Helsingin Sanomat treats Rikka Purra with kid gloves – by and large, stenography journalism

by , under Enrique Tessieri

If former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* head Jussi Halla-aho were a women, her name would be Riikka Purra.

Helsingin Sanomat published Saturday an interview with PS Chairperson Riikka Purra, where she puts Ukrainian refugees on a pedestal and dehumanizes Muslim and African refugees.

Instead of just publishing Purra’s comments like a stenographer, why not fact-check?

Here are some questions I would ask Purra:

1. Why has your party headed south in recent opinion polls?

2. What is the greatest threat that the PS faces?

3. Using hindsight, do you believe that your membership in the pro-Putin EU bloc Democracy and Identity was a mistake?

4. What is your opinion of Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán, Marine le Pen and Matteo Salvini?

5. Why does the PS have close links with far-right and neo-Nazi groups?

6. Why were you against Nato membership last year but are now in favor? Should Finland leave the EU?

7. Are there any ideological differences between you and Jussi Halla-aho? Please state one difference.

Source: WordPress/Openverse

Takeaways from the interview:

  • Purra claims that Ukrainian refugees, compared with Middle Eastern and African refugees, are “patriotic.”
  • MT: “Patriotic?” How does she know that people from the Middle East and Africa are not as patriotic? Most people who grow up in a culture learn to love their country and people.
  • Purra claims that Ukrainians are “better” refugees because most of them are women and children. Contrarily, most refugees that came in 2015 were men.
  • MT: The claim that only men seeking asylum came to Finland in 2015 is a false narrative spread by the PS. Erna Bodström challenges it in the tweet below. The spread of this lie is another example of how the PS dehumanizes refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
  • The chairperson of the PS claims that people from the Middle East and Africa are “economic migrants.”
  • MT: Note, Purra does not even call such people refugees, even if the war we brought wars to the Middle East from 2003 (and before), never mind the terrible colonialist legacy of Europe in Africa. Millions of refugees live in camps next to their war-torn countries. Only a minority of them came to Europe in 2015. Searching for shelter and a better future are matters that have always characterized humans.

Erna Bodström tweets: “Most Middle Eastern [refugees] were men.” True, but 40% of asylum seekers in 2015-16 were women and children. Why aren’t the Perussuomalaiset and Purra interested in these 14,000 women and children? Did they have the wrong skin color or culture or because they aren’t productive enough?
  • Purra believes that Ukrainians will stay in Europe temporarily. “I’m certain that some Ukrainians will stay on living in EU countries,” she said. “But I believe that the majority will return, at some point, to rebuild their home country. Generally, people miss their home country. And at least, in my opinion, Ukrainians are pretty patriotic.
  • MT: Far-right and anti-immigration parties are clairvoyant and claim to have a crystal ball. How does Purra know that people from Iraq, Syria, and African countries aren’t as patriotic as the Ukrainians? It is a fact that most people don’t return to their former home country if they have found a better life in their new home country. Germans believed that the millions of Turks in the country would return to Turkey after a few years. It never happened. Some have, however.
  • Purra: “We can base our claim on statistics and how migrants integrate into European culture,” she said. “The further the person is of (our) culture, especially from the Middle East and Africa, these people have significantly lower employment, smaller gross earnings, greater dependency on social welfare and generally more social problems.”
  • MT: Let’s put matters in context. Purra and the PS target about 10% of Finland’s total foreign population. According to some estimates, there are about 3,000 undocumented migrants. Purra claims that these people are bankrupting Finland and undermining our social welfare state. Instead of attacking and labeling migrants as “harmful,” why not try a different approach like respecting their human dignity and their right to be equal members of society?
  • PS chairperson states that we should do away with quota refugees since more refugees will be from Ukraine.
  • MT: Since racism underlies Purra’s and the PS’ worldview of people, the statement above is not surprising. The HS interview repeatedly reinforces that Purra, like her party, hates Muslims and Africans. They are solid white supremacists in heart and mind.