Hussain Kazemian is from Afghanistan and visited the Iraqi asylum seekers at the Helsinki Railway Square on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. He is from Keuruu. Kazemian shares with the readers of Migrant Tales what he saw at the demonstration, which celebrates today its 12th day.
My observations of the demo on February 22:
Asylum seekers have a tent close to the rail station. Some Finnish people come and bring some food, cloth and other things that refugees need.
They have the possibility to cook and make tea there.
If you go inside of the tent, you will find candles around the main space of the demonstration. There might be an asylum seeker making some demands as well. And those Finns that visit them, most of them women, go there because they have sympathy for them. They ask questions wanting to know why they are there and what is their situation.
But if you look at things from outside the tent ( as I mentioned people drinking tea, cooking and having a snack ), the demo looks like some Midsummer festival or any other festival that may take place in Finland. Most of the refugees talk but do not flirt with the ladies but show respect. The communication is good with some demands made to Migri. The atmosphere is that of refugees laughing, talking casually with the ladies, eating and drinking something…the first impression one might get is that these people don’t have any problems because they look and sound so happy.
My suggestion to them is not to cry and complain too much about their situation. But since Finns are a logical people, they should find the right balance of maybe not being too happy and not too sad. Otherwise it may give the wrong impression to Finns.
During the 11 days when the demonstration began, there have been some articles written in Finland about the demo but how much does the demo affect the media in Finland? Are the organizers of the demo able to persuade the international media to write about them or broadcast their voices?
A saying states that if you cannot shock or wake up politicians from their nap in 11 days, you maybe wasting your time.
I believe these asylum seekers are not wasting their time with this demonstration. Some claim it’s soft protesting and demonstration! Wrong. I would do whatever I could if I were a refugee.
The organizers of the demonstration write on their Facebook page:
Asylum seekers in Finland have decided to leave Reception Centers because of the Finnish government’s and the Finnish Immigration Services’ policies. The tents symbolize our displacement, and the search for home and safety.
We wish all the citizens join us out of humanity and to support our cause. You can show solidarity by helping just an hour or two, at any time of the day.
So come and join us and our demands to the Finnish Immigration service and the Finnish government:
1. We are against the random and unjustified negative decisions from the immigration services
2. We are against the compulsory return policy for refugees in Finland. Violent treatment, and locking the refugees in solitary confinement cells to force them to leave, must come to an end.
3. We are against the refugees being kicked out of the refugee centers, and cutting their financial aid and access to services.