Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairperson Jussi Halla-aho is on a roll: Heading south in opinion polls, he now wants Finland to ditch the euro “immediately.” That follows another demand: exit international refugee agreements so that no Muslims can seek asylum in Finland.
If Halla-aho, who is considered Finland’s number one racist politician, has his way, it will isolate the country in the same way as Hungary and help install a fascist state.
An old friend from New York who has lived in Finland for over forty years does not believe that the PS will ever have the opportunity to turn Finland into a Hungary.
“I look at it this way,” he said, “even if 17%-18% of people vote for this party it means that over 80% don’t.”
Moreover, for the PS to turn Finland into a fascist state based on ethnonationalism, they’d have to get a simple majority or 2/3 of the seats in parliament to change the constitution.
Even if people know that the PS is nothing more than racist and populist hot air, the ineptitude of the party will be their final judge and downfall.
The lead story on the Yle website on Wednesday kicks off with the following headline: “Latest coronavirus news: 70 people are in quarantine from a Vantaa school, a record number of infections globally.”
It seems like a standard headline, but wait. For some reason, there is a picture of a black person wearing a facemask at the Helsinki Railway Station.
Is there a connection between the black person in the picture and the news? There is not even a caption for the picture, so no clues why Yle chose a black person to go with the story. You read on, but there is nothing that connects him to the news briefs.
At this point, you may ask why there is a black person in the story.
The answer? A good example of how media like Yle racializes news and in the process reinforces stereotypes about minorities like blacks.
Perussuomalaisten kansanedustaja Riikka Purra ei ole pelkkä kiusaaja mutta laskelmoiva ja opportunisti kiusaaja.
Mitä on kiusaaminen? Se on henkisen väkivallan muoto, jossa kiusaaja kohdistaa toiseen henkilöön tai ryhmään henkistä tai fyysistä aggressiota.
Kiusaaminen muodot kuuluvat mm. nimittelyä, leimaaminen, irvailua, perättömien ennakkoluulojen levittämistä ja sulkeminen kokonaisia ryhmiä ulkopuolelle.
Islamofobia ja ksenofobia ovat yhteiskunnallisia ja henkisiä sairaudet.
I am always amazed at how those who don’t lift a finger to challenge racism in our society are the ones who latch on like parasites to different programs. Institutional racism is one culprit that allows them to appear like they are doing something but in fact, are doing very little.
At the best they are maintaining the status quo.
In my opinion, another reason why there is very little oversight on our own racism is because each one of us is “an expert” on our culture, or how our culture oppresses others.
We don’t question such toxic attitudes or care to question them because they are also close “buddies” of institutional racism.
A quote by Martin Luther King Jr. sheds light on this situation, which is widespread in countries like Finland as well.
You may ask how we have arrived at this situation.
The answer is simple: It is the system and it is supposed to work this way.
The legacy of racism is very clear.
There are a lot of fakes out there imitating the Finnish coat of arms and distorting and corrupting what it stands for. If you are going to become a naturalized Finn, you cannot fail this part of the citizenship test.
On paljon feikkejä, jotka imitoivat olevansa Suomen vaakuna ja
vääristävät ja korruptoivat mitä se edustaa. Jos sinusta tule Suomen kansalainen, et voi vastata väärin tämä kysymys kansalaisuustestissä.
The myth of an ideologically unified Finland isolated from the attitudes and practices of its ally, the Third Reich…the insensitivity toward these silenced histories provides a condition of continued racism and antisemitism.
Finland’s Holocaust: The silence of history (2015)
Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Mauri Peltokangas is a racist hothead who has rage issues when opening his mouth. Like most PS politicians, he keeps to tradition by hating Muslims, mainly Somalis, as in the Facebook posting below.
In a 2:35-minute video clip monologue in February, he used the following cuss words every 20 seconds:
- Shit (paska): 2 times
- Fucked (perseestä): 2 times
- What the hell, hell (mitä helevetti, helevetti): 2
- The devil (perkele): 2
In his most recent racist diatribe, Peltokangas writes:
“Have good weekend friends, followers, and those who hate me. I was thinking with my wife in the garden department of the Kärkkäinen department store of Ylivieska. I thought why do I feel so at peace with myself. It just dawned on me that it is because you don’t hear any Mogadishu [Somalia] dialects, the yelling of goat-herders, and you cannot spot one camel or flying carpet in the parking section.
Finnishness is a virtue.”
Peltokangas communicates directly with his racist and Islamophobic followers, who appear to like what they are reading. He is also giving the thumbs up to antisemitism.
Should the PS MP’s toxic views surprise us about Somalis and Jews? Not really, since Peltokangas feels at home with neo-Nazis and is a member of the far-right Suomen Sisu association.
Juha Kärkkäinen is the owner of a company that bears his name in the background. Kärkkäinen has shopping centers in Ylivieska, Lahti, and Oulu. Apart from his stores, the owner has earned a dubious reputation for being one of the most prominent anti-Semites in Finland.
An appeals court in 2014 upheld a Ylivieska-Raahe court ethnic agitation ruling against Kärkkäinen for publishing anti-Semitic opinion pieces on Magneettimedia, reported YLE. Kärkkäinen was fined the previous year 45,000 euros for publishing anti-Semitic writings of Adrian Salbuch, Ted Pike, David Duke, and others as well as cartoons that bear a striking resemblance to the former Nazi tabloid, Der Strümer (1923-45).
As the quote above by the editors of Finland’s Holocaust: The silence of history state, it offers once again proves how a social ill like racism sees another day in Finland.
Like MP Ano Turtiainen said, getting a criminal conviction as a PS politician is like having a feather in one’s cap.
Other important factors that make the “feather shine in defiance” is the attitude of some Finns, who never stand up to racism but state hypocritically that they are against racism.
We don’t see thins as they are, we see things as we are.
The date and year are not important, but it is a weekday, not too long ago. Spring has arrived and spreads its magic to these sub-arctic latitudes after a long slumber. Leaves are budding everywhere; trees are stretching out their branch tips like a human with their arms upon awakening. The full moon, which seems like a white hole peeking into the darkness, shyly lightens the night as it follows you with thin clouds moving beside it, like waving silk in the sleepy wind.
I am driving alone on the motorway from Porvoo to Helsinki amid these ebon landscapes overflowing with beauty. Even if the night has robbed the forest of its individuality because it is now a solid clump of varying hues of darkness, everything is not what it seems…
We see things as they are
Like the dark forest teeming with life on the motorway to Helsinki, it is made up of infinite particles of matter and spontaneous events. It is very much like an image of our culture, also made up of individuals and endless intentions.
When I moved to Finland in 1978, my ethnic perceptions of the Finns did not differ very much from what was common knowledge at the time. The way we saw ourselves as a people and a nation had very much to do with the geopolitical circumstances of the cold war. Even if we were culturally hamstrung by such a reality, our political leaders, ethnographers, linguists, and others added to our sense of isolation.
On the foreign policy front, Finland did not officially belong to the East of the West. It was in a no man’s land reaping the best of both worlds. Linguistically and ethnically, we considered ourselves distant from the rest of Western Europe as well.
How many times as a child had I heard from my relatives that the Finns are a people that are not related to anyone in Europe except for with the Sami, Hungarians, and Estonian?
Ethnically speaking, the cold war was the most castrating period in Finland’s search for its cultural identity. Through the difficult circumstances of Superpower politics, Finns lost contact with their ethnic relatives like the Estonians, Ingrians, and in many ways with the children of the hundreds of thousands of Finnish migrants who lived abroad.
If it were for the parents of these migrant children, who encouraged them to visit their grandparents in Finland during summer, such cultural bonds would not have been lost forever.
It does not surprise me that even after the Soviet Union’s fall from grace in the last decade, some policymakers in the country are slowly acknowledging a new group of Finns called the New Finns. What these bureaucrats do not understand, however, is that these so-called New Finns have always existed but had not been acknowledged by the authorities.
Things as we are
One of the first scientific books given to me on Finland was written by social policy professor Heikki Waris. In his good on the Finns, he stated that one of the outstanding features that characterized Finland was its homogeneous population.
But how ethnically and homogenous it is? At the time of Wars’ statement, close to one million Finns lived as migrants outside of Finland’s borders. What about the children of these Finnish migrants, who grew up in both cultures, and kept strong bonds with Finland by visiting this country regularly during the summers?
Possibly Wars’ claim could have shed more truth if it read in the following manner: Finns are not ethnically homogenous but have been made culturally homogenous through the circumstances of history, geography, and geopolitics.
Some studies now claim that Finns are not ethnically isolated as previously believed and that they are quite “mixed” genetically with other groups in Central Europe.
The US government asked American anthropologist Margaret Mead after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1942 to carry out a national character study on the new nation America was at war with. The reasoning behind the study was to bring forth some “national traits” of the Japanese so that the US could wage a more effective war against its new foe.
The so-called national character study by Mead did not bear any fruit and concluded that it was impossible to produce a clean list of traits that characterize the Japanese. On the contrary, Japanese culture is made up of an infinite number of sub-cultures and, therefore, impossible to categorize stereotypically.
Considering that Japan must have been a much more isolated country at the time when compared with Finland, what would have Mead’sconclusions been if she had done a similar study of the Finns?
To go back once again to the sublime forest and night that hugs the motorway from Provoo and Helsinki, who can seriously say that there are not an infinite amount of factors at play in creating such a state of beauty?
We must also begin to see ourselves as we are, and not like historical and geopolitical circumstances have dictated in the past.