I am a migrant and I am proud of who I am

by , under Enrique Tessieri

With all the demonizing of migrants by xenophobic and Islamophobic parties, one is required to yell louder and more determinedly: I am proud of my roots, I am proud of my migrant background.

Why is there so much hatred of migrants in today’s Europe?

It’s because Europe is in big denial. Finland is in big denial. How can you hate migrants if millions migrated from these shores to the Americas? How can Finland have xenophobic governments and politicians if over 1.2 million people emigrated from this country between 1860 and 1999?

Incomprehensible, no?

James Baldwin gave us an answer to our question. Substitute the word “Negro” in the quote with “visible migrants,” “Muslims” or “visible minorities”: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

Being a migrant is in some cases not a one-generation affair but goes on for generations.

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Immigrant children in Buenos Aires 1911. Souce: Archivo General de la Nación.

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Finns at Colonia Finlandesa in the 1930s. From left to right: Saimi Putkuri de Makkonen, Jussi Makkonen, Tauno Pitkänen, Heikki Karppinen, Federico Andersen, Aarmas Heikkilä and his wife, Maria Palo de Heikkilä.

My great grandfather left Italy because he was an anarchist and migrated to Brazil. From Brazil, he moved with my grandfather and great grandmother to Argentina. My father migrated back to Europe and then to the United States and finally Finland. I migrated to Finland and have lived in several countries (Argentina, Colombia, Italy, and Spain).

The journey that my great grandfather Dante began over a hundred years ago is still in progress.

A warning to all those politicians who are are profiting on the backs of migrants: Don’t underestimate us. We know who you are and history will expose you shamefully to your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.