By Enrique Tessieri
Social Democrat Party presidential hopeful, Paavo Lipponen, has been the most outspoken candidate about the threat of the far right in Finland. On a television debate Thursday, he accused Perussuomalaiset (PS) party far-right MPs like Jussi Halla-aho and Jussi Niinistö of hiding behind Timo Soini of boosting the PS leader’s as well as the party’s popularity.
Setting aside his Islamophobic rhetoric, Halla-aho suggested recently that the Greek military should overthrow the elected government. Contrarily Niinistö is on another crusade to weaken the role of the Swedish-speaking minority in this country.
Niinstö’s far-right credentials come from his association with Suomalaisuuden liitto (Association of Finnish Culture), where he is a board member. Suomalaisuuden liitto is an association that was founded in 1906 but is today firmly under the control of the PS. One of its board members is Teemu Lahtinen, a PS member who belongs to IKL, a fascist party founded in the early 1930s.
Believe it or not, both Halla-aho and Niinstö chair the all-important administrative and defense committee of parliament.
Below is a joint campaign ad for the April 17 election by Halla-aho and Lahtinen. The Hindi turban used on the potato shows the extent of their ignorance. I apologize for the racist nature of the video clip.
It would be naive, even reckless, to think that the PS in general and some of its members in particular are not flirting and promoting far-right ideology.
Niinstö’s political colors became evident on September 12, when he stated in parliament Nazi playwright Hans Johst’s Schlageter, “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning” (“Whenever I hear of culture… I release the safety-catch of my Browning”).
Niinstö substituted the word “culture” in Johst’s play for parliamentarism.
Certainly Niinstö never mind Soini will never admit they are promoting far-right nationalism at the cost of minorities and our noble Nordic social welfare democracy. If you ask them, they will tell you with a poker face that they are fighting for your rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is one quote by Adolf Hitler and another one by Hermann Göring that help shed light on the sad state of Finland and Europe today. The first one by Hitler is how far-right groups spread urban myths about immigrants and minorities today: Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
The second one by Göring shows how the far right lures new followers: The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.