Here’s a question that has been going around in my head for the last few days: Is the intolerance we’re witnessing today in Finland a passing matter? How much good will is there in our society to apply our Nordic welfare state values to others?
Finland isn’t a country of immigrants but a country of emigrants.
Are we still too obsessed with “us” and “them,” with one-way adaption (assimilation) of migrants and minorities?
If you look around, as an migrant or member of the minority community it’s easy to note that there is too little tolerance in this country. There is still a lot of lip service and silence from officials and politicians but too little leadership to challenge the prejudices that are still alive and kicking in our society.
A good example of the latter is an announcement by the European Commission to take Finland to the EU Court of Justice, about establishing a racial equality body for employment matters, according to the Finnish ministry for foreign affairs.
This case, and the fact that Finland is dragging its feet on this issue for years, is an excellent example why too many migrants and minorities live in a climate of uncertainty and usually end up getting the short end of the stick.
The only way for intolerance to grow is to permit such a social ill to ferment in the undercurrent with the help of our silence.
Is the intolerance we’re seeing today is only the tip of the iceberg of the hatred that we’ll see in the future? The answer depends on us.
When Finns understand that migrants do play an important role in our society and are needed like the oxygen we breathe, the xenophobic messages of parties like the Perussuomalaiset* (PS) will lose credibility.
When Finland looks behind it shoulder ten years back in 2024, will it see this period as one where we still had a good chance at challenging intolerance?
What are we doing today to not slide on that slippery slope?
The parliamentary elections of 2015 will give us a glimpse of the future and offer an answer.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.