Migrant Tales insight: Dr. Faith Mkwesha’s child was was held and mistreated by security guards who handcuffed him and resting his knee on her child’s back. Apart from being a traumatic experience for her child and the mother, all of this happened because he did not have a valid metro ticket, which he thought incorrectly that they were valid for two hours.
A recent column by Seida Sohrabi exposed, in my opinion, how people justify racism and social inequality. I and many others trust the law of this land while people like her have faith and trust institutional racism.
Sohrabi claims to have a master’s in political science; she is an elementary school teacher and gives talks about her views on how migrants should adapt to Finland.
If you read the column as well as her past opinions, I wonder if she understands how our Nordic society functions. She has probably read the Constitution, but like many populists, she does not take it seriously and relies more on society’s prejudices and institutional racism.
Moreover, if she has said before that schools should prohibit children from wearing the veil (hijab), does she prevent their use in her classes? Does she teach her pupils to hate their religion as she does?
Sohrabi, who is a close friend of Islamophobe pseudo authority on Islam, Atte Kaleva, is an example of how people with migrant backgrounds and minorities clamoring to create a space for themselves, will do and say anything to be accepted.
Sohrabi moved to Finland when she was six, which explains why she speaks Finnish without an accent. Is she a “foreigner” or a “Kurdish Finn?”
Just like a recent story on exploitation of migrants in the labor markets shows that many of these companies are run by migrants, many people with migrant backgrounds but who have lived most of their lives here house pretty Islamophobiv views of Muslims.
Sohrabi is not the only one in this questionable group. There are others like Morocco-born Junnes Lokka, Marco de Wit, who is of Dutch background, Miki Sileoni, whose father is Argentinean, and Gleb Simanov to name a few.
Black people who suck up to white USAmerica are called Uncle Toms. It’s a bit the same thing in Finland but in a different context. On the one side, they attack migrants and minorities who are struggling to create a space for themselves in their new or not-so-new homeland while on the other they cloy to white power.
The Urban Dictionary defines an Uncle Tom as, “a black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with the white man including betray his own people.”
It is unfortunate but true, in Finland we have migrants and minorities who will also do anything to stay in good standing to white Finns. Could we call these people “Tuomo-setä,” “setä Tuomo” or “mamu-setä?”
Moreover, I will continue to support and defend the laws of this land while others seek acceptance, encouragement, and refuge from institutional racism.
Mielestäni, syrjintä Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydänmessä on hyvä esimerkki siitä kuinka rasismia romaneja vastaan toimi Suomessa. Se on jopa niin yleistä, että työntekijä voi kieltä palvelemassa ihmisiä, koska “he ovat romaneja.”
Toinen asia on kuin Hotel & Spa Resort yrittää Facebookin kautta puolustella mitä oli tapahtunut.
Mutta sitten kun uutinen savutti valtakunnan median mittoja, Hotel & Spa Resort tunnistaa rikos ja virheen:
“Teimme virheen asiakaspalvelussa romaniasiakkaiden kohdalla. Kyse oli kovassa paineessa olleen työntekijän inhimillinen virhe. Hän huomasi heti tapauksen jälkeen itsekin sanoneensa väärin ja on tapauksesta äärimmäisen pahoillaan. Pyydän [toimitusjohtaja Markus Heiskanen] nöyrästi anteeksi kyseisiltä asiakkailta.”
Johtiko syrjintä tapaus “kovassa paineessa olleen työntekijän inhimillinen virhestä?”
Tuskin enkä uskon. Syrjintä on syrjintä-
Ktaso video ja näet mitä tapahtui suununtaina (5.7.).
Viimeisin (7.7.) korjattu tiedote.
Alkuperäinen tiedote, joka epäonnistui ja paljasti miksi Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän työntekijä syrji.
THIS STORY WAS UPDATED
The mayor of Teuva Veli Nummela, the town’s newspaper Tejuka were straightforward about the attack against a Muslim in early June in the western Finnish town of Teuva.
Nummela wrote in a blog about the anti-racism work done at the town’s schools. “We will evaluate these practices [anti-racism] at the beginning of the new school year. We want to do our best in the fight against racism and violence and respect for human rights.”
Tejukka‘s June 17 editorial, “Measuring civility,” where it not only openly condemns what happened to the Muslim, but that “racism should not be accepted in any shape or form.”
The town newspaper published an editorial and several stories about the incident interviewing the victim, the police, and a foreigner living in Teuva.
If we look at the motive of the attack (bias indicators), there is a strong case to charge the perpetrators with a hate crime.
The police are not ruling out a hate crime but appear not to be in any rush to do so.
So what makes what happened on June 7 to a young Muslim a hate crime?
A hate crime is a criminal offense that has a bias motivation targeting a particular group that could be based on real or perceived gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, or disability.
Even if crimes are serious offenses, a hate crime can have a lasting impact on the victim and the community.
If we look at some possible bias indicators of the Muslim in Teuva in early June, they could be victim perception (white Finns versus a Muslim), intense violence (the victim ended going to the hospital), his property (a car) was damaged. Later there was graffiti written on it.
According to the Criminal Code of Finland (766/2015), Section 5, there are grounds for increasing the punishment if the crime “was based on race, skin color, birth status, national of ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability of another corresponding grounds.”
I spoke with the Muslim today and he is recovering from what happened.
“I will move [from Kristiinankaupunki] to Helsinki at the end of this month,” he said. “I cannot live here because I am afraid to go outside.”
The reaction and impact of the crime have all the characteristics of how hate crimes affect the victim and community.
While hate speech is not a hate crime, in this case, it is a strong case for bias motivation. The suspects threatened to kill him, and while assaulted, an older man asked him to “ask Allah for help.”
I would be very surprised if the police do not charge the suspects for committing a hate crime. Contrarily, it would be another blow to police credibility and reinforce that the police are not interested in protecting minorities.
The bias indicators speak for themselves and suggest that what happened was no ordinary crime.
The year is 2020, and still, people of the Romany minority are refused entrance to a hotel and spa in Rantsalmi, located in the region of South Savo. Jim Crow is alive and well in some parts of Finland.
The receptionist of the Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän refuses entry in the video below to Roma women. When they ask if this is the hotel and spa’s policy, the receptionist says, “yes.”
It is shameful that this is still happening in a country like Finland, which claims to have one of the best education systems in the world, a comprehensive welfare state, and laws that are supposed to ensure that everyone is equal before the law.
Please share this Facebook post and let’s raise hell together!
THE STORY WAS UPDATED
Helsingin Sanomat published today an extensive investigative journalism story about the exploitation of foreigners by cleaning companies. Apart from Finnish (paywall), the full story is in English, Farsi, and Arabic as well.
The Helsingin Sanomat article writes about cleaning company employers’ false promises, exploitation and long working hours, underpayment of wages, human trafficking, threats, and blackmail, These sad facts are nothing new about how some cleaning companies operate in Finland.
Even so, it is a good matter that Finland’s largest daily by circulation writes about how greedy companies exploit the country’s most vulnerable groups.
Politics is another factor that distorts and undermines any meaningful steps to tackle exploitation in the Finnish labor market.
The Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, a party that bases its popularity on anti-immigrant racism and nativist nationalism, argues in parliament that foreign labor would drive down salaries.
Really? Do you mean that foreigners that enter the labor market are clamoring to be pad less than white Finns? Don’t they want to be paid the same salaries? Shouldn’t it be the job of the unions and society in general to protect the rights of migrant workers?
One factor that emerges from the exploitation stories of migrants and asylum seekers is that foreigners run many of these companies.
- A food distributor that hires asylum seekers, pays them under the table, to change the sell-by dates of their old products (24.3.2018)
- An Iraqi asylum seeker in Finland tells us how he was “exploited” for a month by a Porvoo-based company called A-T Puhdistus (23.4.2017)
Here is a recent case of an asylum seeker who is a minor and worked at a car wash run by an Iraqi for 10 euros a week. Yes, you read correctly: 10 euros a week.
The owner had gone as far as to ask the minor’s father to pay him 30,000 euros so they could get a residence permit.(more…)
THE STORY WAS UPDATED
Bewilderment emerges whenever Seida Sohrabi, who identifies herself as an expert on Kurdish affairs and elementary school teacher, comments on her narrow views of how migrants should adapt in Finland.
Having read her opinion pieces, I feel sorry for her Muslim students at the school she teaches. I hope their parents denounce her if she prohibits their daughters to wear the hijab or give them water-downed teachings of their religion by white Finns who are prejudiced.
Sohrabi is playing the “foreigner” and the media – and herself as well – loves it. Have you ever wondered how such eternal “foreigners” of our society speak perfect Finnish without any accent?
The reason for the latter is that they are Finns with non-white backgrounds but play the role of the “eternal foreigner” because it suits them, the media, and their peers.
They claim to represent other migrants but in fact, all they represent is their own unique group.
While Sohrabi and the people above come from different backgrounds, all of them hate one religious group: Muslims.
In the United States and according to the Urban Dictionary definition, an Uncle Tom “is a black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with the white man including betray his own people.”
In Migrant Tales, we have translated Uncle Tom to “Tuomo-setä,” “setä Tuomo” and “mamu-setä.”
Like in the United States, an Uncle Tom in Finland is a non-white Finn who will do anything to suck up to white Finnish culture even if it means sticking a knife in the back of his or her own people.
In the simplest terms, intersectional feminism is a tool to gain a broader view of how gender discrimination works. When studying gender discrimination, intersectionality enables us to take other factors as opposed to just one into consideration, like ethnic background, sex, disability, and sexual orientation.
One of the most preposterous affirmations Sohrabi makes is that new terms like intersectional feminism are not needed because social equality, gender equality, and fairness have characterized Finnish culture.
How do you then explain high unemployment among some ethnic groups in Finland? Remember in October when they published a study by Akhlaq Ahmad about labor market discrimination in Finland? The study reinforced what we’ve known all along: ethnic discrimination is commonplace in Finland’s labor markets.
How come people of color or non-white Finns are underrepresented in almost in the media, politics, and policymakers? How come do people with foreign-sounding names earn smaller salaries and get less social security than white Finns?
Migrant Tales insight: When I published this story about four years ago, I imagined was certain that his presidency would be a fiasco. It was the same hunch I had in 2011 when the Perussuomalaiset scored their historic parliamentary victory. I wrote: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland.”
It looks like Donald Trump is heading for an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential elections, according to the New York Times.
A friend in California asked me a few weeks ago what would happen if Trump was elected US president. I told him that the demise of the United States as a world power would speed up. We are living in difficult times.