Finland’s interior minister wants to make begging illegal

by , under Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Christian Democrat (KD) Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen was quoted as saying on MTV3 that she is in favor of making begging illegal in Finland.  Just like many past suggestions by the conservative Räsänen, like her provocative views on homosexuality that caused last year an exodus from the Lutheran Church, her views on begging and how to deal with a group like the Roma of Eastern Europe doesn’t come as a surprise. 

While Räsänen uses the term “organized” begging, it’s clear that she is targeting Roma beggars from Eastern Europe that come to Finland.

In order to understand the dynamics of the Finnish government’s tough stand on immigration and its views of certain ethnic groups, Kokoomus Prime Minister appointed last year Räsänen to head the interior ministry in charge of immigration policy.

Her appointment was a clear attempt by the government to not only calm the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, which had gained a historic 39 seats in last year’s election, but to rob it of its anti-immigration thunder.

Räsänen’s stand on gay rights and marriage reflect her conservative views on immigration and Finland’s ever-growing cultural diversity.  Last year she said there are plans to tighten once again family reunification laws, which were tightened by the previous government.

Her views on immigration are pretty well summed up on a blog entry she wrote on Uusi Suomi:  “Our country’s culture, values and morals have been built around Christian ethics and we must not abandon them starting from our homes, day care centers and when bringing up children.”

What Räsänen is saying in the quote is that she doesn’t believe in cultural diversity but that immigrants should assimilate — not integrate — to Finnish society.  Assimilation is one-way integration, or something like sitting on your behind and requiring immigrants to adapt to your culture while you do nothing except watch.

Some have criticized Räsänen’s double standards. On the one hand she claims to uphold Christian values concerning the family but doesn’t appear to be bothered by minors who are refugees in Finland that are forced to live without their parents because of strict reunification laws.

While Räsänen likes to give the public simple answers to complex problems, her latest view on begging will not resolve anything but complicate the problem even more. We will soon see pictures of the Finnish police rounding up, arresting and deporting women and children from Finland. It will reveal and reinforce the image that we are an intolerant country that doesn’t have a clue on how to deal with a social problem like begging in our society.

It prefers instead to brush the problem under the rug by making “poverty illegal” by patronizing to parties like the PS.

  1. Laputis

    Making begging illegal is same as making “poverty illegal”? This phantasy of Enrique’s doesn’t make any sense to me. Poverty itself doesn’t equal begging. Laziness plus poverty does, however.
    And I don’t see any reasons why begging couldn’t be outlawed in Finland.

    Reading Enrique’s and few other poster posts I sometimes wonder where the world is rolling. These people defend negative things (like begging), from which winners are…nobody. Begging isn’t in favour to nobody.

    I believe that life should have some reasoning, some task. I also believe that people should develop their personalities. It means that people should do something useful. For themsleves, for others.
    What about begging, is it useful in any way? It can be useful only in very short term. It isn’t useful as a way of life. It doesn’t give nor contribute to life reasoning, it doesn’t promote personality growing. Begging as a way of life is not positive thing in any way at all. From so many aspects – moral, religious, economical, social etc.
    There’s not a single reason to defend begging (except short-timed one).

  2. I am

    I believe that life should have some reasoning, some task. I also believe that people should develop their personalities. It means that people should do something useful. For themsleves, for others.
    Hi dear MT,Hi pretty
    Hi dear Laputis, how r u today,
    It depends to us and our favorite in life, what we need, what we want, what we want to be,
    What makes u happy, what makes u useful, whats ur belief???

    Life has reason, many many reasons, its worthy , brilliant, daimond but when racist is the king of system, law, government and air around u, then ur life is a nightmare and u cant improve it u just have time to solve problems, dark mountain that racist builds for u, u just need to focus on ur freedom, salvation., when u talk to people they dont believe u, no body care, no body can see u, everything says u r not exist, there is no u, so u dont need to be, u dont need ur family, u dont need normal life, u dont need happiness, u dont need work,
    U say oh no please, I am, look at me, i have a face like yours, look at my eyes u can see themsleves there, they are pretty, are not they? Am ur friend, lets joy, lets make peace, lets help eachother, but racist is angry, offer u suffer, pain,and u see yourself in wilderness of hate, theer is nothing except hate
    But u r worthy, ur family is mean of ur life,life has mean for u, u love humans, u open ur mouth,u say oh noooooooo look at me, I am, i am real, but racist says, i want slave and not true words from ur mouth, go to jail, dont talk, i dont like ur words,, Rcaist is white or black, yes or no, no more no less

    light and love to all

  3. Laputis

    Sorry “I am”, but I think you hit wrongly with your writing. Beggars come from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds, all kinds of races etc. I am from Russia, country, where majority of beggers are…white Russians, Ukrainians etc. Beggers can be white, black, yellow, Gypsies, Russians, Finns, Chinese etc. One ethnic group, though, seems to be bit more “specialised” into begging, and they are Gypsies. You can see it by that you see in Finland beggers exactly of Gypsy origins, and not of f.e. Baltic origins (Baltic countries are in EU, and there are enough many very poor people, tramps and beggers etc., yet they don’t travel to Finland or other western countries specifically for begging) But begging in itself is not limited to Gypsies, it can be practised by everyone, from any ethnic group. So the outlawing of the begging can’t be automatically assumed as “racism” or attack to “non-white people”. Because begging IS PRACTISED ALSO by white people. Visit Baltic countries, visit Russia…You will see it with your own eyes.
    P.S. I am not European. I am from Asia. And I am married to white Finnish person. There is no reason to assume that I am “racist”.

  4. I am

    I just wanted talk about ur words that are about life, because i love life and i know what is life about
    I said hi to u and then
    and then talked to u, just that my brother.
    I was talking to u about life, i was not talking about ur personality and what was ur comment about not at all, just about ***LIFE*** and i wanted u immagine that what looks like a life of a person who is under a racist control and system.
    I wish u understanding me now, we r ONE .
    Sorry Laputis it was not about YOU was about ur interest word life, hugs brother
    Have a happy day

  5. justicedemon

    From the greatest English language essayist of the 20th century:

    Below screevers come the people who sing hymns, or sell matches, or bootlaces, or envelopes containing a few grains of lavender–called, euphemistically, perfume. All these people are frankly beggars, exploiting an appearance of misery, and none of them takes on an average more than half a crown a day. The reason why they have to pretend to sell matches and so forth instead of begging outright is that this is demanded by the absurd English laws about begging. As the law now stands, if you approach a stranger and ask him for twopence, he can call a policeman and get you seven days for begging. But if you make the air hideous by droning ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee,’ or scrawl some chalk daubs on the pavement, or stand about with a tray of matches–in short, if you make a nuisance of yourself–you are held to be following a legitimate trade and not begging. Match-selling and street-singing are simply legalized crimes. Not profitable crimes, however; there is not a singer or match-seller in London who can be sure of 50 pounds a year–a poor return for standing eighty-four hours a week on the kerb, with the cars grazing your backside.

    It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary ‘working’ men. They are a race apart–outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men ‘work’, beggars do not ‘work’; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not ‘earn’ his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic ‘earns’ his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

    Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course–but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout–in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him.

  6. eyeopener

    Hi JD.
    As I have said somewhere else in this blog: Consider begging as one of the most innovative ways of entrepreneurship. Claiming from many resources those who want to cooperate. And make a living out of that. Wrong??

    But it’s easy to point at people who don’t follow the “herd-path” of earning money. Even more easy it is to deny this way of living a life.

    All these guys who are talking about how good they are (relative concept), how well they did (relative concept) seem to turn their values to the absolute standard of being.

    Begging is a generic concept. Many people -finns alike foreigners- use begging as a means of living. Just “outlawing a minority” can be expected from conservatives who are not familiar with the rest of the country outside the northern-highway around Helsinki. I coin this as “ostrich-policing” as it indicates the neglect of a world-wide policy to eradicate poverty from the world.

    Clapotis comes from a different planet. I have said that many times before. His approach to work is from the 1800s. He doesnot seem to understand that the work environment has changed in a dramatic way. He praises himself -and his family- to have this mentality. Any proof of that?? Saying is not the same as proofing what you say, isn’t it??

    Not a racist?? Because you married a Finnish woman?? Are you really that ignorant?? Now I understand why the IQ-level of Finland has dropped. We let in people like Clapotis, married Finnish women and let them become the “speakers” of racism!! Hi, guys from Hommaforum. Good strategy but too obvious.

    Oh my gosh!!

  7. Laputis

    Hello, Eyeopener, you are wrong, as it happens quite often.

    Most interesting part about your post is that you consider me as someone from Hommaforum. Dear, Eyeopener, did you know that I don´t know Finnish language well? I skip Finnish texts even here, in this blog, my eyes are almost hurting, when trying to read them. And you think that I am from Finnish-speaking forum??? Well, you just have to believe that I am immigrant. Rather recent one, who hasn´t learned language to such extent, that would be possible to participate in Hommaforum. I do attend Finnish language courses though, and I have progress.
    I understand that it is hard to believe to my identity (immigrant, visible minority etc.) judging by my posts, because I apparently don´t have “multiculturalist” opinions. But world isn´t black and white. Immigrants are not all the same people, they don´t neccesarily have same opinions, neither they have to agree each to other. Just because I disagree with many of Enrique´s or your opinions doesn´t mean that I must be “Finnish native, preferably from Suomen Sisu or Hommaforum”.
    Actually, I disagree with several opinions of some Finnish posters who come here to argue. For example, I disagree about f.e. that racism doesn´t exist in Finland. Of course, it exists. And other opinions.

  8. eyeopener

    Hi Clapotis.

    It doesn’t take much of understanding of the Hommaforum ideas as a non-Finn. Your ideas are similar so a friend is quickly found isn’t it? Indeed, you don’t seem to have “multiculturalist ideas, opinions,attitudes”.

    You are accusing foreigners (especially the visible persons) of behaviors you have no notion of. You make yourself, your relatives from weher ever in Russia as the measurement of “doing good”.

    Well your last remarks give something to hope for. WHY don’t you speak out for your opinion on “racism in Finland”?? You say you disagree, what do you agree upon?? It exists you say!!
    What do you want to do about it?? How -in your opinion- should racvism in Finland be acted upon?? Do you agree with the PS or KD??

    Simple questions………………..answers??

  9. Pit

    Eyeopener, come on not even you can buy into the BS you just wrote. Begging a form of enterpreneurship? It’s a nuisance and nothing else. I haven’t been asked for money by a Finnish person EVER, by gypsies pretty much every single day on my way to work and back. It’s even worse than that, I want the society I live in to develop to a point where skin color doesn’t matter, religion is an acknowledged mental disorder, gay marriage is not an issue, because marriage itself is an outdated concept, begging or not sending your kids to school is illegal et alii. Now people can disagree with me on those topics, granted, but I want a society that fits me. Somewhere along the lines of liberal atheists that are guided solely by science and I claim my right to vote accordingly for that goal.

    Pulling the racism card is a low blow and so overused I don’t even care anymore to be called one, but you see, that’s why I don’t want too many islamic *immigrants* in Europe or Roma for that matter, not because I don’t like Muslims or Roma – they have been part of Europe for centuries – but rather for the same reason I want our own churches to be closed. I think letting them in is a step back from where I would like people to go in general.

  10. Mary Mekko

    In San Francisco bums, drunks and druggies from out of town, flood our city and become beggars. They stand at intersections, with cardboard signs, saying “Why lie? I need money for beer.” They’re already receiving social welfare up the yingyang, housing, medical care, food and all that the rest of us struggle for. Does the local government do a thing? No, ONLY when the black limos from the airport bearing important personages, such as Obama, arrive to zip up steep Taylor St. to the Fairmont Hotel on top. THEN you see the police SHOVE the bums off Taylor to the side streets, to “clear the way” until the caravan goes by.

    Meanwhile, the last mayor, our dyslexic chronic inebriate philanderer Gavin NEwsom, got upset about bums and beggars on the median strip called Van Ness Avenue, our Highway 101 through the city. It’s full of cars making their way from the Golden Gate Bridge down south, and they must go through the city since 1958 citizen protests blocked the federal building of freeways through these old parts of town.

    Gavin told the police chief, a female tough called Fong, that he wanted all beggars off Van Ness. One day he’s driving there ( or rather, was driven in his Hybrid SUV) and spotted one, called Fong, who was off-duty, waking her up. She called a subordinate and several cops went to get him away. The bum took off at the sight of the cops and ran zig-zag all over the nearby neighborhoods, so as is normal if one flees from the police, they shot him. I guess they didn’t shoot to kill, but die he did.

    We all said, OK! Thanks, Gavin, one less bum, but can’t you do something for the WHOLE CITY? Why do we in normal neighborhoods have to tolerate this BS everyday? What kind of government are we being forced to pay for, with high taxes, if we get no police protection? Why not get tough on crime like Guiliiani, face facts that these petty crooks/ beggars/drunks do us infinite harm, drive away the tourists, and scare people going out at night?

    No one showed any regret that one more out-of-town criminal/parasite was gone. We are FED UP.

    I wonder if Finns will ever get fed up enough and lurch out of their SISU-silence to action…before it’s too late. You do all carry knives, don’t you? Women in particular?