Mid-week on British tv, the lead news story was of the racism, caught in Buckingham Palace. The victim is a black British woman who helps female assault victims. The offender is an elderly white woman who has been many years in an honor position. It was a huge embarrassment for the Royal Family, and the offender resigned immediately after being called on it.
Although the victim was not in danger, it was fortunate that the room was packed with other people, and there were witnesses to the racist statements and questions. An hour or two later, it was the lead story on the 6 pm news. If what happened wasn’t important, then you likely don’t know that racism is a CRIME.
After that, I was full of mixed emotions. I was glad that the offender was caught, heartfelt for the victim who had to deal with it, and brave enough to call it out. I was also frustrated and envious because the Finnish police here do not take this crime seriously. I am still bearing the brunt of the racism, Anglophobia, and ageism from a Finnish offender who was in a power position over me because when you have no justice – you have no peace.
Originally I had planned to update you that I am still waiting for the ( replacement) permanent residence that was promised to me by October 6, 2022 – and emphasize how my new police ID can be processed in 8 weeks, and yet I have to wait more than a year for a status, and, in the meantime get questioned by officials while at the same time paying taxes and having your benefit put on hold. But the first part of this report blends into the second – and becomes continual disrespect.
Remember when 32,476 asylum seekers came to Finland in 2015? Remember how Finland patted itself on the back by stating it did a great job housing many people, mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan?
There are mixed results about Finland’s “great job” in housing so many asylum seekers in such a short time. Some reception centers did a good job, others were vandalized, while others did a terrible job.
From January to November 31, 2022, 45,267 Ukrainians arrived in Finland, according to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). Their numbers are expected to rise in 2023 as the war continues and intensifies in that country.
Déjà-vu: Some Ukrainians at the privately-owned company Luona’s Nihtisilta asylum reception center of Espoo are airing the same complaints. The very complaints are similar to what the company faced in 2016.
An Iraqi, 33, who came to Finland in 2015, alleges that his employer of a Vantaa cleaning company asked him for 10,000 euros to give him a letter to the Finnish Immigration Service so he’d get a residence permit. He made a deal with the Finnish employer in 2019, and he would pay the sum by working long hours and for lower pay.
The Iraqi said that he knows of 4-5 other employees at the company who were in the same situation as he.
The present case is an example of how some employers take advantage of vulnerable migrants who want to get a residence permit but need a job.
Even if the employee in the drawing appears happy, it is a very different story for many migrants who are exploited by cleaning companies in order to get a residence permit. Source: GoogleSheets
A person with no experience can make 11.25 euros an hour and up to 11.82 an hour if they have experience. A degree in cleaning from a vocational school can get you over 12 euros an hour.
The Iraqi, who does not know how much he is supposed to make after working long hours because his pay slips don’t reflect the actual hours he works, ended up recently in a heated argument with the owner, who had not paid him for two months.
The incident led to shouting and pushing with the police arrived. With no interpreter, the police told the Iraqi to contact Riku, a victim support group.
There are many good tips migrants can get in Finland on how to land a job, write a convincing CV, and give near-perfect answers to a prospective employer at a job interview. Despite the latter, one crucial matter needs to be included: Learning and protecting your rights after you are hired.
Because it is difficult to find online cases of abuse and unfair practices by employers, the victim may face several obstacles. The post below by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) highlights the problem of employer abuse, but there is no advice on what you should do and whom you should turn to for help.
Khalid, who prefers to remain anonymous because he fears problems with his past employer, said that the system whereby asylum seekers must get work to get a residence permit opens them up to abuse.
“I know of many cases where a foreigner is abused and taken advantage of by the employer,” he said. “It is easy for the employer to force the employee to accept abuse and work in black, and even threaten him or her with deportation.”
Khalid is, however, adamant: “When you feel something is wrong, go to the authorities and ask for legal advice. This is your right, and I don’t wish anyone to suffer my terrifying experiences in the Finnish labor market.”
He said the information you can get from unions like SAK is very helpful when approaching the police about your case. Even so, there is so much that such organizations can do to fix your problem at work.
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) below tells you how to identify exploitation by the employer but not what to do if you are a victim of such abuse.
Khalid has not yet made a police report about the abuse he suffered at a Helsinki company that subcontracts work from the state-owned Posti Corporation.
Like many others, the young Iraqi came to Finland in 2015 when he was 18. His work history defies all the hostie urban tales by far-right anti-immigration groups like the Perussuomalaiset*, claiming such people came here only to live off social welfare. For several years, Khalid was an undocumented migrant since he had a deportation order in 2017 but preferred to stay.
“I came in 2015 but started to work in 2018 for a company that fixed old windows and did cleaning work,” he said. “I was fortunate because the company that hired me did not exploit me. They paid me fairly, got paid for overtime and even holiday pay.”
Khalid’s first job in Finland was fixing old windows. Source: Google
The young man admits being surprised that his first employer treated him fairly. He had heard of many cases where their employers abused and short-changed foreigners.
“I was forced to quit my first job because I did not have a work permit,” he said. “I could not apply for a work permit because I did not have a passport. I was unemployed, but only for a short time.”
His second employer was Posti Corporation. He was paid 850 euros a month for distributing newspapers during the wee hours. From Posti Corporation, he started to do construction cleaning work but had to quit that job because Migri would not grant him a work permit.
The hate speech targeted at Sámi activists like Petra Laiti and Janne Hirvasvuopio by MPs from the Center Party and others is a stark reminder of the racism inflicting Finland. Suppose the Sámi, the original inhabitants of Finland, have no right to self-determination. What does this say about other minorities who want to practice and maintain their culture in this country?
If anything, it exposes in raw Finland’s hostile environment and the institutional racism that minorities face.
Apart from Norway and Denmark, Finland still has not ratified ILO Convention 169, thus retarding the rights of the Sámi to self-determination and human rights.
Below is a Facebook post by Petra Laiti about hate speech and attacks by Center Party MP Mikko Kärnä, whose anti-Sámi views helped him get elected to parliament.
The far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* is the most Trumpian party in Finland’s parliament. Its parliamentary group leader Ville Tavio, who has spoken highly in the past of similar far-right politicians like France’s Marine Le Pen of France, is happy that former President Donald Trump is back on Twitter.
Twitter banned Trump after he incited an insurrection to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and halt the peaceful transfer of power to President Joe Biden. No president of the United States has done what Trump did to undermine US democracy.
Like Trump, Tavio and his band of PS politicians are cancer undermining our society and institutions.
Who would they go after they rid Finland of those they loathe? Not me, you might believe.
It would be the end of democracy as we know it.
In neighboring Sweden, the Sweden Democrats were able to form part of the government thanks to right-wing parties like the Moderates.
The National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) is flirting and playing ball with the PS in Finland. Contrary to Sweden, Finland’s far-right party will not accept forming part of a minority government. It will want the whole thing, even if it means devouring Kokoomus.
Where is your MAGA cap, Tavio? Two of your MPs, Wilhelm Junnila and Veikko Villen, have posed with it.
Apart from Finland’s racism problem, the PS has become popular due to the tacit support of the media and non-PS politicians for their views.
If we unite and give parties like the PS and those like Kokoomus that support them the thumbs down, we can send them back to the minor political leagues.
The Midterm elections in the United States were an encouraging rebuke of Trump and the Republican Party.
Targeting and hating people because of their background isn’t “normal” or a tool to build a well-functioning society.
It is a recipe for the social exclusion of Others and to sow future fields of genocide.
There was no red wave, never mind a red tsunami, in the midterm elections in the United States. Defying the precedent of past elections, the Democrats gave the Republicans a beating they will not easily forget. What lessons can Finland learn from the US midterm elections?
For one, voters shunned extremist positions on issues like election denial, immigration, abortion, and civil rights.
Watch Thursday’s parliamentary question-and-answer sessions if you want to watch “the crazies” lashing out whenever the PS candidates awoke by the magic term maahanmuutto (immigration). They go off the wall throwing their extremist spaghetti wherever it may stick.
Apart from the rejection of extremist Republican candidates, leadership was needed from other politicians to call out these crazies.
In September, President Joe Biden called the MAGA Republicans “semi-fascists.”
It is high time we do the same in Finland and call out these extremist politicians for what they are: fascists and a threat to democracy.
It was in 2020 when Helsingin Sanomatpublished a big story about the dangers of youth gang violence in Helsinki. The story received a lot of criticism because it spread the misinformation that youth crime is rising in Helsinki and Greater Helsinki.
It isn’t surprising that the state-owned broadcaster, Yle, has spread the issue, especially after Sweden’s parliamentary election, which was won by the far-right Sweden Democrats, which took up youth gang violence as one of their main campaign issues.
The tactic by the Sweden Democrats and the right-wing Moderates paid off.
Considering Finland will hold parliamentary elections in April, it should not surprise us that the far-right Finns Party and its National Coalition Party partner are feverishly searching for a successful campaign issue that centers on migrants and minorities.
In all three parliamentary elections last decade, the PS’s good showing was boosted by some news involving asylum seekers, mainly Muslims:
The 2011 parliamentary election, when the PS won 39 seats from 5 previously, was helped by reporting that was more amazed at the new racist kid on the political block. Even parties like the Social Democrats started copying the PS’ anti-immigration rhetoric. PS rising political “stars” like Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari, Juho Erola, Timo Soini, and others got their places in the sun. Things were so bad back then that Islamophobes were invited to give their opinions on talk shows about immigration policy..
In the 2015 parliamentary election, when the PS duplicated its 2011 result by gaining 38 seats, a rape happened in the Helsinki neighborhood of Tapanila one month before the election. The crime got a lot of attention in the media, and Yle went as far as to ask people of the Somali community why “they always rape.” The police also helped by labeling the suspects “people of foreign decent,” even if they were born in Finland. Why was it essential for the public to know the latter?
The PS got another present in the 2019 election when suspects, mainly asylum seekers, were accused of sexually harassing minors. Even if the media, and the police, who warned people to stay away from foreigners, reached hysterical levels, the PS, with the aid of parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), promised to get tough on migrants. The PS almost won the parliamentary election in April.
Is youth gang violence in Finland one of the winning campaign issues for April’s parliamentary election?
So far, Yle has brought the issue to the public through A-studio and Monday’s 8:30 pm news. Who is making such editorial decisions?
Many questions arise from such reporting. Some of the main ones are if gang violence is a problem, like in Sweden and why it is an issue today. Doesn’t the media bear any responsibility for labeling all minority youths?
The Finnish mainstream media has a poor reputation in the eyes of racialized Finns for spreading and labeling them. Yle did it again on its 8:30 pm news, where it led with a picture of a white youth giving the finger, followed by no sources except for “the police believes” that street gang criminal activity has taken a turn for the worst.
Then the reporter gives her verdict, sourcing her opinions to the police without mentioning statistical information, never mind an official’s name.
“Shootings in public places, bragging about criminals and showing it on social media indicate that street gang criminal activity has grown in Finland, according to the police.”
Who are these youth gang members anyway?
Surprise, surprise: “Youth gangs are different from motorcycle gangs,” the reporter states, “since they listen to rap music, they are mainly men of foreign background and exert influence in the neighborhoods they live.”
I had the opportunity to interview Petra Laiti in 2017. A steadfast activist for Saami rights, I remember one matter from the interviews: Her clear views and eloquence. She is a gifted leader.
If Finland has a questionable reputation, how it treats Others like migrants and minorities, the Saami is a case in point. In the 1970s, Finland still punished school pupils for speaking their home language.
A Kanta-Häme district court that dropped charges against seven police officials and security guards for forcibly removing in 2017 two Muslim women’s hijabs will not be treated by the court in what remains of the year but in 2023, according to prosecutor Heidi Savurinne.
It’s been over 40 years since a group of foreigners and Finns organized a demonstration from the Porthania’s University of Helsinki to the steps of parliament. It happened on a Tuesday, 19 October, and it was a very cold day.
Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, which has had a murky history for publishing and attacking Somalis and other migrants in the 1990s, publishes a story about two Romany women who shoplift 2,600 euros of merchandise.
Apart from pointing out that the two women had hidden the merchandise in their Romany dresses, one of the suspects had yelled and acted aggressively against the security guard.
What would have happened if the shoplifters had been white Finns? If it were news, the tabloid would probably lead with the following headline: “A white Finns shoplifts.”
Who would be interested in reading such a story?
In our opinion, the story about the Romany women shoplifters has no other role than exposing the reporter’s prejudices and racist stereotypes of Romany women.
#Astudio host Marja Sannikka kicks off the next topic on the talk show on gang violence with the following words that sound like a thriller: “Knives, violence, revenge. Finnish youth gang crime grows at a worrying pace.”
In the talk show, does Sannikka gives us any facts about “the worrying [growth] pace” of gang violence in Finland? Instead, she speaks to four youths in the Vantaa neighborhood of Tikkurilla who give their views on the topic without any facts.
“I think matters have got worse in the past two years,” says one, “while another says that “people act more aggressively than before.” Knives and other weapons are more common, according to them.
While – again, without any statistical data – it takes about 10 minutes for Sannikka to mention that magic scapegoat word, “person of foreign background.” According to her, the police claim that 90% of the gang members are “people of foreign background.”
If you make such a claim, the host should back it up with facts. Moreover, how many so-called “people of migrant backgrounds” belong to gangs? 90%? 70%? 30%? 1%? 0.001%?
Most first- and second-generation Finns don’t belong to gangs and do something more useful with their time.
Why does Sannikka use #astudio to label and victimize all migrant youths?
Police officer Markku Heinikari has no answers about the roots of this problem and what to do about it. Mika Mehmet, the social worker who grew up in two cultures, mentioned that it had to do with belonging and a weak sense of identity.
Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest-circulation daily, writes in an editorial about why the country needs labor migrants to secure economic growth and services offered by the welfare state. We are at a critical crossroads: It is the first time in history that more people die than there are newborns.
While the editorial invites debate on Finland’s serious demographic woes, it is misleading because it only highlights the usual talking points by leaving out new arguments offered by brown and black Finn migrant researchers.
The editorial bases its call for more labor migrants on the pension insurance group Varma CEO Risto Murto’s book, Puuttuvat puoli miljoonaa, The missing half a million.
Murto’s book does not reveal anything new about Finland’s demographic woes. Over one-fourth of about 8% of Finland’s foreign population in 2020 lives in Helsinki; in 2035, it will rise to over a third; the low employment levels of people who came to Finland as refugees.
While Murto does not explain why the employment level of Afghans, Iraqis, Somalis, and other people of color is low in Finland, he and Helsingin Sanomat leave out the fact that their employment level rises the longer they live in Finland.
For some odd reason, the Helsingin Sanomat editorial and Murto forget to mention that refugees in Finland comprise about 10% of all foreigners. As we know and have seen, Finland’s hostile environment against visible migrants spread by parties like the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), Christian Democrats, and others.
When they attack foreigners, such parties speak of this group as one group, “migrants.”
Finland has historically shunned immigrants, even if it is a country of emigrants. In the 1970s, when hundreds of thousands of Finns were moving to Sweden, the country decided against labor immigration to plug the economically active population deficit.
Several questions arise on how Finland could be a magnet for labor migrants. Less bureaucracy, family reunification, child education, Finnish- and Swedish-language lessons.
The latter is easier said than done. Historically and politically today, Finland has shot itself in the demographic leg by allowing its suspicion of outsiders to overtake the better of them.
Any serious student of Finnish society should eventually grasp that institutional racism is one of the mothers of all social ills in the country. Institutional racism gives cover to racists and to the toxic white saviors who do irreparable harm to migrants and minorities.
You don’t need a lot of research to figure out the latter. Look at people who have the power to enforce and regulate it.
The answer reveals a sad truth: there is no intention or political will to change matters. The situation is what it is because they are supposed to be that way.
US social thinker James Baldwin put it in the following words:
Without any intention of changing matters, rest assured that most projects with newcomers will miss the mark or fail outright. The integration authorities will feed newcomers the usual half-truths about Finnish social justice, which is highly selective.
Unfortunately, the latter will happen with some of the blessings of our culturally diverse communities.
Even so, I am confident the more Finland’s culturally diverse population grows, the more evident this social ill will be, and the need to change it permanently.
How far will right-wing parties like the Moderate Party of Sweden go to make a pact with their political devils? How much populism and empty nationalism led to the demise of UK Prime Minister Liz Truss? These are valid questions for Finland’s National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), which is making similar pacts with populism.
Kokoomus, like the Moderate Party of Sweden, and the rapid downfall of UK Prime Minister Truss must have raised some concerns. An election strategy is needed for April, but peppered with toxic populism and anti-immigration soundbites?
Politicians make fiery speeches against migrants – note they speak of all migrants – and then expect people to move here. Even for some who live here, the environment looks and feels hostile.
If we continue down the road of populism and exclusive nationalism, it’s clear that our future spells ruin.
Yle’s reported Tuesday building a border fence between Finland and Russia. Reporting from Estonia’s capital Tallinn, Yle reporter Rain Kooli said that the wall between Estonia and Russia was to stop migrants – not asylum seekers – and illegal migrants.
The project, which the Finnish Border Guard is spearheading, will cost hundreds of millions of euros and take 3-4 years to build. The fence will be built by border crossing points and 10%-20% of the border with Russia.
Why wasn’t there any analysis of the effectiveness of walls and if they work?
One analysis by Rand stated:” If a border wall provides the political space for addressing these more systemic problems, then it may still be a worthwhile investment. That said, the proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border—like all previous walls—should be viewed as a means to an end, rather than an end unto itself.”
Europe is good at hiding its very big dirty secrets. German news magazine Der Spiegel revealed the inhuman treatment of refugees at European borders by publishing a report on Frontex by the European anti-fraud office OLAF. And that’s not all: The Guardianreports that 92 naked refugees were rescued at the Greek-Turkish border.
Writes Der Spiegel: “The OLAF report led to [former Frontex head Fabrice] Leggeri’s resignation in spring 2022. But what the investigators have uncovered goes far beyond questions of individual liability. Even though it wasn’t the main focus of the investigation, the report relentlessly exposes how Greek border guards in the Aegean Sea abandon refugees at sea on inflatable life rafts to prevent them from exercising their right to apply for asylum.”
Tens of thousands of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea have perished. The silence resembles the mass killings of Jews, Roma, and other state enemies in concentration camps. Even in my country of birth, Argentina, people elected not to see the abduction, torture, and murder of people by the military dictatorship.
A young and energetic woman called Anastasiia Diudina aims to fight Russian aggression and sees helping Ukrainian refugees as an important part of it.What is surprising is that some of the problems the asylum seekers faced at asylum reception centers in 2015 and beyond are faced by Ukrainians.
While Diudina stresses that the treatment of Ukrainian refugees depends on the asylum reception center, former culprits like Luona, a private company, and the Red Cross are mentioned as poor examples since “they are big organizations.”
“Just like in 2015 and 2016, when people from Iraq and the Middle East came to Finland, it’s important that asylum reception center staffers understand that people are fleeing war, mass killings, genocide are traumatized,” she said. “Many [Ukrainian] refugees have spent weeks inside a cellar while their city was bombarded.”
“Luona, for one, refugees [allege] that they don’t get any humane treatment from the staffers,” Diuidina continued. “At Luona, some refugees have been told to live elsewhere if they aren’t happy with how they are treated. If you are treated poorly [by a worker], you lose trust in those that are supposed to help you.”
The young activist mentioned cultural and language problems between reception center staffers and refugees. She said that many Ukrainians don’t speak English.
“There are long waiting lines to visit the nurse,” Diudina explained. “How to treat diabetes is a good example of how cultural misunderstanding leads to mistrust. In Ukraine, diet is an important part of diabetes treatment even if it is not used as a diabetes treatment in Finland”.
The diabetic does not understand why the reception center does not give him the right food. This may lead him to falsely believe that nobody cares for him, according to her.
Ylewrote about how poor food at Kyyhkylä near Mikkeli was a common source of friction.
The young activist said that many problems could be avoided if there were enough resources to help refugees at reception centers. According to her, staffers are overwhelmed with work.
“Is this the refugee problem?” she asked. “No, it is Migri’s [Finnish Immigration Service].”
Present mistakes come from past mistakes
Remember former Center Party Prime Minister Juho Sipilä’s government when they had to deal with a record number of asylum seekers from mainly Iraq and Afghanistan? With the blessings of the National Coalition Party, Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, and the opposition, Finland passed draconian laws in 2016 to do away with pull factors.
If we are honest, those laws supposed to help asylum seekers and Ukrainian refugees are at the core of the problem. The same arguments used by understaffed and some unqualified staffers at asylum reception centers are made again: We had to do things in a rush, we don’t have the experience.
Diudina explained that there is a shortage of human resources, forcing some to be inflexible and do the minimum that the law requires.
Migrant Tales understands that a Kanta-Häme district court ruling acquitted the police and security guards for forcibly removing the hijab of two women in 2017 will be appealed.
The present ruling, which allowed the police and security guards to use force, sends a disturbing message. It messages that the police can use force without considering your religion and rights..
Moreover, such forceful action by the police undermines Muslim’s already low confidence in the police.
The women applying for asylum at the time were forced to take off their hijabs for a picture. They argued that apart from religion, they were taken photos with their hijabs in Helsinki.
The September 30 district court ruling received little mention in the media. Helsingin Sanomat published a story on the matter in 2017. Iltalehti, Yle, and Hämeen Sanomat covered the recent court ruling in their publications.
Journalism is a tough job that forces one to stay on its toes. On Thursday on A-Talk we heard the opinions of four MPs of the Left Alliance, Social Democrats, National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), and the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* if Finland was heading towards a debt crisisand spending cutbacks.
There was nothing new from PS MP VIlle Tavio, who suggested the usual cuts in development aid, which is pictured as “money thrown down the drain,” and billions of euros from “migration,” which he labeled as a security threat.
No pushback, never mind an utter from the host Sakari Sirkkinen. The following comment by Tavio was a sad example of zzz or snooze journalism. Yle is supposed to represent migrants and minorities living in Finland, not permit their demonization.
Said Tavio: “Social welfare based on nationality would revolutionize the [existing] and make the system more dynamic and advantageous for us.”
Again, an eerie silence came from the host, and none of the guests uttered a word.
With parliamentary elections in April, PS Chairperson Riikka Purra reiterated Thursday that social welfare benefits should hinge on nationality.
There is a lot of talk and unfortunate examples of how the media helps to spread populist parties’ hateful messages about migrants and minorities. An editorial published by Helsingin Sanomat Thursday is a good example of how the media does this.
The good showing of the Sweden Democrats in September’s parliamentary election is due to the country’s youth gangs, which received a lot of attention.
In the same way as the Sweden Democrats, the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS) is trying to use the same campaign theme in Finland. Even if the editorial does not mention that it is racist for parties like the PS to label whole groups as a menace to society, it correctly points out that Finland’s so-called youth gang problem is different from Sweden’s.
I had the opportunity to attend on 6 October the European Network on Religion & Belief’s (ENORB)* General Assembly, when writer and columnist Babah Tarawally gave an inspirational talk on hope and Ubuntu, an African philosophy that draws strength communally.
As many migrants and minorities readily learn, hope is the fuel that keeps one from moving forward in one’s new homeland; it also gives you strength to pick yourself up after failing.
Tarawally lives in the Netherlands and writes about Otherness as a writer and columnist. He is a source for migrants and others who want to succeed in their new homeland and be treated equally, not as victims.
Tarawally said that he empowers migrants in the Netherlands by asking them to see themselves in a picture that has a gold frame.
Here is an example of a discriminatory and spiteful message by the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party head, Riikka Purra. With parliamentary elections in April, she and the PS are ratcheting up their xenophobic message.
As the claim by Purra reveals, the only role of the PS is to poison the atmosphere, lie and keep migrants and minorities as second-class members of society. In other words – it is toxic and racist and unsubstantiated blah blah.
Former President Donald Trump is a threat to USAmerican democracy, and Russian President Vladimir Putin a threat to world peace. While these leaders spread their toxicity and hatred on other people and nations for political gain, our Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party has nothing more than praise for them.
Well, that was before Trump and Putin became major embarrassments.
A word of advice: Don’t trust the PS with a 10-mile pole in Finland. They are a threat to our democracy. They are the ones who pose proudly with autocrats like Viktor Orbán of Hungary and pro-Putinists like Matteo Salvini.
It would be unfair, to blame only the PS for all the Islamophobia and hatred in Finland. The National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) is trying to use and flirt with the PS in the hope that they will gain more voters.
It is a dumb and perilous choice. In Sweden, their sister party, the Moderates, opened the door to the far-right Sweden Democrats, leaving them in second place in last month’s election after the far-right party.
From left to right: President Trump and Putin in a 2016 poster in Montenegro. Photo by Stevo Vasilijevic/Reuters. Upper center: PS MPs, Vilhelm Junnila and Veikko Vallin, ging the thumbs up with their MAGA caps. Source: Facebook and Migrant Tales. Lower center: Tweets Halla-aho in November: “Trump is the best thing that happened in a long time to the United States and the west. Tweets MP Mika Niikko: “Trump’s campaign is similar to what the PS does. Trump has spiritual superiority. And then Russian premier Vladimir Putin: “Trump is a very qualified leader. His vitality enables him to do away with viruses.” Source: Mannerheim-projekti.Right: MEP Laura Huhtasaari and Hungarian strongman Viktor Orbán. Source Twitter
Watching weekly Thursday’s question-and-answer session between the opposition and government can cause nausea. With parliamentary elections six months in April, expect opposition parties like the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) to increase their attacks against ALL migrants.
The truth about the PS and Kokoomus, the biggest and second-biggest opposition party, respectively, is that they have declared hostile and open warfare against migrants and minorities in Finland.
Making up fear scenarios and copying the success of the Sweden Democrats in September’s elections in Sweden is what the PS and Kokoomus want to convey to their prospective voters.
Kokoomus must look a bit worried about the elections in Sweden. The open support of their sister party, the Moderates, enabled the Sweden Democrats to become the biggest right-wing party.
The lesson we learn repeatedly is that right-wing parties that support far-right ones lose support. Why would you vote for a party that is a lighter version of the real xenophobic thing?
Mahad Sheikh Musse* has worked in Helsinki as a youth worker in various roles and with various communities for the past 15 years. If there is somebody who understands minority youth issues, it is him. Migrant Tales had the opportunity to chat with Mahad during his busy schedule.
We all know how the elections in Sweden went. The far-right Sweden Democrats exploited and made gang violence their campaign message. Their rhetoric paid off, turning the Sweden Democrats into the biggest right-wing party and an opportunity to form part of government for the first time.
Even if in Finland, we are nowhere near Sweden regarding gang violence, politicians from the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), and Christian Democrats are trying to exploit the same issue with parliamentary elections in April.
Expect accusations and finger-pointing by these parties and the media will get louder in the months ahead.
Contrary to what the media and certain politicians are spreading, Mahad does not believe that there are organized youth gangs in Finland like in Sweden. In other words, so-called gang violence is not an issue but spread by politicians with an agenda.
Even if violent crimes suspects under 15 has grown, it has gradually fallen throughout the 2010s for the 15 and 17 age group, according to Yle News.
Even so, Finland is still far ways off Sweden concerning suspected youth crime cases.
“In my opinion, the worst mistake our officials can make is to group all of our youth minorities into one group,” he said. “You are not interacting with youths as individuals but as a group. Apart from exaggerating the problem, it is a racist way of looking at the issue.”
Mahad said that one of the biggest problems concerning minority youths is that they don’t have access to services that should help them and that we talk about their problems without their presence.
“Some journalists have little idea about about the lives of minority youths,” he added and stressed once again: “If we want to improve the lives of minority youths, we must deal with them individually and not by putting them into one group.”
Mahad said that the problem boils down to how we debate the matter publicly. It is important to remember that the authorities must distinguish between those that commit crimes and those that don’t.
“The message from the #authorities to #youth must be clear: Everyone is an individual and responsible for their crimes,” he said.
The youth worker said that one big challenge is overcoming ignorance of such youths. Moreover, some migrants and minorities like to hide inside their groups and be part of a system that promotes institutional racism and social exclusion.
“You have people [like politicians and the media] talking about minorities without even knowing anything about such people,” he continued. “When it comes to minorities, everyone is automatically an expert.”
“Pretty incredible, no?”
*Mahad Sheikh Musse is a board member of Rasmus ry, an anti-racism association.
Three judges of a Kanta-Häme district court unanimously ruled to acquit police and security guards of all charges for removing by force the hijabs of two Muslim women, according to Iltalehti.
The women, who were applying for asylum at the time, argued that in Helsinki, they didn’t have to take off their hijabs for a picture.
The incident, which happened inMay 2017, led to the charging of seven police officers and security guards with negligent breach of duty, assault, and incitement to assault.
Writes Ilatlehti: “The court agreed that the police officers and security guards did use force [against the women to remove their hijabs] but had a right to do so. The use of force was necessary because the women resisted the officers [taking off their hijabs].”
The tabloid adds that the court believed the women allegedly exaggerated how the police and security guards physically abused them. One of the victims said she was pressed against a wall for at least 45 minutes. Both claimed they had to use painkillers for over five years due to the altercation.
The case was heard by a panel of three judges. The decision of the district court is unanimous.
Watching the parliamentary question-and-answer session between the opposition and government revealed two matters: the opposition’s xenophobic politicking and the government’s sometimes infirm responses.
The debate between the opposition and the government occasionally appears like a shouting match, where the government caves into the opposition.
In a historic government decision on the same day, Finland closed its border to Russian tourists.
If one was to state, in a nutshell, the hostile diatribes of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), and Christian Democrat MPs Thursday, it was to tar and feather Russians, asylum seekers from outside the EU, and undocumented migrants.
PS MP Jari Ronkainen parrots his party’s fear-mongering: “Fleeing military service is not grounds for asylum. If it were, up to 20 million Russians would theoretically be entitled to asylum. Despite this, the minister of interior [Kirsta Mikkonen] said yesterday that they are preparing at the border for an influx of asylum seekers and setting up processing centers. For potentially millions?”
“A visa on humanitarian grounds allows a person from Russia or any other country to apply in practice for asylum without even coming to the border of the country,” said PS chairperson Riikka Purra, “and this raises the same security concerns as the right to apply for asylum at the moment.”
The Finns Party (PS) is actively campaigning for the upcoming parliamentary election in April. The party published Monday its so-called “Finnishness program,” Suomalaisuuden ohjelma 2022.
The program attacks two groups: migrants and Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority.
The hostility and simplistic arguments against these two groups resemble an angry and spiteful person willing to lie and cheat to get his or her way.
The PS’ main argument in the program is to also play the usual victim. One of the arguments is that Swedish speakers, never mind migrants, “do not strengthen the linguistic cohesion and identity of Finnish speakers.”
In the PS xenophobic bubble. there is a surrealistic hope that Finland will return to a time that never existed, a time when everyone was white and spoke Finnish as their main language.
I’m not surprised the host on A-studio Tuesday, Marja Sannikka, did not ask the PS leader, Riikka Purra, to elaborate on her dog-whistle tweets of closing the border to all Russians.
Fortunately, Sannikka rebuffed Purra’s claim in a later tweet, where the PS leader claimed on her show that Russian asylum seekers would be treated on a one-by-one basis.
A later tweet below demanded that the border should be shut to all Russians.
Purra’s tweets expose lies and deception. Say one thing and then another.
Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy election victory received applause from several far-right European leaders and the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. While the PS chairperson Riikka Purra and the former leader of the party, Jussi Halla-aho, allowed MEP Laura Huhtasaari and Olli Immonen to do the talking.
As we saw in Sweden on September 11, Sunday’s election was another political earthquake ushering to power a far-right leader for the first time since fascist dictator Benito Mussolini ruled the country.
Adulations from far-right European leaders were quick to come, haling Meloni’s victory as a political game changer for the region.
In Finland, and since the PS leadership was too chicken to congratulate Meloni directly, even if the party forms part of the far-right and pro-Russian EU parliamentary group Identity and Democracy, Huhtasaari, and Immonen, chairperson of the far-right Suomen Sisu, showered praise.
Remember Huhtasaari? Apart from her alternate-reality statements and selfies with Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán, Huhtasaari said in an interview that all parties on the center-left are communists, even the conservative National Coalition Party.
With parliamentary elections in April, the PS is trying – but failing – to look like a straight party. It may explain why Purra is so quiet about the Italian election.
A paradox: “Liberal” Nordic countries like Finland have large far-right parties that feed off racism.
If I were to use the racist rhetoric of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party to solve social problems, I’d be lost. Solutions, like tougher laws, more restrictions, enforcing marginalization, and strengthening institutional racism, would leave me in a bind.
Fearmongering and stirring up the us-and-them message is the bread and butter of parties like the PS. They have nothing to offer except to feed your prejudices and embolden your hatred.
Politicians like PS chairperson Riikka Purra and Jussi Halla-aho are fortune tellers. All they can do is tell us the horrible things migrants will do if we let them in Finland.
The latest prank by the PS is to end Russian tourists from coming to the country. They claim that these people are a security threat. What about if some of these Russians are fleeing Putin’s terror? OK, I get it: the plan is to restrict asylum seekers from coming to Finland.
As the sign in Helsinki shows, it is time to close our easter border with Russia because there is “genocide in Ukraine.”
If there is something to reinforce from the Southern Ostrobothnia district court ruling of the Fares Al-Abaidi case, it is the following: In some cases, the police and the courts play down racist crime.The sentence was a miscarriage of justice.
Al-Abaidi has appealed the ruling.
Why is the ruling a travesty?
Because racism is a toxic component of Finland’s police and justice system.
Imagine scores of people attacked Al-Abaidi in June 2020, but only oneperson was convicted for assault. Racism was not a motive for what happened.
The Iraqi youth’s case is an example of hair-splitting and a miscarriage of justice.
If the authorities are to be believed, racism was not what motivated the attack. The vandalized car that had mamu (a racist term for migrant) sprayed on its side does not prove anything because they never found the suspect.
The recent parliamentary election in Sweden is only one of the worrying signs that Islamophobia is not receding in the EU but gaining strength. Muslims, like other minorities, must work together to challenge Europe’s ever-growing anti-Muslim racism. We must do this not only for ourselves but for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The editors of the European Islamophobia Report 2021 are Enes Bayrakli and Farid Hafez.
In Finland, we supposedly live in the happiest country in the world. Even so, the biggest opposition party is Islamophobic and openly hostile to minorities. Even “straight” parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) flirt, spread Islamophobic rhetoric, and support such policies.
You can access the full European Islamophobia Report 2021 here.
The election in Sweden was of special interest to me since I live next door to the country in Finland. Will the good showing of the far-right Sweden Democrats boost our far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party in the April parliamentary election?
While it is fair to predict that the election result in Sweden should not hurt the election prospects of the PS, I am certain that the party took a lot of notes from the election and is now drafting a campaign strategy that hinges on migration.
Like many, I am not surprised by the election result in Sweden and the rise of the Sweden Democrats. Considering that all the Nordic countries now have large far-right parties that wield political power, it was only a question of when the chickens would come home to roost in Sweden. In Finland, the PS plays the same anti-Muslim tune as in Denmark (Social Democrats today and formerly Danish People’s Party) and Norway’s Progressive Party (FrP).
If we can’t receive an answer to the latter question, could we figure out how got here? Possibly we were always there. Our Nordic social welfare system and values were not meant for people who aren’t like us.
While some will blame migrants for the success of the Sweden Democrats, I would point the finger at the media and political parties like the Moderates, which gave the far-right party a platform of legitimacy to strike.
As of September 11, the future looks bleaker in Sweden and the Nordic region if you are a migrant or minority.
The Nordic saw a predictable political earthquake on September 11, when the right-wing bloc led by the far-right Sweden Democrats nudged the right-wing bloc to victory. The election brought Sweden in line with its other Nordic neighbors: all four now have or had large far-right anti-immigration parties.
Of the four countries, the entrenchment of the far right is best seen in Denmark, where mainstream parties like the Social Democrats tow the Islamophobic line.
The far-right Danish People’s Party came to power in the early 2000 and had steadily worked to turn Denmark into a haven for anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred.
In light of what happened in Norway and in Finland, what will be the path of the Sweden Democrats to implement their Islamophobic policies?
September 11 is a bad day for many: 9/11 and the coup in Chile that ousted democratically elected Salvador Allende.
That infamous day will also be remembered when far-right politics came home to roost in the Nordic region.
Whenever I get fan or hate mail, I wonder why they never sign them with their names. I normally don’t publish hate mail but this will be an exception. The one below is by KKK Molly, at least it is what’s on her email address. I wonder what “KKK” stand for? Ku Klux Klan, maybe?
Why are you here exactly? Nobody is forcing you to live in Finland or anywhere else in Scandanavia. If you don’t like “racism”, there is a quite simple solution: Leave. In every single one of your articles you express the most brazen form of foreign entitlement to somebody else’s country i’ve ever seen. You have the erroneous believe you have the inherent right to White people’s hospitality and social welfare as if it has been bestowed upon you by God himself, and that indigenous Finns and other indigenous Scandanavians are obligated by some invisible mandate to give you the fruits of their labor and treat you as superiors.
You come in and DEMAND that you be given special privileges and protection at the EXPENSE of the native population. What if you invited somebody into your house and they started making demands and acting like it’s their house now – I’m sure you would be more than displeased. Not an inch of gratitude from non-White foreigners, never a for “We appreciate your hospitality” it’s always “You’re not doing enough for ME” from you sand niggers.
Come here and act like you own the place – And you wonder why the indigenous population doesn’t like you. It’s never your fault – It’s always “White racism” which in your minds, exists for no reason other than white people being inherently evil.
We hear many slogans from you people: “Dismantle whiteness” “We deserve more rights” “We have a right to live in White countries” but NEVER ONCE have we ever heard “Thank you”.
You are little more than entitled colonizers. You have a homeland to go back to. If Finns and other scandanavians become a minority in our own lands, we have nowhere to flee.
Keep making demands. Keep pushing until we’re against the wall and have no choice but to send you all straight to hell.
This is Part 2 of Tariq’s* ordeal in Finland. Go here to read Part 1.
“This is my case:
I have been living in Finland for eleven years. I moved here to be with my wife, and upon arriving, I started to work and study at the same time. After three years in the country, my ex-wife wanted a divorce, and we separated on friendly terms. I lived in Kanta-Häme area for four years.
My ex had a close friend working as a police officer in the Kanta-Häme region, and he was dealing with immigrant cases. I was invited to his office after my divorce and was questioned on the details of my divorce process to see if I still had legal reasons to stay living in Finland. I was working at the time and received a study place shortly after.
I moved to the Helsinki region and started my new life. Later, in Helsinki, I went to the police station to ask for some information. After getting my documents to process my request, the office informed me that there was something written in my info about me that I was completely unaware of and still don’t know exactly what it is. He took my residence permit card and told me to wait. He returned after some minutes with his supervisor, they asked me to follow them inside the station, and I was questioned on issues like what I was doing here since my divorce.
I told them I was studying and had about three months left to complete my graduation. He informed me that the police had canceled my residence permit and that I had thirty days to leave the country or be deported. He took my residence permit away and refused to give it back when I asked.
I asked him whether he had the right to take my permit away, and his answer was that he had the right to do so. I left the police station and went to meet a lawyer. I explained the situation, and she told me he had no right to take my residence card. Immediately she called the police officer that had taken my card away, and she told him that he didn’t have the right to do that by any laws since I hadn’t broken any laws in Finland. He said that he had an order from the Kanta-Häme police to take my permit away on site.
I have been officially asking the police about this order, but I have been denied access to my info here in Finland.
After this incident, I was forced to quit school with three months left. I had to find a job and then apply for a residence permit based on my work contract. I was also denied the permit because my salary fell short of a hundred euros from the minimum, which you have to have to finance my life here. They informed my boss directly that I didn’t have a valid permit and couldn’t work because of that. My boss contacted Migri [Finnish Immigration Service] and told them that I was doing my job, they were happy with me and didn’t understand why I couldn’t get the necessary permit to continue.
I didn’t stay waiting and so went looking for a new job, with a higher salary of about three thousand euros and with that I appealed against their decision, but again they refused. This time, I changed jobs to apply for a residence permit.
Since this time, I have been harassed by the police. For some reason, I just started getting a lot of traffic fines. I received tickets for speeding and reckless driving from the police without evidence, such as dashcam videos. Went many times to court due to these fines since I contested them, but in court, I always lost. The court told me they don’t think the police can lie. Also, during one stop a policeman was shouting and cursing at me when approaching; for this incident, I had a witness in the car with me. I took the fine to the court, where the case went on for seven hours with my lawyer Miro Delgado. The judge ultimately decided that I was fined wrongfully, and the fine was canceled. The two policemen weren’t reprimanded for their behavior or wrongfully giving me the fine. I had to sell my car because of this continuous harassment.
During the time we were going through this process, I started a new relationship, I got married, and was granted a residence permit for family reasons.
In 2016 I applied for citizenship, it normally takes one year to get a decision, but in my case, it took the immigration office three years to give me a negative answer. The negative decision was because I had been legally in the country all this time without a residence permit, which directly resulted from the immigration office’s long processing times and cancellation of my residence permit. That was also the reason for not getting permanent residence in the country.
Tariq* has lived in Finland for over eleven years. If there is a person who has run into complications with the police, Migri (Finnish Immigration Service), and due process, he is one of them.
According to Tariq, his citizenship process has been arbitrarily delayed due to a police fine that was canceled.
“In March last year, the police was called by some security guards for resisting arrest,” Tariq said. “In the first place, security guards cannot arrest you. The police came, they did not hear my side of the story, and they slapped me with a fine.”
Tariq alleged that the security guards had hurt his hand. He wanted to go to the hospital but was not taken there.
“At the time [of this incident], I was applying for Finnish citizenship [a second time],” he continued. “Due to the fine, Migri stopped the application process until the issue was resolved.”
Tariq inquired about the fine around the end of August and found out, to his surprise, that the police had canceled it.
Incumbent Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson conceded defeat in Sweden’s nail-biter election to the rightwing parties led by the far-right Sweden Democrats, reports The Guardian.The rightwing parties received 49.6% of the votes, with the left bloc securing 48.9%.
If anything, it was a long overdue nasty surprise that permitted a far-right Islamophobic party to gain power in Sweden. Today, all Nordic countries have large far-right Islamophobic parties spreading fear and hatred against vulnerable migrants like Muslims and people of color.
In the lowliest of political stunts to gain power, the Social Democrats in Denmark took up the rhetoric of the DPP and won the elections in 2019. The Danish Islamophobic party saw its popularity nosedive by 12.4 percentage points to 8.7% (16 MPs) from 21.1%(37 MPs) previously.
Me tiedämme nyt, että Venäjän kansaa ei voi syyttää äärioikeistolaisen, demokratian vastaisen hirmuhallituksensa hyökkäyksestä Ukrainaan. Pelko pitää kansan hiljaisena. Vaikka vastustajia olisikin, niin sanotut vaalit ovat jo vuosikymmeniä olleet sellaiset, että oppositiolla ei ole ollut aitoa mahdollisuutta demokraattiseen vallan vaihtoon. Pelko omasta ja omaisten turvallisuudesta pitää suut supussa ja panee jopa puolustamaan hallituksen toimia.
Entäpä me suomalaiset, olemmeko me tänä päivänä missään vastuussa poliittisen ilmapiirin ja kovenemisesta ja äärioikeiston noususta Suomessa? Kuinka pitkään annamme äärioikeistolaisten öykkäreiden toimia eduskunnassa, kutoa seittejään hallintokoneiston ympärille, hankaloittaa demokraattisten päätösten toteutumista ja halvaannuttaa yhteiskuntaa? Onko äärioikeiston nousu valtaan mahdollista myös Suomessa?
Ilmapiirin koveneminen voi olla kiinni hyvinkin vähäiseltä tuntuvista, lähes huomaamattomista seikoista. Nettikeskustelun sivistymättömät öykkärit ja puolueiden julkirasistit ovat toki näkyviä, mutta heillä ei ole kykyä kääntää koko kansan mieltä. Kerronpa esimerkin isällisestä hivuttamisesta, millä kansakuntaa liikutellaan:
Kansallissankari Teemu Selänne jakoi v. 2016 kaverinsa Aleksi Valavuoren kanssa maahanmuuttajia törkeällä tavalla mustamaalaavaa tekstiä, vaati maahanmuuton rajoittamista ja väittipä maahanmuuttajien joukkoraiskanneen ystävänsä tyttären. Rikosta ei ollut poliisitutkinnassa eikä Selänne suostunut myöhemmin todistamaan väitteitään. Mitään seuraamuksia tuollaisesta kansanryhmää vastaan kiihottamisesta ei ollut. ”Tolkun ihmiseksi” presidentti Niinistön suosiollisella avustuksella nostettu Selännehän sai puhua, mitä rasistinen sylki suuhun toi. Aärioikeistolainen väki hurrasi. Kun on rasismin hyväksyvä presidentti kaverina, on lähes koskematon.
He argues that the rise of far-right parties in Europe and Donald Trump in the United States have received fuel from Putin. He mentioned a few of these politicians but leaves out Jussi Halla-aho and the Perussuomalaiset* party.
Fares Al-Abaidi got a hard lesson on Wednesday from the Southern Ostrobothnia district court on Finnish justice: only one person was convicted after a group of white Finns attacked him in June 2020. That person, PV, was forced to pay Al-Abaidi about 3,900 euros for his suffering.
“He got away with only a fine while my life changed completely,” he said. “I was very disappointed [with the sentence],” he admitted. “It was a very, very bad decision.”
Al-Abaidi said that his lawyer had appealed the court decision.
Some questions arise when looking at the case.
Its long 26-month length;
Not all of the suspects were questioned by the police;
No hate crime charges were brought; racism had nothing to do with the cause of the incident;
The district court judge gave his sentence on the same day as the trial began, which is extremely rare in Finland.
Were all these factors due to limited police resources?
He said that only one person was sentenced because he was the only one who admitted to hitting him.
“Nobody else admitted anything,” he added. “I don’t know why the police chose to charge only one person. I told my attorney that it wasn’t only one person [who attacked me]. There were more than one.”
Sweden’s center-left bloc led by the Social Democratic party is set for a narrow victory over right-wing opponents in today’s parliamentary election, according to Yle. The biggest upset was the dismal showing of the conservative Moderate party, which slipped into third place after the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.
In light of the boycott against the Sweden Democrats, the Moderate party changed its tune and was willing to form a government with the anti-immigration party with neo-Nazi roots.
The lesson? Don’t copy the rhetoric of xenophobic parties. Voters can vote for the real thing instead of a poor copy.
In Finland, the best example was when the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* split into two parties in 2017. There was the old PS and a lighter version called Blue Reform.
The PS survived as a party, and Blue Reform disappeared from the political map.
Sweden will elect 349 MPs of the Riksdag (parliament) today, and the big question is how well the far-right Sweden Democrats will fare. According to various opinion polls, the Sweden Democrats are seen coming second after the Social Democrats. The biggest upset would be the Sweden Democrats doing better than the conservative Moderate party.
Even if Sweden Democrat chairperson Jammie Akesson assures us that the party has moved away from its racist and neo-Nazi past, some are not convinced.
Up to now, all mainstream political parties in Sweden have blocked the party from forming part of a government.
Why all the commotion and support for the Sweden Democrats?
It’s the same story in all of the Nordic Countries: migration.
In Finland, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* plays the same toxic tune as in Denmark (Social Democrats today and formerly Danish People’s Party), and the Progressive Party (FrP) of Norway.
In Denmark, the Islamophobic narrative has taken hold of the country’s political environment, and the same is happening in Finland and Norway. A big victory for the Sweden Democrats today could shift matters in the country for a long time.
Two rulings in two important cases involving ethnic profiling and suspected hate crime are a further stain on the credibility of the Finnish police. One of these took over six years to get a just ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court, and another one just slapped the hand of the suspect lightly.
Ethnic profiling, which the police have vehemently denied in Finland, saw its date in court after a long, winding, and painful process for the victims.
The legal path of singer Musta Barbari’s mother and sister to the Supreme Administrative Court:
They were stopped on July 9, 2016, by plainclothes policemen in the Helsinki city center on suspicion that they were prostitutes;
The mother and sister refused to give their ID and were found guilty in December 2017 by the police of disobedience;
An appeal was made to the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal, which found the police guilty of ethnic profiling and ordered them to pay a conditional fine of 10,000 euros to Musta Barbari’s mother and sister;
In April 2021, a Helsinki Administrative Court overturned the National Non-discrimination and Equality Tribunal’s decision;
On Thursday, the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland overturned the Helsinki Administrative Court’s ruling.
The ruling in favor of Musta Barbari´s mother and sister is another sad example of how Finland shuts its eyes and ears to the social ill of institutional racism. You can seek justice if you are very patient and willing to take a beating.
While, after much suffering and waiting, Musta Barbari´s mother and sister saw justice, the Fares Al-Obaidi case was just starting.
The Southern Ostrobothnia Administrative Court of Seinäjoki fined and sentenced only one person when a group attacked Al-Obaidi in June 2020.
Migrant Talesspoke with the prosecutor in July. According to him, there was no hate crime case because the attack against Al-Obaidi wasn’t due to his ethnicity.
Al-Obaidi disagrees. He said that they immediately called him derogatory, racist insults like mamu and the n-word when they started to argue. Moreover, only one person was convicted because the others remained quiet.
Two stories that expose injustice and denial in Finland became public this week: First, the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland ruled Thursday that the police ethnically profiled singer Musta Barbari’s mother and sister in July 2016. The other news is about an Iraqi youth who white Finns violently attacked in July 2020.
Both cases are not only concerning but revealing. Ethnic profiling and suspected hate crime cases drag their feet in Finland’s legal system. Musta Barbari’s mother and sister finally saw justice after six years, while Fares Al-Obaidi’s case was decided by a court two years and two months later.
The legal path of Musta Barbari’s mother and sister to the Supreme Administrative Court was long and winding:
US President Joe Biden warned in a recent speech that his country’s democracy is in peril. He pointed the finger at former President Donald Trump’s MAGA (Make America Great Again or Make Attorneys Get Attorneys) followers.
We asked in a recent posting if Biden labeled MAGA Republicans “semi-fascists,” why couldn’t we call the far-right Perussuonalaiset (PS)* the same?
Even if the PS’ and other radical-right followers have not yet stormed Parliament like on January 6 at the Capitol, the party’s far-right brand of rhetoric has caused a lot of harm to our democratic institutions. The hate speech they spread against migrants and minorities is one of many examples.
True, the PS wants to sanitize its hateful rhetoric because they want to form part of a next government after the April parliamentary election.
Who is Mäenpää? He’s the PS MP who called asylum seekers “invasive species” and did not face an ethnic agitation charges since his parliamentary immunity was not lifted.
The incident of Finnish police brutality, where they physically forced Muslim asylum seekers to remove their hijabs, is not surprising in the least, taking into account the year (2017) and the Häme regionof Finland.
Seven months after the incident with the Muslim women, Migrant Talespublished a story about how the police gave tacit approval to the questionable role of far-right vigilante groups like the Soldiers of Odin.
At that time, Detective chief inspector of southern Finland, Markku Tuominen, surprised many people In January 2016 when he was quoted as saying that Finns should avoid contact with foreigners. In December, we even read that the police service of Häme welcomed street patrols in the town of Asikkala, according to Hämeen Kaiku.
Asiakkala is located between Hämeenlinna and Lahti.
Apart from supporting far-right vigilante gangs, several asylum reception centers attacked many arson (terrorist?) attacks in 2015. One of these was razed to the ground in Kankaanpää, where five white Finnish suspects were held last year for suspected far-right terrorist charges.
Adding another element to the country’s hostile environment towards asylum seekers and migrants, the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* were in government. Their presence spearheaded numerous laws that tightened Finland’s already restrictive immigration law.
Tuve el placer de ser entrvistado por José León Toro Mejías, editor de Migrantes News. El está en la Argentina y yo en Finlandia. Aunque la distancia entre nuestros países es enorme, los temas de migración son bastantes parecidas. La xenofobia y el rasismo no reconoce distancias.
Muchas gracias León por la entrevista.
Su trabajo de periodista le permitió recorrer varios países, mientras sus profesiones le han hecho mirar las fibras en los valores sociales de los lugares que ha visitado.
A group of Muslim asylum seekers in May 2017 charged seven police and security guards with assault and misconduct in the line of duty when they forced the women to take off their hijabs, according to Yle.
Apart from the questionable action of the police, it is interesting to note that the court case is happening today, or over five years ago when the incident took place. Moreover, the incident occurred shortly after over 30,000 asylum seekers came to Finland in 2015.
Migrant Tales has documented numerous cases of the poor treatment of asylum seekers by the police and staffers at asylum reception centers.
Even if the women objected, citing their religion, the police forced them to take their hijabs off.
“According to the prosecutor, the women were shouting and screaming, and the accused, among other things, pushed them chest first against the wall,” writes Yle. “Finally, the defendants took off the women’s scarves and took the pictures without them.”
The actions of the police caused injuries to the women. These included headaches, scarring, and redness all over their bodies.
The defendants claim they are innocent of any wrongdoing.
Like many analysts, US President Joe Biden’s “semi-fascism” remark did not go far enough. He should have just dropped the word semi and called them fascists. Taking into account how much the US democracy is in peril, shouldn’t it be time to call out the enemies by their real names?
The MAGA Republicans, who have Perussuomalaiset (PS)* followers like MPs Jussi Halla-aho, Veikko Vallin, Vilhelm Junnilla, and many others in Finland, are made from the same toxic brew.
There is nothing semi about MAGA Republican fascism. It’s the real thing, fair and square.
“MAGA Republicans want to take America backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love,” President Biden said.
In the same light, the PS is threatening and marginalizing minorities and migrants who should have limited civil rights. It’s clear that after the party passes now-unconstitutional laws to ensure that minorities and migrants are second-class members of society, they will go after other minorities like the Roma, Saami, gays, and others.
I have often wondered why racism some people in Finland are not moved by racism. Racism is a traumatic experience that remains inside of you. Some don’t react or care because they have never been a victim of such a social ill.
When racism jabs or throws a violent punch and your colleague or friend doesn’t react, it is the worst insult. Even worse is if the person denies completely racism or claims that you are overreacting.
Racism is such a profitable disorder that politicians use it to gain power and attention. Even so, the worst racists are the ones who do nothing, remain silent, and keep the structures of institutional racism intact.
As a reminder of the long history of discriminatory laws against Muslim women in Europe, here is a chronological summary of all the laws banning headscarves in schools in Europe since 2004, when France got the ball rolling.”
Institutional racism is a social ill that Finland has done too little to challenge. One of the areas where it happens mainly uncontested is in the labor market. IYou face many challenges ahead if you are lucky enough to get a job interview with your so-called foreign-sounding name.
Once you get through the door, the question is if you will be treated equally like the white Finnish employees.
Hamiid Hussein is a Finnish citizen who has lived in the country for a long time. He approached Migrant Tales as well as other representatives of the media about a far-right Perussuomalaiset* candidate running for office in the municipal elections who wanted a picture of his family.
Denmark, the Nordic region’s most Islamophobic country, plans to tighten (again) its immigration laws by deporting all foreigners who are handed prison sentences, according to DR of Denmark.
While some idealize the Nordic welfare system because it is supposed to promote social equality, nothing could be further from the truth than Denmark, which some have correctly called a xenophobic country on steroids.
The state prosecutor plans to make public the charges against the perpetratorswho attacked Fares Al-Obaidi over two-and-a-half years ago in June 2020 in Teuva, a town in Western Finland. The big question is whether the prosecutor sees what happened as a hate crime.
The Finnish penal code does not recognize the term “hate crime.” Section 5 of the Finnish criminal code, however, gives grounds for increasing punishment if the crime’s motive was “based on race, skin colour, birth status, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability or another corresponding grounds.”
I spoke to the victim, Al-Obaidi, about his thoughts before the prosecutor makes public, probably next week, the charges against the suspects.
Here are some factors that I hope the prospecutor has taken into account:
The victim is a Muslim; The victim is a Muslim;
The perception of the victim is that he would have probably never have suffered such a violent attack if he were a white Finn;
Racist insults like mamu (a derogatory term for migrant) and the n-word were hurled at him by the attackers;
Some attackers knew Al-Abaidi’s religion and asked him to seek help from his God, Allah, while they attacked him;
Even if mamu was spray painted on his car, the vehicle was also vandalized. The police claim that their investigation did not find the suspect(s) who spraypainted the victim’s car;
The victim says that the incident changed his life, forcing him to suffer several disorders like from sleeping and concentration, among others;
Al-Albaidi’s mother, sister, and foreign community members were shaken by what happened. His sister fears going outdoors;
Not only was the victim attacked, but his friend’s wife, whom they insulted in a demeaning manner by trolling and calling her a “whore” to foreigners (suvakkihuora) on Facebook.
Helsingin Sanomat published (paywall) Sunday an interview with Riikka Purra, the chairperson of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. Helsingin Sanomat‘s veteran reporter, Marko Junkkari, did the interview.
In general, Junkkari did a good job in handling Purra’s comments with facts and in no place in the interview did the PS chairperson dominate the interview with her answers, which did not convince.
The story’s headline, “Always the same topic,” sits well with the story. Like her predecessor Jussi Halla-aho, migration is the PS’ pet topic.
In the story, it becomes clear that Junkkari dominates the topic and is not afraid to ask Purra some uncomfortable questions. However, one matter that bothered me about the story was the use of the term “migrant.” It was used too generally, and Junkkari could have asked the PS chairperson to specify what types of migrants she refers to.
I doubt that Purra refers to white German migrants in Finland when speaking of migrants.
It is such an important topic for the party that it grew from a minor to a major party in parliament. The PS is the first party in modern Finnish history to use migration as a rallying cry for voters.
Even if Purra promised the party would expand to other topics, nothing has happened on this front.
Politicians and parties expel a lot of blah blah. Ask this question: Will matters improve for Finland’s racialized communities if the PS and Kokoomus partner in a government? There’s your answer with no blah blah.
A recent story by MTV, a private television channel with a streak of Fox News, published a story about what some National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) leaders thought about forming a government with the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)*.
Finland will hold parliamentary elections in April, and considering that Kokoomus and the PS are the biggest opposition parties, with the former leading in opinion polls, future cooperation in a Kokoomus-led government is naturally a topic of speculation.
Even so, the MTV story reveals many ugly truths about how the Finnish media treats its ever-growing culturally diverse communities with disregard. It is an example of whitewash journalism that avoids asking essential questions.
Even if MTV did not care to bring up what a partnership between Kokoomus and the PS would have on our racialized communities in Finland, Migrant Tales is obliged to do so. Moreover, the television station did not even attempt to answer what extreme cost-saving measures would affect people’s lives.
While the story only mentions labor migrants twice, it sidelines the topic effectively and brushes it under the rug.
Although without the same obsessive zeal, Kokoomus is also inflicted by racism. In its black-and-white world, there are “undesirable” migrants, asylum seekers, Muslims, people of color, and “desirable” ones like cheap, obedient, easily exploitable labor.
Let’s look at some of Purra’s quotes and ask after reading them why MTV did not even bother to bring them up:
“If it were up to me, the Perussuomalaiset will never form part of a government that does not successfully [and] significantly tighten Finnish immigration policy;”
Aims to scrap dual citizenship rights and raise citizenship requirements from five to 10 years;
Total rejection of Muslim asylum seekers to Finland even at the cost of ditching international agreements and human rights obligations;
Constant attacks against cultural diversity by labeling Others as incompatible, irreparable, and hopeless problems;
Much whing about “multiculturalism” but little on solutions.
A short editorial by Helsingin Sanomat Thursday warns that the 1.3 percentage point rise in the recent opinion poll of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party may force other parties to latch on to Islamophobic rhetoric. The PS’ pet themes today are high electricity and gas prices at the pumps and others, which it did not specify.
While the latter should be clear to the editorial board of Helsingin Sanomat, the daily leaves out another important fact: the national media and public servants like the police spread the PS’ hateful rhetoric.
The 2011 parliamentary election, when the PS won 39 seats from 5 previously, was propelled and helped by uncritical reporting that was more amazed at the new racist kid on the political block. Even parties like the Social Democrats started copying the PS’ anti-immigration rhetoric.
PS rising political “stars” like Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari, Juho Erola, Timo Soini, and others got their place in the sun. Things were so bad back then that Islamophobes were invited to give their opinions on talk shows.
If you didn’t speak out against racism, who would?
Sweden is a pet topic of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. They constantly and obnoxiously remind us what a horrible place Sweden is because there live Muslims and other migrants.
PS chairperson, Riikka Purra, continues to push her ethnonationalist and ethnic replacement theory at almost every opportunity. She constantly attacks people who are vieraskielisiä, people who do not speak Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue.
Purra forgets to mention how much migrants have contributed to building Sweden’s economy and well-being. She doesn’t, for obvious reasons, mention how our ever-growing elderly population will impoverish us.
Moreover, Purra, like her PS lapdogs and followers, are constantly whining about how bad Sweden is and how immigration is bad for society.
I was shocked when my provider suspended my account on Friday. The first matter that I thought about was if there was an unpaid bill and that was the cause for my provider to suspend my account.
The last time we had a similar scare was in 2012, when we were down for about 13 hours.
Not being able to post anything because the site was under attack is a horrible feeling, to say the least. That is why it is important to have a good provider who can offer expedient support when needed.
Death threats, threats in general, harassment, and malicious attacks against the site are all part of a blogger’s ecosystem.
After a dip in the darkness, we are up and running again.
In Finland, some parties are openly racist, and others are more subtle about it. Both are dangerous to our community. The more we know about them, the better prepared we are to challenge such a menace.
In all respects, they are nothing more than cowardly bullies for treating vulnerable people like asylum seekers with such contempt.
Parties that profit politically off asylum seekers are such cowards that they usually speak in code. The term “asylum seeker” is used usually to signify Muslim as well as “person of migrant background,” when he’s not an asylum seeker.
Ever wonder why both these parties usually refuse to use the word “Muslim” or “Arab?” True, the PS no longer does but uses Afghans (and previously Somalis) in some of its postings like the one below, where it claims that keeping such people out of Finland and putting them in refugee camps in a neighboring country helps 50 refugees.
Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest daily, missed another opportunity to expose the elephant in the room about why so few Ukrainian nurses and medics are hired in the face of a chronic labor shortage in the health sector.
True, the daily does address issues like language as a factor. But isn’t this a common excuse in the labor market to not hire non-Finns? Another factor cited by the paper is the bureaucracy (Valvira, the national supervisory authority for welfare and health) and rules, which make hiring healthcare professionals challenging.
Olga Silfver of the Ukrainian association of Finland sheds light on the country’s racialized and segregated markets, which also apply to white and Christian Ukrainians.
In the world’s happiest country, the ugly face of racism can show itself. This post by a young woman called Laura Elisabeth of the Romany minority is shameful and should never happen in our country.
I hope the perpetrators get caught and feel the full weight of the law fall on them.
“I have already reported the matter to the police, but I want to share it here too. I am a 19-year-old girl from Lapua [in the western Finnish region of Southern Ostrobothnia], and I am shocked that this can happen in my neighborhood. Last night, between Friday and Saturday last week, I was walking home from the train station with my luggage. A large group of young boys drove towards me [menacingly] at such a high speed that I almost got run over. I had to get out of the way [of the approaching car] and leave my luggage there. They then surrounded me with their vehicles and robbed me. They followed me to my front yard and continued to harass me further by coming under my balcony in the middle of the night, beeping [their horns], shouting [derrogatory names like Gypsy, etc.], and throwing rubbish. It was also a nuisance to the elderly people living in the same block of flats. I have also lived in big cities, and nothing like this has ever happened to me. I hope parents who recognize their children’s cars from the picture will come forward and contact me. What happened should not happen. Everyone has the right to walk down the street feeling safe regardless of ethnic background.
Helsingin Sanomatraised an important question: There are a record amount of asylum seekers from Ukraine, but nobody is crying murder like when mostly Iraqis and Afghans came to Finland in large numbers in 2015.
In a statement Monday, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) said that there are over 37,000 Ukrainians registered in the Finnish asylum reception system, more than the over 32,000 asylum seekers that arrived in the country in 2015.
Finland’s largest daily asks a good question that should expose our double standards: Why do Ukraininens get preferential treatment against the hostile reception asylum seekers from outside Europe received seven years ago?
Third culture children are those who grow up in a country other than their parents’.
I have traveled since I was a year and a half between continents and boarded airplanes throughout my life like buses and heard many times a given assumption that traveling is supposed to open your mind.
True or false?
FACT 1: While traveling may sometimes broaden your horizons about different countries, cultures, and peoples, it may have the opposite effect and reinforce your prejudices and racism toward others.
FACT 2: While traveling opens your mind to the world, your peers may not like your “open” views. It is a classic situation that may lead to bullying. Your difference becomes a source of scorn.
The situation led to bullying, even by the teachers.
One of these teachers was Vincent Orlando, who taught history. I must have been 13 or 14 years old at the time.
Silence can be very revealing. It’s not what you say but what you do not say. Your inaction and silence in the face of racism, specifically against institutional racism, speaks volumes.
This fact is one of the biggest challenges to Finland during this century.
Believe it or not, some principles and teachers working and representing culturally diverse learning institutions don’t believe in cultural sensitivity. They are the fake know-it-alls on racism. They don’t need to update their racist views because they are exceptional people.
EU Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović expressed concern about the human rights of asylum seekers after parliament amended Section 16 of the Border Guard Act. The amendment allows Finland, in emergency cases, to close the border and severely restrict the rights of asylum seekers to seek refuge.
I still don’t understand how Finland can close all the border crossings and keep one open: the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. How are refugees supposed to get to the airport? By plane?
Another big question looming over the law is what would trigger such a draconian measure and under what circumstances. How can border guards ensure that the rights of vulnerable people seeking refuge aren’t breached?
Writes Mijatović to Finland’s Minister of Interior Krista Mikkonen: “I also want to highlight the situation of people who may need to flee the Russian Federation through the Finnish border, including those who might be persecuted on grounds related to their opposition to the war in Ukraine, their sexual orientation or gender identity, their work on human rights or other grounds. It is crucial that specific attention is paid to the needs of this group, which could be particularly affected by the proposed measures.”
US Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri announced that he would vote against Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in Nato. Finnish Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Jani Mäkelä pleaded with him to change his mind. Good luck.
The January 6 hearing last week made a horse’s ass of Hawley, one of former President Donal Trump’s avid followers who believes that the Democrats stole the election. On that shameful day, he raised his fist in solidarity with the mob that Trump had sent to the Capitol on January 6.
Later, he was videotaped running away from the mob that had stormed the Capitol, which he had incited.
An example of the same cowardice and political opportunism that is parroted near-constantly by Makelä and the PS.
How can you respect a politician and party that constantly bullies vulnerable people like asylum seekers for political profit?
We could look at the video in several ways. One way is that Holley is not running away from a mob in Washington but from Finns and Swedes.
An interview by Uusi Suomi of National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Atte Kaleva, who is part of Finland’s Islamophobic network, demonstrates a common flaw by the Finnish media that perpetuates urban tales and misconceptions spread by politicians about migrants.
Kaleva claims that implementing a quota system for “foreign” students at schools in Finland would help to tackle so-called urban segregation.
Some teachers have suggested earlier that classrooms should have quotas for the number of “foreign” pupils. It may sound like a simple solution to the problem, but it is legally impossible for several reasons:
Apart from tightening laws and plans to build a fence on parts of the Finnish-Russian border, politicians in Finland are debating shutting tourism from Russia to Finland. As I have mentioned previously, one of the biggest fears of the war in Ukraine is awakening Finland’s deep distrust and hatred of Russia.
The hatred will not only affect the Russians and our views of that country but spill over to other groups like Muslims and People of Color. If matters were shaky for these groups in Finland, they would worsen as the war drags on.
Despite all the bravado and defiance by politicians as the eye of April’s parliamentary election, some level-headed opinions are out there. One of these is Helsingin Sanomat, which wrote that the issue of visa restrictions was “not so clearcut. Restrictions must be in line with our values and goals. Sanctions should not be imposed on the basis of nationality, but according to a person’s actions or inaction.”
Hungary’s strongman denounced in a speech Saturday “mixed race” nations. While there was outrage in Europe about his racist comment, there was silence from some political circles like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, which are Orbán’s admirers.
He said in Romania over the weekend that migration had split Europe and that Europeans who mix with non-Europeans “are no longer nations: they are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples.” He added: “In the Carpathian Basin [region shared by Romania and Hungary], we are not mixed race. We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become mixed race.”
When analyzing Finland’s media on reporting about Orbán’s claim, one important matter is what was left out of the story.
Although I have published several posts about racism in Finland, two of them published in 2008 and 2014 are still valid. After living over 40 years in Finland and having a Finnish mother, racism is a problem that not only hinders the country from finding its potential but retards and stunts careers.
Some of us asked in the early 1980s, when we were newcomers, if there was racism in Finland and who its victims were. We usually concluded that the darker the skin, the more racism you’d suffer in Finland.
That is true today, and there are many studies to prove it.
Matters have moved slowly in Finland, and the Finnish media is giving more voices to migrants and minorities on this shameful topic.
While dailies like Helsingin Sanomat write stories about this social ill in Finland, they are still too few. Despite some improvement, I wonder why they write so few editorials on why discrimination continues to be a big problem in the labor market.
Thanks to a Facebook page and a story in Helsingin Sanomat, I became on Monday, a member of a group called “Do I look Finnish?” Nothing wrong with that, but if the page attempts to reinforce stereotypes about Finns, then something is rotten in Denmark.
Understanding how far-right groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, Suomen Sisu, and too many politicians from parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) attempt to define a Finn in narrow terms by excluding minorities, such a Facebook page should get the thumbs down. In other words, it is only a place where some people who have lost their Finnish culture after many generations as USAmericans cling to their last hope: whiteness.
The rise of hostile populism and white supremacy politics in the US and Europe is no coincidence. But a reminder of how little historical psychoanalysis we have done to overcome our bigotry, racism, and hostility towards people who are different from us.
While some may disregard these facts as something minor or untrue, they will lead us to that same dark place in our histories drenched in the blood of genocide, exclusion, exploitation, and neoslavery.
Europeans brought slavery to the United States and the New World, thus relegating them into a moral crisis that would never set them free but forced them to whitewash and try to forget their history.
Xenophobia tends to pile up. Like blacks in the United States, Finland’s “black” problem is Russia, and from the 1990s, Muslims.
In the 1980s, when I lived permanently in Finland, and about 12,000 foreign nationals were living in the country, the racist undercurrent that flowed like a mighty river was ever-present. It reminded you whenever you talked about the Russians and later on, Muslims became a part of that shameful picture.
That undercurrent showed itself on several occasions. It did so in the early 1990s when Somalis started to arrive in Finland. That undercurrent, especially nurtured by tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat, acted like a thug’s warning.
You will pay a high price If you get too friendly with foreigners.
That toxic undercurrent has gotten stronger in recent years. Finland’s biggest opposition party is openly Islamophobic and racist. Politicians, even in the government like MP Eveliina Heinäluoma and a long list of National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) politicians in the opposition, have cuddled up to our hostile environment.
I always say that minority rights in Finland will not improve under their leadership. And even less so if the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, Kokoomus, Center Party, Liike nyt, Christian Democrats ever get power.
Finland’s deep mistrust of Russia and Russians stems from its difficult history with that country. The war in Ukraine has only revived even more such hatred. Matters will get worse for Finland’s minorities.
We saw that in Estonia when the new government of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announced that it would phase out the Russian language at nursery homes and schools by 2030.
About a quarter of Estonia’s population speaks Russian as their mother tongue. The right to an education and recognition will spell trouble for white Estonians by denying rights to such a large group of people.
After an initial police investigation into alleged sexual harassment by National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Wille Rydman, the National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi) announced that it had opened a preliminary investigation into the MP’s activities. Rydman is a staunch anti-Muslim who is unofficially Kokoomus’ Jussi Halla-aho.
Halla-aho is the former chairperson of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS), who built his political career in the 2000s by writing Islamophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and sexist blog entries.
With all the noise going on in the United States due to the Jan. 6 Committee hearings, which have shown how former President Donald Trump attempted to stay in power with the help of a coup, one wonders if all that is happening is bad karma.
No matter how much exceptionalism people in the United States attempt to show Trump as an aberration, he is USAmerica that came home to roost.
On Tuesday, former national security adviser to Trump, John Bolton, surprised some by admitting that he had helped plan attempted coups in foreign countries.
As a Latin American, Bolton’s admission that he helped plan coups in countries like Venezuela unmasks the hypocrisy of the United States. Even if some US politicians praise the importance of democracy, Washington’s track record shows how much disdain it has for promoting democracy outside of its borders.
Another matter that the US has condoned is the spread of torture. Such an outlandish method was used by military dictatorships thanks to the CIA and School of the Americas, blamed for teaching and equipping de facto dictatorships in repression techniques and human rights violations committed by former students of different Latin American armies.
Even if France offered the military regime in Argentina its know-how on torture gained from the Algerian War (1954-62), the US was responsible for training security personnel in torture.
One of many terrible military dictatorships supported by the US was Rafael Leonídas Trujillo y Molina of the Dominican Republic, who ruled the country for thirty-two years (1930-61), was also a torturer.
Writes John Gerassi in “The Great fear in Latin America:” “Trujillo’s SIM (Military Intelligence Service) used slow-shocking electric chairs, or an electrified rod known as “The Cane,” especially effective on genitals, or nail extractors, or whips, or the Pulpo (octopus), a many armed electrical device screwed into the skull. Kilometer Nine [the jail] also featured a water tank with bloodsucking leeches.”
Gerassi continues quoting a Look senior editor who visited the country: “I still shudder about Snowball, a dwarf – now jailed – whose specialty was biting off men’s genitals.”
Strange world we live in, no? The US destroys and impoverishes Latin America by not allowing it to realize its own social, political, and economic potential, and then complains about why so many Latin Americas are desperately attempting to enter the US by any means.
Europe has the same issue highlighted by the cartoon below.
At last there has been a decision of the world’s nations to put an end to the burning of fossil fuels. It took the world at least 50 years to arrive at this point which happened in Stockholm June 3rd, 2022 in the closing statement of a conference to observe the 50th anniversary of the UN’s first Environmental Conference in 1972.
In 1972 the US was waging a cruel war in Vietnam against an enemy supplied with weapons from Soviet Russia. Critics were saying it was a farce to have talks about the environment and make no mention of the
US´s destructive military intervention. Olaf Palme was famously outspoken on the theme.
Now the shoe was on the other foot. Russia had invaded Ukraine in February and the US was shipping weapons to repel the attackers.
NGOs led by the Climate Action Network lobbied and demonstrated energetically to have an end to fossil fuels renounced in Glasgow at COP 26 but were stymied in the last hours, mainly by the fossil fuel lobby. It took another International conference to get there.
Scientists have been warning the world about fossil fuels as the main driver of the climate crises for years, but the way climate politics works, we needed to have fossil phase-out on the books or we will never get it done.
In 1972 when the first Stockholm conference convened acid rain and a loss of ozone were serious environmental concerns. Measures were put into place to alleviate these in the following years. But in 1972 the human biological footprint was at approximately the level of natural replacement. Since then we have lost about 60% of living creatures and are consuming renewable resources at nearly twice their rate of renewal.
After Highland Park shooter Robert E. Crimo III, 22, murdered six people during the July 4th festivities and was apprehended by the police, social media is buzzing with his use of a symbol that is similar to the one used by Suomen Sisu, a far-right neo-Nazi association that used to recommend the works of Nazi war criminal Alfred Rosenberg.
Even if Suomen Sisu likes to call itself a “nationalist movement” that seeks the preservation of European states and white culture, it’s been called by the Finnish secret police Supo an “extremist organization.” Others like the Finnish Criminal Police (KRP), and the Council for Mass Media (JSN) called the association “Nazi spirited.”
Whether the symbol used by the Highland Park killer is a copy or not is like arguing if Suomen Sisu is a far-right white supremacist association or not.
What has happened is that Suomen Sisu’s real face has been exposed thanks to a murderer who is attracted to far-right ideology.
The polarized debate in parliament Monday on renewing the Border Guard Act and Emergency Powers Act is just another example of how Finland has lurched into a dark place where human rights are a nuisance and should not take presedence The far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS), with the helping hand of the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), and other minor parties like the Christian Democrats and Liike Nyt, are picking on their favorite target: asylum seekers.
According to some, the new laws are not in conflict with the EU, which does not allow member states to stop people from seeking asylum. Others, like European Union Institute professor of international law and human rights Martin Scheinin, believe the new laws will send Finland back thirty years.
It was about 11 years ago on 22/7 when Norwegian Anders Breivik shocked us by murdering 77 victims. His motive? Anti-Muslim racism. Yesterday, there was a hint of déjà-vu when a 22-year-old “ethnic Dane,” a term used to mean white Dane, went on the rampage in the Fields shopping center of Copenhagen killing at least three and wounding a number of victims.
While the police have not ruled out terrorism, unverified reports allege that the shooter had ties to the far right. Some eyewitnesses even heard the man shout at the scene of the crime, “Get out of my country!”
Why does the evidence point toward a deranged white Dane committing these heinous acts? For one, no Perussuomalaiset (PS)* politician has posted anything about the attack. PS chair Riikka Purra hasn’t even sent condolences to the victims.
If these accounts are true, that the suspect has ties to the far right and whose motive was anti-Muslim racism, it should be another stark reminder of how words and racism have deadly consequences.
A country like Denmark, which has a reputation for being one of the most Islamophobic countries in the EU, has not toned down its anti-Muslim rhetoric. The hardline anti-immigration policy comes straight from the government.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the country had been hit by a “cruel attack,” according to CBS News. “It is incomprehensible. Heartbreaking. Pointless,” she said. “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second.”
Migrant Tales will launch stories about how the cold war, or Finlandization, encouraged self-censorship and censorship. My journalism career began in 1986, when I made a living from writing. As a journalist writing for the Finnish and foreign media, the foreign ministry warned me several times about questioning Finland’s foreign policy and human rights violations in the former USSR. One official said if I didn’t stop writing negative things about the Soviet Union, I’d be blacklisted by the foreign ministry. It was a shameful period that we must never repeat.
Since September 19, 1944, just after Finland signed an armistice with the USSR, which concluded the so-called Continuation War, the lights of that period of turmoil were turned off. Those who turned off the lights did so in the hope that no-one would ever find his way back into that era characterized by so much irrationality and rivers of blood.
Two years previous, in April 1942m a book on Field Marshall Carl Gustaf Mannerheim had been published by one of the country’s leading publishers, WSOY. Field Marshall Mannerheim is a leading figure in Finnish history; he was one of the main architects in keeping Finland free from the communists.
The Continuation War should not be mistaken for the Winter War (1939-40) when, for over a period of 105 grueling days, the vastly outnumbered Finns miraculously kept the Red Army in check. During the Continuation War, Finland fought side by side with Nazi Germany against a common enemy – the Soviet Union.
In a thousand years, if there’s History, America will be remembered as a nasty little Country. Full of Pricks…
Allen Ginsberg, Epilogue from “The Fall of America poems of these states 1965-1971”
Following the dysfunctionality and cultural war raging in US politics, any sensible person can conclude that the present situation is due to several factors. As a Latin American who has seen how US foreign policy has ruled and destroyed the region for its selfish benefit, it’s clear that the US is getting a bitter taste of its own medicine.
What is happening in the United States, how it is lurching into becoming an autocratic country, is nothing new. Money, greed, gullibility, and fairy tale exceptionalism are some culprits.
Finland has succeeded in building a model society where the state attempts to take care of its own. In recent years, however, parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), Center Party, Christian Democrats, Liike nyt have started to dismantle our welfare state piece by piece.
Politicians like Petteri Orpo, Elina Lepomäki, Heikki Vestman, Wille Rydman, Kai Mykkänen, Hjallis Harkimo, Päivi Räsänen, Jussi Halla-aho, and scores of others, would not think twice about selling out our welfare state for the USAmerican model based on extreme social inequality.
Even if we have one of the best education systems in the world and the highest standards of living in the world, about 18% of the population votes for a racist far-right party.
Watch and follow what is happening in the United States and cringe.
The recent decision by the US Supreme Court to strike down Roe and Wade and abortion rights for millions of women is an example of the lunacy that has inflicted USAmerica.
Certainly, one factor that has polarized the United States is racism and white supremacy.
Below is Republican Congressperson Mary Miller of Ohio, who thanks Trump for the Roe and Wade decision.
She said: “I would like to thank Trump on behalf of all the MAGA [Makke America Great Again] patriots in America. I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.”
If that wasn’t enough, check the speech below where she quotes and thanks Adolf Hitler. “Hitler was right on one thing, he said whoever has the youth has the future,” said Miller. “Our children are being propagandized. I want to encourage you to do two things: tell your children’s minds what is true, right, and noble, and then they can overcome evil because then they can discern what is evil and what is good. ”
Setting aside the US Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe and Wade, which effectively took away women’s rights to have an abortion, we saw the cold-blooded attack at a gay bar by a man in Oslo that left two dead and 21 wounded.
Meanwhile, in Finland, Yle reported some MPs’ reaction to the Supreme Court decision.
A staunch anti-abortionist, Päivi Räsänen of the Christian Democratic Party, hailed the Supreme Court decision as good news that would have a global impact on the abortion debate.
Yle approached other MPs from parties like the National Coalition Party, Center Party, Swedish People’s Party, and Green League, who expressed disappointment at the decision.
Center Party MP Jouni Ovaska echoed US President Joe Biden’s words, ”It’s a sad day for the court and for the country.”
Considering that the Supreme Court ruling passed thanks to three President Donald Trump appointed judges and that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* has been the most outspoken supporters of the Trump administration, the silence coming now from the far-right party is defeating.
The scandal that embroiled National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Wille Rydman, has forced him to resign “indefinitely” from the Kokoomus parliamentary and Helsinki city council groups.
A Helsingin Sanomat investigative story exposed MP Rydman’s sexual harassment of underage girls to whom he sometimes offered alcohol. The police, who investigated the case, did not bring any charges against the MP.
One tweet suggested that apart from Rydman leaving the Kokoomus party, he could join the PS. PS MP Sanna Antikainen, in a tweet below, wished Rydman welcome to join her party.
The shift from Kokoomus to the PS would be a perfect fit for the likes of Rydman.
In the latest development, the police said they would not open the case again because there was no new evidence. Moreover, Helsingin Sanomat said it would write a new story about the scandal.
A big question remains after a Helsingin Sanomat investigative journalism piece exposed how National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Wille Rydman treated women – even underaged ones – inappropriately. Some of these women, who were minors then, claimed that Rydman forced them to drink alcohol.
A question remains: Why does Kokoomus appear so shocked today, even after the police decided not to press charges in 2020 against the MP?
Several Kokoomus politicians like Nea Nättinen, the chairperson of the party’s student wing, expressed shock by the news.
I wonder if National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Wille Rydman has ever heard of Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation for sexually abusing minors, among other crimes? Helsingin Sanomat exposed in a story Rydman of inappropriate behavior and abusing sexually minors Sunday.
Like Gaetz, Rydman is in hot water and denies all charges against him.
Apart from being unofficially christened as the Jussi Halla-aho by some Kokoomus MPs, it is ironic that such a politician warns Finns of the dangers of the crimes of asylum seekers, which include rape, is suspected of the same crimes.
Former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairperson Jussi Halla-aho was convicted in 2012 for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion. In his blog writings, he hoped that migrants rape certain MPs.
One of the far-right conspiracy theories spread by Rydman is the great replacement theory, which warns that Muslims and people of color will take over Europe and whites will become a minority.
Apart from the hypocrisy of Finnish exceptionalism and that of Kokoomus’, it is surprising how little the party did to get to the bottom of these alleged crimes committed by Rydman.
Kokoomus chairperson Petter Orpo had heard about the allegations against Rydman in winter when journalists were investigating Rydman.
National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Wille Rydman, whose xenophobic views have earned him the dubious label of being Kokoomus’ Jussi Halla-aho, is suspected by the police of harassing underaged girls. He is the same MP pushing hardline policies against asylum seekers because he is worried about sexual harassment.
Former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairperson Jussi Halla-aho was convicted in 2012 for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion and has, in his blog writings, hoped that migrants rape certain MPs.
One of the far-right conspiracy theories spread by Rydman is the great replacement theory, which warns that Muslims and people of color will take over Europe and whites will become a minority.
Rydman tweeted that he is planning to press charges against Helsingin Sanomat for writing a baseless “grossly stigmatizing article” He added that he would most probably report the matter to the police and charge Finland’s largest daily for aggravated defamation.
The recent article and editorial in Helsingin Sanomat about social segregation in Finland is a good example of how white privilege deals with growing social segregation.
Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, published an editorial Thursday about how social segregation is growing in Finland. That follows a story about how some schools in Espoo have more pupils who speak other languages than Finnish, Swedish, or Saami.
One of the most important matters in a story written by a predominantly white newsroom about migrant and minority groups is what they overlook in the story. What the story discards can be seen as a Freudian slip.
Thus urban segregation is the unequal distribution of different social groups based on occupation, income, education, gender, and ethnicity, according to the EU. In recent years, the gap has widened.
Why the Helsingin Sanomat editorial does not address the core issues behind urban segregation reveals volumes about the daily and its editorial board. One possible reason why they are not mentioned is a common phenomenon: denial.
With the parliamentary election about 10 months away in April 2023 and a disastrous county election showing and equally depressing opinion poll results, it’s clear that the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party is desperately trying to connect with voters.
One example of these underhanded tactics is a proposal by the PS to close the border with Russia in case of hybrid threats coming from Moscow.
Haven’t you wondered how parties like the PS fear-monger? It’s like they have a crystal ball to justify their racism by constructing selective scenarios.
In such stories coming from the PS, one must dig deeper and find out what is behind the proposal.
PS chairperson, Riikka Purra, claims that the measure is to guarantee the security of white Finns. OK, she does not mention white Finn, but that is what she means.
Thus, we see with the PS proposal r message: asylum seekers from Muslim and African countries threaten Finland’s white culture and society.
Purra, who heads the administrative committee of parliament, threatens to give the government’s proposal would fail to pass. In the face of the PS’ 38 MPs. the vote would not get a two-thirds majority.
Everyone is aware that the aim of closing the border is part of the PS’ zero asylum seeker goal.
Ever wondered why tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat continue to publish racist stories? When the first Somalis came to Finland in the early 1990s, the tabloid had a field day (see billboards below). Imagine headlines like “Somalis will remain in Finland,” “Somalis tricked (authorities) to get asylum,” and twenty years later, “10,000 illegal refugees will come this year to Finland.”
As we all know, there is no such thing as an “illegal” refugee. Refugees are refugees, period.
The latest story by Ilta-Sanomat is on EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, who said something positive about Islam on her visit to the United Arab Emirates (see tweet below).
Throughout the years, far-right parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* have in recent years mainly used code words to refer to Muslims. Some of the most common ones are sexual offenders, overrepresented in crime statistics, asylum seekers, and, now the latest, vieraskieli, or “people who don’t speak Finnish as their mother tongue.”
One article published last week by Helsingin Sanomat highlighted the issue.
Russian and Estonian speakers were the most prominent vieraskieli groups in the story about Espoo schools. Arabic speakers were the third-biggest mother language group.
When far-right politicians like Riikka Purra use the term vieraskieli, it means in code Muslim and people of color.
Many understand that the Finnish media is part of the country’s racism problem. Any sensible person can see that the media rarely asks racialized people their opinions, never mind experts’ views on issues like racism and discrimination.
One overbearing message of parties like the PS and the near-silence and flirting of parties like the National Coalition Party is that people who are granted asylum are portrayed as a threat to Finnish values and culture.
Racism is deeply ingrained in Finnish culture. Excluding other voices means that little to nothing will change. Institutional racism must be challenged head-on.
I believe that if Finland’s newsrooms weren’t so white, they would write about racialized people differently.
It would be a big blow to the racist narrative of parties like the PS, which always label racialized groups with suspicion.
With parliamentary elections approaching in April 2022 in a backdrop of depressing opinion polls, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is ratcheting its usual attacks against migrants and minorities. The strategy is like a motto used by the Green Berets in the Vietnam War: “Kill ’em all, let God sort them.”
The violent saying was used in the thirteenth century, which means the ruthless extermination of enemy soldiers and civilians.
The PS does the same thing: exterminate everyone who isn’t like us, and destroy all of them in Finland.
Finland’s racism problem is so acute that people (less today) openly admit that they are racist.
Today there are more closet racists than before. The PS (openly racist) and Kokoomus (many closet racists) are good examples.
One of the casualties of the war in Ukraine will be social rights and the recognition of racialized people in Finland. Are we witnessing more aggressive reporting as a result?
Helsingin Sanomatpublished Wednesday a whole spread about how “over half of the students at several schools in Espoo don’t speak Finnish as their mother tongue.”
And it leads the story claiming that a researcher warns that what is happening in Espoo is a part of a “worrisome” European trend.
Sounds pretty sensationalist, right?
To top it off, Yle published a survey a day earlier showing that a majority of Russian speakers in Finland have a negative view of the country’s membership in Nato.
The Yle story labels Russians in such a toxic way that it feeds the Russophobia beast that resides inside many Finns.
Another question that the Helsingin Sanomat article raises is the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS).* We have heard for a long time how the Islamophobic party has spread ethnonationalist views and the great replacement theory.
Olimme yllättyneet Perussuomalaisten (Ps) nuorison kolmannen varapuheenjohtajan Lauri Laitisen kirjoituksesta,* joilla hän puolusti kansallisvaltiota ja sen etnistä ja kielelistä homogeenisuutta.
Myös yllätyimme miksi Helsingin Sanomat julkaisi kirjoituksen jossa on niin paljon epäasiallisuus. Voisinko minä julkaista esim. kirjoituksen jossa vaadin naisten paluuta hellan ääreen?
Tällaiset ajatukset eivät ole mitään uutta. Natsi-Saksan sotarikollinen Alfred Rosenberg, joka tuomittiin ja hirtettiin Nuremburgin oikeudenkäynnin jälkeen, väitti, että Saksalaisten “arjalainen-rotu” voisi saavuttaa suuruuden vasta, kun se olisi päässyt eroon vähemmistöistä, kuten juutalaisista.
Rosenbergin kirjoituksia suositellaan yhä luettavaksi Suomen Sisulla.yhä luettavaksi Suomen Sisulla.
Voidaan kysyä kuinka homogeeniset kansallisvaltiot ovat “luonnollisia” jos niitä on luotu väkivallalla ja toisten ryhmien sortamisen tai hävittämisen kautta.
Vaikka Ps vastustaa kiivaasti kulttuurista ja etnistä moninaisuutta, he eivät tarjoa ratkaisuja siihen, miten homogeenisuus saavutetaan. Miten Riikka Purran ja Jussi Halla-ahon puolue aikoo pysäyttää kulttuurista moninaisuutta?
Ainoa vastaus, joka minulla tulee mieleen on valeuutisten ja populismin levittäminen ja/tai muuttamalla demokraattista järjestelmää kuten olemme nähneet Unkarissa ja Republikaaninen puoluessa Yhdysvalloissa.
Suomen viharikosvastainen yhdistys ry
* Lähetimme vastine Helsingin Sanomille (27.5.) tuloksetta.
How does institutional racism survive unchallenged at a Finnish school? An anonymous source got in touch with Migrant Tales and pointed out how structural or institutional racism survives at a Finnish school.
One of the most crucial factors for its survival aren’t surveys and legal ineffective and false assurances against discrimination and racism but what the principal or leadership of the school thinks about such social ills. Is anti-racism a low priority, and does the school management camouflage its racism usually with its silence?
In many cases, the promise that “this will be good for integration” is false and misguided and feeds structural racism. Integration, or adaption, is a two-way process. Even so, this is usually forgotten.
The majority is not required to “integrate” but the newcomer is.
Here are some of the factors that maintain structural racism at a Finnish school:
I received a call from an old Migrant Tales reader who was distraught about a letter to the editor written by the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Youth of Lappeenranta. The headline? “The nation-state is our best protection.”
The reader continued: “How can Helsingin Sanomat publish something that openly excludes non-white Finns and other minorities in Finland? I’m worried about my child. What kind of a country are we heading? Nazi Germany?”
After reading the letter to the editor, I agreed and understood the reader’s concern. Like the Republicans in the US, the PS of Finland are openly subverting our Nordic democracy by replacing it with an autocratic system like Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.
Apart from excluding minorities in Finland and forgetting what racism and hatred of Nazi Germany in World War 2, the PS Youth claims the following:
Finland’s political amnesia shrowded in denial and hostility comes in the form of knee-jerk reactions. Those knee-jerk reactions may appear by acting dumb to difficult questions or by destroying your credibility in public.
I met Maryan Abdulkarim many years ago and commended her bravery in the face of continuous suspicion and hostility. Many in this country see her bravery as a positive matter needed in a Finland that suffers from too many Teflon politicians and political amnesia.
After six years of being a host on the Yle television show Jälkivisaat raati, which discusses topical issues of the day, Abdulkarim decided to leave after the program decided to include former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairperson (1995-2017), Timo Soini, as its new host.
If truth Is the first casualty in war, then the second casualty is the loss of your civil rights.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin are due to announce Thursday that Finland should join Nato “without delay,” according to The Guardian.
While Finland’s security concerns are valid enough for its giant eastern neighbor and what’s happening in Ukraine, the rushed pace of our membership in Nato has stymied debate about Finland’s major foreign policy shift.
One of the matters that worry me is if our hardened stance against Russia will continue to fuel our xenophobic tendencies. As a Nato member, will Finland find understanding to promote social equality for minorities, including Muslims, Africans, and people of color?
Another aspect that raises question marks is the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus).
Länsiväyläis a community newspaper that lives off advertising revenues. One story on Ukrainian refugees raking a park in Kirkonnummi, a city near Helsinki, is another chapter in framing Ukrainian refugees as “good” refugees, while similar people from the Middle East are viewed as “bad” refugees.
One PS politician states:
“These Ukrainians are pretty different from many who sought asylum in Finland.
Thankfulness is shown in this way (raking a park lawn. See picture below.)
I hope that some of them remain in Finland when the war ends.
They are needed here.
I believe they will not be over-represented in crime statistics. “
It is quite true that when people come to a new country like Finland, they have a ”honeymoon” period – everything looks new and interesting. The first few months can feel like an extended holiday, and you experience the seasons, the holidays and the culture.
When it came time for me to look for work, and the first year, and then 20 months went by – it was so hard to explain to family and friends far away that there was just no way to find a job. One of my UK friends told me, ”Just take anything – even cleaning, and then other things will come”. They rarely did – whether I set my hopes high or low.
Fast forward another 18 years, and finding work is just as difficult, in fact, even harder for middle-aged people. Over the past winter, I tried looking into some new ideas through the ”Startup” groups, and then the TE office sent my details to the BusinessOulu office.
I guess in Finland, if you are a wealthy and famous man, you have more rights to a job than an immigrant woman without an income.
Another of my challenges has been the ‘Brexit Punishment’ British immigrants get – many officials like to make things difficult for us, regardless of our politics. Finland, via Migri (The Finnish Immigration Service), decreed all British permanent residents reapply for another Residency (plus 54 euros) and have interview, and then wait for a decision. This is currently taking – not weeks, but months! My own is now scheduled to take 14 months.
A 33-year-old driver driving at high speed in the city center ended up hitting several cars and crashing in front of a cafe on Pohjoiesplanadi on May Day Eve, according to Yle News. Three people were injured including the suspect.
The suspect, a member of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party and a public servant at the ministry of economic affairs and employment, resisted arrest and yelled at the police.
In a video, he calls the police the devil and says repeatedly “amen” on the ground as he is being apprehended.
The suspect is being held for aggravated endangerment of traffic safety, aggravated drunk driving, grievous bodily injury, resisting an official, and insubordination, the police said in a statement, according to Yle News.
Strangely, there has been no response from the PS on what happened.
If the person had been a Muslim, we all know how the PS and the Finnish media would have reacted.
Shouldn’t we demand, in the far-right PS example, an apology from all the party members for what happened?
Considering that discrimination in the labor market is well-documented in numerous studies, it is surprising how little is still being done to challenge this problemandhow migrant and minority voices are excluded from the debate. True, some stories quote migrants, but they are usually the victims and not the experts with solutions.
The lack of minority voices in the debate allows for denial and fuels bias. With so few minorities in newsrooms, it should come as any surprise why so little is written about Islamophobia and why it is still not seen as a form of racism.
There are other factors like the majority’s fear of losing power, spreading hate speech in order to acquire power, ignorance, and our lack of will to challenge institutional racism and our prejudices.
Terminology on the topic is also confusing. The term tasa-arvo (gender equality) is commonly used by the media, politicians, and even policy-makers to mean yhdenvertaisuus (non-discrimination). When politicians talk about gender equality, do they mean non-discrimination? Do they mean women’s rights are more important than social exclusion and racism against people of color?
Näyttää siltä, että Perussuomalainen Nuoriso tykkää kopioida vanhaa retoriikkaa. Teuvo Hakkarainen sanoi samaa yli 10 vuotta sitten. Ilta-Sanomien mukaan Hakkarainen ehdotti, että homot, lesbot ja somalit pitäisi laittaa asumaan yhdessä Ahvenanmaalle.
Tähän ryhmään nyt kuuluu kielteisen turvapaikkapäätöksen saaneiden.
Väite herättää monessa suhteessa paljon kysymyksiä. Miten vauras pohjoismainen hyvinvointivaltio, joka perustaa arvonsa sosiaaliseen yhdenvertaisuudeen ja oikeudenmukaisuuteen ja jolla on yksi maailman parhaista koulutusjärjestelmistä, voi langeta rasismin ansaan?
Pitäisikö Perussuomalainen Nuoriso muuttaa Ahvenanmaalle etsimään tähän kysymyksen vastausta?
The Right to Live (Lupa elää) citizen’s initiative passed through the 50,000 signatures barrier Friday. If passed by parliament, the initiative will grant four-year residence permits to undocumented migrants who came to Finland before January 1, 2017.
The ministry of interior published its recommendations on what to do with some 3,000 undocumented migrants who came to Finland in 2015-2016. Of this group, about 300 are children.
States the Right to Live: “An unprecedented number of asylum seekers arrived in Finland during the years 2015 and 2016. Many went through asylum processes that were hurried and of poor quality. More than 5 years later, some of them are in a legal limbo and are still waiting for a residence permit, while some are waiting for the first non-appealable decision to their asylum applications.”
The proposal, made by the Green League, to grant a residence permit to undocumented migrants has received opposition from government parties like the Social Democrats (SDP) and Center Party.
Migrant Tales has published several stories about the lives of undocumented migrants in Finland. Here is Amir’s story.
Some of the most vocal government objectors to the proposal are SDP MP Eveliina Heinäluoma and Mikko Kärnä of the Center Party, both parliament’s administrative committee members.
Ever wonder why the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party gets so excited about so-called failed immigration and riots in Sweden? Is it because there isn’t enough news in Finland to spike and spread their Islamophobic message and perpetuate their deceptive claims?
The PS is a case in point to study how fake news about migrants is planted and watered in Finland. You only need two things: fake claims and silent media.
A lot of fake news about migrants is perpetuated by the PS. One of these is that Finland is “on the path of Sweden” when it comes to brown migrants.
Some of the toxic assumptions that such a claim makes are that certain groups of migrants, namely Muslims and people of color, are prone to violence and anti-social behavior because of their cultural background.
Such claims or news stories dig deeper into why there is social unrest in Sweden and its causes. Ever heard of institutional racism? Discrimination? Lack of social mobility?
Placing the blame on migrants and minorities won’t solve matters but perpetuate the problem.
Apart from the lack of news in Finland and crystal ball predictions about our cultural diversity in Finland, why do the PS rarely state that they are targeting Muslims, people of color or brown and black people?
Considering that 17% of Helsinki’s population speaks another mother tongue other than Finnish, Swedish, and Saami, it is surprising how slowly the newsroom of Finland’s biggest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, is still so white.
Why does the media not challenge fake news about migrants?
Is it because the media is part of Finland’s racism problem?
Deep in the forests of Savo, darkness is not always darkness but a state of mind that has learned to remain an image. In such places, time comes and goes but never leaves; its magic maintains you balanced like a trapeze artist without falling thanks to heart-filled joyous moments of memories once a time ago when you were part of the scenery…
The riots in Sweden sparked by the burning of the Koran by the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party led by Rasmus Palaudan remind us how urgently we need solutions, not provocations, to heal the wounds gashed by racism and double standards. Provocations do nothing more than expose our hypocrisy and privilege. They never offer solutions on the way to move forward.
Be it by the Palaudan and other far-right political groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* it is always the same script: provoke, provoke but never give solutions. While Palaudan has threatened a “final solution” to Muslims and expelling all of them from Denmark, the PS has only given cheap racist soundbites.
Palaudan loves attention, and he gets it from the media and, unfortunately, from some Muslims and others. He is not a champion of free speech by burning the Koran but an example of white privilege disguised as free speech.
In the last election in Denmark, his party got 1.8% of the votes, which is below the 2% threshold for an MP to be elected.
The PS is so full of bravado that they fear mentioning the term “Muslim” in their hate soundbites but instead speak in code. Asylum seekers and immigration policy are their code words for Muslims.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports: “Police said up to 100 mostly young people threw stones, set cars, tires and dustbins on fire, and put up a barrier fence in the town of Landskrona after authorities moved a demonstration scheduled there by Danish party Stram Kurs to the nearby city of Malmö, about 45km (27 miles) to the south.”
Forgetting the crucial role migrants have played in building Sweden’s economy after World War 2, PS leader Riikka Purra parrots her usual far-right talking points about events in Sweden.
This year has been disastrous for the populist Perussuomalaiset (PS)* for several reasons. The first hiccup came in last year’s municipal election, when the party, guided by promising opinion polls, expected to win but came in fourth place. Then came an even worse wreck: the county election in January, when its support dove to 11%.
Despite these setbacks, the biggest one yet was going to land in chairperson Riikka Purra’s footsteps: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With Putin’s invasion, populist parties in Europe – including the PS – suffered a massive blow since It was a wake-up call about what dangers and limits of populism.
While populists like the PS cannot enjoy the same dictatorial powers that Putin has, people in the West fear that democracy is in danger. Populist parties can pave the way for an autocratic regime, wars, destruction, and the tragic loss of lives that such calamities bring.
In one of the most powerful editorials ever written about the PS by Helsingin Sanomat, it cited MEPs like Laura Huhtasaari and why the PS are members of the far-right bloc Identity and Democracy (ID) that is the most pro-Putin in the EU?
The editorial suggested that MEPs like Huhtasaari in the ID group were “useful idiots” and since the war was not going to plan for Putin, populist politicians were rats abandoning a sinking ship.
Another sign that populists like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán are losing support due to his close ties to Putin, was the cancellation of a meeting of the Visegrad Four defense ministers in Budapest on Wednesday. The Czech and Polish defense ministers refused to take part in the meeting due to Orban’s close relationship with Russia, according to Radio Prague International.
The latest example of the PS having lost its way was an announcement by Purra flip-flopped on NATO membership.
Think about it. Finland’s far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party has had a total change of heart about refugees, which it has attacked and fed its popularity. Not only the PS, but other parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), Center Party, and a “taxi party” Liike Nyt, according to Yle.
A taxi party is one where all of its MPs can fit inside a taxi.
PS chairperson Riikka Purra, who scapegoats refugees with gusto, alleges that Ukrainian “women and children” should get help in Finland.
“There is a war in Europe pretty close to Finland,” she said. “It’s pretty clear that Finland should help mothers and children.”
Center Party head Annika Saarikko used the same argument with code words for white refugees such as women and children. Petteri Orpo, whose party has been hostile to Muslims, stated that we should help Ukrainians because “their integration will be much easier” because they have professions and speak languages.
Our favorable treatment of Ukrainians contrasts with our anti-Muslim racism.
Let’s take the argument that we should help “women and children,.” Politicians who use this argument are bashing with another arm refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
With such thinking, men cannot apply for asylum even if they are fleeing war.
Comments about the Yle television series on far-right young women, Suomineidot (Finnish Maidens), went viral, and for a good reason. Apart from revealing how much in the dark Yle is about racism and the far right, it also exposes white privilege in Finland.
In a nutshell, the series is about three young women:
Meri Kartta is a far-right ethnonationalist who hangs out with neo-Nazis.
Este 24 de marzo, conmemorando a esta fecha infame en la historia argentina, dedico este humilde escrito a Rodolfo Walsh quien murió un día después del primer aniversario de la dictadura militar de Jorge Rafael Videla.
Aquí publicamos su “Carta abierta a la Junta militar en 1977, al cumplirse un año del golpe de Estado de 1976:”
CARTA ABIERTA DE UN ESCRITOR A LA JUNTA MILITAR
1. La censura de prensa, la persecución a intelectuales, el allanamiento de mi casa en el Tigre, el asesinato de amigos queridos y la pérdida de una hija que murió combatiéndolos, son algunos de los hechos que me obligan a esta forma de expresión clandestina después de haber opinado libremente como escritor y periodista durante casi treinta años.
El primer aniversario de esta Junta Militar ha motivado un balance de la acción de gobierno en documentos y discursos oficiales, donde lo que ustedes llaman aciertos son errores, los que reconocen como errores son crímenes y lo que omiten son calamidades.
El 24 de marzo de 1976 derrocaron ustedes a un gobierno del que formaban parte, a cuyo desprestigio contribuyeron como ejecutores de su política represiva, y cuyo término estaba señalado por elecciones convocadas para nueve meses más tarde.
En esa perspectiva lo que ustedes liquidaron no fue el mandato transitorio de Isabel Martínez sino la posibilidad de un proceso democrático donde el pueblo remediara males que ustedes continuaron y agravaron.
Ilegítimo en su origen, el gobierno que ustedes ejercen pudo legitimarse en los hechos recuperando el programa en que coincidieron en las elecciones de 1973 el ochenta por ciento de los argentinos y que sigue en pie como expresión objetiva de la voluntad del pueblo, único significado posible de ese “ser nacional” que ustedes invocan tan a menudo.
Invirtiendo ese camino han restaurado ustedes la corriente de ideas e intereses de minorías derrotadas que traban el desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas, explotan al pueblo y disgregan la Nación.
Una política semejante solo puede imponerse transitoriamente prohibiendo los partidos, interviniendo los sindicatos, amordazando la prensa e implantando el terror más profundo que ha conocido la sociedad argentina.
2. Quince mil desaparecidos, diez mil presos, cuatro mil muertos, decenas de miles de desterrados son la cifra desnuda de ese terror. Colmadas las cárceles ordinarias, crearon ustedes en las principales guarniciones del país virtuales campos de concentración donde no entra ningún juez, abogado, periodista, observador internacional. El secreto militar de los procedimientos, invocado como necesidad de la investigación, convierte a la mayoría de las detenciones en secuestros que permiten la tortura sin límite y el fusilamiento sin juicio. (1)
The interior ministry estimates “tens of thousands” Ukrainians moving to Finland as a result of the war in that country, according to Yle News. There are about 7,000 Ukrainians in Finland, but Anna Rundgren, a ministry of interior senior specialist, believes that the actual figure is several times higher.
In 2015, the country saw a record influx of people coming here. Thirty-two thousand four hundred seventy-six asylum seekers, mainly from Iraq (20,485) and Afghanistan (5,214), came to Finland in that historic year. The country’s first wave of refugees was in 1921 when some 6,500 Russians from Kronstadt island in the Gulf of Finland fled the Bolsheviks.
Any sensible person should understand that the Ukrainian newcomers are an important human asset to the country. If we want to make Finland their new home, we must also treat them with respect and be vigilant so they will not fall prey to human trafficking and exploitation.
Despite all the objections to racism and Islamophobia in Finland, the silence and sub-rosa nods why such social ills continue to take root in the country. The chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Jussi Halla-aho of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, explained why Europe should open its arms to Ukrainians and shut the door on refugees from regions like the Middle East.
In light of these racist and preposterous explanations by a high-ranking MP, their context is the hope that such statements will boost the PS’ slump in opinion polls.
Below are the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee reasoning why Ukrainian refugees are better than others from regions like the Middle East and Africa on a Facebook post:
“Women and children are fleeing Ukraine. Those very children that are [fleeing] hug teddy bears in their arms, not those who claim they are 17 years old with built bodies. At the same time, when Ukrainian women and children flee the bombing, their husbands remain [in the country] to defend their homeland. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian men abroad return to fight against the [Russian] aggressor. The [Ukrainian refugee crisis] offers an average person what a refugee is and the [original] purpose of international refugee agreements.
Ukrainian refugees are grateful for having a roof over their heads. Iraqis state that the porridge is bad and why asylum reception centers are located so far from the city.
Many people already have [direct] experiences and perceptions of Ukrainians. You can see them at construction sites and farms. You can again see Iraqis…Everyone can decide where they’ve seen them.
Ukraine is a European refugee crisis. Naturally, they flee to the closest regions of Europe. [Ukrainian] refugees don’t demand that they go to the United States or Japan…”
As the Finnish launches a process to consider the nation’s Nato membership, while the frightening news from the war in Ukraine floods the media, all of us living in the country need to stop and think how we got into this situation and where to turn now.
Perhaps we also need to reflect why we have not sought to join Nato earlier.
This is not the first time Russia has invaded a neighboring country in recent times. We might mention the invasion of Afganistan for which many Western nations boycotted the Moscow Olympics. But not Finland.
Then we might mention the invasion of Georgia, the occupation of Czechoslovakia – even the bloody suppressions of a pre-independence uprisings in Chechenia and Hungary.
Admittedly all these had their unique historical. and geopolitical circumstances. But there were two things common to them all, A. They were events that shocked and upset many Finns when they occurred. B. No Finnish government ever even suggested we should consider joining Nato because of them.
The suffering caused by the Russian invasion and the flight of about two million refugees is certainly extremely upsetting. More so because of our modern access to graphic coverage in mainstream and social media. The public’s empathetic response to the victims of war is understandable and commendable.
But his cannot be the main reason for why the government now wants to consider joining Nato. The past conflicts were also frightening in their day and the invaders often ever crueler.
An explanation might be found in the doctrine espoused by President Juho Paasikivi after the last war – adopted by his successor- President Urho Kekkonen- that maintaining cordial relations with the country’s biggest neighbor was the cornerstone of Finnish foreign relations. Finland should always remain a non-aligned nation between East and West. From crises to crises this was an edict repeated by both Russian and Finnish leaders that kept peace on the border.
On Tuesday, 2.011 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February 24, according to the UNHCR. Some sources speculate that up to 4 million refugees may flee the war in Ukraine.
In light of Europe’s bleak history and the worst human rights abuses, atrocities, and wars in all of history, one wonders how long our goodwill lasts.
The goodwill of the EU has been shown by granting Ukrainians special protection status. Contrary to asylum seekers who came to Europe in 2015 and faced a long and grueling asylum process, Ukrainians receive automatic residence and work permits and access to social welfare.
If we compare what happened to asylum seekers who came to Europe in 2015 from countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, our goodwill ran out pretty fast.
Ahti Tolvanen, a historian and member of the Migrant Tales editorial board, tackled the question.
“It is high time that we reform the structural abuse in our labor market to make sue that these people [Ukrainians and others] aren’t exploited,” he said.
The far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* is already chipping away at our goodwill and patience towards Ukrainians.
The racist slogan by the PS is an example of how desperate the party is and that it has nothing to offer Finland except to polarize with injections of xenophobia.
The war in Ukraine is like a sinister brew boiling over death, destruction, tragedy, hatred, and xenophobia.
Apart from the shock and horror, our double standards and jingoism stand out as a stark reminder that we have done little to challenge the very social ills that caused the deaths of tens of millions of people in World War 2.
I’m talking about accomplices like the Holocaust and Stalin’s purges. And to our silence and inaction.
White Finnish privilege #82
Will we learn anything from this war?
Will the tears of the dead and the living awaken us from what Henry Miller called the air-conditioned nightmare?
There is mounting evidence about how Polish and Ukrainian border guards openly discriminate against non-Ukrainians and minorities like the Roma fleeing war as well as attacks by Polish nationalists. The commissioner for home affairs and migration, Ylva Johansson, has only words of praise.
“We can expect a lot of EU unity and EU solidarity towards Ukrainian if the situation deteriorates significantly,” Johansson was quoted as saying last month in Euronews.
While such hypocrisy is visible for everyone to see if they wish, it shows not only how racist Europe is but how little it has done to combat this social ill.
In light of the discriminatory and racist treatment by Polish and other EU border guards of non-EU citizens, I was surprised by a tweet from the Polish ministry of foreign affairs denying and slamming it as “fake news.”
Suomessa puhutaan paljon, kuinka ihmisten eri kulttuureista pitäisi tulla toimeen toistensa kanssa.Perustuslakimme antaa siihen hyvät eväät: syrjintä on kielletty, ihmisille on oikeus omaan kulttuurin ja kieleen, on myös uskonnonvapaus.
Mielestäni nämä periaatteet ovat oikeita ja tärkeitä, jos haluamme rakentaa ja elää yhteiskunnassa, jossa kaikilla riippumatta taustoista on yhdenvertaisia oikeuksia ja velvollisuuksia.
Nykyään enemmistö suomalaisista nuorista ei ole ennakkoluuloisia. Nuoret ovat oppineet ymmärtämään, että maailma on moninainen ja Suomi on osa tästä maailmaa. Tähän on auttanut muun muassa sosiaalinen media, matkustaminen ja eri tv-ohjelmat.
Olen opiskellut Otavan Opistossa yli puoli vuotta. Suurin osa lähiopiskelijoista on muualta kuin Suomesta. Itse olen syntynyt ja kasvanut Suomessa. Olen 17-vuotias.
Olen oppinut paljon kouluaikana, erityisesti kuinka eletään moninaisessa yhteisössä ja rakennetaan hyviä suhteita. Mielestäni ymmärrys, uteliaisuus ja kiinnostus toisia ihmisiä ja kulttuureita kohtaan auttavat paljon luomaan hyvät ja toimivat suhteet.
Ymmärrys on yksi keskeisistä asioista, koska se luo pohjan ja mahdollisuuden kunnioitukselle. Tämä ei kuitenkaan toimi, jos ymmärrys ja kunnioitus ei ole molemminpuolista.
Ymmärrys on yksi keskeisistä asioista.
Kuten kerroin, tietynlainen kiinnostus tai halu tietää toisesta on tärkeää, jos haluaa elää ja tulla toimeen toisten kanssa. Jos ei ole kiinnostusta tietää toisesta mitään, ei kyseinen henkilö pysty ymmärtämään toisesta tai hänen kulttuuristaan mitään. Tämä antaa tilaa ennakkoluuloille.
Jos nämä ohjeet ovat toimineet minulle, ne voisivat toimia myös muille.
Remember 2015, when some 1.3 million million asylum seekers came to Europe from countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia? Europe says welcome! Tervetuloa (welcome)! Meillä on tilaa (there is room for you)! After the initial outpouring of support and understanding for these people fleeing wars that we had started, attitudes took an abrupt turn for the worst.
New soundbites emerged: Go back to your countries! Social welfare bums! Illegal “refugees.”
Behind those sinister phrases were plans to make life as difficult as possible for these asylum seekers, who were mainly non-white and Muslims.
Today, Europe is ready to grant Ukrainians and foreigners fleeing war in Ukraine special protection status. If approved, it would give such refugees automatic residence permits, work permits, and access to social welfare for up to three years.
Since the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, we are seeing the restructuring of Europe’s security structure and political landscape. The new landscape is bad news for Europe’s far-right and populist parties like Finland’s Perussuomalaiset (PS)*.
The new situation may explain why PS chairperson, Riikka Purra, offered a new image with new glasses that makes her look more sensible and not her usual angry self? Is it why she did not mention once on the talk show her favorite pet word she likes to exploit: migrants?
Simultaneously, Finland’s staunchly anti-immigration party showed no objection to the millions of Ukrainian refugees [the media is now calling them by their proper name] who would settle in the EU and have access to a residence permit and social welfare.
PS MEP Laura Huhtasaari, a Donald Trump admirer and leading Islamophobe in Finland, tweeted: “Refugees welcome.”
Halla-aho, convicted of ethnic agitation in 2012 and is the country’s most vociferous Islamophobe, was appointed as the new chair of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee after PS MP Mika Niiko’s abrupt resignation.
Shameful and racist treatment. Ukrainian train conductors push back on Africans fleeing the war while Polish border officials don’t permit Africans to enter Poland, reports The Guardian.
Just like when Poland fenced out Middle East asylum seekers in November from entering the country, which even led to the death of children from hyperthemia, Africans are facing the same obstacles at the border.
Keeping out asylum seekers was done with the full complicity of the EU.
Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
Racism is a driving source of injustice in the EU swept under the rug with double standards and hypocrisy.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s plans of breathing new life into a second take of the Soviet empire by invading Ukraine have backfired and produced the opposite effect. Far-right parties like the Perussuomnalaiset (PS)* are collateral damage in Putin’s miscalculation.
In the backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, some politicians, especially from the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, have changed their tune. Don’t be fooled by them, and such moves are nothing more than an opportunistic move to prop up their sinking popularity.
Their shift in opinions about the Russians is so reprehensible that it resembles Adolf Hitler rising from the grave and claiming he is a changed person who renounces anti-Semitism.
It’s not going to fly because Halla-aho lacks credibility.
Disagree? Check out the PS’ close ideological ties with former President Donald Trump. He stated that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was “genius and savvy” and that he was an intelligent person.
As everyone knows, the PS has a dirty history of racism and populism with numerous ethnic agitation convictions like Halla-aho’s in 2012.
Is the tweet below credible?
Why doesn’t he and the PS directly condemn Vladimir Putin for the invasion of Ukraine? Just say it loud and clear without wavering: We condemn Putin for his military aggression in Ukraine.
In light of the Russian invasion and bloodshed in Ukraine, Finland has expressed its readiness to take in “tens of thousands” of “refugees” from that country, according to Yle. Remember last year, when Poland closed its border with Belarus over mostly Iraqis seeking asylum in the EU?
Remember the calls to keep out such asylum seekers by building a fence between Finland and Russia? Remember how parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) demanded that Finland draft new laws that would temporarily exclude asylum seekers from seeking refuge?
Former Kokoomus MP and minister Kimmo Sasi said that Finland use violence to repel asylum seekers from entering Finland.
The narrative may have now changed, and it’s good news, somewhat.
White Finnish privilege #82
In an opinion piece (in Finnish) by Reija Härkonen, she pointed out how the narrative has changed when those seeking asylum are white and Christian.
“Now, the situation is better since Ukraine is in distress, as sad as this may be. C