By Enrique Tessieri
The jealous and spiteful behavior of some Finns and especially politicians belonging to the Perussuomalaiset (PS) is nothing new. Even after Finland ceded for the second time Karelia in 1944 to the former Soviet Union, some Finns were very hostile and spiteful of the over 400,000 Karelian refugees that were relocated here.
After the war, some Finns not only blamed the Karelians for all the hardship the country endured during those difficult years, but were especially angered by the money the government gave them to buy land and start life anew.
A typical gripe of the anti-immigration groups in Finland is pretty much the same. They blame immigrants and refugees for getting preferential treatment and are especially angered because they get social welfare.
An interesting editorial in Kajaani-based Kainuun Sanomat states two factors propelled the PS vote in April: anti-EU sentiment, which is understandable in light of the bailouts, and immigration, which is incomprehensible.
A quote that caught my eye a while back on Twitter was by @sabergato. He put the anti-immigration sentiment in Finland in perspective from the Civil Rights era in the US: “The most racist, rural, uneducated southern whites were very jealous & spiteful of Blacks.”
Here is a good example (in Finnish) of how the PS is fuelling the same type of jealousy and spite towards immigrants and refugees in Rovaniemi.
Unless major political parties like Kokoomus and Social Democrats consider Teuvo Hakkarainen’s Viitsaari in Central Finland a key battleground for votes, Finland needs today more than ever leadership on the anti-racist front.
Cultural diversity is guaranteed in our constitution and it is the obligation of all parties, including the PS, to defend minorities.
Let’s not make a mockery of our values and let Finland go on a free-for-all Internet lynching mode against minorities.