There is an interesting article published in MTV3 on anti-immigrant pressure group Homma ry chairman, Matias Turkkila, who tells us that being critical of immigration isn’t synonymous with being a racist. “(Death) threats are a sad path that one should not take,” he said. “I am against such actions, but I understand in some cases the frustration of those people that make such threats.”
Even though open debate is a healthy trademark of western, democratic societies, the statement “being critical of immigration isn’t synonymous with being racist” is a good example of deliberately evasive and ambiguous language, or double-talk in plain English. How can one even “understand” people that aim to take the law in their hands because they disagree with an issue?
Are groups such as Homma ry really interested in debate when their popularity rides on bashing immigrants with the help of stereotypes and miconceptions? When groups such as Homma ry spread questionable “facts” about immigrants they help fuel and maintain a climate of racism in the country.
In my opinion many of these so-called “immigrant-critics” have serious problems understanding the outside world and that change forms part of our normal lives. Groups such as Homma ry don’t like to be labeled “racist” because it undermines their message, which is filled with hatred, stereotypes and suspicion of immigrants in Finland.
Racism manifests itself in different ways in different societies. In Finland, it appears as elsewhere as a stereotype that justifies our view of a WHOLE group. A good example are foreign construction workers, who are ALL working for slave-wages, not paying taxes and stealing jobs from “honest” Finns. Is this true?
I remember in the 1960s the same arguments used in Finland today to be against immigrants and refugees as those in the United States during the civil rights movement. Bigots claimed that “blacks are lazy and therefore they are poor” to justify their racism. In my opinion, a Finnish verion of the latter is taking place in this country and maintained by groups such as Homma ry.
I am confident as Finland grows more accustomed to immigrants and these groups learn to defend and fight for their rights in our society, interviews such as these by MTV3 will be carried out but in a more critical fashion since such groups will be put under closer scrutiny by society.