By Enrique Tessieri
The atmosphere for some immigrants in Finland has been an ever-worsening slippery slope. First the historic victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party last year and then the near-constant racist gaffes and foot-in-the-mouth shows.
If you want to know what the PS stands on certain issues you have to watch for the but… in their sound bites. We are against racism but… We are against ethnic profiling but… We are for immigration but… We are for gender equality but…
It’s pretty clear that as long as an anti-immigration party like the PS remains the third-largest in parliament, matters will continue to worsen before they improve.
The PS are not only a threat to immigrants and visible minorities in this country, they are a tragedy for Finland. No matter from which angle at the situation, building a country on the populist ideology of the PS, which hinges on hatred, suspicion, racism and prejudice of other groups can never bring any type of prosperity to our country.
A story published by YLE Wednesday reinforced some disturbing news we already knew about immigrant youths. It states that immigrant youths have a five-time higher chance of being marginalized than Finnish- and Swedish-speakers.
It’s fair to say that the ongoing anti-immigration climate in Finland, thanks in part to the PS and to the economic situation, nothing far-reaching will be done to correct this situation.
The matter that causes youths and adults to be marginalized from society is a complex issue. Even so, the main culprit lies in between our ears.
Too many politicians, policy-makers, the public and even immigrants are content with the present untenable status quo. We agree on one matter and that is not to rock the boat.
It’s wishful thinking as well to believe that the integration and acceptance of immigrants and visible minorities in Finland will be easily solved by offering more Finnish-language course. It is a long process that will take generations and a lot of work from both sides. There are no easy fixes.
The role of mutual acceptance and respect are crucial if we aim to build a healthy and dynamic society in this century. At this moment there is too little of those important qualities.
The only way for Finland to shake off the present political nightmare and blow away those adverse anti-immigration winds blowing over our society is at the ballot box.
Fortunately time flies.