Case Hussein al-Taee: The Finnish media should end its double standards and hypocrisy

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Indeed, the racist and homophobic writings of Social Democrat MP Hussein al-Taee, which came to light after the April 14 parliamentary election, are shameful. However, what is even more shocking are the media’s double standards.

The al-Taee affair exposes once again the dark side, a blind spot: our collective denial of racism as a society.

White Finns can write racist things, even get convicted for ethnic agitation, lie and plagiarize their thesis like Perussuomalaiset* MP Laura Huhtasaari did and continue with their political lives.

Rarely, if ever, will such people be called by the media racists, liers or asked to resign.

Tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti, which have themselves a long and shameful history of publishing racist stories, now present themselves as the moral guardians of this country. A columnist of Iltalehti slammed al-Taee as a racist, and an editorial of Ilta-Sanomat demanded that he resign from office.

As Sakari Timonen correctly pointed out in his latest blog post, accusing al-Taee of being a racist and asking him to resign is unprecedented in Finnish journalism.

If you are a white Finns, however, you can say racist things and even get convicted for ethnic agitation. How many politicians were branded by the media as racist? Has Jussi Halla-aho? Laura Huhtasaai? Teuvo Hakkarainen? Sebastian Tynkkynen?

Why is an openly Islamophobic and racist party like the PS the second-biggest party in parliament?

Racism in Finland is the new normal. Politicians who spew racist rhetoric and sometimes get convicted for ethnic agitation become famous and get voters to elect them.

Apart from Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat exposing their racism and double-standards, both tabloids have forgotten how they have insulted and treated migrants and refugees in a racist manner.

Below is one racist billboard.

If you want to see the worst journalism based on racism, read Ilta-Sanomat like this billboard from 1994. It reads: “Somalis got asylum by swindling [the authorities].”

I have no reason to defend what al-Taee wrote in the past, and I am disappointed in him. Even so, why is he getting such a public thrashing that forced him to end up in the hospital?

We all know the answer to that question: white Finnish privilege and hypocrisy.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.