Norway is a watershed for Finland and the Nordic region

by , under All categories, Enrique

 By Enrique Tessieri

The horrific carnage that took place in Norway on Friday at the hands of a far-right extremist is a watershed for our societies. Even if the mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik, is in police custody his outlandish deeds continue to bully some of us into denial. 

Former President Martti Ahtisaari showed the kind of leadership we should not only expect of our politicians, but of ourselves as well. He was quoted in Mikkeli daily Länsi-Savo as saying that our silence has fuelled the rise of far-right groups and their language of hatred towards minorities.

“I always remember what Martin Luther King said when (we) wondered why blacks got their (civil) rights so late and why did inequality last for so long,” continued Ahtisaari. “King said:  The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

Silence is a powerful force. Even military regimes that commit grave human rights violations rely on silence and enforce it through censorship.

The role of silence, or the lack of leadership against intolerance, has been seen throughout history.  Ahtisaari said that the silence of the majority was the faithful servant of undemocratic regimes in the Balkans and Nazi Germany.

“There is no place in the Nordic democratic system for extremist groups or inciting hatred against (other) nationalities or that prejudice is acceptable in any form, even in our speech” said Ahtisaari. “Nordic countries are the most tolerant in the world, therefore this development (growth of intolerance) is foreign to us.”

A fertile breeding ground for this type of hatred and intolerance has been websites like Homma, associations like Suomen Sisu and political parties like the Perussuomalaiset, which gained 19.1% of the votes in the April election.

An anonymous blogger published (in Finnish) on Uusi Suomi the reaction of some Homma bloggers on what happened in Norway.Denial is lightly putting it. According to them, the horrific events in Norway had nothing to do with our culture, religion, anti-immigration stances and racism. It was the work of a single psychopath that was totally disconnected from our values and the hatred so commonly seen in our societies today.

Norway is a watershed against our silence and those hate groups that have grown politically in Finland in recent years.

They are a menace to our values and society. Like Breivik showed, when you leave hatred and racism out of the cage it can bite you back in ways you never imagined.

  1. ruth

    silence kills, passivity too. finland, should review it passive attitude towards extreme-right movements, the rest of the world too.

    • Enrique

      Hola Ruth and welcome to Migrant Tales. Great to see you here. Far-right parties and groups are a threat to our society. We have a few of them in our parliament, unfortunately.

  2. JusticeDemon

    when (we) wondered why blacks got their (civil) rights so late and why did inequality last for so long

    That’s rich coming from the President who signed the principal Finnish constitutional amendment on fundamental rights on 17 July 1995, more than 25 years after the MLK assassination. The Non-Discrimination Act was eventually signed by President Halonen, although obviously the groundwork was done during Ahtisaari’s term of office.

  3. Mary Mekko

    The silence of the Finnish majority against immigrants’ misuse of Finnish hospitality is exactly the problem. I have seen myself the simmering anger of the Finns riding the Metro and buses in Helsinki as loud immigrant youth come on board and behave badly. Older male nonFinns ogle and make comments about the women. No Finnish man even steps forward to reprimand this unacceptable, unFinnish behavior, out of pure terror.

    A good slap in the face to the youth, or forceful and united reprimand, on the spot, can be a powerful brake on nasty behavior.

    When the Communist hooligans of Berlin and other leftwing parties ran through the streets causing havoc, destroying property and terrifying the inhabitants, back in the 1920’s, normal Germans became angry at the breakdown of law and order. They didn’t like the candidate without qualifications or proper economic background called Hitler, but they thought he might be a solution to the Weimar Republic silence against Communist infiltration, with its attendant mayhem and social breakdown.

    If you want a real dictator to come forward in Finland, let the immigrants’ bad behavior carry on without comment or censor, without condemnation in the public press. Let the police play “hands off” and let the criminals go with a slap on the hand after burglary, street harassment of women,etc. Then watch the Dictator rise up, as the anger of the people simmers to the point of boiling over.

    That is what is happening in Finland today, right now, on the Metro in Helsinki. I myself publicly spoke against some of the Arabs insulting Finnish women on the Rouhuvuori open station platform. They were saying in English outright insults about some of the women waiting for the subway train. I accosted them and asked them, “How dare you speak that way when you are a guest in this country? Do you want someone to knife you? Try that in New York and a real American woman would leave you bleeding in a ditch. We would all cheer! You need to understand that you’re in Finland, brother, not in an Arabic shithole, where you men think your penis makes you special.”

    What was the reaction of the people on the platform? (I didn’t care what uncouth and lowdown Arab males thought!) They were smiling and laughing that an American stood up for them! They didn’t have the guts to do it themselves!

    When I got on the train, a Finnish man sat next to me and said, “Bravo. We Finns are too afraid to say a word because we’ll be called racist. Our city is going to hell. Women aren’t safe anymore in public.”

    “Well,” I answered, “if you Finnish men can’t defend your own women and yourselves, you will lose your country. I made that display to show all of you that speaking is YOUR DUTY. You cannot depend on the Finnish police, with their hands tied, nor on common courtesy and rules of behavior penetrating the thick skulls of these brainwashed foreign males. They cannot help it, they come from a shit culture where such behavior is accepted. Fine. Show them that it isn’t okay here. If you could defeat the Russians in 1939, you can tell an Arab male to shut his mouth and watch it.”

    He laughed. “We need you in Finland!”

    What did those Arabs do? Insult me! Well, hey, such men are scum and behave like it, what do you expect? I told them go back to their camels.

  4. Tiwaz

    “silence kills, passivity too. finland, should review it passive attitude towards extreme-right movements, the rest of the world too.”

    So what to do about silence towards ill caused by unintegrating immigrants?

    London terrorism, attempt at Aberdeen (or where it was that they tried to blow up themselves at airport), Tampere arson…

    Any criticism against failed immigration principles is branded as racism and attempted to silence. Long term it will be far more critical problem than what individual lunatic pulled off in Norway.

  5. Allan

    Theres just one small problem with this agenda of hatered. There wasn’t any “group”. In his manifesto ABB amongst his rantings denies being right-wing, a neo-nazi (as he is pro-Israel) nor even a fundamentalist christian. Looking at his lifestyle it looks more like your young conservative – his political views weren’t anything radical. What you suggest we do, ban the Christian Democrats?

    The rest of the ranting shows a person creating his own illusionary world and living in it. It could happen to anyone in an unstable state of mind, and from any ideology for that matter. Charles Manson went on a killing spree after listening to the Beatles White Album.