Migrant Tales insight: Fiona Musanga, in the story below, is the type of people we need more of in Finland. Charging somebody of racism is a serious matter. Usually, visible migrants and minorities not only have to muster a lot of courage but go against a system that is sometimes stacked against them and outright hostile to them. The only way we will beat racism in Finland is by challenging it and, importantly, ask those institutions whose purpose is to guarantee our safety and dignity, to do their work.
In November, Migrant Tales published a story about her: Twiter (Dr Faith Mkwesha)*: The n-word costs 60 euros.
Fiona Musanga, 22, is a corporal who was recently conscripted in the Finnish Army, filed charges against a conscript for calling her the n-word while enlisted. The decision to press charges wasn’t easy. It took her two days to weigh things before she went to the head of her unit to file charges.
“When I told the head of the unit what had happened,” she said, “I was asked what I wanted to do about what happened. The answer left me confused because I thought the army had a procedure to handle these types of cases.”
Musanga said that in her case, the army didn’t do enough to help her.
“If the army wants to help conscripts in similar cases like mine,” she continued, “they should have a procedure that involves legal advice, access to relevant websites, and, very importantly, support and counselling…In other words, a simple information guide on what to do [if you are attacked or harassed by racists].”
Corporal Fiona Musanga.
While some cases like Musanga’s may take a long time before they end up in court, she filed charges in January and in August her case was before a court.
“The suspect claimed that he was watching a YouTube video about how f***ing n-word can’t drive,” she said. “He claimed that he didn’t mean to use the n-word on me. He also said that he didn’t know that the n-word was inappropriate because he came from a small town, where it wasn’t a bad word.”
Since the court did not find a direct link between the suspect and plaintiff, the court fined the conscript 60 euros for using a profane word.”
Musanga was not happy with the ruling.
“I was very disappointed by the decision since what happened to me wasn’t seen as a big deal,” she said.
Musanga said that her plans are to get into university next year and study the history of black people in Finland and Europe.
* Thank you Faith Mkwesha for the heads-up.