Search Results for: hostile environment

Hate speech and attacks against the Sámi of Finland are a warning to other minorities of the hostile environment

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

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The Finnish media and fueling the hostile environment

When I was a young journalist, the editor of the Buenos Aires Herald approached me and gave me some sound advice. “Remember,” I recall him saying to me, “words are like bullets. Fairness in reporting a story is important. You don’t need a bazooka to kill an ant. Following what the media is writing about

Finnish white privilege #57: Finland’s “hostile environment” against migrants

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s policy nurtured a climate of suspicion called today the “hostile climate” in which people are deemed guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent. Does Finland have a hostile climate against migrants like in the UK? One could answer in the affirmative after listening to a long list of politicians who don’t have anything

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä fuels Finland’s hostile environment for migrants

While I was not surprised by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s comments about migration and the rise of the far right in YLE’s Ykkösaamu talk show, the interview offers a good example of how his government continues to fuel Finland’s hostile environment for migrants.  According to Adrian Berry, a leading UK immigration lawyer, defined in in The Guardian, the

Finland’s hostile environment for migrants, asylum seekers, and all types of minorities

At Migrant Tales, we are hearing more and more stories about the suffering and plight of undocumented migrants and how greedy companies are taking advantage of asylum seekers. Some of these that we have heard are asylum seekers working full time in black for 500 euros a month and a promise that they will be hired as staffers, which would help them to get a residence permit. 

Once again politicians and the media show no leadership about the terrorist attack in New Zealand

The atrocity we witnessed through the media of the cold-blooded and calculated killings that left so far 49 dead and many wounded in New Zealand were not mentioned once by some ministers on Facebook. These ministers are the ones who have fueled and nurtured Finland’s hostile environment against Muslims and migrants. Moreover, how many editorials were written in the Finnish media about what happened and how it is a warning to us too? 

Shed an alligator tear for me: Foreign Minister Timo Soini condemns terrorist attack in New Zealand

After creating a hostile environment against Muslims and migrants in Finland, Blue Reform* Foreign Minister Timo Soini has the audacity to condemn what happened in New Zealand as “cowardly,” according to Yle News. We condemn him and the actions of the Finnish government of cowardice in the face of defending and making every Muslim and migrant feel secure in Finland.

Kokoomus proves it again: racism coupled with nationalism is a good fix before a parliamentary election

Perussouomalaiset (PS)* head Riikka Purra wasn’t the only one overjoyed by the latest Helsingin Sanomat opinion poll, which showed the radical-right party overtaking the Social Democrats to second place after the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus). Behind Purra was Kokoomus chief Petteri Orpo, gleeing.  Finns will go to the polls on April 4 to elect 200 MPs. While observers

Exposing white Finnish privilege #90: A crime by “people of foreign background” offers more political mileage than one committed by white Finns

We read about the tragic death of a woman at Espoo’s Iso Omena shopping center on Saturday. The woman died while being escorted by four Securitas security guards out of the shopping center. The altercation ended with the woman on the floor, handcuffed, and eventually lifeless. The police announced Sunday that the security guards in

A watershed that may impact April’s parliamentary election

Two hard-hitting editorials by Helsingin Sanomat on the mistreatment of labor migrants could indicate how the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset* will do in the parliamentary election. I make such a claim because I am an optimist. We saw something similar in the US Midterm elections, which showed how voters rebuked Donald Trump and his election deniers. Apart

Exposing white Finnish privilege #89: Those white saviors are the worst racists

White saviors come in many sizes and shapes. Whatever shape and size, they stunt equality for one simple reason: The white savior is on top handing out his harmful empathy to minorities. How can I claim that white saviors aren’t well-intentioned people? From personal experience. While racism and discrimination are constant variables that rob people

Migrant Tales Media Monitoring: Don’t cry Finland if you don’t like migrants

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

When countries become nationalism addicts and junkies

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

Will Nato membership for Finland be good for migrants and minority rights?

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

Exposing white Finnish privilege #81: Racializing crime, perpetuating stereotypes and racism

Treat with tweezers whenever percentage figures are used to depict sexual assault cases by migrants. A government-commissioned study published Thursday concluded that migrants are over-represented in suspected sexual assault crimes, perpetuating a toxic narrative. Such generalizations give ammunition to Islamophobes like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party to maintain and reinforce racist stereotypes.  To look at how the Finnish

Exposing white Finnish privilege #80: Violence against you counts but mine doesn’t

Radical-right Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party MP, Sebastian Tynkkynen, who has two ethnic agitation convictions and a third pending, is trying to get the most political mileage from an incident at an #elokapina demonstration.  Some unknown persons at the demonstration allegedly attempted to attack Tynkkynen and shoved him. The police asked if the MP wanted to

The Finnish media’s reporting about migrants and minorities is a disappointment

It is surprising, even worrying, that outsiders are the ones that help burst the media’s many bubbles. One such OP-ED published Wednesday in Helsingin Sanomat by Antti Kivijärvi, and Martta Myllyä sheds light on the blind spot created by exceptionalism and ethnocentrism. Should it be a surprise that this state of affairs happens whenever migrants

Center Party’s Pylväs cannot resist and swallows the “sweet” pill of racism

Center Party parliamentary group leader Juha Pylväs went on the rampage Wednesday: “We certainly need in Finland skilled foreigners who can live off their work,” he was quoted as saying in Helsingin Sanomat. “We don’t need surfers and parasites that seek a better standard of living.” While we could consider Pylväs’ statement in foul taste, Center

Riikka Purra’s call to struggle against her ilk

Silence and complacency are some of the reasons why xenophobia and the rise of an anti-immigration party have been possible in Finland. While there are many common citizens and activists in Finland who have been fighting against parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, chairperson Riikka Purra’s interview on Yle’s Ykkösaamu is a definite reminder that we

PS’ Mika Niikko: Muslims should be prohibited from having a family

Perussuomalaiset MP and chair of the foreign affairs committee, Mika Niikko, said in Helsingin Sanomat that he’d only want to give asylum to Afghan women and girls. Niikko’s and the PS’ xenophobic views of asylum seekers are exposed.  “I am not heartless to not help women and children who seek to come and seek shelter from a

Riikka Purra is the new leader of xenophobic copycats and plagiarizers

The newly elected chairperson of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, Riikka Purra, did not waste any time attacking migrants. Apart from tightening naturalization laws and family reunification, she stated that the PS will not become a member of a new government that doesn’t “significantly” tighten immigration laws.  The timing of her hostile and anti-social statements could not have been worse.

Whoever is elected as the chair of the PS will perpetuate Finland’s lie

The annual of the xenophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* in Seinäjoki will elect Saturday the party’s next chairperson after Jussi Halla-aho announced in June that he would not seek a new term. While it is a foregone conclusion that the PS’ first vice president Riikka Purra will be the party’s new chairperson, it is also clear that

Exposing white Finnish privilege #79: Spreading lies at our economic peril

What if most of the anti-immigration talking points spread by politicians like Jussi Halla-aho, Riikka Purra, and most of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party are just outright lies and urban legends? What if those false arguments put Finland in economic and social peril because they are untrue? An interesting paper titled, The 14 Most Common Arguments against

Amnesty International 2020/21 report: Shame on Finland

Amnesty International Report 2020/21 cites recurring problems with asylum seekers and children that the Finnish authorities continued to detain unaccompanied children and families. Finland continues to maintain strict rules in its immigration act approved in 2016 by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government (2015-2019). Some observers believe that these restrictions, like shortened appeal times and strict

Populism and lack of leadership under Petteri Orpo fuel Kokoomus’ tailspin

The National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) received a political bomb that exposed the party’s internal strife between its liberal and populist-conservative wing. Kokoomus’ candidate for Helsinki mayor, Kirsi Piha, and Helsinki city councilor Hanna Gullichsen, both party’s liberal wing, announced they would step aside. Piha stated in a blog posting her decision to pull out from

Exposing white Finnish privilege #77: The PS are Finnish white supremacists

TOPLINE One of the interesting facts about white nationalism is that it is copied from somewhere else. Thus, white supremacist conspiracy views in Finland are nothing more than copy-and-paste jobs from somewhere else. Some may play down the PS as a “light” version of white supremacy. We disagree. The PS under the leadership of Jussi

Exposing white Finnish privilege #76: Two news stories that expose entitlement

If the story about youth crime committed by so-called people of migrant backgrounds had been published in the United States, many would be considered misleading and racist. One in November about youth crime ended up labeling all youths of migrant origin as dangerous or potential criminals. The other one, published this month, was about the

FGC and the PS: Come on! Let’s bash Muslim women and Islam (again)

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED I’m not surprised that Riikka Purra, a Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP obsessed with slandering Muslims, gives misleading statements about female genital cutting (FGC), also referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM). The term FGC is in my opinion less judgemental and value-laden than FGM. Without offering advice and assistance to women who

MP Ano Turtiainen: A shovelful of PS violence and rage

I doubt that anyone of us wants to see a [civil] war in our country. PS MP Ano Turtiainen The Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP with a curious first name, “Ano,” [1] Turtiainen is another dangerous example of how the Islamophobic party fuels the hostile environment against migrants and minorities like Muslims. Recently we saw a deadly

Petteri Orpo’s double hate-crime standards expose political hypocrisy

National Coalition Party chairperson Petteri Orpo tweets that “I condemn the vandalism against the Turku Synagog and I’m satisfied that the Turku city council signed a motion [condemning] what happened.” Orpo’s support is important, but the question that arises from what happened is if there are different scales of importance when it comes to vandalism

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Racism in Finland? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

When I came to live permanently in Finland over 40 years ago, people like me were seen as an ethnic anomaly. Sometimes having a different skin color or looking “foreign” meant receiving microaggressions like people shoving your child with a lighted cigarette that burns them, or hearing a perfect stranger saying something racist to you

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

At present, there are several things that are giving Finland a bad name: Islamophobia, the hostile environment, and hardline asylum policy. The latest setback to Finland’s image was handed down by the European Court of Human Rights for violating Article 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 2 states that everyone

DPP, Golden Dawn, FPÖ…chalk up another loss for the far right in Europe

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED The snap elections in Austria saw the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) suffer a blistering defeat with the number of MPs plummeting by 37.3% to 32 from 51. Sebastian Kurz of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) was the biggest winner getting 38.4% of the popular vote and gaining 11 MPs to

Council of Europe: Mayday, Mayday, Finland must get a grip on rising hate speech, racism, and implement trans rights

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED In the face of rising hate speech, racism and the lack of trans rights, the Council of Europe Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) called today on Finland to tackle such social issues. ECRI added: “[t]o tackle growing racist and intolerant hate speech, better coordinate integration activities for immigrants and review

Like Trump, like Halla-aho

The closing of US borders to Latin American asylum seekers, detaining minors, vilifying Latin Americans and Muslims, emboldening white supremacy and relegating and maintaining migrants and minorities as second-class members of society are some of the things that we have seen and read about President Donald Trump’s presidency. One will find many similarities if we

A white supremacist terrorist strikes again in Norway. White supremacist terrorism is the biggest threat to Europe and Finland.

THE STORY WAS UPDATED It is surprising that in Norway, one of Europe’s wealthiest and whitest countries has suffered some of the worst terrorist attacks in Europe. Eight years ago, on 22/7, Anders Breivik emerged and killed 77 people. The most recent terrorist attack by an alleged white supremacist in Norway on Saturday attacked with

Perussuomalaiset a racist party? You bet!

A racist is an individual, always an individual, who does not like people based on race – must be conscious – and who intentionally seems to be mean to them. Robin DiAngelo, sociologist THIS STORY WAS UPDATED Using DiAngelo’s definition, the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* their politicians, their voters, and followers are racists because through such a party

Exposing Finnish white privilege #62: On free speech and scared white men

It is amusing to hear how some people, usually white Finnish males, are so concerned about free speech. From rock bands like Eppu Normaali to politicians from the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party and others, the message is clear: the state is undermining our free speech. Really? How can people who grow up with privilege and power

Case Perussuomalaiset Youth: The worst enemy of the far right is the far right

The scandal that blew up in FPÖ leader’s Heinz-Christian Strache’s face and which brought down a government in Austria, Perussuomalaiset (PS)*Vice President Laura Huhtasaari’s participation in a meeting organized by Salvini in Milano with far-right leader Matteo Salvini, and the racist tweet below by the PS Youth are just one of many political setbacks. 

Part 2: Mental impact and reality of everyday exclusion

In a Migrant Tales’ recent article based on a Maailman Kuvalehti report about the mental suffering of daily racism, we promised some “no filtered” outtakes from interviews with those affected. You can read the first piece, Part I: Racism causes trauma and mental suffering,here.  Eight cases, eight migrants, eight stories, about life in Finland:  “You

NCP’s Petteri Orpo and his infamous xenophobic and anti-immigration statements

Economy Minister Petteri Orpo, who is also the chairperson of the National Coalition Party (NCP), was and is instrumental for having tightened Finland’s immigration policy when he was the interior minister (2015-2016). As a minister in Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, he was instrumental in undermining the rights of asylum seekers and migrant community. 

Good riddance to Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government!

The downfall of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government on International Women’s Day Friday was not only good news for social equality in Finland. Apart from impoverishing the country’s most vulnerable classes like single mothers, women, the unemployed, migrants, minorities and others, it is an end to right-wing party politics so obvious in the failed health care reform.

A food distributor that hires asylum seekers, pays them under the table, to change the sell-by dates of their old products

An Espoo-Helsinki-based ethnic-food distributor, which allegedly hires asylum seekers and pays them near-starvation salaries under the table, uses such victims to repackage and change the sell-by dates of food products that should not be sold. Some of these products are allegedly five years old and their sell-by dates have changed twice, according to an asylum seeker, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The Finnish media’s hidden racism

“The fascination of the Finnish media for racist statements by politicians like Laura Huhtasaari is the real culprit behind the spread and normalization of racism in this country. If I had to give a grade to the Finnish media on how it handles stories about diversity and racism, I would give it a fail.”

Migrants’ Rights Network: The Integration or Imitation Game?

Integration is a two-way process. Simply blaming migrants for failing to integrate or learn English isn’t a viable way forward. So it’s vital that migrant communities are involved in any discussion and development of a UK-wide integration strategy argues MRN Director, Fizza Qureshi.

Migrants’ Rights Network: Frontier anxiety: Living with the stress of the everyday border

What happens when we bring the anxieties of life at the border into the heart of our all our communities? How can we contend with life in a space where identity is constantly checked and people subjected to the question: Why are you really here? MRN director Don Flynn asks this in an article published this month in Soundings, a journal of cultural politics and simultaneously on the website of Eurozine. The full article can be accessed here.

Growing up in Finland as an immigrant – a personal story!

D4R is a regular poster in the comments on Migrant Tales. We are very grateful that he has shared some of his experiences of growing up and dealing with discrimination in Finland. Here is the first part of a long comment he made on one post, which deserves to be read by as many people

Alina Tsui: Immigration Reform – The Xenophobic Crisis in Greece

By Alina Tsui Illegal immigrants are tearing apart the social fabric of Greek society. They’ve been blamed for the spike in crimes and the cause of Greece’s economic woes. At least this is the narrative that’s repeated by the far-right and accepted by most Greeks.   With no end in sight of the economic crisis

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

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

(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. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Minority representation and trickle-down equality

“There are two lessons to learn from Mr. [Sajid] Javid’s appointment: The fight against an unjust immigration system [in the UK] does not change with a new home secretary, and if we remain satisfied with representation as the sole means of progress, diversity becomes a shield for a government’s institutionally racist policies.” “If we get more

In Finland the enemy is within and in the structures, not outside threatening us

If I had to choose who discriminates and defends structural racism in Finland, I’d come to the following conclusion: Many of those who claim to be for social equality are the worst enemies of our culturally and ethnically diverse community. Their silence is one matter that exposes them but also their defensive stands whenever they feel threatened.  

(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.

Juha Sipilä’s government is one of the few in the world that still ponders whether immigration is good for the host country

The Finnish government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä must be one of the few if not the only one in the world that is still pondering whether immigration is good or bad for the country. Even if the new government decided to carry out such an assessment by an independent body, thanks to pressure by the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, it’s universally accepted by economists that immigration is good for the host country.

Migrants’ Rights Network: Living in an Age of Migration

Don Flynn*       Immigration studies has emerged as an important discipline in colleges and universities across the world, with scores of research centres being established in the UK alone over the last decade or so. Contributions have come from sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, political scientist, economists and philosophers over this time, giving anyone who

PS party secretary shoots herself in the leg on immigration and chauvinism

It’s pretty clear from an interview that new party secretary of the Perussuomalaiset (PS), Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, gave to newsmagazine Suomen Kuvalehti that she has shot herself so badly in the foot that she’ll never recover. Not only does her murky far right anti-immigration opinions follow her as a shadow, but affirmations like ”I’m a chauvinist”

How do Finnish schools treat cultural diversity?

In theory, the answer is straightforward: Finnish schools should respect cultural diversity but a lot depends on the school and the principle.  If we compare how elementary and middle schools treated visible minority students in the 1990s, we hope that matters have improved since then.  But have they?  Cultural diversity in Finland up to the

My naïvity and the Finns

When I moved to Finland in December 1978, I wasn’t naïve about Finland, but super naïve. I was so confiding that I actually believed all Finns were honest. If happiness were a spider, it would spin a web to catch our good thoughts. Apart from a strong admiration for the forests and people who inhabited

The multicultural society of the future

It seems odd that in today’s technilogically advanced societies in Europe and elsewhere our views of other groups continues to pose major challenges. If I had to picture the sitaution in a cartoon, I would draw a picture of one of our first primates, Australopithecus africanus, which existed 2-3 million years before present sitting in front of a computer and speaking to the future with a Skype time machine.