Migrant Tales 2008: Being an immigrant in Finland. A letter from Ida

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: This moving story by “Ida” was published on Migrant Tales  in September 2008. Even if it appeared three-and-a-half years ago, it could be a story that happened right now in Finland.  One of these cases is fourteen-year-old Rebecka Holm, who published her moving story on Swedish-language daily HBL.

One of the matters that the authorities, politicians and the general public conveniently forget is that Finland is today a culturally diverse society. There are tens of thousands of people like “Ida.”  

Let’s stop speaking of our culturally diverse society in the future tense as if it doesn’t yet exist.

It does exist. The future is here, now. 


By “Ida”

I am an immigrant. Sometimes I feel so frustrated in Finland that I just wanted to ‘give it back to the society’. Hence the crime. People like me (hypothetically) acting out of frustration. If the mentality here is that no foreigners are good and only a tiny fraction of people like Juha, the social worker, understands and/or appreciates diversity it doesn’t help much because the general society isn’t open=minded. I would even call racist.

If a person like Juha comes to ask me how do I like it in Finland, I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings. A guy who works so hard for us. What do you expect me to say? that I am so frustrated that I can leave this second to another place where I feel more comfortable?

I would reverse those numbers. 95% prejudiced and 4% nonchalant, 0.5% don’t care, 0.001% welcoming (and the rest 0.499% lost in statistics).

Good welfare system is like a double-edged sword for immigrants. We are taken care of but we are also blamed for using them. And so you have to be ever-thankful that you are here, Finland. Because you are given shelter and food, now you can take this mental abuse in the form of institutionalized racism.

Any CONSTRUCTIVE comments?

  1. MaryMekko

    I don’t get your post, Enrique. Who is Ida, does she live from welfare, and why is she thankful to Juha? IF she can’t stand the feeling of “racism” (what race is she?), then why does she stay, without even a job to anchor her? If there were no welfare, would “Ida” pack up?

    Perhaps the “Idas” of Finland would appreciate their new country more if they were made to take a job, any job, in exchange for welfare, housing, etc. Then every meal, every warm bed, has more meaning than something taken for nothing. They could stand up with pride and look in the eye of any Finn without guilt that they are just parasites.

    As for anger leading to crime, don’t give us that old hack. Blacks in USA use it all the time, when in fact crime is crime – especially clear when you’re the victim – you’re in the hospital, your car is stolen, your home broken into. So who isn’t angry? The hard-working Finn who has half his paycheck stolen by taxes, then can’t express his anger at the parasites? Why can’t he, since he’s forced to support them against his will? Why can’t he go into crime?

    Why? Duh! Crime is crime. Tell Ida (I doubt she’s Irish) to pack up and go get a job somewhere, quit the parasite life, and become a real human being on this planet.

  2. Ryan

    Racism only exists when its white people committing itÉ Our borders are open to all but when we want it tightened a bit, were racist. I`m actually tired of blogs like this and people that continually write this bigotry. I will vote for the far right because I`m sick of being trampled on by these bleeding hear-ted liberals. You`re ruining Europe and causing divide amongst the people. This blog will be the last progressive blog I read, because this trash is to much to bare now. I`m a proud conservative and will always fight for my culture and heritage from Liberal parasites like you.

    • Enrique

      Hi Ryan and welcome to our blog, Migrant Tales. This is the so-called “liberal parasite” welcoming you.

      –I`m actually tired of blogs like this and people that continually write this bigotry.

      Nice try. But why don’t you give your far-right views a go on Migrant Tales. How well do they stand water and do you have what it takes to debate a serious issue intelligently.

  3. Asian (Realy I am Chinese so I know my own reality)

    institutionalised racism: Se tarkoittaa rasismia jossa järjestelmä itseksään on rasistinen. Termi voidaan kääntää rakenteeliseksi rasismiksi. Yksilön hyvä tahtoisuus mitätöityy koska systeemi missä hän työskentelee on itsetsään rasistinen. Tämä näkökulma ei usko että skinheadit tai natsit olisivat ongelman ydin vaan liberaalit. Liberaalit jotka hiljaisella hyväksynnällä antaa rasistisen systeemin toimia.

    Rakenteellista rasismia voidaan nähdä massamediassa ja sen tavassa esitellä värillisiä ja maahanmuuttajia. Kouluissa se voidaan nähdä etnosenrisessä tavassa opettaa kulttuuria. Koulujen erilainen kohtelu perustuen kulttuuriin,uskontoon,etnisyyteen ja rotuun. Tavassa miten erilaisia ihmisiä kohdellaan työn, asunnon tai lainan hankinnassa.

    Katsokaa noita.

  4. Asian (Realy I am Chinese so I know my own reality)

    Varmasti moni suomalaistunut värillinen, minä mukaan lukien, voi ymmärtää ärsyyntymisen.
    Me adoptoidut tai toisen sukupolven värilliset, jotka ovat eläneet maassa maan tavalla, ovan yhä maahanmuuttajia, kuokka vieraita, toisen luokan kansalaisia omassa maasamme. Mikä riittää vai pitäisö alkaa rakentaa kaksi Suomea. Yksi valkoisille ja toinen värillisille.

  5. justicedemon


    Emme nähdäkseni ole vielä keksineet suomenkielistä termiä, joka tarkoin vastaisi “institutional racism” -ilmaisua siinä mielessä kuin tämä on käytetty Macphersonin selvityksessä sekä aiemmin Stokely Carmichaelin kirjoituksissa:

    “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

    Tässä on nimenomaan kyse asiaintilasta, jossa järjestössä toimivat ihmiset yhteisesti jättävät asiakasta asianmukaisesti palvelematta tämän ihonvärin, kulttuurin tai kansallisen alkuperän takia. Kyseinen palvelematta jättäminen johtuisi tahattomasta ennakkoluulosta, tietämättömyydestä, välinpitämättömyydestä ja rasistisen kaavamaisesta luokittelemisesta. Järjestön rakenteet voivat kuitenkin olla kaikilta osin puolueettomia, joten “rakenteellinen rasismi” sopii huonosti käännösvastineeksi.

    Pankkilainan epääminen viime kädessä epäasiallisin perustein on hyvä esimerkki tästä, sillä pankin säännöt voivat olla aivan puolueettomia ja asianomainen pankkivirkailija voidaan katsoa toimineen yksittäistapauksissa harkintavallan sallimissa puitteissa, vaikka virkailijan lainapäätökset osoittavat selvää puolueellisuutta, joka myös vahingoittaa pankin liiketoimintaa.

  6. Seppo

    Ida’s story is important but sometimes I am a bit wondering why does this blog always publish the stories from people who have encountered very negative experiences in Finland? I am asking this since there are at least as many if not more those immigrants who actually like living in Finland and despite certain difficulties (that probably everyone faces when moving to a new country) found their place here.

    In the latest Six degrees they had interviewed people who have moved to Finland for love and who for the most part were doing quite fine. Joel Willans, originally from England, has lived in Finland for nine years and is now running his own communications agency and writing books. “I consider Finland home and have no intention to move back to the UK”.

    Are the negative experiences somehow more important than the positive ones? Shouldn’t one sometimes even highlight the “success stories” in order to create trust in better future?

    After reading this blog one sometimes gets a feeling that all immigrants in Finland are miserable which is, according to my own experience, very far from the truth.

  7. justicedemon


    We have had a couple of success story threads here, but it is in the nature of news to focus more on misfortune than success. We don’t hear about how you catch the bus every day, but you are more likely to let everyone know that the bus drove past you without stopping. It’s all about what you notice.

    This is why your mobile phone always rings when you are in the shower, why it’s always switched off or set to silent when you lose it, why you always eventually find it in the last place you look.

    There is also the troubling point that “success” may only mean success so far.