Helsingin Sanomat is still a predominantly white newspaper with a white slant on things

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Helsingin Sanomat, the country’s biggest daily, celebrated its 130th anniversary on Saturday. Congratulations on your important anniversary but the picture below reinforces what I knew about the daily and Finnish mainstream media in general: It’s too white.

Considering that Helsingin Sanomat is the newspaper of Finland’s capital Helsinki, it is surprising that there are no visible minorities in the picture, considering that 9.4% (59,779 persons) of the city’s total population of 635,181 in 2016/2017 are foreign citizens, according to Helsingin väestö vuodenvaihteessa 2016/2017 ja väestönmuutokset vuonna 2016.

The percentage is even higher if look at people who speak another language other than Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue (93,214/14.7%) and who were not born in Finland (86,998/13.6%).

Can you spot a minority? Read the full story (in Finnis) here.

One of the problems of Finland’s ongoing debate on its ever-growing culturally and ethnically diverse society is that the predominantly white media give a lopsided – usually inaccurate – account of our communities.

One good way of challenging the present situation is to encourage more non-white Finns to become journalists and writers and, importantly, encourage them to write courageously about our communities and realities.

Second AfroFinns Achievement Awards

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Shirlene Green Newball

Photos: Jukka Luoma

The Afro-Finns community gathered in Helsinki for the 2 nd AfroFinns Achievement Awards, which took place at the Forum Theatre last week on Saturday.

The grand open of the AfroFinns Achievement Awards (AAA) 2019 was lead with a video of several remarkable black figures quotes and pictures such as Maya Angelou, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Martin Luther King Jr. Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, and others.

The AfroFinns Achievement Awards was held to acclaim the contribution of the Afro community in Finland by celebrating their achievement, acting as a motivation, and reaffirming that we know and see your work as part of a larger society.

This event was organized by AfroFinns, which is a non-profit association for Finns and everyone with an African heritage living in Finland. It promotes diversity, inclusion, supporting cultural development, education programs, and encouraging civic engagement in the community. “Our mission is to elevate, encourage and support more self-reliance within the community”, said Elvis Fuamba, secretary of the association.


Members of the directive board and Zawde Berhanu Life Time
Achievement winner

During the night the performances on stage didn´t stop, it was a mix of music, talk, stories, and others. Artists that sparkle the night were from Berlin, the United States of America, and Finland.

This year AAA 2019 ceremony had over 40 nominees for 13 categories. The selection process has three stages. First, the community members suggest a list of names for various categories. Second, the AfroFinns yield a list of nominations with a maximum of 5 people by category. Third, three parts compose the winning selection: 20 % from the public vote, 40% from an independent judge (this year it was from Think Africa), and the last 40% from the AfroFinns judge committee.


Artists performing at the event.

It was a great night of music, dance, and chat with new people in the heart of Helsinki. Just in case you miss it, here is the complete list of all the winning and the nominated.

Lifetime Achievement

Winner: Zawde Berhanu

Afro-Inspired Music

Winner: Sofy Kap

Blaq boy Jnr

Dk Balafu

Kaveri Special

Sport Person

Winner: Sara Bejedi

Awar Kuier

Glen Kamara

Sierra Leone Football team Helsinki

Literature

Winner: Dorina Owindi

Maryan Abdulkarim

Hope Nwosu

Nimco Noor

Business Project

Winner: Paco Ndiaye

Harriet Aryenda

Lincoln Kayiwa

Ahmed Hassan

Addis Ethiophian kitchen

Paco Ndiaye won the Award for Business Project.

The Nomad Food & Wine is a restaurant of a food journey where flavors from Africa, Italy, and the Nordic are combined for a new and unique taste. Paco Ndiaye, chef and owner said, “ the feeling of winning as been incredible and unexpected. It was an honor for me because it means that I am doing something good. As immigrant, we always need to try to give a good example, integrate the cultures, set a high standard in everything we are doing, and try to fly high like everyone else, so no excuses”.

Ally of Africa

Winner: Afrojazz Club

Christian Tribault

Eerik Wissenz

Rasmus ry

Academic Achievement

Winner: Theresa Bilola

Anthony Okuogume

Eunice Mgbeahuruike

Elizabeht Agbor Eta

Creative Artist in Performing Arts

Winner: Geoffrey Erista

Sonya Lindfors

Creative Artist in Visual Arts

Winner: Dennis Owusu

Yeboyah

Marwa Talsi

Mouhamed Ba

Caroline Suinner

Community Leader

Winner: Good Hair Day Helsinki

Sabasy Ndiaye

George Matovu

Edwin Ndaki

African Fashion Week Helsinki

Another winner of the night was Good Hair Day, which is an anti-racist movement working toward the wellbeing of the Afro-Finnish community. It started in 2016 as an urban day event to expand the perception of beauty, discuss the politics of the Afro, celebrate, and share knowledge of Afro hair. Currently, it has grown because they don’t only organize the annual event, but also support other events, hold workshops and talks for the community about different topics.

Good Hair Day Helsinki, Community Leader Award.

“We as a collective are honored and happy to receive the Award for the Community Leader of the year. It is wonderful to be celebrated in our community, we are looking forward to much more collaboration with other active AfroFinns in Finland”, expressed the group.

Media

Winner: Obiwest Utchaychukwu

Joes Teka

Entertainment

Winner: Deejay Nestar

African Fashion week Helsinki

Afrojazz Club

Caroline Leppihalme

Young Achiever

Winner: Awax Kuier

Glen Kamara

Pyry Soiri

Sara Bejedi

The ending of the event was amazing and inspired by hearing the words of Zawde Berhanu Life Time Achievement 2019 who was the first African to study at a university in Finnish. He is now 95 years old.

Yhteiseen hyvään pyrkivä politiikka on parasta taistelua pahaa vastaan

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kansallismuseo

Donald Tusk, joka valittiin Euroopan suurimman puolueen, keskusta-oikeistolaisen EEP:n puheenjohtajaksi, piti toivoa herättävän avauspuheenvuoron taistelusta äärioikeistolaisia voimia vastaan: ”Me emme uhraa arvojamme, ihmisoikeuksia, oikeusvaltioperiaatteita emmekä sivistystä vastalahjaksi turvallisuudesta ja järjestyksestä. Siihen ei ole tarvetta, koska ne eivät sulje toisiaan pois. Se, joka ei voi tätä hyväksyä, ei voi myöskään kuulua tähän perheeseen.”

Toivottavasti EEP löytää keinot tuohon taisteluun. Suomesta on yhdeksi varapuheenjohtajista ehdolla Petteri Orpo. Kokoomuksella ei ole tähän mennessä ollut minkäänlaista näkyvää halua taistella äärioikeistoa vastaan, vaan pikemminkin kohdella hellästi äärioikeistolaista, rasistista osaa puolueesta ja antaa nuorisojärjestön rauhassa kouliutua sellaiseksi, kunhan pitävät puheet sopivasti lain rajoissa. Mutta ehkäpä eurooppalainen isoveli antaa eväitä paluulle kansanvaltaa ja yhtäläistä ihmisarvoa kunnioittavaan politiikkaan.

Taistelu jotain vastaan on aina vaikeaa. Toisen maailmansodan aikaisessa Saksassa sosialidemokraatit yrittivät käydä epätoivoista taistelua natsismia vastaan. Kun katsotte ajan vaalijulisteita, huomaatte, että Hitlerin propaganda osuu ytimeen: kärsivän tai huolissaan olevan kansanosan tunteisiin. Vastapuoli yrittää herättää väkeä huomaamaan, kuinka karmivat ajatukset ja politiikka ovat tuon propagandan taustalla ja mihin ihmisvihaa julistava ja vähemmistöjä halveksiva politiikka tulee johtamaan. Turhaan.

Olkoon siis meilläkin nyt johtoaatteena se, että politiikka tarkoittaa yhteisten asioiden hoitamista. Myös vaaleissa ja vaalien välissä puolueiden tulee tehdä omaa politiikkaansa eikä keskittyä taistelemaan äärioikeistoa ja rasismia vastaan. Rasistien kannatus taittuu helpoimmin siten, että eriarvoisuus vähenee, kateus laimenee ja turvallisuuden tunne lisääntyy. Helpommin sanottu kuin tehty? Kun kaikki keskittävät voimavaransa ongelmien ratkaisuun, jotain saadaan myös aikaan. Nykyään tuntuu vähän siltä, että meillä on koko ajan vaalikampanja meneillään ja pitää olla varpaillaan ja loukkaamatta edes rasisteja ja kansallissosialisteja.

Tämä ei tarkoita sitä, että rasismia pitäisi piilotella tai rasisteja hyvitellä. Rasistiset valheet on aina tyrmättävä ja äärioikeiston kieroilu nostettava esiin. Toinen suuri virhe, joka natsi-Saksassa tehtiin, oli se, että vanha ja väsynyt presidentti Hindenburg nimitti, vastoin aiempia lupauksiaan, Hitlerin valtakunnankansleriksi. Hän uskoi, että siten Hitler olisi parhaiten kontrolloitavissa. Se puolue, jonka päästätte tuolla periaatteella hallitusvastuuseen, ei ole teidän kontrollissanne, vaan te olette yhdessä puolueen kanssa toteuttamassa juuri sen puolueen politiikkaa. Tästä jäi kouriintuntuva esimerkki edelliseltä hallituskaudelta: turvapaikanhakijoiden epäinhimilliset pakkopalautukset ja jo yksi maamme mainetta lokaava tuomio Euroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuimelta.

Taistelkaa, mutta taistelkaa oman politiikkanne keinoin, tekemällä hyvää ja eettisesti kestävää politiikkaa yhteisten asioiden hoitamiseksi!

Kotoutuminen #6: Perpetuating the Ulysses syndrome, a chronic stress disorder of refugees

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You ask me my name. I shall tell you. My name is nobody and nobody is what everyone calls me.

Odyssey, Song IX

If a refugee suffers from fear, loneliness, enforced separation, a sense of despair and is struggling to survive in his new homeland, more salt is thrown on their wounds by the hateful rhetoric of Islamophobic and racist parties.

One of these in Finland is the radical-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, which labels such people “harmful” to our society while claiming that they don’t “integrate” into Finnish society.

But not only do anti-immigration parties make the lives of asylum seekers and migrants difficult, but government immigration policy is another culprit.

A new report by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights reports that the integration of young refugees isn’t doing very well. It warns that there is a risk of creating a lost generation.

Do you see the problem? The PS tries to destroy their credibility and tear down that important shred of humanity in us.

Unfortunately, those who help and educate migrants to become members of our society have never heard of the Ulysses syndrome.

Since they have not heard of this disorder, some rely on simplistic answers to integration: learn the language and read the Kaleva.

While I’m facetious, the expectations that some of these educators have on their pupils, especially vulnerable ones fleeing war and failed states in the Middle East and Africa, are ineffective in their jobs.

When you ask such a person to assimilate (one-way integration) into our culture, it is like asking a person to stand upright after he or she broke his or her leg.

Ignorance is not the only matter that causes the integration process of a migrant to fail in Finland but standing on a high horse. The view that some have of the migrant is racist in the same way as colonial powers saw and exploited their subjects.

The Ulysses syndrome should be required reading for any person working with refugees and migrants.

See also:

Perussuomalaiset: Onko suurin osa postinjakajista, etenkin pääkaupunkiseudulla, ulkomaalaisia?

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Viime aikoina on puhuttu siitä kuinka paljon poliitikot valehtelevat. Suomen lehdistö hyvin laiskasti seuraa näitä valheita ja kuka valheita kertoo. Puolue joka esittää valheellista ja liioiteltua tietoa ja asioita, erityisesti silloin jos asia koskee maahanmuuttajia, niin perussuomalainen puolue kunnostautuu tässä.

Yhdysvaltain presidentti Donald Trump valehtele paljon. Washington Post lehdessä fakta-tarkastaa presidentin valheet. Valheet luokitellaan yhdellä, kahdella tai kolmella Pinokkiolla.

Virkaastuaisissa, Trump on tehnyt yli 13 430 valheita.

Migrant Tales otti selvää seuraavasta perussuomalaisten väittämästä: “Suuri osa postinjakajista, etenkin pääkaupunkinseudulla, on maahanmuuttajia,” sanoo Riikka Purra Jussi Halla-ahon ja Ville Tavion lehdistöttilaisuudessa.

Onko tämä totta tai tarua?

Posti vastasi: “Suurin osa (80 %) Postin työntekijöistä Suomessa (pl Transval) on suomalaisia” JA “Suuri osa, 70 %, pääkaupunkiseudun postinjakajista on suomalaisia. Poiminnassa mukana alueet: Hki; Espoo Kirkkonummi Kauniainen; Vantaa Tuusula Nurmijärvi.”

Halla-aho, Tavio ja Purra saavat valheesta kolme Pinokkiota.

Suuri osa postinjakaijista pääkaupungin seudulla ovat suomalaisia, eikä maahanmuuttajia.

Kuva: Turun Sanomat ja Pinokkio nenät Hamid H. Alsammarraee.

Why are some Finns still turned on by Nazism and Zyklon B

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In a bar in Lappila, located some 20 km from the city of Lahti, there is a sign on the wall the epitomizes all the hatred and mass murder committed by the Nazis: Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets you Free).

Why hasn’t any newspaper asked the owner of the bar, Juha Koskinen, if he will take down the Nazi sign? Migrant Tales has called numerous times. Koskinen does not answer the phone return calls.

This notorious slogan stood at the entrance of death camps like Auschwitz and Dachau.

In Finland, there is a lot of neo-Nazi sentiment these days. So much so, in fact, that small bars in small towns can place Nazi-era signs with near-impunity.

What can you expect in a country where the biggest party in the polls has sympathies and ties with neo-Nazi groups.

See the original tweet here.

Steen Pramming summarizes why Nazi sympathies are still found in Finland these days, even if this country signed the armistice with the former Soviet Union in September 1944.

Just like Islamophobia and racism, our education system has failed in ridding our society of these social ills.

Finland tries to put itself as a special case, when, in fact, it wasn’t. We did not fight a separate war against the Soviet Union but were up to our necks in World War 2 and allied with Nazi Germany.

It was only this year when Finland finally acknowledged that Finnish SS recruits took part in the Holocaust in Russia.

We are making progress as a nation but slowly.

The “migrant problem” shouted in Finland by the PS is a panacea to all of our problems

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Every voice raised against racism chips away at its power.

Reino Eddo-Lodge

Watching last Thursday’s parliamentary question time was a repulsive experience. If the opposition Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party is to be believed, all of Finland’s problems hinge on migrants.

An article in Verkkouutiset claims that since Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s government began its mandate on June 6, nine of the eleven weekly parliamentary question times have dealt with migrants and or immigration policy.

Such political tactics by the PS are a blow to the institution’s credibility and its elected members.

One reason why the PS is leading the opinion polls these days is because they are feared and due also to ignorance or denial about racism in Finland. They believe that if they are too outspoken against their lies, they will scare away voters.

We at Migrant Tales have never let down our guard or given such a racist party the benefit of the doubt as the Finnish mainstream media too often does.

My views of the PS have not changed. It is a racist and far-right party that is today taking the county towards the path of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Read the original story here.

These are the constant lies that the PS spreads about migrants on Thursday’s question time:

  • Migrants are taking money away from white Finns;
  • The government puts the priorities of migrants before white Finns;
  • Migrants are a menace to society;
  • Migrants commit more crime than white Finns;
  • We must not allow Finland to turn into a Sweden when it comes to migrants;
  • Blah blah blah blah…

While all these claims are exaggerated lies, the strategy of the PS is simple: Finland’s most pressing problems hinge on migrants. Get rid of migrants and, presto, problem solved.

When you watch politicians of the PS making their anti-immigration cases in parliament, they don’t tell us whom they are speaking of and how many.

If they were to mention these two things, we’d understand that they are explicitly targeting asylum seekers who are Muslims and only about 10% of all migrants living in Finland.

EU Court of Human Rights reinforces Finland’s inhumane asylum policy

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At present, there are several things that are giving Finland a bad name: Islamophobia, the hostile environment, and hardline asylum policy.

The latest setback to Finland’s image was handed down by the European Court of Human Rights for violating Article 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 2 states that everyone has a right to life, while Article 3 of the Convention prohibits torture and inhumane treatment.

Read the full story here.

While the ruling reinforces what anti-racism activists have been saying for a long time about the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), we must not forget that Finland’s immigration policy has a long history of committing human rights violations.

We could begin with some recent examples of repatriated Iraqi asylum seekers who were killed. Migrant Tales documented two cases as well as other ones.

Let’s not forget that the former government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä gave the political support to Migri to declare some of the most violent countries like Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq as “safe countries” to deport asylum seekers.

When an asylum seeker is killed on his return, Finnish politicians like former Minister of Interior Kai Mykkänen offer “sad-and-tragic” consolation in the same empty way like politicians in the United States offer “thoughts and prayers” after a home-grown terrorist kills innocent people.

Some cases that remain as permanent dark spots in Finnish immigration history is the deportation of Ingrians and Estonians after the Continuation War (1941-44) and Soviet citizens during the Cold War.

Our past immigration policy continues to bring shame to us. It is unfortunate that we always return to it.

*A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.