If YLE has exposed discrimination against dual nationals in the defense forces why don’t they call it institutional racism?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Why isn’t the national media or any other NGO in Finland calling out YLE’s scoop about how the defense forces and ministry of defense could be in violation of our constitution and an example of institutional racism?

Why doesn’t the media or anyone else for a fact state clearly that statements by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who want to find a way to get around Section 6 or our Constitution by discriminating against dual nationals, isn’t seen as labeling and victimizing whole groups?

Why doesn’t anyone say clearly that much of the debate on dual citizenship is embedded in denial about a social ill like racism in Finland?

It is incredible that during our centenary celebrations of 2017 as an independent country that President Niinistö doesn’t see how his remarks and apparent disdain for dual citizens labels and harms a whole group.

With respect to Sipilä, how many trust him considering that he broke his promise to house asylum seekers in his home in September 2015?

Those attacking and labeling dual nationals in Finland represent power and Finnish exceptionalism. They would care less about minorities like Finnish Russians, even if what they say reinforces discrimination and harms minorities.

There are three reasons why we are debating dual citizenship now:  (1) there are more dual nationals than ever before; (2) it shows the rise of nationalism and opposition to cultural diversity (some of these people are the ones who opposed EU membership in the 1990s); and (3) municipal elections. If we can’t be racist like before in an election we can bring up a topic like dual citizenship to attract voters.

What did YLE’s scoop on discrimination of dual citizens show?

  • YLE News published on January 31 a story where it claimed that the defense forces place restrictions on dual nationals of Finland and Russia;
  • On Wednesday, another YLE News story added more fuel to such allegations by citing an insider source who claims that it is the defense forces’ intelligence department that is responsible for such policy guidelines against dual citizens;
  • On Thursday, YLE News published a new story where a woman was denied a job at a garrison kitchen because of her Finnish and Russian citizenship.

If the defense forces and defense ministry have taken the law in their hands and violated Section 6 of the Constitution, this would be a good opportunity to send a clear message that such discrimination in Finland is unacceptable.

But is this what Finnish privilege and power want to convey or do they want to reinforce that they are in no hurry to promote the very values they claim they are defending?

YLE gave us an opportunity to see how institutional racism works in Finland and we should never let those responsible off the hook.


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