It is quite extraordinary that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* continues to play down and deflect criticism for their admiration and support for outgoing US President Donald Trump whose most recent crimes included actively inciting a mob to violently assault the legislative branch of government to overturn the election he lost by seven million votes.
PS leader Jussi Halla-aho, like Trump, suffers from obsessions that are perilous not only to them but to the whole nation.
If Trump is driven by his vanity, Halla-aho’s political message is based on racism and hard-right economic policies in the worst conservative tradition.
Apart from “digging” Trump and claiming that he is the best thing to happen to the United States and the Western world, Halla-aho shows support for the outgoing US president’s immigration policy.
But that isn’t all.
What about Trump’s Muslim ban? What about his open support for white-supremacists and their violence? And who could forget the tear-gassing of peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square for a photo shoot holding a Bible upside down?
Halla-aho and in the case of Trump was quoted as saying in Ilta-Snomat that too much attention has been given to him for his unorthodox style. Even so, he said the outgoing US president raised critical issues concerning global trade, Chinese dominance, and blocking migration.
In autocratic countries like the former Nazi Germany, North Korea, and elsewhere, snitching was one way to deal with enemies of the state. The Perussuomalaiset (PS)* are now asking students and people who speak against the party.
PS MP Jani Mäkelä, who sees no wrong with Trump and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, tweets:
“Important message. Report it to the party if you encounter anti-Perussuomalaiset politicking at school or any similar places. Who, where, and how and importantly, how you can prove it [what was said]? Our youth arm and MPs will receive your messages.”
In Nazi Germany it worked in the same manner.
The Holocaust Explained writes: “Informers had various motives including antisemitism, racism, a strong belief in Nazi ideology and governance, fear, personal gain, professional gain, and personal disagreements [e.g., informing the Gestapo that someone was a communist in response to a personal dislike or argument with that person]. Most informers were aware of the consequences of their actions.”
While the Nazi regime’s downfall happened in 1945, it is scary to imagine what kind of a Finland we’d live in if the PS ruled the country.
Mark my words: The PS under Jussi Halla-aho on his cronies would not think twice about turning Finland into an “illiberal” republic like Hungary.
When asked about racism towards foreigners in Finland, Finns answer in a culturally approved script: “We Finns are not racist”; “If there is racism in Finland it is not as bad as it is in other countries” and; “Racism is the fault of the foreigners who move to Finland with unrealistic expectations.” Such dismissals require willful ethnic blindness to racism, which is banal and rife in Finland. When compared with other European countries, racism in Finland is more recent, but the point about foreigners arriving there with unrealistic expectations about racism is not something that we can entirely attribute to Finns.
The happiness and well-being industry has mushroomed over the last twenty years or so and is now truly global, funded and well organized. Anyone who doubts that this isn’t a serious industry should consult the numerous books on the subject which provide advice on what countries can do to make their citizens happier. Working across different fields of Psychology, those who research happiness as a career include Martin Seligman, Ed Diener, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Barbara Fredrickson and Sonja Lyubomirsky. However, none of their work adequately explores the relationship between happiness and racism, which partly explains why Finland is given an unfair pass on racism.
Finland often places high in The World Happiness Report – the landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. In 2020, Finland came out as the happiest country in the world. If the report influenced you to relocate to Finland, how would your expectations be anything other than positive?
Surely the happiest country in the world cannot have a problem with racism. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The World Happiness Report and similar surveys do not account for the culture of denial which has congealed and coagulated around racism in Finland, in effect maintaining the ‘natural white’ Finnish hierarchy. Those who are in denial about this, or worse don’t care that it goes on, perceive racism to be nothing more than chatter amongst a small number of people and that racism is a much bigger problem in other countries when compared with Finland.
A number of surveys have shown this not to be true. In 2018, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, painted a dire picture for people of African descent in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It was not surprising to read that racism existed, but the conclusions about the world’s happiest country were not in keeping with the tolerant image that many people (want to) have of Finland. If you are of African descent, you are most likely to experience racial harassment, described as offensive comments and gestures in Finland. At least 63 percent of those surveyed in Finland had experienced some form of harassment motivated by racism. The highest rates of racially motivated violence, 14 percent, were also recorded in Finland. This was just as likely to happen on the street as it was on public transport or in a bar and when it did happen, Finns typically did nothing to help the victim.
Incidents of racial harassment and violence go unchallenged by most Finns because, the white Finnish view of Finland is treated as orthodoxy. Finns have a love affair with statistics and so what hasn’t been measured is not treated as worthy of further attention. Finland’s official institutions are not so keen to keep detailed statistics on racism because they would not be good for the squeaky-clean image that the country likes to project to the world. To find more effective ways of dealing with racism, Finns need to look more closely at themselves and be more honest about it.
Finns are known to be shy and fairly black and white (no pun intended!) in their thinking about society, but also intelligent, so they do not need lessons in race relations for dummies: They know exactly what the problems are and where they are doing the most damage. No need to mention any names, but Finnish politicians are good at giving the impression that they are listening to the concerns of those who have been victims of racism. But very little is being done. The reality is that most Finnish employers don’t want to extend equality of opportunity to all, as this would mean breaking their own ethnic padlock.
But now is the time to break that padlock. Racism is pervasive in Finland and far more needs to be done to tackle it. The city of Helsinki and the other municipalities need to create the new Office of Race Relations to deal with the gamut of concerns; everything from racial harassment in public to discrimination in the job market, especially around well-paid permanent jobs.
A different kind of research is also required – no more wasting time or public funds to conclude that minorities in Finland experience racism and cannot do much about it. The Academy of Finland and other funding bodies need to seriously look at supporting more projects which seek to explore how Finland can better tackle racism. Once the ideas and policies have been established and agreed upon, their effectiveness needs to be monitored by a non-Finnish organisation. The success of this monitoring process would require for everyone living in Finland to be serious about societal change, the sort of societal change which could one day make Finland a genuinely happy place for all of its inhabitants.
Dr. Gareth Rice
A human geographer by trade, Dr. Gareth Rice is an academic and occasional journalist currently based in the UK. His articles have appeared in a number of publications including National Geographic, Times Higher Education, Helsinki Times, The Skinny and. Acatiimi. His academic research focuses on the circumstances of those who live in cities and the challenges facing those who have the power to make things better. Whilst living in Helsinki for six years he worked at various Finnish universities and developed an interest in all things Finnish.
The OD-ED originally appeared in Helsinki Times and was published with permission.
After the historic election of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party in 2011, when it won 39 seats in parliament from 5 previously, two international events have kept in check the PS’ rise: the bloody 22/7 events that left seventy-seven dead in Norway, and Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol building in Washington.
After the historical rise of Islamophobia and anti-EU populism in Finland in the 2011 election, the fanfare suffered a blow when a white Norwegian, who cited PS leader Jussi Halla-aho in his manifesto, committed the worst attack on Norway after World War 2.
Like what happened in Washington this week, the horrific events in Norway served as a wake-up call.
It is no secret that many PS politicians have shown their admiration for US President Donald Trump and worn MAGA, and given thumbs up pictures to their public.
Even if the PS has fared well in parliamentary elections during the last decade, it has not increased its lead from about 18% it has received in the 2011, 2015, and 2019 parliamentary elections.
University of Helsinki Professor of legal history Jukka Kekkonen gave his analysis in an interview on MTV.
“The [storming of the Capitol building] events in the United States should be a big warning to us all that we must take lightly what happened,” said Kekkonen. “A more serious attitude is needed by the media and lawmakers concerning right-wing populist hate speech, which is essential to embarking on a new good path.”
Despite the horrific events in Oslo nine years ago and in the US capital less than a week ago, the greatest threat to the PS will be its radical political views that are mostly based on lies and alternate reality.
PS aims to turn Finland into a Hungary or Trump-style banana republic will fail.
Four Trump thugs and terrorists died. One of these is a police officer, Brian Sicknick, 42, who was killed in the line of duty by the enraged crowd,
The hordes were encouraged to go to the Capitol to stop the electoral college’s voting, which confirmed Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.
The storming of the Capitol building was planned for weeks on social media and different websites. Even so, law enforcement was caught with their pants down,
The action of the Capitol police raises a lot of questions. Why did some of them open the gates to the hordes, and why did some of them appear in selfies with these domestic terrorists?
Is there complicity on a higher level, and was the assault on US democracy a coup attempt?
THREAT TO DEMOCRACY IN FINLAND
In Finland, we have experienced the rise of a radical right populist party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*. The party under its leader Jussi Halla-aho has veered further to the right.
In one of many tweets showing support for Trump, Halla-aho, in a tweet below, claims that the outgoing US president is the best thing to happen to the United States and the Western world.
The love affair between the PS and autocratic rulers who shun democracy is nothing new. Even after the assault on the Capitol building on Wednesday, there is an eerie silence of complicity among the party.
Considering the Trump-fueled terrorism in Washington Wednesday, I ask once again the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party the following question: Do you still “love” President Donald Trump?
With the Trump presidency making its rambunctious exit after four years of chaos and moral decay, our attention should shift to Finland. Do we want this type of government in Finland and, if so, which party would promote such a sad state of affairs?
If today’s the United States would be a reality in Finland, we would do away with the welfare state to excuse that it is every person for him or herself with mob rule and intimidation being the norm.
Under such a system like in Trump’s USAmerica, corruption would flourish and, at the cost of social equality, an important cornerstone of the Finnish Nordic welfare state.
Such a situation would flourish because the scapegoats would be the Muslims, people of color, and non-white migrants in general.
As the evil face of Trump’s administration stoops to new lows, we should ask which parties in Finland would like to install a Trumpist political and economic order?
One party that would gladly do this is the Perussuoalaiset (PS)* of Finland. They would not only make way for Trump-style conservatism and racist policies but add icing to it with Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Vladimir Putin, Jarosław Kaczyński, and other autocrats.
Trumpin edesottamukset USA:ssa hävittyjen vaalien jälkeen ovat yksi osoitus siitä, kuinka käy, kun valtaan pääsevät öykkärit, jotka käyttävät kaiken tarmonsa kyseenalaisen, rasistisen ja syrjivän agendan edistämiseen. Äänestäjät hankitaan käyttäen hyväksi ihmisten alhaisimpia tuntoja. Äänestäjien antama valta suunnataan omien viettien tyydyttämiseen ja oman ja lähipiirin omaisuuden kartuttamiseen.
Monet ajattelevat, että meillä ei voisi käydä näin, mutta onhan se jo pienemmässä mittakaavassa tapahtunut. Eduskunnassa istuu kansanedustajia, joilla ei ole mitään annettavaa lainsäädäntätyölle. Rasistisia jäseniä haalineet puolueet ovat olleet vuosikausia mukana hallituksessa ja miehittäneet merkittäviä posteja ministeriöissä ja virastoissa itselleen kuuliaisella väellä.
Tämä tuli selkeästi ilmi mm. ulkoministeri Haaviston tapauksessa. Hallitus ei voinutkaan ministerinsä kautta toteuttaa ohjelmaansa ja arvojansa, kun ministeriön palkollinen päätti toisin ja ryhtyi sitten vielä mediajulkisuuden kautta keräämään huutokuuroa taaksensa saattaakseen väärän puolueen ministerin vaikeuksiin.
Valtaisa on se haitta, jota tällainen toiminta aiheuttaa hallitustyölle ja Suomen kansainväliselle toiminnalle. Ja suuri se kimmoke, jonka rasistit saavat omalle kyseenalaiselle toiminnalleen. Ei sovi myöskään unohtaa työmäärää, johon eduskunnan henkilökunta vaikkapa persujen kaltaisen joukkion kanssa joutuu pitääkseen edes jollain lailla ruodussa ja työn touhussa kansanedustajat, joilla ei näytä olevan minkäänlaista käsitystä asiallisesta politiikasta ja jotka eduskunnan täysistunnoissa käyttävät aikansa räävittömyyksien huuteluun ja typerimmän kansanosan vihahermojen hivelemiseen.
Hyvä tuore esimerkki tästä on eduskunnan puhemiehen avulla kehitetty rähinä sen jälkeen, kun Haaviston tapaus oli jo moneen kertaan käsitelty, mutta perussuomalaisten teki mieli vähän vielä jatkaa ilonpitoa. Seuraavassa istunnossa Juho Eerola jakoi heille auliisti puheenvuoroja ja ölähtipä vielä parhaimpien mongerrusten päätteeksi: ”Näin!” Haaviston yli vuoden jatkunut piina on suuri nautinto persuille. Jalkapuussa istuvan päälle on pelkurinkin helppo syljeskellä.
Eduskunnan henkisten muilutusten kanssa samaan aikaan haaveillaan oikeista ja koitetaan nostaa kunniaan vanha lapuanliike.
Perussuomalaisten sivuryhmä saa eduskunnassa vapaasti kiihottaa kansanryhmää vastaan, koronarokotusta vastaan ja demokratiaa vastaan. Onhan kansanedustajaa jo rangaistu sillä, että hänet on erotettu ryhmästä. Nyt hän voi pidäkkeittä pitää tyytyväisenä perussuomalaisten örkkikannatuskuntaa. Halla-aho hoitaa oman tonttinsa ja pitää kannattajat tietoisena aseharrastuksen ja kotien aseistamisen merkityksestä ja siitä, että sosiaalisen median örkkiarmeijan kannattaa pitää sisäministeri varpaisillaan myös aseasioiden kanssa.
Perussuomalaisen kunnallispoliitikon, Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläisen mieltymys väkivaltakuvastoon ja kirveen käyttö vaaliaseena ei toki ole uutta, perussuomalaiset ja kokoomuslaiset poliitikot ovat turvautuneet samankaltaisiin tehokeinoihin aikaisemminkin, on esiinnytty kivääri ojossa vaalimainoksessa ja verikoiran kanssa rajaa vartioimassa. Viime vuonna jouduimme todistamaan perussuomalaisten oman puolueen toimijaan kohdistunutta murhayritystä.
Kaikki me ymmärrämme, että näin ei tehdä politiikkaa. Tämä retoriikka ja nämä kuvastot kuuluvat rikollisuuteen ja terrorismiin. Suloisessa Suomessamme ne valitettavasti kuuluvat myös eduskuntapuolueiden toimintaan. Kuinka kauan ja kenen luvalla?