A letter to Jussi Halla-aho from Bashir Roble

by , under Roble Bashir

Perussuomalaiset MP Jussi Halla-aho,

Have you ever visited Somalia? Do you have any Somali friends? I know that both answers are negative because of the way you speak about my people and my country. MPs like you and others who think the same way, like Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, belong to the same group. You spread hatred and prejudices about us while Räsänen makes certain that we live separated from our loved ones indefinitely.

Weren’t you recently fined by the Finnish Supreme Court for defaming our religion and inciting ethnic hatred?

Due to much tougher immigration rules, one must apply from abroad if they want to be reunited with their family in Finland. This is a very expensive and time-consuming process. Even those who live in this country, and who want their families to move Finland, are struggling to get a job in order to help their loved ones in war-ravaged Somalia.

Is Mogadishu a safe place to visit?

Mogadishu is a large coastal city and two times bigger than Helsinki. African Union Mission in Somalia  (AMISOM) troops control twelve districts of the capital while Al-shabaab still unfortunately controls four. Those places you saw on the news are districts controlled by AMISOM troops and which are heavily guarded by military tanks. One of them is Lido Beach, where people go swimming on Fridays or other evenings to relax.

You made a parliamentary question suggesting that our refugee status and rights of Somalis in Finland should be lifted in light of the YLE news story. True, after almost two decades of civil war, our city is slowly learning to stand on its feet again because of peace. Everything is evolving rapidly but peace is still a long way off and the situation in my country is still fragile. Everything could change overnight.

Do you know what it feels like to see your loved ones after a decade or two? Do you know what it feels like for your children, who never visited Somalia, to see their relatives for the first time? Such a moment of happiness is impossible to describe in words.

I am certain that many Somalis who live abroad would move back to our country and help in reconstruction. Somalis in Finland are no different. But you overlook an important point when you talk about Somalia and Somalis in Finland: We already have a large community of Somali-Finns who were born and raised in this country. Finland is as much their home as is Somalia and you never can deprive us of that right.

Everyone has the human right to live in a country, especially if that person is being persecuted politically or fleeing war. What about the 1.2 million Finns that moved to other countries from here between 1860-1999? Shouldn’t they be forced to return to Finland?

Where the person lives is a personal choice – not yours to make.

Bahir Roble