By Enrique Tessieri
A friend of mine recently said that one of the reasons why some don’t like Migrant Tales (MT) is because we write too much about racism. Do we treat a social issue like racism fairly on MT? Do we write too much or too little about it?
Certainly I would be happy if there were no reasons to write about such a social ill in this country. I even hope that what I write on this blog isn’t true.
Having written a lot about this topic, given talks and debated with many Finns for a number of years, there’s one matter that must be taken into account: Some Finns feel offended if a foreigner tells them that there’s racism in their country.
Our aim on MT is certainly not to offend anyone but to debate an issue openly. If we can identify the problem, we can take steps to challenge and correct it.
Racism, xenophobia and hatred are greater threats to our values and society than some may believe. Apart from ruining lives and holding back the potential of a country, these social vices have been the smoking guns behind almost all the wars that have ever taken place in Europe.
Why do we still write about Nazi Germany if the fall of Berlin took place 67 years ago? Why would we even want to bring to justice, never mind write about the crimes committed by Bosnian Serb wartime commander, Ratko Mladic, whose trial began Wednesday in The Hague?
Among the many war atrocities that Mladic is believed to have been responsible for are the deaths of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995.
You may correctly ask why crimes like the Final Solution or ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia took place? Haven’t we learned from our past wars and mistakes?
Even if our collective memory is too short for comfort, those same phantoms of xenophobia, racism and hatred that spooked us into war in the past continue to roam those same streets inhabited by our fear and ignorance.
But let’s return to the original question: Do we write too little or too much about racism on MT?
There’s probably no consensus, but there are two answers: Those who are most affected by racism believe too little attention is given to the issue, while those who are least affected by it claim the contrary.
Whatever the case, we should never give refuge to a social ill like racism through our silence.