Green Party hopeful Pekka Haavisto and the Perussuomalaiset

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

After the Green Party declared war on the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party before the April 17 election, its presidential hopeful Pekka Haavisto has made an about-turn: He has become a “friend” of PS MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who became a household name thanks to his racist gaffes, and now displays a show of  support for his candidacy by PS MP Jussi Halla-aho.

Certainly forgiveness is an important but how can you forgive somebody for their hostile racist behavior if they don’t even consider it wrong?

Another sad matter that Haavisto is doing by extending his hand to racists and far-right Islamophobists like Halla-aho is that he gives them legitimacy.

Moreover, his approval of these types of politicians shows that at the end of the day Haavisto is a white Finn.

Do you agree?

  1. Jonas G

    I agree that there are a lot of problematic aspects about the surprising level of qualification Haavisto has made in many of his statements speaking about about racism in the duration of this campaign. I would not agree though that this “at the end of the day” shows he “is a white Finn”. There is at least two candidates who has been pretty unreservedly critical of PS, particularly the Hallo-aho Hirvisaari wing, in this campaign, at least in so much as I have been monitoring it. Both are also white Finns. Whilst we need more new Finns in politics, I don’t think us white Finns are totally incapable of not at least trying to speak out unambiguously about the problems of intolerance in our society.

    Enrique, this article was in Hufvudstadsbladet the other day, and I wondered if you saw it. It suggests a level of pretty institutionalised racial discrimination in the customs, at least at this ferry terminal.

    • Enrique

      Hi Jonas G, I didn’t mean to insult you or any “white” Finn. My point is that because he is “white” and does not have to suffer the racism of visible minorities in this country, he can make extend his hand to PS MPs like Jussi Halla-aho.

      Thank you for the heads up. This article on HBL is a good example of the racial profiling that goes on at Finnish customs.

  2. Jonas G

    I should say that there is an article on page 5 of this morning’s print paper (I can’t see it on their webb) where the customs director says that on the day in question they were looking for a specific suspect matching such a description who they did find and then hand over to the police. Still no proper explanation of why they were so rude though.

  3. Jonas G

    Oh, don’t worry Enrique, it takes more to insult me than that. I have just read such arguments before, where you have to be a woman to convincingly be able to be for women’s rights and so on. And yes, whilst I agree that you are right, to an extent we white Finns can never claim to have an understanding of what it feels like to be handled in a racist way in practical terms, I don’t think that is necessarily necessary to combat it and speak out against it in a convincing way.

    It is important that you question Haavisto’s credentials in this area, he is being given a little too much of a free ride. People don’t question him or his party because it is assumed that Greens must be the epitome of good practice in such areas.

  4. Seppo

    I most definitely don’t agree. Haavisto is gay and in a relationship with an immigrant. He is the best representant of an open, tolerant and diverse Finland.

  5. Seppo

    “does not have to suffer the racism of visible minorities in this country”

    I think through his spouse he is quite well aware of the situation.

    • Enrique

      There was an interesting story on MTV3 about the PS, which claims that party members give the thumbs down to “hick” MP Teuvo Hakkarainen but approve Islamophobist MP Jussi Halla-aho. What does this say about the state of racism in the PS? Does it show that it is ok to spread racism “intellectually” but not so good if you sound like a hick?

      In Migrant Tales’ book, racism fed either way to the public should be condemned.

  6. Jaakko


    – Does it show that it is ok to spread racism “intellectually” but not so good if you sound like a hick?

    The difference between these two persons is that Hakkarainen use very vulgar language and his opinions are just based on feelings. He is also uneducated and every time he is on the news, it is something embarrassing. He is pretty much in the same level with Nykänen and Tukiainen who can’t be taken seriously.

    Halla-aho is a totally different story. He is highly educated and he always backup his opinions with news articles and statics. This kind of person is more attractive for the people and can have more support. However, his reputation has suffered because some of his comments (mainly this Greece junta thing).

  7. Allan

    Enrique, could you get your facts straight like once in a while? That “siksipekka” – page is not Haavisto’s campaign page. Its a “fanpage” of people who support him who have collected bits and pieces off the internet. The quote from Halla-Aho is off his page where he analyses the Presidential candidates and whom he would or would not vote. And he is right, Haavisto is one of the few candidates that actually practices what he preaches, he is tolerant to the bone and doesnt hold grudges nor go on vendettas against “dissidents” who dont share his values. He might be a bit too “soft”, but as a figurehead he most probably would be a mitigator instead of a tyrant. Heck, even I’d vote for him…

  8. Risto

    “Moreover, his approval of these types of politicians shows that at the end of the day Haavisto is a white Finn.

    Do you agree?”

    No. Cut the crap please. You see racists and racism everywhere. You are killing the debate with these kind of hysterical lynching type of agit-prop. No one really actually believes that Haavisto is a racist. And no one really buys these kind of argumentations which tend to imply that ‘white’ people are racist and that ‘black’ people are all anti-racist choirboys.

    I should post this to Haavisto himself, to see whether he should take the matter to court for libel.

    I bet I am a racist now too.

  9. Risto

    “whilst I agree that you are right, to an extent we white Finns can never claim to have an understanding of what it feels like to be handled in a racist way in practical terms”.

    So, the way the Swedes have treated the Finns (during the Swedish rule and also how the Finnish minorities in Sweden were treated and portrayed) , was no racism?

  10. Jonas G

    Risto, “the Swedes” did not treat “the Finns” particularly badly during the period that what we now know as Finland was an integral part of the Swedish realm. Certainly not by the standards of the day. Much of Finnish historiography (particularly until around the 1960s, but also after – especially popular history) will give you the impression that somehow Sweden was a colonial oppressive power in Finland. That I am afraid is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, a product of an often nationalistic portrayal of Finnish history, perhaps understandable in the post-1917 decades when there was a perceived need to build a national identity. In fact, most of the Finnish peasantry (both language groups) in 1809 wanted to stay as a part of Sweden, it was the elite (who disproportionately were Swedish-speaking) that saw Russia as the more attractive option, its power in the ascendant – many more career opportunities in a large empire on the rise, St Petersburg seen as a cultural capital compared to the increasingly backwater nature of Stockholm at the time. Don’t forget, the Swedish state never saw the sort of feudal structure that was common elsewhere in Europe, and in relative terms (for the period), the peasantry (Swedish- and Finnish-speaking), had a high degree of power. Goodness, they even had a certain level of representation in the Riksdag, pretty much unheard of at the time elsewhere in Europe. There were many Finnish-speakers to be found at court in Stockholm as well. Don’t forget, that for much of the history of the Swedish court during the time in which FInland was ruled by it, the language of culture and communication at court wasn’t primariarly Swedish either, but variously often German, Dutch or French.

    But of course, this is out of context Risto. As you know, we’re discussing current problems of racism and intolerance in contemporary Finnish society.Trying to scapegoat Swedish-speakers in Finland for the issues that a third country, Sweden, may have had later on with its Finnish-speaking population groups may well be included in that, don’t you think?