Search Results for: a perilous watershed

Finland 2011 election: A perilous watershed

Sunday’s election in Finland was historic for many reasons. For one it ushered in a populist far-right party with xenophobic elements to the Eduskunta (Parliament). In order to comprehend the new political landscape of Finland, we must ask to whom will such a victory be a threat and an opportunity.

Finland’s bigoted and perilous path

Finland has become in a short time a country that has lost its way. The police service, public officials like politicians and even ministers, who should know better, don’t. The most shameful matter that exposes these wretched times is that we’ve allowed xenophobia and nationalist populism to not only enter through the back door but through the main and wide one as well.

A danger to democracy

If there is one matter that US President Donald Trump’s self-coup has evidenced, it is the fragility of our democracy. This is also the case in Finland with the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, a pro-Trump radical right party that openly supports Trump. Some factors unite Finland with the United States. Finns have – incorrectly – said in

How far has the PS beachhead spread in twenty-two months?

Migrant Tales wrote the following day after the historic April 17, 2011 election had sent shock waves throughout Finland and Europe: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland.”  Back then, our blog got got cited by Time Magazine. The above quote was a response to

Media Monitoring Group of Finland: Will the Perussuomalaiset’s xenophobic campaign help it win the election?

Finland’s parliamentary election is only 16 days away on April 2, and the question is if the radical-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party will capitalize on its Islamophobic campaign message. The assertion that the PS uses a migrant crime topic to attract voters before an election isn’t far-fetched. One of the most interesting discoveries of our first

A party that is out of touch with the times

A good editorial by Helsingin Sanomat about how the radical-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* is the only party against bringing labor migrants to Finland and the threat such intransigency implies for the country. It writes: “When the PS refuses to accept [hard] facts, it no longer makes sense, even from a purely selfish point of view. And

Finland’s fictitious search for the ideal foreigner

Contrary to the last three parliamentary elections in  2011, 2015, and  2019, the upcoming parliamentary election on April 2 is different for several reasons: war rages in the Ukeraine, Finland has sought Nato membership, economic growth, and chronic labor shortages are just a few. Apart from labeling people from outside the EU as “harmful” migrants,

The Perussuomalaiset could face a counter “jytky” in April

Then Perussuomalaiset (PS)* head Timo Soini celebrated the party’s historic 2011 election victory as a “jytky,” or a loud bang. We may witness in April a counter “jytky.” I live in a small city of about 53,000 people 230km north of Helsinki’s capital. It is a good example of the demographic challenges facing Finland. Occasionally,

Media Monitoring Group of Finland [1]: Finland’s “youth gang problem” is Finland’s denied “racism problem”

The youth gang “problem” in Finland is a knee-jerk racist reaction. On and off, we have read about our youth gang “problem” with sensationalist headlines from newspapers that should know better. Remember back in 2014, when radical-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Tom Packalén created quite a stir when he claimed that a youth gang in East

Riikka Purra and the anti-EU PS may be too radical for Finland’s taste

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairperson, Riikka Purra, stuck her mouth in her foot at a debate with National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) head Petteri Orpo, when she said that it is still the radical-right party’s long-range aim to leave the EU. “Finnish citizens are not in favor of leaving the EU,” she was quoted as saying in Helsingin

Sanna Marin: Bravo for stating that the PS is a racist party! Better late than never.

Politicians like Prime Minister Sanna Marin have offered long-overdue leadership when challenging racism in Finnish politics by stating what many know: The Perussuomalaiset (PS)* is a racist party. “Looking at the speeches of individual [PS] MPs, these speeches have been racist and genuinely hostile to certain minorities,” said Marin in a debate with Petteri Orpo,

The PS is “offended” because they are not treated as a “normal” party

Bravo, Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin! Bravo, Green League Minister of the Environment Maria Ohisalo! Bravo, Left Alliance Minister of Education and Culture Li Anderson! Bravo for stating in plain Finnish that your parties would not form part of a new government with the radical right Perussuomalaiset (PS).* When the PS took 39 seats

STATEMENT: Yle should stop picking on minority youths and stick to facts

It was in 2020 when Helsingin Sanomat published 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

Sweden’s nasty surprise comes home to roost

THE STORY WAS UPDATED 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

Finnish government to ease (alas) strict family reunification law

The Finnish government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin plans to overturn the country tightened immigration law and family reunification requirements, which came into force a year later after a record 32,477 asylum seekers came to Finland in 2015. The then government of Center Party Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party was a

Jussi Halla-aho is a racist, and so is the far-right party he leads

Uusi Suomi, an online publication that played a key role before the 2011 parliamentary elections in giving the racist rhetoric of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party a platform, published today an interview with a cultural researcher, Tuija Saresma, who concluded that Jussi Halla-aho and the PS are racist. While these types of statements are a foregone

Kokoomus’ and Finland’s downward spiral

The last opinion poll published by Helsingin Sanomat doesn’t show us any big surprises. A few percentage-point fractions up or down and, end of story. If, however, we take a longer view, the situation of the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) raises some questions. Just like Jutta Urpilainen and the Social Democrats learned before the 2011

Hall of Shame: Finland’s 2020 Islamophobic and Afrophobic network

Choosing the key figures in the Islamophobic and Afrophobic Hall of Shame wasn’t difficult even during a year ravaged by Covid-19. The task was to choose the most obvious culprits and other ones in the media that fuel and maintain such a toxic environment. In putting together this year’s Hall of Shame, I was quickly

Finland is too white to solve its issues with racism. There must be change.

After the bombshell news that one of the suspects arrested Friday who brutally attacked Pekka Kataja of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in July, the new chairperson of the Center Party, Annika Saarikko, said on Ykkösaamu Saturday that she could form a government with the PS. In light of the PS’ links with far-right groups, Saarikko’s response

The Norwegian mass murderer, 22/7, and Jussi Halla-aho

Hateful and racist words can turn into bullets. THE STORY WAS UPDATED Two days and nine years had gone by when Norway and Europe witnessed the horrific events of 22/7 that left 77 people dead and many others with physical and psychological injuries for the rest of their lives. One of the matters that we

(Migrant Tales) November 9, 2016: “A date that will live in infamy”

Migrant Tales insight: When I published this story about four years ago, I imagined was certain that his presidency would be a fiasco. It was the same hunch I had in 2011 when the Perussuomalaiset scored their historic parliamentary victory. I wrote: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has

European Islamophobia Report will publish its 2019 findings in early June

The European Islamophobia Report (EIR) will publish in early June its findings. Should we be surprised that the party that is associated with Islamophobia in Finland is none other than the Perusuomalaiset (PS)*? The forthcoming European Islamophobia Report 2019, which will be published in early June, lists the central figures in Finland’s Islamophobia network. In

Perussuomalaiset support heads south

There was good news if you are against us-and-them rhetoric, Islamophobia, and support for US President Donald Trump’s policies and persona. A poll published Thursday by Yle showed that the southward direction of the Perussuomalaiaset (PS)* party continued to head south. Compared with a similar poll on December 9, 2019-January 8, 2020, support for the

Thank you, Hussein and Silvenoinen for exposing who the Perussuomalaiset are

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED It’s been a tough bubble-bursting July and August for Finland’s second-biggest party in parliament, the Perussuomalaiset (PS).* Helsinki city Councilperson Abdirahim Husu Hussein tweeted that the party and supporters were racists, while history researcher Oula Silvenoinen reminded and called the PS a far-right party on television. Silvenoinen isn’t the only researcher

Timo Soini to retire from politics

Foreign Minister Timo Soini, 56, who inspired Islamophobes, racists and conservative nationalists to have a political voice and platform to lash out at migrants and minorities, announced that he will not seek a new term in parliament, according to Helsingin Sanomat. Soini, who calls himself a devout Catholic, will be remembered as a conservative populist politician who led the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* to national prominence by capitalizing on populist anti-immigration sentiment. 

WARNING: RACIST CONTENT – Halla-aho announces that anti-immigration will be the PS’ main campaign theme

With parliamentary elections a heartbeat away on April 14, the populist far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party announced that anti-immigration will be their main campaign theme. Are we surprised? Not in the bit.  PS Chairperson Jussi Halla-aho was quoted as saying in Yle that at the present rate, Finland’s immigration policy will destroy present levels of social welfare, undermine

(Migrant Tales 12.2.2017): Dear Sweden, don’t play ball with the Sweden Democrats – Finland is the best example of the disaster that awaits you

Dear Sweden,  In all of the Nordic region, we have seen far-right populist parties rise in this century with a hostile even vicious anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity agenda. Of all the Nordic countries, you are the only one in the Nordic region where populist anti-immigration parties have not formed directly or indirectly a part of government. 

The Trumpization of Finnish politics

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* vice president Laura Huhtasaari, a vocal Islamophobic anti-immigration politician, has been since January under scrutiny due to the plagiarism found in her Master’s thesis.  If you read the reaction of the Finnish media about the latest ruling by the University of Jyväskylä, one common theme is that the plagiarism scandal will not affect

QUOTE OF THE DAY: How anti-diversity and Islamophobic is Finland?

“One of the big denials that one still hears a lot in Finland is its denial of the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, an Islamophobic party that won 39 seats in the parliamentary elections of 2011 from just 5 MPs in previously. There was an ongoing debate after 2011 within the PS on what caused its historic election victory. Then party leader Timo Soini claimed it was anti-EU sentiment while its present leader, Jussi Halla-aho, claimed it was the PS’ Islamophobic stance. 

Timo Soini’s fall from grace and the legacy of planting the political seeds of bigotry and racism in Finland

One lesson we could learn from former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairman Timo Soini is that the right balance between flattery and speaking in code will get you everywhere, well, almost everywhere. You can win big elections like in 2011 and ride, albeit momentarily, the crest of the popularity wave until you hit the wall in disgrace with your fingers badly burned. 

How the Finnish government, institutions and President Sauli Niinistö pander to anti-immigration sentiment and groups

Just the way Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government can give a tacit pat on the back to far-right groups like Suomi Ensin (Finland First), the police give the green light to extremist vigilante groups, or President Sauli Niinistö give the thumbs up to the Finnish version of the Okie from Muskogee, all of them if they wanted could land a big blow to such racist groups by stating that they are unacceptable and out of touch with our Nordic values.

Nativist nationalist anti-cultural diversity politician Sampo Terho named as Finland’s minister of culture, sport and European affairs

What kind of message does the appointment of Perussuomalaiset (PS)* parliamentary group leader Sampo Terho to minster of culture, sport and European issues send? Does it strengthen our Nordic welfare state values or does it drive a wedge between us? We are naming a person who is hostile to cultural diversity and sees the EU as a threat as minister.

(Migrant Tales 12.2.2017) Dear Sweden, don’t play ball with the Sweden Democrats – Finland is the best example of the disaster that awaits you

Dear Sweden,

In all of the Nordic region we have seen far-right populist parties rise in this century with a hostile even vicious anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity agenda. Of all the Nordic countries, you are the only one in the Nordic region where populist anti-immigration parties have not formed directly or indirectly a part of government.

Finland, asylum seekers and the media: Moral cowardice and passing the buck

Migrant Tales has written a lot about how the Finnish media writes about migrants, asylum seekers, and our ever-growing culturally diverse society. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, problem of the Finnish media, when it writes about migrants and minorities, is that it gives white Finland the benefit of the doubt.  We shouldn’t be

Finland rolls back the clock and flirts with the cold war when every foreigner was seen as a potential threat

In another move to punish former migrants who are naturalized Finns, the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, which shares power with the National Coalition Party and anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset,* plans to introduce a new law to parliament within weeks that will prohibit dual citizens from holding certain jobs that involve national security, according to Seijnäjoki-based daily Ilkka, which cites Finnish News Agency (STT).

Migrant Tales January 20, 2013 and case Terhi Kiemunki: The PS cannot rid itself of its racists because it would commit political hara-kiri

Migrant Tales insight: Are you still wondering why Terhi Kiemunki got off with a light slap on the hand by the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party for writing on Facebook that it was unfortunate that she didn’t have any condoms to give Muslim children trick-or-treating? Even if Kiemunki is an Islamophobe that Anders Breivik emailed her before murdering 77 people on July

Xenophobia is a cancer that spreads in Finland

After years of looking the other way Finland is paying today a high price for its self-inflicted xenophobia. What are the consequences of such a social ill if we continue to permit it to roam freely with the help of urban tales and bigotry?

Open racism in the PS and Finland for ever?

The Green League’s Vihreä Lanka writes that the hardline anti-immigration wing of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* comprises of eight MPs in MEP Jussi Halla-aho’s camp with four more sympathizing with the latter, according to Vihreä Lanka, which cites journalist Marianne Lydén.

A nightmare called the Perussuomalaiset

The populist anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) held over the weekend their party conference in Turku. There were two matters that summarize the conference: the party’s hostility towards migrants and the media.

Finland’s Rosa Parks moment and crossing the line

For those of us who have been anti-racism activists for many years, Tuesday, July 28, offered us something we hadn’t seen before in Finland: A spontaneous 15,000-20.000-strong demonstration against racism and fascism in Helsinki. Was that very important demonstration a Rosa Parks moment and an important watershed to make Finland a more inclusive country?

Swedish People’s Party Carl Haglund: Who wants to move to Finland knowing that a price tag will be placed on your forehead?

Imagine a country that needs skilled labor due to the rapid graying of its population and whose new government still doesn’t know whether immigration brings benefits or not? Well that country, folks, is none other than Finland. Yes, the country that saw over 1.2 million of its people emigrate between 1860 and 1999 to the world and which saw the rise of an anti-immigration party from the minor political leagues to become the second-biggest party in parliament.

Xenophobia and Islamophobia get to first base in Finland: And now, what?

Living in Finland after the April 19 parliamentary elections is like witnessing a coup where xenophobia and Islamophobia have strengthened their stranglehold on our country with the blessings of the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP). With the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* in government and the election of PS MP Maria Lohela as the new speaker of parliament send a disturbing signal to many Finns and especially to our ever-growing culturally diverse community.

On Sunday we vote in Finland – future generations will be watching closely the result

Finland will hold parliamentary elections on Sunday. According to the latest polls, the Center Party is well ahead with the National Coalition Party (NCP) and Perussuomalaiset (PS)* trailing in second and third place, respectively. The Social Democrats are in fourth place.  Migrant Tales has tirelessly reported on the ongoing anti-immigration debate in Finland daily since 2011.  Since Finland is our

Amnesty International cites (again) Finland’s human rights violations against refugee, migrant and transgender rights

Amnesty International criticized Finland in a 2014-15 country report on human rights violations for its treatment of asylum seekers, migrants, transgender people and conscientious objectors, according to YLE in English. It said that police inaction agains women and girls was another cause for concern.  Should we be surprised? Not really. Finland has had a poor

Migrant Tales (September 14, 2013): The Finnish and European media still have a lot to learn about racism and intolerance

One matter that is interesting to note when looking at the media before the historic victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party in April 2011, is the present controversy surrounding the Youth League of the National Coalition Party’s program. Is the media giving racists, radical anti-immigration groups and voices inflated respectability and importance? The whole Susanna

Populist parties of Finland are a direct threat to our prosperity

A recent poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat reveals an important trend: How the National Coalition Party and the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* are in a semi-tailspin mode. The Center Party continues to strengthen its position as the most popular party among voters with the Social Democrats slowly but surely overpassing the National Coalition Party.  Certainly this is an

Same-sex marriage bill vote Friday will be a cliff hanger

Finland will vote Friday on the long-overdue bill that would make marriage legal between same-sex couples. A lot rides on tomorrow’s vote. In many respects, the outcome of Friday’s vote shows Finland to be at an important crossroads. Some analysts see the passage of the same-sex marriage bill not only as a victory for gays but for

Homophobic Finland? Thank the Perussuomalaiset

Some weren’t too worried when the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* won their historic parliamentary election victory in 2011 by raising the number of MPs to 39 from 5. “They’ll implode like the Rural Party did in the 1970s,” and “This is only a passing [political] fad” was what one heard.  One matter is clear after almost four

Systemic disenfranchisement of migrants and minorities in Europe

One important question that doesn’t appear to bother too many politicians is why migrant voter turnout in Europe is so low. In the 2012 municipal elections of Finland, 20% of eligible migrants voted compared with 18.6% in 2008. This is a far cry from 59.5% and 62.2% of Finnish citizens that voted in such elections,

Do you think David Cameron should be given ‘a medal’ for immigration?

Finnish Prime Minister Alexsander Stubb continues to surprise us. This time he proposed giving the UK, or Prime Minister David Cameron, ‘a medal’ for immigration. Taking into account how Cameron sees himself threatened by the UKIP and how he’s caved in to anti-immigration and anti-EU rhetoric, the distinction proposed by Stubb is odd to say the

PS’ Timo Soini of Finland looks more like a wolf and less like a sheep as April elections near

With the help of one term, “cultural marxist,” Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairman Timo Soini gave us the clearest-yet image of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Soini lashed out on his blog at the same-sex marriage lobby and particularly at Nasima Razmyar as “cultural marxists” after she compared the PS leader and Christian Democrat Päivi Räsänen as “conservative Islamists” for opposing same-sex

Finnish anti-immigration sound bites + near-silence of society = peril

Some soap operas are so sweet and melodramatic that they form cavities in your brain. In the same way, the message of anti-immigration and xenophobic parties is so outrageous that they leave a whole in your head.   Timo Soini and the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* which became Finland’s third-largest parliamentary bloc in 2011, are appealing to

The PS of Finland: When a morally bankrupt party crosses the line

The Tom Packalén case is not only a reminder of what Finland can expect if the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* ever get into government, there is the real threat that we are in danger of forfeiting our successful Nordic welfare state for populism, nativist nationalism and xenophobia. In the face of this threat, it is the near-silence

PS MP of Finland ready to patrol streets and take law into his own hands

Remember what people said when the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* won their historic election victory in 2011? ”Nothing is going to happen you’ll see…they’ll soon implode like the Rural Party did in the 1970s…” some said playing down the whole matter. After almost four years, the PS continues to polarize society by instilling fear and fueling racism

The ‘positive’ side of racism and sexism on social media

What do social media sites say about how we socialize and interact with others? What does it say about racism and sexism, which have mushroomed  on social media sites? Associate professor of digital journalism and social media at the University of British Columbia, Alfred Hermida, said that the problem of social media is the ‘undetermined’ nature and immediacy

Who spreads hatred in Finland: YLE or the PS?

Attempting to gain the maximum political mileage from the act of vandalism against the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* office in Helsinki on Thursday, party secretary, Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, is pointing the finger at the “green-left alliance” (a favorite catchword that the party uses to describe its enemies) and YLE for comparing it to the anti-immigration far-right Sweden Democrats.

Will the Sweden Democrat victory give a boost to the PS in Finland?

The Swedish election result not only showed a shift and set for a minority-left government, but historic gains made by the far-right Sweden Democrats. Conservative Moderat Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who conceded defeat late Sunday, said he will hand in his resignation Monday after eight years in power. Just like the anti-immigration Peerussuomalaiset (PS)* in

Helsingin Sanomat poll shows the PS heading south

A poll published today by Helsingin Sanomat reveals that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party is at its lowest point (15.9%) in two years. The most popular party in Finland continues to be the National Coalition Party (22.1%) followed by the Center Party (19.9%). The Social Democrats, which are still struggling, are in the mid-teens (14.9%) with

Finlandization was very bad for refugees, especially Soviet asylum seekers

A story in Thursday’s Helsingin Sanomat shows that the shadow of Finlandization continues to hang deep on Finland even if the demise of the former Soviet Union ocurred in 1991. Even if the Helsingin Sanomat story writes about Finland’s first-ever airplane hijacking case in 1977 involving two Soviet citizens on an Aeroflot flight, it sheds an

How the Finnish media gives anti-immigration parties like the PS space, inflated respectability and importance

An article in Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat about Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Mika Raatikainen, who will replace former PS MP Jussi Halla-aho’s after he was elected to the European parliament in May, reveals once again this country’s media fascination with racist double-talk and rhetoric that just don’t add up never mind make sense. If there is a culprit

Close your eyes and repeat: The PS of Finland isn’t a racist and fascist party…

Harri Tauriainen, a Perussuomalaiset (PS)* councilman of the northern city of Kemi, is a good example of how racism and fascism have found fertile ground in the PS. Taurianen was elected by the region of Lappi as a PS candidate for the April 2015 parliamentary elections, according to Rovaniemi-based daily Lapin Kansa.  Tauriainen, a councilman of Kemi, got

Is Finland a good country for migrants and minorities?

Finland gets a lot of international recognition for being one of the most competitive countries in the world, for press freedom, women rights, scores high on the good country index, having one of the best educational systems in the world and the likes. The latter raises a question: How inclusive of a country is Finland to

Migrant Tales insight on EU elections: Win some, lose some

As the political dust settles after the Euro elections last Sunday, can we claim like the media that the hard right made important gains?  How did anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* of Finland fare compared with the previous elections in 2009?  Apart from the UKIP and National Front of France’s impressive

Anti-immigration Europe: The fruits you harvest depend on the seed you plant

In many respects, Europe looks like a region that is running scared with a notable part of its population seeking to support populist, anti-immigration and even neo-Nazi parties that offer no credible solutions to issues like rising unemployment, poverty and estrangement from our political institutions.  If students from a small town in Eastern Finland did

Are politicians like Jussi Halla-aho and parties like the PS racist?

Jay Smooth offered in early March some good points on how to spot a racist by sticking to the that-sounded-racist conversation as opposed to they-are-racist conversation. The former conversation allows you to focus on what the person said and why what they said is unacceptable. The other one will take your focus away from the issue.  Keeping

Finland is not a land of opportunity but a land of poverty for most migrants

According to Statistics Finland’s Working Paper series, Finland is no land of opportunity for migrants, writes Pekka Myrskylä. The Statistics Finland’s development manager claims that the employment level of Estonians and Thai citizens matches that of ethnic Finns. The majority of migrants live in poverty in Finland, according to him.   If what Myrskyä writes

How can you, Finland, loathe migrants and refugees if you were one?

How can a country like Finland, which saw over 1.2 million people emigrate during 1860-1999 and resettled 420,000 Karelian refugees after the Continuation War (1941-44) with the former Soviet Union, loathe migrants and speak contemptuously against refugees?  How do you explain the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) that grew from a mere

Lahtinen and the PS of Espoo don’t like the term racism

Perussuomalaiset (PS) Espoo city councilman, Teemu Lahtinen, said that the anti-immigration and anti-EU party would not vote for the city’s new multicultural program since it states that “Espoo residents don’t tolerate racism.” Lahtinen, who is a member and has been president of the far-right association Suomalaisuuden liitto,  said he would like to replace the term

Timo Soini and the PS do it again: usual sound bites and no accountability

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* leader Timo Soini published this week a book about himself and the growth of the anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam party. In the book, Peruspomo, he candidly gives his opinion about the party, of some PS MPs and reveals some of his health issues.  In a nutshell, Peruspomo gives us the same message, or lack of

What can the PS mutate to if the political conditions are right?

In order to understand what a party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) are, look at how it rose to become Finland’s third-largest party in parliament in less than ten years. The growth of the anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam PS has been impressive to say the least, rising from 5 MPs in the 2007 parliamentary elections

MPs fear that the Ukrainian crisis could fuel anti-Russian sentiment in Finland

The present crisis between the Ukraine and Russia could fuel anti-Russian sentiment in Finland, according to Social Democrat MP Pauliina Viitamies and MP Lenita Toivakka of the National Coalition Party, reports Mikkeli-based daily Länsi-Savo. Read full story here. “I fear that [the Ukrainian-Russian crisis] could raise anti-Russian sentiment especially in the eastern border area,” said

An opportunist called PS MP Jussi Halla-aho of Finland

If there’s one politician who has successfully made a career by spreading racism and victimizing a group like Somalis in Finland, that politician is Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho, who is running for MEP. Apart from playing on people’s fears about migration and cultural diversity, the PS MP is a very unthankful person.  Read full

We can do it and send Halla-aho and the PS to where they came from

I still remember April 2011, when the anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam Perussuomalaiset (PS) party opened a gloomy chapter in Finland’s history by getting 39 MPs elected to parliament. The election was impressive to say the least considering that only 5 PS MPs got elected in 2007. Source: While some were surprised by the election

Finland is repeating the mistakes of the past because we deny our history

There’s an interesting question that a YLE journalist asks National Coalition Party minister for European affairs and foreign trade, Aleksander Stubb, on the Ykkösaamu talk show Saturday about why small- and medium-sized companies in Finland prefer to be acquired by foreign companies instead of continue to expand in global markets. National Coalition Party Minister for

Finland’s ombudsman for minorities says Helsinki social services and health care employees practice ethnic profiling

Finland’s ombudsman for minorities, Eva Biaudet, accused the Helsinki department of social services and health care of ethnic profiling because it requires its employees to check if “a foreign-looking” person has a residence permit, reports Helsingin Sanomat.  The city of Helsinki said in a statement in June that its social services and health care employees

Does intolerance fuel racist harassment and abuse?

We’ve written quite a few stories about racist bullying and the rise of an anti-immigration party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS), after the April 2011 elections. The Independent reports that the number of children seeking help in England for racist bullying “increased sharply” in 2013. One of the reasons for the sharp rise in children seeking help for

Somali Finn Abdulah: Living in a land between Nowhere and Somewhere

Abdulah, whose life as a Somali Finn has appeared in previous stories on Migrant Tales, was especially troubled by a news story published this month about the sharp rise in deportations of convicted and undocumented immigrants. According to YLE, the number of deportations from Finland have risen sharply after the Sello Mall killings of December

Finland & Cultural Diversity 2013

Compared with the previous two years, 2013 will be remembered as business as usual on the intolerance front. A positive sign, however, is the reaction of some of the Finnish media to racism. Even so, the media in this country continues to give some racists inflated respectability and importance by spreading their prejudice.    The reaction

How does the PS plan to keep Finland “white?”

Even if an anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) is trying its hardest to look as mainstream as possible with the Euro MP and parliamentary elections of 2014 and 2015 approaching, respectively, a crucial question is being left out of the picture: How do they plan keep Finland white and undermine our ever-growing

When will we pass to anti-racism phase two in Finland?

Some will agree that Finland is decades behind other countries when it comes to challenging racism. But there is good news: The rise of an anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party in 2011, the Perussuomalaiset (PS), is a sign that we’re moving forward to phase two. Phase one is when most of the efforts of a

Henrik Dettmann: Finland is an “extremely intolerant” country

Is Finland a racist country? Henrik Dettmann, head coach of the Finnish national basketball team, agrees and claims that Finland is an ”extremely intolerant” country that isn’t a favorable place for foreigners. Read full story here. “Yes [Finland is a racist country],” Dettmann is quoted as saying on Verkkouutiset. “If I compare what I have

Are you a perpetrator or victim of white Finnish privilege?

One matter about intolerance is that it is universal. The social ill can manifest itself in different ways by speaking different languages and historical context but don’t be fooled by these deceptions: Intolerance is the same ogre.  White privilege is one of the many faces of racism and means automatic access or exclusion to the

The ogre of racism in Finland is learning how to wear a three-piece suit and tie

Matters appear to have changed after the April 2011 election, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) rose from relative obscurity to become the third-largest party in parliament. The well-known scandals and publicized vicious attacks by the racists of the PS against immigrants and visible minorities appear to have changed their tune.   Apart from the row that

The Finnish and European media still have a lot to learn about racism and intolerance

One matter that is interesting to note when looking at the media before the historic victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party in April 2011, is the present controversy surrounding the Youth League of the National Coalition Party’s program. Is the media giving racists, radical anti-immigration groups and voices inflated respectability and importance? The whole Susanna

Are Finns conservatives by nature?

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini was interviewed on YLE Saturday morning. Commenting on a recent opinion poll commissioned by YLE, Soini claimed that the good showing of the PS and Center Party proved that Finns are by nature conservatives.  The YLE poll, which was published Friday, showed big gains by the opposition Center Party (23.8%)

Racism in Finland: The media is part of the problem

A party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), which has capitalized politically on xenophobia and racism, claims that the Finnish media picks on it unfairly. The fact is, however, that the PS could have never achieved what it did in the April 2011 election without the help of the media, which gave its racists inflated respectability and

PS MP Hakkarainen of Finland launches new attack against immigrants and Muslims

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who suggested two years ago that homosexuals, lesbians and Somalians should be relocated to the Åland Islands, has launched a fresh attack against immigrants and Muslims on a blog entry. Sensible people understand that generalizing about different groups, like Hakkarainen does, is not only wrong but racist. Migrant Tales strongly condemns

Victimizing and labeling immigrants for political profit

UK’s David Cameron is one European PM who is using immigration to bolster his Conservative Party’s poll ratings. It’s a recurring and worrisome political story across Europe: let’s get tough on immigration so we can gain a few percentage points in the polls. This type of campaigning is not only cowardly, but racist and disgraceful.

Why aren’t we outraged enough by intolerance?

Finnish department store J. Kärkkäinen’s Magneettimedia writings are a disturbing sign of how anti-Semitism, like anti-immigration and anti-Islam sentiment, have gained a foothold in Finland. And why shouldn’t it find fertile ground to grow in this country? During the past years, the genie of intolerance has been let out of the bottle and it shows.  We’re

Migrant Tales (July 22, 2012): What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7

What goes around comes around. Exactly a year ago (2012) Anders Breivik carried out his mass killings, which ended up causing the death of 77 innocent victims. Have we learned anything from that tragic Saturday that shook the Nordic region and changed it permanently? In order to answer that question, we’d have to travel back in

Finland’s anti-immigration sentiment surprised a lot of people

Finland is a country that is graying at a rapid pace and needs to bring skilled labor. Some parties, like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), believe that immigration especially from outside the EU should be stopped at all costs. Others don’t mind as long as immigrants bring skills and contribute to society by paying taxes.  In the

What does the PS’ new party secretary mean by “tightening [Finnish] immigration policy?”

Left Alliance MP Risto Kalliorinne asks Perussuomalaiset (PS) new party secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo to elaborate what she means by ”tightening immigration policy?” Apart from labeling herself a chauvinist, Slunga-Poutsalo “demanded” that Finland should tighten immigration policy. Read original story here. While Left Alliance MP Kalliorinne poses an important question, we all know the answer that Slunga-Poutsalo

UK study links hate crime with far right EDL

A study in the UK finds that members of the far right English Defense League (EDL) were linked to a third of the abuses against Muslims last year. Almost two in every three cases of anti-Muslim incidents go unreported in the UK, according to Teesside University’s Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies.  Read full report

Edward Snowden would help to put to rest Finland’s Cold War legacy

Wikileaks said in a statement that whistleblower Edward Snowden had asked for political asylum in twenty-one countries, one of which included Finland. Understanding Finland’s history and its historic suspicion of foreigners, granting a high-profile asylum seeker like Snowden asylum in Finland would not only help to put to rest for good our poor record but have

Let’s challenge Finland’s disgraceful family reunification obstacles

Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) of Britain shows how organizations can do valuable work in lobbying for change against unfair family reunification laws (see Migrant Tales 28.6.13). Politicians, who have tightened such laws, are short-sighted and have created a tragedy for those who live separated from their loved ones.  The same suffering that separated families suffer in Finland

Dissecting Finnish racism and bigotry

“Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.”  Malcolm X (1925-65) The quote by one of the most powerful voices to emerge from the U.S. Civil Rights Movements, reveals how racism survived in the 1960s to see another day. Even though the quote by Malcolm X was made about a

When Timo Soini and the PS cross the political point of no return

When do you know when Timo Soini and the Perussuomalaiset (PS) have crossed the line and passed a political point of no return? The 50,000-euro ad on the front page of Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest-circulation daily,  blasting the government’s euro bailout policy is one of many examples. While more voters are turning their backs to the

Sweden and Woolwich reveal the eager face of intolerance

Be it the riots in Sweden or the tragic murder of a British solider in Woolwich last week, it’s always the eager face of intolerance that is ready to expose itself. The knee-jerk reaction to these events reveals something disturbing about us: our prejudice, intolerance and near-clueless answers on how to move forward in a

Sweden riots: People cannot live off football, crumbs and destitute pity

In the face of the riots in Huusby, Sweden, which have now spread outside the northern Stockholm suburb, there’s one culprit we should pay close attention to especially here in Finland: The erosion of Sweden’s comprehensive welfare state system.  Faced with a seven-billion-euro budget deficit, it isn’t surprising that few if any politicians in this

Statement by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner: “Europe must combat racist extremism and uphold human rights”

Migrant Tales comment: This statement by the  the Council of Europe’s Human Rights commissioner, Nils Muižnieks, is a good example of  how racist anti-immigration groups are gaining more power in Europe. In Finland we saw the spectacular rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party in 2011. Finland’s anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam voice got stronger in parliament.  Matters

DNA, Saunalahti, IF, Nordea: “Backward-looking” rules and laws mirror Finland’s anti-foreign sentiment

A comment on Migrant Tales by Chef summed up pretty well how “several backward-looking” rules used arbitrarily by mobile phone and insurance companies continue to discriminate and make life difficult for immigrants. Why does this still happen in Finland, a Nordic welfare state country that promotes and bases its values on social equality (tasa-arvo)? The suspicion that

How ideologically alike is the PS with the UKIP and BNP?

The recent local election victory of the anti-EU and anti-immigration UKIP of Britain is a good example of what Finland experienced with the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in April 2011. While the United Kingdom and Finland are vastly different countries, the knee-jerk reaction of the ruling parties to right-wing populism and rhetoric is strikingly

Margaret Thatcher’s New Right and Finland’s Perussuomalaiset party

As Perussuomalaiset (PS) leader Timo Soini promises that his party will become the biggest party in next year’s European parliamentary elections, which would give him a spring-board to score a similar election victory as in 2011, it’s still too early for the party to reveal how it would deal with its usual enemies like the

Could Finland and the Nordic region see Golden Dawn-like fanatics in the future?

The news from Greece is getting more distressing as Golden Dawn neo-Nazi thugs continue to terrorize sensible Greeks, immigrants and other minorities with the collusion of the police. An investigative report by The Guardian exposes how bad things are in Greece at present and why matters will get far worse. Could we see something similar happening in

What Finland can learn from countries like the U.K. about racism

We can learn a lot from countries like the United Kingdom, where multiculturalism is an official social policy. Few won’t deny that the U.K. as well as other European countries don’t know what racism is if we look at their direct involvement in the slave trade and in the systematic genocide of indigenous peoples outside Europe. 

Is the far right a threat to Finland?

Pia Growchoski asks an important question on her recent blog entry on Migrant Tales: Why is the national media so interested in far right groups and their resentful rhetoric? Why do we give space to Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini’s blatant incompetence on our Facebook pages? Are we in denial about what these groups represent

Finland’s biggest threat is itself

As Finland awakens to the reality that it is a culturally diverse society, one of the biggest threats and challenges we face doesn’t come from abroad but from our backyard. When the Civil Rights Movement ended in the United States in 1968, the first matter that we learned we should stop doing is generalizing about blacks

BBC’s HARDtalk: Soini defends decision to not sack Halla-aho

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman, Timo Soini, said on BBC’s HARDTalk that the five-year ordeal that lead to a Supreme Court ruling against PS MP Jussi Halla-aho for inciting ethnic hatred was enough punishment, according to YLE. Soini had promised previously to sack any member of the party if they were sentenced by a court for hate speech. 

Our Finnish modern-day eugenicists are no different from the past

Who are those modern-day eugenicists breathing life back into this disgraced pseudo-science whose aim was to create a master white race by wiping out other ones? If we look at Europe and the Nordic region today, we can find many politicians with the same nineteenth-century agenda but in a different context. 

Post-Jyväskylä: Where do we go from here?

Considering how the media treated before the April 2011 election racism and far right ideology and how social media sites were teeming with racist online lynch mobs, we are today waking up from the hangover of our state of social inebriation. The aftereffect will not go away in a day, week, or month but will

Racism is alive and well in the PS as well as in other parties

Husein Mohammed raised an important point on a recent blog entry where he reviewed Umayya Abu-Hanna’s  latest book, Multikulti. He asks if the Perussuomalaiset (PS) is the only intolerant party in Finland. He writes: “The term racism is used quite a lot in [Abu-Hanna’s] book but there’s no mention of violence, visible or about racism in [other Finnish] political

Promoting tolerance now and tomorrow

In Migrant Tales’ Finland & Cultural Diversity 2012 review, it’s clear that a lot more work needs to be done to promote tolerance. Thanks to Umayya Abu-Hanna’s column on Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat,* our collective complacency was once again shamefully revealed. Racism, or the lack of acceptance of other ethnic groups as equals in our society,

Finland & Cultural Diversity 2012*

If 2011 was a watershed year for Finland with the historic rise of  a hostile party against immigrants and visible minorities in last year’s parliamentary elections, 2012 will be seen as a bittersweet turning point for the Perussuomalaiset (PS).  The year will be remembered as a very violent one for immigrants as well. During “Black

What are immigrants supposed to adapt to?

One of the biggest questions when speaking of the integration of immigrants and visible minorities in Europe and Finland is what are they supposed to adapt to. In theory everything sounds perfect in our law books. What happens on the ground, however, is a totally different story.  This abandoned Cadillac reveals the crude face of

The Finnish media and their PS darling

Did anyone watch Thursday’s Pressiklubi show with Li Andersson of the Left Wing Alliance, Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini and Helsingin Sanomat politics and business editor, Marko Junkkari? Apart from Soini’s usual political blah-blah (sound colorful but don’t say anything), Junkkari’s comment about how the Finnish media saw the PS as their darling before the

Taming the beast of right-wing extremism in the EU and Finland

Our reaction to racism should be first and foremost a reaction.  A comprehensive report published recently by the Institute for Strategic Studies in Sweden not only exposes far-right or right-wing extremism in ten European Union countries, but its historical roots as well. While these extremist groups may have different names in different countries, they are all

Social inclusion is never voluntary in a land where racism is king

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Martin Luther King Jr. Even if the late King Jr. was gunned down in 1968, that quote is still valid today. In Finland it would read in the following manner: “Social equality is never voluntarily given by the majority; it must

The PS’ anti-immigration message suffers a hard blow

Despite the fact that the debate in Finland on immigrants and immigration has taken a turn for the worse in some respects, it’s not as bad as it used to be before the April 2011 parliamentary elections and when Anders Breivik went on his murderous rampage on July 22, 2011. While anti-immigration politicians still want

Is Timo Soini losing his grip of the PS?

For those who haven’t noticed, Perussuomalaiset (PS) anti-immigration hardliners like MP Jussi Halla-aho and James Hirvisaari have tried to show their human side to the media. Halla-aho was recently interviewed with his wife Hilla on Me Naiset, while Hirvisaari writes on a blog entry hitherto-unheard empathy and understanding for his archenemy, the media.   Some of Finland’s

The true face of the PS is being exposed by its poor election results

There’s an interesting editoral on Saturdary’s Helsingin Sanomat (HS) that shows how close Nordic anti-immigration are when it comes to the support they received in recent elections and poll standings. Migrant Tales wrote six days after Anders Breivik murdered in cold blood 77 people on July 22, 2011 that the tide had turned for far right anti-immigration parties

MP Hirvisaari claims PS anti-immigration message not strong enough

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James (Erkki Kalevi) Hirvisaari claims that his party did poorly in the municipal elections because it wasn’t as outspoken on immigration issues as before the 2011 parliamentary elections, according to YLE. Migrant Tales disagrees. The PS did poorly in the municipal elections because of the crackpot stuff they say and do to

Finland’s problem that is correcting itself: lack of cultural diversity

Finland hasn’t been the same since the April 2011 elections, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won its historic victory and became Finland’s third-largest party with 39 seats versus 5 seats in 2007. The PS’ latest election flop is another indication that the vast majority of Finns and immigrants are giving the thumbs down to anti-almost-everything populism. The

PS anti-immigration candidates did well in the Finnish municipal elections

What do Sunday’s municipal elections tell us about where Finland is heading politically? Even if the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won 12.3% of the votes, which was a disappointment for Timo Soini, it reinforces Finland’s anti-EU and anti-immigration stance. The biggest winner of the election was the Center Party (18.7%), which had lost a lot

Finland’s present demographic challenges are a threat to its prosperity

Finland will see dramatic changes to its population age structure in the next four decades, when the number of over-64-year-olds will soar by 941,000 to 1.639 million people, according to MTV3, citing Statistics Finland. Likewise, our labor force will shrink by an estimated 600,000 people in about 25 years.  It is surprising, if not worrying, that the majority

The lack of cultural diversity is impoverishing Finland

Jussi Jalonen, a Tampere University history researcher, asked recently why a populist party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) continues to grow in popularity despite the numerous scandals that have riddled the group. There is an answer: Finland’s lack of cultural diversity. How is it possible that a party like the PS can win 39 seats in

The Netherlands gives Geert Wilders the thumbs down

Voters in the Netherlands did not back Geert Wilders’ calls for the country to ditch the European Union, reports the BBC. Wilders, who has dominated Dutch politics for years, is known for his tough anti-Islam and now anti-EU stance. Among many of his provocative statements, the Dutch politician has equated the Koran with Hitler’s Mein

What kind of a threat do Finland’s Counterjihadists pose?

It’s pretty clear that what goes up politically must eventually come down. Some groups, which have recently surged in popularity like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), could see their bubble burst quickly. While I wouldn’t count on anything like that happening anytime soon, it could be a totally different story for the hardline Counterjihadists of the party.   The

PS Counterjihadists: Live and die politically by the sword

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is at a crucial juncture concerning its strange-bedfellow relationship with Counterjihadist and populist radical right members. What kind of links do some members of the PS have with far-right groups like the Finnish Defense League (FDL)? The FDL is nothing more than a mouthpiece of the English Defense League, a violent

The PS and the roosting chickens of intolerance

The fact that 19.1% of Finnish voters gave their support to an anti-immigration and anti-EU party in April 2011 speaks volumes about who we are as a society. Many things can be said about the Perussuomalaiset (PS) and their election victory, but one matter stands out for me: The chickens of intolerance have come home to

Those who loathe you are your supporters

The biggest supporters of immigrants and visible minorities in Finland aren’t groups lobbying for their rights per se, but their enemies. Instead of tapping ourselves on the back for challenging a social ill like racism, we should thank Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini for exposing in this country bigotry and isolationism in the raw.  

What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7?

What goes around comes around. Exactly a year ago Anders Breivik carried out his mass killings, which ended up causing the death of 77 innocent victims. Have we learned anything from that tragic Saturday that shook the Nordic region and changed it permanently? In order to answer that question, we’d have to travel back in time

A question begs an answer: Who are the Perussuomalaiset?

The million-dollar question after the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s historic election victory was what kind of party had entered the Finnish political stage. After over a year in parliament and numerous scandals that have rocked the PS, a question still begs an answer: Who are they? If you seek an answer directly from the party, the response

Business Insider: Timo Soini’s “threat” to the world economy

Not only must have Perussuomalaiset (PS) party chairman Timo Soini been swept off his feet with delight for being named by Business Insider  as the seventh-most dangerous person to the global economy, but Finland as well for such a dubious recognition. Who ever heard of Business Insider anyway? For starters, somebody could inform the online publication that the official

How to challenge a social ill like racism in Finland

The rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in last year’s elections is not the most incriminating proof that racism is an issue in this country, but official denials that such a problem exists at all in Finland. What must we do as a society to effectively challenge such a social ill? Denials

The wrong Finnish identity for all the wrong reasons

In many respects, Finland is a fortunate country when it comes to a social construct like national identity. We are still a young nation actively searching for our roots. We have learned many things about ourselves as a society thanks to the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS). One of the matters

Cultural diversity in Finland: The high price of being too alike

As a writer and person with a multicultural background, I have been seeking to narrate a more inclusive and accurate history of Finland. Taking into account that over 1.2 million people emigrated from this country between 1860 and 1999 and our ever-growing immigrant population, aren’t both of these facts enough proof of our cultural diversity?

The Halla-aho scandal raises disturbing questions

Disquieting questions emerge in light of the Jussi Halla-aho scandal: Is pressure on the Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP to resign as chairman of the administration committee due to his dismissive reaction to the Supreme Court sentence or because of what he wrote about Muslims and Somalis, which got him in trouble in the first place? When

Halla-aho gets convicted for defamation and inciting ethnic hatred

Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MP Jussi Halla-aho was convicted today by the Finnish Supreme Court  (KKO) for defaming a religion and inciting ethnic hatred. Halla-aho, who was fined in 2009 for defaming religion, was now criminally charged as well for inciting ethnic hatred.  The sentence dates back to Halla-aho’s blog writings of 2008, when he claimed