YLE: Närpes Becomes Magnet for Immigrants

by , under All categories, Enrique

The western town of Närpes in Ostrobothnia has become a model for the successful integration of immigrants, reports YLE. Home to more than 30 nationalities, today one in ten inhabitants of this small town have foreign roots.

Many newcomers to Finland have made Närpes their new hometown. Erdin Majdanac, a metal worker from Bosnia, is one of them. After three years, even the biting cold hasn’t changed his warm views on Finland and his newfound community.

“We want to stay. We like it here and have even bought a house.”

Five of the 18 workers at Majdanac’s job are foreign-born. His employer, Peter Mannfolk, has played a major role in the integration of foreign staff.

“We’ve stressed the importance of learning Swedish. It’s our work language and people speak Swedish in Närpes. Language is the key to integrating into society,” says Peter Mannfolk, Managing Director of Maxel Oy.

In Närpes, inhabitants welcome work-based immigration. The town has a labour shortage and unemployment is just a few percent. But attitudes are equally positive towards refugees.

Mannfolk says the answer is easy.

“Treat others how you would treat yourself, and you’ll have fewer problems.”

  1. Enrique

    This article shows that Finland can successfully live with immigrants. It is a far cry from all the boloney that some extremists are promoting in this country. The advice that the article gives is what we have written before on Migrant Tales: “Treat others how you would treat yourself, and you’ll have fewer problems.”

  2. Tony Garcia

    “Treat others how you would treat yourself, and you’ll have fewer problems.”

    Agreed 100%.

    However something very important is missing here…

    Accept that they are treating you as they treat themselves, and you’ll do just fine…

  3. Jonas

    It’s typical of Yleisradio’s recent outbreak of language discrimination (see this evening’s programme title on TV2, ‘Pakkoruoti-ilta’, can you imagine them calling a discussion programme on immigration “Niger-evening”?) that the refer to the unilingual Swedish speaking municipality of Närpes by its Finnish language name completely against both responsible reporting and the well accepted norms established by the relevant advisory body – i.e. when one writes in a non-Scandinavian or non-Finno-Ugric language (such as English), one uses the majority language of the area, i.e. English for Jakobstad is Jakobstad not Pietarsaari.

    • Enrique

      Hi Jonas, I saw the program and I thought it was very poor. I thought it was a waste of time. I didn’t learn anything else that it reinforced by own views of the problem.

  4. Nårpes

    As most of the immigrants are educated and no doubt from other countries in Europe of course they are going to fit in .But would we be seeing the same story if they where illiterate third world Muslims(I doubt it very much). Finnish people can tell the difference between European and Non European immigrants and the problems which each can bring. So if you think this article is going to make Finns accept all forms of immigration I think in April you will see you where wasting your time.

  5. Nårpes

    The True Finns election slogan should read
    “Immigration but not multi multiculturalism “. Because this is not just the thoughts of most of the Finnish people but also other politicians especially in Kokoomus which the True Finns may be forming a government with them next year. Like you said about Switzerland, Finland like Switzerland is never going to be a country like Sweden or Holland that went for immigration on every level (who now are paying the price for that).It will only support certain types of immigration (which you must now realize with the support Päivi Räsänens comments received) and will be though on the terms and conditions of this type of immigration (Deportation of Non Finnish citizens who apply for state aid is one example)

    • Enrique

      Hi Nårpes and welcome to Migrant Tales.

      –“Immigration but not multi multiculturalism “.

      This statement does not make any sense. You want immigration but don’t accept the fact that we are a culturally diverse society. Hmmmmm.

  6. Will

    “Accept that they are treating you as they treat themselves, and you’ll do just fine…”

    This is a fair point and should be considered when dealing with issues like this. I think that in order for integration to work it needs to be accepted by both sides. A true understanding of how 2 different situations can be for someone. Sadly this type of observation is a difficult thing to instill in someone whether immigrant or local. For this awareness, education and acceptance and patience are needed – factors not given by all. It is in this sense that the scare mongering of nationalistic parties take away from the real integration priorities and put blinkers on people to keep their emotions narrowed on the negative more so then the future possibilities and realities of modern immigration that is needed in a small country like Finland.

    • Enrique

      Hi Will, welcome to Migrant Tales.

      I agree totally with you: For immigration and integration to work it has to be a two-way street/process. Even though it may be hard for some to understand the importance, we want models that work. That should be the benchmark when working on a sucessful integartion program.

  7. Tony Garcia

    “I think that in order for integration to work it needs to be accepted by both sides.”

    Will I think you are dead right, but neither skin-heads or multicultural hippies have phrase “both sides” in their dictionaries.

  8. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby

    Perhaps you can recommend a party for racists to vote for in Finland. Which one should they choose?

    Tony the Toby: the wheel is spinning but the hamster is long gone.

  9. Klay_Immigrant

    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_AiXjZwvSgbI/TNXKGkKgmfI/AAAAAAAAH7A/Q0Y3N1z-cpM/s1600/god_bless_hitler.jpg&imgrefurl=http://thewestislamandsharia.blogspot.com/2010/11/vienna-38-of-muslim-youth-think-hitler.html&usg=__JDyIzRpLiTDKHku4vQ-fo0iFbd8=&h=327&w=450&sz=33&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=h2DTndYeNEi3qM:&tbnh=144&tbnw=184&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmuslim%2Bgod%2Bbless%2Bhitler%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D1259%26bih%3D599%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=520&vpy=82&dur=1482&hovh=191&hovw=263&tx=110&ty=149&ei=u4n2TN_GFMWwhQfPiZXGBQ&oei=u4n2TN_GFMWwhQfPiZXGBQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0

  10. Tony Garcia

    Klay nice to hear from you. A bit of data to support what you just showed to us…

    “The famous United Nations statistic from a 2002 report–more books are translated into Spanish in a single year than have been translated into Arabic in the last thousand–suggests at the very minimum an extraordinarily closed world. What books are among the few they do translate? Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, both of which are prominently displayed bestsellers in even moderate Muslim countries–and, indeed, even in the Muslim stores on Edgware Road in the heart of London.”

    Mark Steyn – America Alone

  11. Klay_Immigrant

    JusticeDemon the answer is none as no party is going to exterminate or even repatriate any minorities or want to reduce their rights. I suggest any racist who wants to see widescale intolerance and uneven rights to venture to any Muslim country to see these practices in full flow.

  12. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    You are dodging the question. Let me put it another way.

    Which Finnish political party has the most appeal to racists? Which political party would implement a programme that comes closest to the wishes of a racist in Finland? Which Finnish political party gets the largest proportion of its electoral support from racists?

    You know the answer to this question. You just haven’t got the courage to say it.

  13. Klay_Immigrant

    People forget that during the Continuation War (1941–1944), in which Finland fought alongside Nazi Germany, Finnish Jews were not persecuted, and even among extremists of the Finnish Right they were tolerated, as many leaders of the movement came from the clergy. 300 Finnish Jews fought in the War alongside the German Army. The field synagogue operated by the Finnish army was a unique phenomenon in Europe. German soldiers were even treated by Jewish Finn medics.

    Compare this to most countries the Nazis entered where the native population turned against their own Jewish countrymen/countrywomen.

  14. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    So now you try to dodge the question by saying that there are no racists in Finland? Not even one?

    If there is one racist in Finland, then which political party should that person support? Which party would seek to make the life of a racist in Finland easier in any way?

    How about the author of this piece? Which party would give her the best return on her vote from her own point of view?

  15. Klay_Immigrant

    Again in the Continuation War in Petrozavodsk, Russia the city was occupied by Finnish troops for nearly three years before it was retaken by Soviet forces on June 28, 1944. Before leaving the town the Finnish troops provided the inhabitants with a week’s ration of food; a unique deed in military history.

    It’s amazing that even in tough times and a climate of war these two examples show what the Finnish people were like, but Enrique and Co. still label them as intolerant and racist.

  16. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    Your source is evidently the English language version of Wikipedia, but to be more balanced you might have used the name Äänislinna and acknowledged certain Finnish military ambitions to carve a frontier from the White Sea to Ladoga. The Finnish language version includes some additional details that clearly indicate not only military occupation of Petroskoi, but also substantial efforts to finnify the city. These efforts included establishing 8 forced labour concentration camps to accommodate a Russian population predominantly comprising women, children and the elderly.

  17. Will

    “but neither skin-heads or multicultural hippies have phrase “both sides” in their dictionaries.”

    Unfortunatly this is a reality in a modern society but how would one change this pre programmed stereo type thought process? On both sides? Chances are it may never happen as often many of these people are projecting some other form of personal or sociatal weakness on to others but in saying that why not think of how to solve this? Our generation might be lost but is it possible to instill a sense of tolerance to the next? and if so How? I beleive it is and it starts with current school kids and providing them with a means to open their eyes. Preaching multiculturalism is one thing but seeing it in action and taking the steps to make it happen is another.

    Hate breads hate and racism is a virus of the ignorant.

    • Enrique

      Hi Will, I think the important matter in this blog is to bring forth a proactive approach not one that is reactive and does not provide anything useful. When a group hates another one and labels every single member, that is taking a reactive stance. The only aim is to blacklist such people and the good efforts of others. That is what I think is the problem with parties like the True Finns. They are not interested in improving anything except the votes they hope to get in the April election.

  18. Tiwaz

    JusticeDemon:

    -“So now you try to dodge the question by saying that there are no racists in Finland? Not even one?

    If there is one racist in Finland, then which political party should that person support? Which party would seek to make the life of a racist in Finland easier in any way?

    How about the author of this piece? Which party would give her the best return on her vote from her own point of view?”

    So which party immigrant who is either unwilling to integrate into society or criminal would vote? Hmm?

    • Enrique

      JusticeDemon, Tiwaz is a perfect example of a reactive stance. He is not only reactive towards immigrants but against everything that is out of the small borders of his world. People like him are responsible for giving immigrants AND Finns a bad name. His arguments are like a storm in a tea cup.

  19. Tiwaz

    -“So now you are also afraid to answer the question.

    Doesn’t surprise me.

    Tell us about the Tiwaz rune.”

    Do not avoid the issue. Which political party would give most benefits to unintegrating and/or criminal immigrants?

    It is as valid question as your racist one, and one you are refusing to answer.

    • Enrique

      Tiwaz, you have to learn how to debate. Taking a reactive stance and assuming that you have certain dictatorial rights without even bothering to know a bit of our law is counterproductive.

      Here is a link that shows that the Hitler youth used the Tiwaz rune: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hitlerjugend_leistungsbuch_gross.jpg. The Tiwaz rune is clearly evident on the lower left-hand corner. A coincidence?

      Risto Laakonen gave a talk recently where he pointed out that whenever Finns start to talk about themselves as a tribe, it borders on racism.

      Another tactic of the far-right/xenophobic groups in Finland is that they try to undermine their racism by blaming their victims of the same behavior/crime. Any sensible person can see that this is ludicrous and similar to accusing Jews destined to the gas chambers of being SS officers.

  20. JusticeDemon

    Tiwaz

    To answer your question, I would say probably the most comfortable ride would come from a laissez faire Kokoomus administration. A neocon programme would applaud the energy and enterprise of immigrants who advance on their own terms by treading on the faces of others, especially if they offer their patronage to the political party that does most to get the government off of their backs.

    Now answer my question.

  21. Tony Garcia

    “Tiwaz, you have to learn how to debate.”

    Sorry Enrique but this coming from you is a joke, when cornered you’re the first to start name calling or the “minarets and/on mosques” – “non sources/unreliable sources” silly game.

    • Enrique

      –Sorry Enrique but this coming from you is a joke, when cornered you’re the first to start name calling or the “minarets and/on mosques” – “non sources/unreliable sources” silly game.

      Doesn’t this example suffice how you debate? Reactive and hitting below the belt is one way of putting it.

  22. Klay_Immigrant

    Tony I can see why you don’t bother with JusticeDemon all he seems to write nowadays is ‘lol’ and call you a ‘toby’, and considering his age that is worrying. I’m sure these tactics would work in a parliamentary debate.

    On a side note I have to give credit to Twiaz in predicting months ago that the Irish economy would fall apart due to heavy borrowing. He could have been lucky and this be a coincidence but going on his logic and views on immigration I somehow doubt it.

  23. Tony Garcia

    “Doesn’t this example suffice how you debate?”

    Is this the way I debate? Don’t forget, my friend, everything you and I ever said here is all on the record.

  24. Tony Garcia

    You never call myself and others racist, xenophobic, scaremongers, hatemongers, islamophobic, etc. leaving the main point brought up by us completely untouched? this is all my imagination, isn’t?

    You never criticized Twiaz, Klay and even myself (the only here who have put the face on display, besides you) anonymity at the same time that others, also anonymous, run wide insulting and naming calling without you say a word, did you? That never happened, has it?

    Talking hitting below the belt…

    • Enrique

      Does JusticeDemon, xyz and some others go around making Islamophobic statements? Hmmmmm. But I don’t want to get into a reactive debate with you. You simply do not understand many things about immigrants even if you claim to be one. You don’t even see anything wrong with satements like racism is a word used by the left. And I do think you are a fearmonger who loses himself your own rhetoric.But how should you know if you don’t understand the of our institutions and history.

  25. Tony Garcia

    Klay and Twiaz,

    The question both of you should be answering is – Who cares? Who cares with party should umpa-lumpas or reptilians vote for? Who gives a shit about it?

    The question I ask is – with party those who doesn’t want Finland to have the same problems Sweden, Germany, France or UK are having should vote for?

    Independently of your political ideology – left, right or centre, if you love Finland on this election you should vote for True Finns. I don’t mean be a True Finn supporter, just vote for them on this election. That should be enough to give the main parties a fright. After that you just go back to your old party.

    If the aliens or hobbits want to join us, great, the more the better. This election can be a life time opportunity and missing it is nothing less than criminal.

    • Enrique

      –if you love Finland on this election you should vote for True Finns.

      Why say it anonymously? Hmmmm… If I may add with my name: If you want worse problems than elsehwere in Europe, vote for the True Finns.

    • Enrique

      It’s not a question of equality when we come to condoning values that are foreign to our way of life. You believe that hating all Muslims, spreading fear is normal. It is not. That is a small minority in Europe. Nice try to make anti-democratic values acceptable on the same playing field. Let me spell it out in clear English: Values like racism and far-right rhetoric are foreign to our values.

      You are now using the same arguments as Tiwaz: You call the victims of racism racists. A funny tactic but it doesn’t work here.

  26. Tony Garcia

    Sorry Enrique, you’re just showing that you have two standards, one for those who agree with you and one for those who doesn’t.

    Let me spell it out in (unfortunately bad) English: The True Finns is a legally established Finnish political party and nether vote or support it is against any Finnish law. You better get used to it.

  27. Tony Garcia

    Enrique, let see if you can put aside the personal attach for a moment and have a civilized debate…

    My point is simple, if we continues to receive thousands of Somalis, Iraqis, Afghans, etc. Finland WILL have the same problems Sweden, France and others are having.

    That’s my point but you call it scaremongering, very well, please let me then understand yours. Are you saying that we won’t have these problems? Are you saying that Finland can open its doors to as many refugees as there is and everything will be fine?

  28. Jonas

    Sweden’s terrible problems just now include an economy that just grew by 6,9% in the third quarter of last year (ludicrously fast considering the global situation). The Swedish economy is the most sound in the EU (and probably aside from Norway, in the whole of Europe) and in these times of massive debts is not unlikely to enter surplus soon. Immigration has certainly helped achieve this. A disproportionate number of smaller businesses in particular are run by immigrants. Immigration has also increased Swedish international trade.

    An interesting article here (in Swedish): http://www.dn.se/ekonomi/invandringen-okar-sveriges-utrikeshandel-1.954118
    And on the record growth (likewise):
    http://www.svd.se/naringsliv/nyheter/svensk-tillvaxt-pa-kinesisk-niva_5753761.svd

    Sure there are some problems, of course. It would be ridiculous to deny that. But, I have been to Malmö and I did not find it to be dangerous in the slightest. The “infamous” Rosengård incidentally is right adjacent to Malmö’s city centre, it is not some far off suburb. The media reports (especially that infamous American TV clip from Malmö) is so distorted as to be closer to fiction than fact.

    Do I suggest we copy the Swedish model of immigration? No. Do I suggest we reject it in its entirety and mislabel it with a lot of untruths? No.

  29. Tony Garcia

    I don’t think Finland should copy anyone’s model. It should have its own based on its reality, needs and most importantly, as any sovereign and democratic country, based on its people acceptance.

    Finland is a country with government not a government with a country.

  30. Tony Garcia

    Yes I have seen the clips from that “infamous” American TV, they are clearly fake, nothing but a Spielberg’s work. Those nights the “youth” were in reality holding hands and singing “kumbaya”.

    • Enrique

      Tony, how many LOLs have you got in this blog so far? I think you are the undisputed LOL champion.

      Jonas, you cannot argue with “Tony” because he is the know-it-all on what is good for Europe. His message is simple: Stop Muslim immigration and kick out the rest. He does not understand that Muslims are already a European minority. The funny thing about his views is that no government, no law, approves them. He represents a small group trying to make a case. As a newspaper we, Migrant Tales, have our editorial line. As you may have noticed, we are against racism, discriminaiton, xenophobia, Islamophobia and all types of prejudice. We believe that in Europe integration should be a two-way street. Assimilation does not work, integration does beter. Racism is a social illness.

  31. Tony Garcia

    “Tony, how many LOLs have you got in this blog so far?”

    Well, I’ve got more personal attach from you them LOLs, unfortunate, I really like more when you engage in a civilized debate, but as I said, every time someone push aside the main point and goes to childish tantrum it only shows how difficult it’s to use fantasy against reality.

    • Enrique

      First you slander and insult other groups and then you claim to be engaged in a so-called “civilized debate?” Hmmmm.

  32. Tony Garcia

    Besides I don’t really think we need to kick anyone out. Finland is a free country, everyone is free to assimilate and have a good and productive life.

    It’s all about making the right choices, even Muslims can do that…

  33. Tony Garcia

    “First you slander and insult other groups”‘

    Nop, I bring facts about them and once you can’t deny it you start attaching. The WWII bomber pilots used to say – “If you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target.”

    You actually forgot the most important editorial line of this blog – Always deny any violence committed by Muslims no matter what. If necessary blame it on Israel or white Christians.

    • Enrique

      Hannu, please look up the definition of propaganda. And thank you for the link you gave, which compliments the story on Närpes as an example. I personally feel that if there is discrimination it should be dealt with a strong hand with the law. That is the way it works in many countries. It should be an effective deterrent against discrimination.

  34. Tony Garcia

    “I personally feel that if there is discrimination it should be dealt with a strong hand with the law. That is the way it works in many countries. It should be an effective deterrent against discrimination.”

    Very well, if a given city council decide that some work places will be offered only for minorities, clearly discriminating against native Finns, you will be against it, won’t you?

  35. xyz

    I suppose you have to start somewhere if natives do not have experience in working with foreigners. And if the city is satisfied with the work done by people from minority groups then this could also encourage companies to hire them as well.

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