I fear nationalism and racism as much as Russia

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Apart from tightening laws and plans to build a fence on parts of the Finnish-Russian border, politicians in Finland are debating shutting tourism from Russia to Finland. As I have mentioned previously, one of the biggest fears of the war in Ukraine is awakening Finland’s deep distrust and hatred of Russia.

The hatred will not only affect the Russians and our views of that country but spill over to other groups like Muslims and People of Color. If matters were shaky for these groups in Finland, they would worsen as the war drags on.

Despite all the bravado and defiance by politicians as the eye of April’s parliamentary election, some level-headed opinions are out there. One of these is Helsingin Sanomat, which wrote that the issue of visa restrictions was “not so clearcut. Restrictions must be in line with our values and goals. Sanctions should not be imposed on the basis of nationality, but according to a person’s actions or inaction.”

Well said, Helsingin Sanomat.

I fear Finland will become more hostile to migrants and minorities in the months ahead. Economic hardships and the war will define a clear target and scapegoat: migrants like asylum seekers and minorities like Muslims and People of Color.

My response to a tweet by Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset* chairperson Riikka Purra. Source: Twitter

These attacks by politicians and other interest groups show cowardice and how low people will stoop.

Indeed, Russia is a country that is on a reckless course with its invasion of Ukraine. It has not only brought great hardship to Ukrainians but to itself and Europe.

We should try to find how to deescalate the situation, and if that does not work, we have no other choice but to fight on.

The enemy isn’t ordinary people, migrants, and minorities.

They are the victims of a senseless war.

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