Finnish media’s latest red herring when talking about asylum seekers

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A red herring is something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.

It’s pretty incredible to note how the debate in the Finnish media has shifted from asylum seekers, or people fleeing war and poverty that are coming to Europe, to human trafficking. When the media parrots what politicians and officials say about human trafficking what are they really saying?

Are they taking our focus off the problem, or people fleeing war and poverty? Is it because they are victims of human trafficking and therefore their request for asylum is suspect?

Is it an effective way to fuel our apathy and indifference towards such people?

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairman and foreign minister, Timo Soini, who is ideologically in the same league as Viktor Orbán of Hungary when it comes to refugee policy, gave a stern warning to Sweden: If they don’t stop asylum seekers from coming to Finland it will undermine relations between both countries, according to tabloid Ilta-Sanomat.

Soini went as far as to suggest that by allowing asylum seekers to travel through Sweden to Finland you were financing human traffickers and terrorists.

Näyttökuva 2015-9-22 kello 14.53.56

Soini also labeled Iraqis in Finland as one national group, together with Finns, involved in human trafficking.

But what does human trafficker mean? Are “coyotes” in Mexico, who take undocumented people to the United States, the same as those human traffickers bringing people to Europe today?

How much blame falls on the EU for not doing enough, or very little, to relieve the situation? How much blood does the EU have on its hands for turning a blind eye and allowing asylum seekers to seek help from European “coyotes?”

Certainly such questions, and many more, are conveniently sidestepped by politicians and the media.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.