By Enrique Tessieri
After the election victory of the True Finns on Sunday, sensible Finns are asking Timo Soini’s party to bite the bullet and leave behind the rhetoric and racism that has tainted his party. This may be easier said than done.
Nobody is denying the True Finns their victory but there is great concern that the rise of such a party will fuel hatred, racism, division in society and social inequality.
Such an argument is not out-of-place nor is it alarmist. What kind of Finland do you expect to create if you start attacking the Swedish-speakers, minorities, immigrants, refugees and all those who do not fit under the “good-fatherland” category?
When a Jussi Halla-aho openly praises the Islamophobic Danish People’s Party and its policies, he is not speaking only about restricting a certain group of immigrants from a country but changing our values as a nation. Such a message poisons the atmosphere stressing differences between people.
What is tragic is that its victims are not the future immigrants and refugees that want to come here but those who have embraced Finland as their home. They are the ones who contribute to this society, work hard and pay taxes.
If you spread the message of hatred and suspicion of other cultures it spills over to the whole immigrant community and, worse, tells their children that Finland is not their home and then claim that people don’t integrate rapidly enough. What kind of society will you build when you instil hostility, racism and exclusion? The answer is obvious.
Such a populist-xenophobic message is also an insult to the over million Finns that live abroad who still have bonds to this nation. The message is a slap in their faces with a rude message: This is our country, not yours.
Is this the type of Finland we want to build in this century? Is it what our grandparents and great grandparents fought for? Didn’t they sacrifice their lives in the Winter War to spare Finland from becoming a totalitarian nation where everyone looks and thinks alike?
The rise of nationalism and racism is like pissing in one pants in the freezing winter. At first the warmth feels fine but then a terrible sensation sets in when the urine cools. You blame others for your shortsightedness and predicament.