Halla-aho and Suomen Sisu get caught in their own game

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

If the Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu and Perusuomalaiset (PS) MPs were an onion, what would we find at its center? A twenty-first century version of the solution without the scary adjective “final?” Racism in its most hostile form? A huge factory turning out urban myths about immigrants and minorities?

Helsingin Sanomat exposed on Sunday just how this minority within the PS operate.  During April and May, five bus drivers of immigrant background were attacked in the Helsinki region.  Since the number of hate crimes reported by the Finnish media grew after the PS election victory in April, PS MP Jussi Halla-aho attempted to play down these reports.

The PS MP claimed that it wasn’t immigrant bus drivers that were being attacked but Finnish ones in greater numbers. What Halla-aho didn’t tell us was that he lumped all bus drivers as Finns, even those that were Finnish citizens with immigrant backgrounds.

In another story published today by tabloid Iltalehti of Mambo group singer Tero Vaara, we are starting to see the real face of the beast.   On the popular Finnish singer’s website he let’s it all hang out in the classical Suomen Sisu and Hommaforum anti-immigration style. In the interview, Vaara equates multiculturalism to communism.

The latter catchphrase is one of the many favorites used by the anti-immigration crowd in Finland.  I highly doubt many like Vaara know what multiculturalism means.

In the most general terms, a good synonym for multiculturalism is cultural diversity.  When people like Vaara claim they oppose multiculturalism are they stating that they want Finland to remain white? What about those that are of other ethnic backgrounds? Don’t they have a right to embrace and cherish Finnish culture on their terms like everyone else?

Like a rising sun behind Vaara, Suomen Sisu appears conspicuously in the following quote on Iltalehti:  “I don’t believe that multiculturalism in its present form is a good thing (and) that the result of the complete mixing of cultures and religions would be only positive.”

What is wrong with this statement? For one, does cultural diversity mean that everyone is mixing? Isn’t it, however, normal that cultures mix? With whom and how much depends on the person.

Some may still ask why the Finnish Criminal Police (KRP) and Supo see Suomen Sisu as a Nazi-spirited associaiton. The answer lies in their ideology, which is based on the myth of  ethnic and cultural purity. This same view is held by the American Nazi Party, Klu Klux Klan and other associations that are openly hostile to immigrants and minorities.

A Suomen Sisu t-shirt promoting “racial hygiene” in Finland. Source: Vallan vahtikoira.

One of Suomen Sisu’s recommended authors on their reading list is Alfred Rosenberg. This Nazi party pseudo-philosopher promoted ideas that were the antithesis of cultural diversity. The argument was simple: People like the Jews and others who did not or could not share the Nazi ideology were dangerous to Germany and hindered the Aryans from becoming the master race.  The fewer Jews that lived in Germany the better.

If we take this latter claim and look at it in a present-day context, we will find striking and scary similarities.  Hint: Replace Jew for Muslim.

So what are the Suomen Sisu and anti-immigration crowd telling us? What is their message?

Do away with cultural diversity, water down civil rights, acceptance and recognition of immigrants, Finns and minorities of different backgrounds.

  1. Hannu

    So you use some random blog as your source and same time deny that “wrong” newspapers can be used as source, interesting.

  2. Mikko

    In order for the cultural purity to remain in the country one would have to do away with all these multicultural influences of foreign TV shows, films and music.

    The truth, of course, is that these people don’t have a problem with multiculturality as long as they can select the cultures in the mix. They should just at least have the common decency to admit what they are – bigots – and not hide behind all sorts of pseudo-scientific and quasi-scholarly theories. In the globalised world to fight against mixing of cultures is like fighting against people using their private cars or easting meat; of course you can’t stop it.

    • Enrique

      Hi Mikko, and welcome to Migrant Tales! The fact that these are bigots and these types of pseudo-race theories have been used in the past in countries like Nazi Germany shows how our educational system has failed. Stopping cultural diversity is like you said: forcing people to stop using cars or eating meat. One of the great things about our society is that we have many lifestyles to choose from. What we choose to be is our own responsibility and civil right. But to ask everyone else to live by one set of cultural rules and exclude others from embracing Finnish culture is totally unacceptable.

      These people who claim to be “racially hygienic” can continue to live in their delusion.

  3. JusticeDemon


    HS kuukausiliite is “some random blog”?

    You really should not drink so much before posting here.

  4. I-am-here

    Wow, a racist belonging to a band called MAMBO! Irony of all ironies! Are those damned racists in Finland serious?

  5. Niko

    I don’t see any racism in Vaara’s writings. In the text he doesn’t say that multiculturalism equates to communism, but says that multiculturalism is like an ideology (as communism was in 70’s) which can’t been criticize by anyone (otherwise you are a Nazi, right-winger, racist etc.) . I think you should be able to criticize ALL ideologies, because none of them are perfect.

  6. Allan

    No, people are just showing their knowledge, as the band is “mamba”, like the snake, not “mambo” like the dance, though they do play mambo-esque “dance music”.

    Synonym of multiculturalism is unintegrated hostile people who live “like at home” with their own rules and regulations not wanting to integrate into their host society.

    An ancient Aztec from Tenotichlan moving to a “multicultural” modern Helsinki would be allowed to continue ripping peoples hearts out and throwing their bodies down the Suurkirkko steps, while a Conquistador would be having an auto-da-fe barbecue on the other side.

    Communists promote multiculturalism as they need to create themselves a chaotic and disenfranchised society to feed their excuse for a need of revolution. You do not need revolution in a well-integrated society.

    • Enrique

      –Synonym of multiculturalism is unintegrated hostile people who live “like at home” with their own rules and regulations not wanting to integrate into their host society.

      Are you talking about the Finnish immigrants in Sweden and Southern Spain? The Brits, maybe?

  7. Mikko

    I lived four years in the UK, a year in Denmark, another in Botswana and a third in Ireland and most recently four more years in South Africa and never once anyone told me I should do more to integrate. It was understood by everyone that it’s in my best interest to integrate to some extent, but no one ever asked me to become a Brit or Irish or South African. I was always allowed to, and always did criticise all the places I lived without anyone telling me ever that I should go back where I came from. Not even in UK. But then again, my skin is rather pale so why would it have been a problem. It’s all a major double standard and I was never really even referred to as immigrant. Again, because of my global white privilege. Just because Finland wasn’t part of colonialism and imperialism in a similar direct way as many other European states, we get our terminology and values from that period when it all was out in the open. Now it’s all gone a bit underground, but make no mistake, it’s alive and well. We as Finns just don’t want to admit this. We rather come with thousand and one excuses why something clearly racist wasn’t racism as if racism doesn’t exist.

    Of course anyone who comes to Finland will do their best to learn the language. Well, not everyone. Usually the so called westerners don’t, but anyone who wishes to find work here. And abusing the system is nowhere near as easy as these ‘sceptics’ make it sound like. No one lives large with that cash and not everyone gets even any money. Here, the theory of things is quite different to the practice. I recommend for all the critics to go and spend a few hours in the job centre for foreign nationals (in Helsinki it’s in Hakaniemi) and see how people are treated. I’ve been there. Go there and then tell me people don’t want to work. People don’t want to work like men don’t want to find women from bar – they try, but aren’t always successful. Of course there might be a few people who aren’t interested in work, but with our cost of living and the actual money received (again, not the one some think is being paid, but actual euros on real people’s accounts) they will need someone in the family earning and paying taxes as well.

    Having been back in Finland for a year now, I’ve been the most unimpressed about ‘us’ as people. Shame really.

    • Enrique

      Hi Mikko, I couldn’t agree more with you. It is very sad to see what is happening in Finland. I would like to discuss more with you and others about the reasons why the PS has grown and why racism has raised its head big time in these parts. Maybe it is like you said and we have to admit a painful truth: We are a pretty racist country that has never challenged this social issue in the past because we have never had enough immigrants living amongst us. But if we look at our history, there is one give-away: our deep suspicion of foreigners never mind Russians. Put a bit of economic recession and mix it with PS anti-immigration populist politics and presto you have a polarized Finland that is trying to figure out where to draw the line on prejudice. Sad but true.

      We are already in deep water and will continue to sink as a society if we allow our prejudices to get the best of us. It will be a ruinous path that will end up impoverishing our country.

      With respect to the integration of immigrants, I believe like you that people who move to a new country want to make the best of their residence. They want to succeed and call their relatives and friends in their home country about how they are succeeding abroad. The worst thing would be for them to fail or return as poor or poorer than when the emigrated. That is why I consider it highly offensive and unfair the urban myths being spread by parties like the PS of immigrants. I am especially worried by those PS MPs who are Suomen Sisu members.

      There is a lot of baggage left over from our history that we must empty and cleanse.

      You have a very fascinating background. I don’t know too many people who have lived in Botswana, which, as you know, is one of the most best-managed countries in Africa. Having studied anthropology, I was always interested about the !Xun (Bushmen) of the Khalahari.

  8. Method

    “Helsingin Sanomat exposed on Sunday just how this minority within the PS operate. During April and May, five bus drivers of immigrant background were attacked in the Helsinki region. Since the number of hate crimes reported by the Finnish media grew after the PS election victory in April, PS MP Jussi Halla-aho attempted to play down these reports.”

    I’m having a hard time in locating the Helsingin Sanomat – article. Would you please present it?

    When I’m reading what he writes, though there’s only one paragraph about this years numbers:

    “Tämän vuoden toukokuuhun mennessä on tehty rikosilmoitus 18:sta bussikuskiin kohdistuneesta väkivaltarikoksesta. Yhdessäkään ei ole ilmennyt rasistista motiivia.”

    My free translation:

    “To this year’s may, there has been 18 reported attacks on bus drivers. None of which have been racially motivated.”

    As I understood, this is based on an inquiry from a police official.

    What’s interesting point about the writing:

    “Reilussa 80 prosentissa rasistisista rikoksista tekijä on kantaväestön edustaja. Maahanmuuttajat ovat näin ollen huomattavasti yliedustettuina myös rasististen rikosten tekijöinä.”

    “In over 80% of the cases of racist crimes, the committer is of Finnish origin. So, immigrants are overpresented in committing of racist crimes.”

  9. Method

    It seems, Anu Nousiainen is also “forgetting” things: she doesen’t present who the attackers were, but the story is pretty covering otherwise, and she states basicly the same thing as H-a, nothing to declare, the foreign bus drivers are victims of racially motivated crimes.

    Her words:

    “Bussiyhtiöstä arvioidaan, että välikohtauksiin joutuvat samalla tavalla kantasuomalaiset kuin ulkomaalaistaustaiset kuljettajat. Mutta kukaan ei ole varsinaisesti selvittänyt asiaa.”

    “From the bus company estimate, violent incidents happen as much to the drivers Finnish background as to those of foreign background. But nobody has really studied the case.”

    Now, what she questions rightly, is one point of H-a’s blog. It’s where he states, Finnish backgrounded drivers have it harder, Nousiainen states, that in Helsinki Bus lines, they have 43% of foreign background drivers, while the incidents are happening to 56% to them. So they are slightly higher on that, possibly due the fact that immigrant drivers drive the night shift (also mentioned in Nousiainen’s article). The other bus company the attacks were 50 – 50. No difference.

    So basicly a tabloid saying anything like: “Foreign bus drivers are under a nazi attack because of the elections”, is a lie.

  10. Seppo

    Off-topic but I have to mention this.

    – “What Halla-aho didn’t tell us was that he lumped all bus drivers as Finns, even those that were Finnish citizens with immigrant backgrounds.”

    This is what Enrique is doing all the time when he says immigrants constitute 2,9% of the population of Finland. He is lumping all people with Finnish citizenship as Finns.

    As we have discussed earlier regarding citizenship legislation in Finland, it is perfectly possible for a person born and raised in Finland to have a foreign citizenship and in the same way – like it or not – an immigrant is an immigrant even though he would have later gotten a Finnish citizenship. Or even if he had had it all the time.

    This case with the bus drivers just proves once again what a poor indicator formal citizenship is when one is trying to find out the number of immigrants or persons with immigrant background in a certain context.

  11. Allan

    Enrique, I am more referring to places like “zones urbaines sensibles” in France. Multiculturalism doesn’t have anything to do with food or foreign products. Thats trade and cosmopolitan lifestyle. It is more to do with different sets of values, and it doesn’t have to be disruptive necessarily. USA has their religious minorities like the Amish who live in “seclusion” like this. However the question is if this seclusion is productive to the society as a whole, or if it is having a negative impact. We see this in say teh “Chinatowns” – yes there are the cultural positives, but also the negatives. Just blindly saying its all positive and denying the negatives will end up instead of chinatown people want to go party in a ghetto people are afraid to enter. Theres too many examples of these in Europe.

  12. Allan

    About tabloids – you saw that article of “ulkomaalaistaustainen mies hakattiin rautaputkella”? Very convenient to start screaming racism that a black man was whacked with a tire iron in the middle of the street. Sitting on the terrace of a gay bar as well! Scream xenophobia and racism! Oh, but the news media surprisingly also disclosed that the perpretrators were of “asian origin” (meaning oriental in Finland) and left the scene in a car with Swedish plates. Now the tabloids could have also written “foreigners beat up a black man on a gay bar terrace” as well.

    The multicultural incident however was a plain old “getting even” case. The big man on the terrace had behaved badly the previous weekend and punched a small restaranteur, who then got his friend to help him get a revenge. Notice the tabloids didn’t rip any headlines of the first incident.

    The biased media coverage is to blame for most of this huge “wave” of attacks after the elections. Just as they conviniently forget in all the media coverage on “racist crimes” the numbers are not comparable as the reporting criteria was changed.

    Media lies and reporters lie, do not believe nothing but the facts.