Even if Suomen Sisu president Olli Immonen and Jussi Halla-aho, both MPs of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, tried to assure television viewers Thursday on A-Talk that the association is neither racist nor far right, nothing could be further from the truth.
In order to keep immigrants and visible minorities disenfranchised, Suomen Sisu must come up with new arguments and sound bites to justify their intolerance.
One of the matters that Suomen Sisu does is spread stereotypes about certain immigrants. Tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat paved the way for such stereotypes in the early 1990s, when Finland’s immigrant population started to grow.
Claude M. Steele’s whistling vivaldi reveals how detrimental stereotypes can be.
The provost of Columbia University writes: “But this book offers an important qualification to this creed: that by imposing on us certain conditions of life, our social identities can strongly affect things as important as our performances in the classroom and on standardized tests, our memory capacity, our athletic performance, the pressure we feel to prove ourselves, even the comfort level we have with people of different groups – all things we typically think of as being determined by individual talents, motivations, and preferences.”
If what Steele claims holds any truth, the spreading of generalizations and stereotypes about certain ethnic groups in Finland can be devastating.
The A-Talk show made one matter clear: Suomen Sisu’s new synonym for racism is its loathing for cultural diversity. Instead of attacking all immigrants, they are now pointing their guns at Muslims and non-white people from outside the EU.
As Migrant Tales wrote on Friday, Immonen’s and Halla-aho’s opposition to cultural diversity and their support for assimilation (one-way integration) was near-constantly revealed on the program while denying at the same time that Suomen Sisu wasn’t a racist and far right association.
The new Suomen Sisu president couldn’t have put his opposition to cultural diversity clearer on A-Talk: “Is there anything wrong [that an association] says that different [ethnic] groups and cultures shouldn’t mix, which I interpret as a multicultural society and what we don’t want to have in Finland?”
Even if one natural symptom of denial is convenient memory loss, Immonen disagreed that Suomen Sisu was against people of different ethnicities marrying and having children. Just like the Ku Klux Klan and the U.S. American Party, Immonen, however, believes that it is only a question of time when Christian Europe and Muslims will be at war.
He was quoted as saying right after the April 2011 election on Iltalehti: “Due to the present trend of multiculturalism, I believe we will see in the future of Europe a number of terrorist strikes and civil war in which the other warring adversary will be notably the representatives of Islam.”
It’s pretty clear what will happen in Finland if the PS’ chairman, Timo Soini, ever becomes the prime minister of Finland. It will mean greater clout for Suomen Sisu to spread its far right ideology and policies, which will not only polarize society but even threaten to put in cold storage our noble Nordic democracy and values such as social equality. Racism, xenophobia and intolerance in general will become more normal as our society strays from our present democratic values.
Halla-aho said that Suomen Sisu, which was founded in 1998, has played a crucial role in fostering anti-immigration sentiment (he calls it critiquing immigration) in Finland through platforms like Hommaforum and the PS.
Even so, there is nothing Finnish about Suomen Sisu’s ideology, which is copied from other far right groups in Europe. The only difference is that it is put in a Finnish context.
How different is the neo-Nazi party of Greece, Golden Dawn, from Suomen Sisu? One of its MPs Illias Panagiotaros claims in the video below: “[Immigrants] having a very nice life with extra good food, heating, air-conditioned [living quarters] and at the same time Greeks, millions of Greeks, don’t have foot to eat. They don’t have a place to stay, they don’t have anything.”
As far as we know, immigrants in Greece live in overcrowded apartments and detention centers. Many fear walking in public for fear of being attacked by far right mobs and the police.
Considering that Greece’s population is about 11 million, Panagiotaros claim that “millions of Greeks” are without food while the immigrants live a plush life is a gross exaggeration to put it lighly. It is, however, a common argument used by far right groups. It is used by Suomen Sisu and politicians like PS MP James Hirvisaari, who claims without proof that immigrants get more social-welfare benefits than white Finns.
If Finland lost its nerve by making the PS the biggest party and giving Suomen Sisu more power, it would be a slippery slope that would lead us down a slippery slope called Hungary, gripped by the same xenophobia that Suomen Sisu spreads in Finland.