Mark

Being responsible in debates about immigration and extremism

Extremism almost never sees itself as ‘extreme’ When I was young I studied ‘brainwashing’ as part of my studies in psychology. One feature that constantly emerged was how ‘extreme’ interpretations of events typically took a grain of truth and wrapped it up in a generalisation such that it would act as a shield to any

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Meet the Somalis – the illustrated stories of Somalis in seven cities in Europe

The Open Society Foundations have recently published a fascinating set of seven illustrated stories, called ‘meet the Somalis‘, covering the experiences of Somalis living in cities across Europe. On November 21, this will coincide with the publishing of the Foundations’ research report “Somalis in Helsinki”. To quote the Foundation’s website: “The Somali community in Europe

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Bank accounts for the stateless – money laundering legislation is not an excuse for financial exclusion

This post follows on from a recent post by Enrique on continued practices of financial exclusion in relation to individuals who have had difficulties establishing their identification with Finnish authorities and have subsequently had problems opening bank accounts. It is also a response to one commentator’s fallacious claim that money laundering legislation is an adequate

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Confessions of a recovering racist

Society has achieved at least one significant victory in the fight against racism – it has succeeded in making open racism a dirty concept. The power of stigma that worked so effectively to reinforce racism has been harnessed to turn the tide against open discrimination – at least in polite society. Today, in most public

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Migrant Tales Literary: If you are a Finn

  If you are a Finn, what is a Fonn? Was your flag blue and white, or was it lilac and yellow? Sorry, what was that again? Sano säki mua suks? Or was it san snää mnuu snuuks? So who hates who in this mnuu snuu, I wonder?   So, I am the maahanmuuttaja. There

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Migrant Tales Literary: V-Day – one billion rising!

Today marks V-Day, one billion rising, referring to the number of women on the planet who have either been raped or beaten during their lives. Eve Ensler, of The Vagina Monologues fame, has penned a passionate piece calling for women to rise up in protest and men to support them on Valentines Day 2013, in

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On human dignity

Do all humans have the same value and are all humans deserving of dignity? These are the questions asked by Jussi Halla-aho (hereafter J-Ha) in an old but now infamous blog post from 2005. J-Ha contended that only instrumental value is measurable and truly meaningful and that it is common sense to see the value of

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Police college of Finland: are they perpetuating hate?

What an irony. You would think that the publishing of hate crime statistics would be an annual opportunity to raise the profile of hate crime and also to renew efforts to prevent it. But no, the forums are alive with spurious interpretations of what it all means and even attempts to show that Somalis are

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Approaching hate crimes in Finland: problem solver or angry boss?

Enrique mentions an interesting comment from a policeman in Mikkeli talking about racism, who compares racism to being hassled when he returns to his home town because he is now a policeman. The comparison is very poor, but it’s also very telling. It is from our mistakes that we really can learn the most. In

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A response to the Finnish Medical Association’s opposition to circumcision

Having read the Finnish Medical Association’s working group report on circumcision and its subsequent opposition on the grounds of ‘medical ethics’, I wish to present a critical view of their position, and hopefully to broaden this debate a little more. Their statement can be found here. I will group my main criticisms under five separate

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Finland’s Taliban – time to smell the coffee!

I was thinking again this morning just how ironic it is that some people in Finland are buying into this ever-growing Islamaphobia and who imagine in decades to come, a nightmare Taliban-style government in Finland, complete with fully veiled women and public executions of homosexuals. I am aware of this because it’s a recurring theme

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Pointing the finger at racism! But then what?

A commentator recently asked us here at MT whether pointing the finger at racism will ever make it disappear. It’s a fair question and deserves a good answer. Other ideas that came up in the same comment thread discussed people’s reasons or justifications for not liking immigrants. The suggestion was that the reason for racism

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Don’t give racism a platform!

I’m fed up. I’m fed up of certain commentators visiting us here on Migrant Tales to spread lies and personal insults and to disrespect other cultures. Those that ONLY have terrible things to say about specific peoples (as opposed to cultural criticism) really are practicing extremism. How could it be otherwise? When we condemn totalitarianism,

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In defence of Migrant Tales

Migrant Tales is under attack. The blog’s founder is receiving threats of violence, is being defamed and ridiculed in public forums, is being harassed even to the point of having his workplace invaded by defamatory communications. It is not an easy time for Enrique or his family and I feel compelled to say something about

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Migrant Tales attacked

Migrant Tales was taken down by a terms of service complaint made to WordPress. We will be back and immigrants in Finland WILL find their voice on the internet. This time, we’ll take steps to make sure this cannot happen again. – the Migrant Tales team.

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Immigration – them and us

Them and Us? It could be kids talking about their parents, it could be groups of friends talking about each other, it could be one team talking about another team, one work department about another, workers about managers/owners, citizens about politicians, Leo’s about Virgo’s, the employed about the unemployed, the old about the young, city

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Migrant Tales Literary: Poem – Beyond Recognition

BEYOND RECOGNITION Part I Jella played with the sand, spade digging earnestly at the dry earth. Jaref thrust out a hand, grabbing thief-like, as older brothers do. Jella cried. First in despair, but then in the corner of the yard, there under the peeling gable, standing troubled, forlorn, like a totem of the oppressed. Jaref

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Defending religious bigotry – a case study!

This article is the final narrative of an exchange I had recently with a Migrant Tales’ commentator who goes under the handle of Elven the Archer. If you have read his very many comments on the Migrant Tales article “Why are Finland’s politicians still so silent?”, I think you will already be aware of his

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Immigration and integration: What can we honestly expect?

Too many words and not enough understanding. That’s my assessment. And words can surely divide us. “I’m for this and against that…” sprinked with a dash of integration, assimilation, multiculturalism, and discrimination. And where does that leave us? Forget the debate for a moment, where does that leave us as people? Arguing, and ever more

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Multiculturalism is dead – long live multiculturalism

Warning: this article quotes racist profanity by way of illustration. Apologies in advance if you find it offensive. The King is dead – long live the King! So runs the traditional proclamation when the monarch dies, only to be reborn magically through the next heir. The irony of listening to politicians line up to proclaim

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Your story – the story of who you are!

Migrant Tales implies just that, stories about migrants. Stories go a long way in defining who we are. We tell the story of our life, our journey, our relationships, our belonging, and our struggles, hopes and triumphs. Through sharing, we can achieve also belonging. By properly hearing a story, we learn of the world and

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What is racism?

Racism entails a combination of fundamental wrongs against a person on the basis that he or she belongs to a group defined by race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin. It can take the form of actions, a call to action, a behavior (individual or institutional), an attitude, or a belief. The hatred/anger/fear/mistrust that fuels racism often hides behind a belief or cognitive system of justification – the so-called ‘denial of racism’.

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