack of interest after this moment passes, but I will fight it to fight you (so to say…)

      Still look at you and Enrique? You are here on unemployment or welfare and hell-bent on biting the hand that feeds you. Look at you bloody fundamentalist! Say something nice about this place while you are here and being supported instead of raising hell over nothing. Otherwise get back to Arabia or Africa or wherever you are from???

    • Medusa

      @ Toiset Soundit
      Do you know about the dynamics in economy that lead to this recession that does not go away? I doubt it if you even ever went to school? Or did you go to a Madrasa?

      Did you ever read on the initial ripple of the bubble called the Y2K?
      Did you hear then about how the housing bubble in the US burst in 2007 leading to the stock market crash in 2008? Did you hear of the catastrophic chain reaction crash that the other major stock market suffered? Did you hear about the layoffs that followed? I could go on and on, but I am talking to some uneducated moron here. Seriously all I need from you is time and place so that I can fill up your ignorant vacuum personally….

      Go get educated and stop participating in the jihad!

  8. Medusa

    And Enrique @Migrant Tales

    You are a complaining type and I so totally disagree with youon everuthing. I had some Argentinian friends back in the US, but they didn’t whine and bitch like you. You live here, get the benefits and after that all you do is complain on this blog. Why don’t you leave? Always writing shit about racism and xenophobia and never anything nice to say about Finland where you seem to have lived 20 plus years. Shut up man! Or get out of here…and your English sucks!

    • Migrant Tales

      Well, well, well…looks like the real Medusa came to roost. And it’s not pretty.

      Migrants like you are the reason why nothing changes but you probably know that already. Just continue with your apologetic life and tell your “hosts” that you are so sorry that you exist.

      The question is like this: This is OUR blog and we write what we think. We have given you an opportunity to express your opinions. If you can’t handle it, or if you feel that you must insult people in order to drive home your point, there are many blogs where you can go and fly your rude kite.

  9. Medusa

    This is official and this blog sucks big time.

    Enrique is a paranoid chap spreading nonsense paranoia around about Finland and he has an accomplice in that Islamist Jihadi Toiset Soundit.

    Both these morons need to get their ass outta here in grand style and never look back on this country or any Nordic country.

    I have had enough of this blog in 2 weeks and I don’t how peeps coming back for more? Yo Toiset Soundit I kick you ass man anytime, anyplace! Word out……

  10. Toiset Soundit

    @Medusa. Are you drunk? Please behave. I know that my style can be somewhat provocative, cheek-in-tongue and what have you all, but I always try to make my point, I always try to stick to the topic and I always keep myself to a certain degree of politeness and non-violent communication.

    I say, I try, because if you would have taken the time to read some of my reactions on this blog, you will find that I didn’t and do not always agree with what Enrique or other editors of this blog have written. And sometimes my reaction was a frustrated one.

    I even understand that reading this blog may give one the impression that Enrique is all about hailing diversity and immigration and immigrants and never anything positive about Finland. But that is just an impression. But then again: what do you expect about a blog that is critical about Finland’s immigration/ refugee/diversity policies?

    So, Medusa, that being said: thank you for showing the world your real face: you are a fascist pig.

    Me, a jihadist? I hate fascists and I consider Islamist extremists to be fascists. Me, an Arab, a terrorist, and all these other things you named me?

    I am a guy with ties to Finland, not even living there, but with family and friends living there. I love Finland, it is my promised land. I speak the language quite well and have been with my beautiful Finnish wife for more than 15 years now.

    I experience a lot of open mindedness and curiousness about foreigners and the rest of the world in Finland. But also a lot of ignorance and racism (and xenofobism). For example: I am a white guy, but have black hair and a black beard, which makes that even in my country I have been mistaken for a Turk or even an Arabic type. So, yes, I do know what it means to be a ‘wrong type of foreigner’ in Finland, I have had experiences where I wasn’t allowed in clubs/ bars for no apparent reason, I have been thrown out of a bar for no apparent reason. So, there is an attitude problem with many Finns, there is a kind of structural racism in Finland. And that is a cause for concern. Not a cause for panic. But a reason fro being critical about what is going on now with the PS, a party sponsoring racists and xenofobic attitudes.

    I do not think that Finland is a lost case, not at all, democracy is firmly rooted in the country. But democracy should be protected and improved every day in my opinion. So, a blog like this one – admitted: quite radical views sometimes – is just doing that: being a pain in the ass of those who think democracy is only about winning elections and all the rest should shut the fek up.

    I am not going to fight you. If you are such a pussy that you can’t take some counter arguments, then I can only have contempt for you. Besides, I do not do violence, except maybe when attacked – by fascists for example…

    Cheers

    • Marshall Niles

      ahahahaha!!! Oh I needed that laugh. Well said Toiset. I have a feeling Medusa was trying really hard to keep his caper on, but it slowly unraveled over time until he was forced to use whatever attacks he could pull out from the bottom of the slime barell, including islamist pig, ill punch you..rip your beard off etc.. LOL! I should make a comedy skit about this! But, on a more serious note, Medusa, Toiset, Enrique, Steve, Matti, Yossi and everyone..folks, we are all equal here, 2 eyes, one nose, 2 ears (except for me, as Im missing one ear!), one mouth, one brain.. skin color and opinions should not create a rift between humanity, seriously. In the end, if chaos overtook, we would all have to look out for each other anyways.

      Take this blog as a exercise of your mind, opinions and a lesson in general knowledge. Take care!

  11. Toiset Soundit

    “Did you ever read on the initial ripple of the bubble called the Y2K?
    Did you hear then about how the housing bubble in the US burst in 2007 leading to the stock market crash in 2008? Did you hear of the catastrophic chain reaction crash that the other major stock market suffered? Did you hear about the layoffs that followed? I could go on and on, but I am talking to some uneducated moron here”

    You are funny. So, from the fragment above I can only conclude that you are saying that right-wing economic policies (i.e. ultra-capitalist laissez-faire free market principles, especially with regard to the financial sector) lead to major economic crisises? Wow man, common ground, we have found common ground, because that is exactly the way i see it.

    No, seriously, I do know about all these things. And what was your point again?

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