Dear White People of Finland: What happened in Kannelmäki last April?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Migrant Tales insight: This story was written by a member of the Somali community and edited by Migrant Tales the following week after a young Somali Finn was knifed and killed at the Helsinki Kannelmäki train station. The letter will be published as charges against the suspect will be apparently made public by the police this week,

Many questions abound. One of the most important is if the tragic death of the young man was a hate crime and if not, why? What were the bias motivators? Was it witness perception? Intense violence? Difference between the victim and the perpetrators’ ethnic background? Or was there no other obvious motive, which is also a bias indicator. Some in the Somali community believe what happened was motivated by ethnic background. It is an important question that needs answering.

Dear White People of Finland,

I first heard of what happened at home celebrating and breaking my fast on Sunday [April 26, 2020] night during the holy month of Ramadan. My mother knows the victim’s parents and they are devastated. Shortly before the death, the mother of the young man suffered another death when her child was born without life.

The death made me first angry, but then I told myself that this was going to happen since I live in such a racist country.

The roots of this tragedy go back to when the mayor of Helsinki [Jan Vapaavuori] labeled the Somalis [on April 14] as those spreading coronavirus. What he did was label us as part of the coronavirus problem of Finland. Anybody could see what was going to happen next. People get scared, and the racists get more aggressive and start targeting you.

Since I was a child, I have experienced racism in Finland. In the early 1990s, I was scorned at because of my skin color, but now it is also because I am a Muslim. It’s a double whammy.

Living in a racist society is scary and especially for our elders who may not speak Finnish well enough to understand or talk back to people who harass them in public.

What happened [in Kannelmäki] reinforced what many of us Somalis feel in Finland. What happened on Sunday could happen to us. And it has, before.

I don’t trust the police that they will bring justice to what happened.

Are the police going to sweep the issue of racism under the rug? Are they going to conclude that the suspects had mental issues? Were under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Are hardened criminals? Or grew up in broken homes?

Everyone should ask themselves why these two men were carrying knives.

When I go out, I have a goal: I go to work, go to the market, or some other place. What purpose did these men have by carrying knives?

For me the answer is simple. To hurt, or in this case, to kill a Somali.

Yours sincerely,

A Somali Finnish woman