By Enrique Tessieri
When does a person or group cross the magic line from right-wing populism to far-right? The tragic events that struck Norway on Friday should help us to distinguish better where that magic line is and what our reaction to it should be.
If Anders Behring Brejvik, the man who was responsible for the death of over 90 people on Friday, would have never carried out his outlandish deeds he’d be walking amongst us today visiting the numerous hate websites on the net.
What happened in Norway is a rude wake up call for us in Europe and Finland. It casts an eerie shadow on the role of those politicians, political parties and associations that spread a culture of hatred against immigrants and minorities and repackage it as patriotism.
Even though these groups are dazzled by the power of racism they soon notice that after the monster has been left out of the cage it can bite back at them.
Brejvik was chairman of the populist and anti-immigration Fremskrittspartiet party in Oslo West for about nine months and then on the local party’ board for about two years.*
Moreover, Brejvik was reported by TV1’s 20:30 news that he is an admirer of Perussuomalaiset MP Jussi Halla-aho, who is a mamber of the Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu association.
The tragic events in Norway should embolden us to act and distinguish those groups and members in our society that want to change it at the cost of other people’s civil rights. Probably the reason why some of us haven’t branded some of them yet as far-right extremists is because we are in denial or dread admitting that there are these types of people and groups amongst us.
We need a serious debate in Finland about the role of associations like Suomen Sisu in our parliament and the racism that festers in the Perussuomalaiset party.
The tragic events of Norway should strengthen our resolve to defend our Nordic way of life, which is built on social justice and equality for all. We should stand firm and be especially vigilant against those who want to destroy our noble values.
It is the minimum we can offer to the victims in Norway.
* Thank you Jonas for the heads up!