Now you see Riikka Purra, Ville Tavio and Sebastian Tynkkynen, now you don’t

by

Tero Ala-Tuuhonen is not a nice guy. Indeed, it depends on your perspective. If you sympathize with Nazis and all the far-right BS, then he is your man.

Despite his background, there is a long list of Perussuomalaiset (PS)* politicians who like him. Is it the uniform he is wearing in the picture below, or is it his far-right rhetoric that resonates with Finland’s largest opposition party?

Ala-Tuuhonen reminiscing the good old Nazi days.
Ala-Tuuhonen states on his Facebook page that “all lives matter.” Is this a joke? Wearing an SS uniform and attempting with Teemu Torssonen to murder Pekka Kataja of the PS? Source: Facebook.
Source: Kskisuomalainen

You will find some surprises if you go through Ala-Tuuhonen’s Facebook friends. You will find a lot of PS politicians.

According to the Jyväskylä-based daily Keskisuomalainen, some of Ala-Tuuhonen’s Facebook friends include PS MP’s like Juha Mäenpää, Riikka Purra, Ville Tavio, Sebastian Tynkkynen and Ano Turtiainen, a former PS MP suspended indefinitely.

Ala-Tuuhonen’s Facebook friends changed on Sunday. You will no longer find PS vice president Purra and PS parliamentary group leader Tavio and MP Tynkkynen on the attempted murder suspect’s list of friends.

No worries, I found two other PS MPs. Sakari Puisto and Veijo Niemi, as well as many PS municipal politicians and supporters.

PS MP Petri Huru and his ties with a far-right attempted murder suspect

by

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Petri Huru states in his Twitter account that his goal is to keep Finns safe. He is a chief fireman and a practical nurse. Noble professions but can trust Huru’s judgement?

A question: What are you, MP Huru, doing smiling in a picture below with far-right activist Tero Ala-Tuuhonden? Isn’t he the person who was arrested by the police on Friday for attempted murder?

PS MP Huru: You have poor judgment and I would never trust you with my life. You are also a big fan of PS MEP Laura Huhtasaari. Source: Twitter

Even if you want to forget, Ala-Tuuhonen is the far-right Kansallismielisten liittouma chairperson who hangs around with neo-Nazis and people of your party, like you. He even recently wrote that a culture war has begun in Finland.

Remember, who is Pekka Kataja? Of course, you do. He is the PS campaign manager whom Ala-Tuuhonen and Teemu Torssonen, a far-right politician that your party sacked 2019, brutally attacked.

(more…)

Finland is too white to solve its issues with racism. There must be change.

by

After the bombshell news that one of the suspects arrested Friday who brutally attacked Pekka Kataja of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in July, the new chairperson of the Center Party, Annika Saarikko, said on Ykkösaamu Saturday that she could form a government with the PS.

In light of the PS’ links with far-right groups, Saarikko’s response was inopportune and ill-timed.

Center Party chairperson Annika Saarikko on Yle’s Ykkösaamu.

In a very white country like Finland, where few minorities wield power, her affirmation is not surprising. It reinforced how white power structures are that there is little political will to challenge them.

Nothing or very little will change as long as people of color and other minorities are kept powerless on short leashes.

Politicians like Saarikko may feel it is ok for several reasons to form a government with a party that is openly hostile to Muslims and ultraconservative. She can see matters this way because she is white. The PS is not a threat to her whiteness per se.

If we look at the rise of the PS since the 2011 parliamentary election, disgrunted and racist white Finns have found in the PS a voice that is anti-immigration, anti-EU and anti-establishment. Even if racism, sexism, and fascism have risen their heads, do politicians like Saarikko naively believe that consensus will work matters out?

As a person who grew up in the United States and who has, as a native Argentinean, followed and lived through the recent history of Latin America marred by violence, injustice, and poverty, it is not difficult to understand why racism and the PS live another day.

This is the wrong approach. Defend your institutions tooth and nail. Source: Reddit.

I worte in January that those who believe in Hollywood endings to racism are white people who don’t experience racism and speak on behalf of those that do.

There will not be a Hollywood ending to the racism problem in this country but one that will lead to a Hungarian ending.

As the Kataja case proves that violence and fascism are already here and taking root. It is our call to put an end to them.

Going to bed with the PS will not do it.

Case Pekka Kataja of the PS: I’m surprised that you are surprised

by

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED

It is revealing to read comments from the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party about Friday’s bombshell news: the police detained a former PS politician and a far-right Nazi-spirited activist on suspected attempted murder charges against Pakka Kataja.

Starting from PS chairperson Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted in 2012 for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion, was quoted as saying in tabloid Ilta-Sanomat: “It’s difficult even to believe one’s own eyes when reading this news [about the arrest of the suspects].”

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

And the amazement continues. PS Central Finland region head Jyrki Niittymaa also expresses dismay.

“It is surprising if these [suspects] are guilty [for brutally attacking Kataja], he said.

Citing tabloid Iltalehti, PS-run Suomen Uutiset publishes the name of one of the suspects, Teemu Torssonen, who was sacked by the party in 2019.

(more…)

Pekka Kataja’s attackers are two far-right activists. Have the Finnish authorities awoken to the threat of such groups?

by

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED

In April, I had the opportunity to interview Yaron Nadbornik, the president of the Jewish Community of Helsinki. One of the matters that struck me of the interview was that in 2018-2019 the authorities started to recognize anti-Semitism as a problem.

Today the police took into custody two far-right activists charged for the attempted murder of Pekka Kataja, a Perussuomnalaiset (PS) councilor of Jämsänkoski, who was brutally attacked by two suspects.

Teemu Torssonen (left) is a municipal politician from Jyväskylä, who was sacked from the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party last year. Tero Ala-Tuuhonen has a murkier far-right record with ties to far-right groups like Kansallismielisten liittouma, of which he is the chairperson, Soldiers of Odin, neo-Nazi Kohti vapautta!, among others.
PS MP Mauri Peltokangas is one of many politicians of the same party that participates in events organized by the far right. Note the Kansallismielisten liittouma logo on the lower left of the snapshot above. The group’s chairperson Ala-Tuuhonen was detained today on suspected attempted murder charges.

Even if Kataja suspected one of these two as a “person of Arabic origin,” he later changed his story and blamed the attackers for being members of the far-right.

While it is a good matter that Kataja’s attackers were apprehended by the police, it does raise a lot of questions about the rise of the far-right, Islamophobia, and racism and what the authorities are doing to counter these types of threats to our society.

(more…)

Another study that sheds light in Finland on disadvantaged migrants and their children

by

A study by Ognjen Obućina and Ilari Ilmakunnas and cited by Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat concluded the following: poverty and housing overcrowding was more prevalent among immigrant children compared with white Finnish children.

The study showed that 60% of migrant children had experienced poverty for at least a year during the first five years of their lives. Moreover, 45% of the latter group experienced overcrowing. The corresponding figure for white Finnish children was 25%.

Ilmakunnas was quoted as saying in Helsingin Sanomat that renting is one factor that explains overcrowding. “Rents have gone up especially in [urban] growth centers,” he said.

While these types of studies are essential and shed light on our ever-growing culturally diverse communities, the problem is that they lack political action and will.

One factor that has dampened such political will is that Finland has since the 2011 parliamentary election a hostile and racist party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS).* Their presence and the popularity of their anti-immigration message and their success in the elections is enough to discourage many.

One of Trump’s biggest fans in Finland are Jussi Halla-aho and the PS. In the tweet above, he states that he digs Trump and believes that the US president is the best thing that happened to the United States and the Western World. Source: Twitter.

Statistics Finland researcher Pekka Myrskylä is one of many who has shown how disadvantaged migrant groups in this country. In 2014, he wrote. “Generous social welfare benefits to migrants appear to be an urban legend. Since migrants make a quarter less than natives, welfare benefits are smaller since they hinge on earnings-related subsidies.”

I wonder how many have read Pasi Suakkonen’s study, Maahanmuuttajen kotoutuminen Helsingissä (2016)? The study points out that migrants make annually on average nationally 27.3% less (21,479 euros versus 29,550 euros by Finns), and in Helsinki 38.5% less (22,286 euros versus 36,239 euros) than Finns.

Finland has never experienced a Black Lives Matter social movement like in the United States. But if we continue to drag our heels and do little to make migrants and minorities feel at home and enjoy the same rights as white Finns, it will only be a matter of time when such a movement will appear.

Do you trust the Finnish police?

by

A 2020 survey showed that 91% trusted the police, down from 95% in 2018, according to the Police University College. Other studies have pointed out that trust in the police is high, even among migrants.

Despite the high amount of trust, the police service has not been immune to scandals.

Read the full story here.

The latest one involved a senior police constable, who was sentenced by the district court of the Päijät-Häme region for aggravated assault and breach of duty, according to Yle News.

The fact that this case became public is a step in the right direction that should strengthen and not erode confidence in the police.

Even so, many matters do erode confidence. One of these is an alleged case of aggressive and dehumanizing treatment of a black father and his son by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) and the police, according to the Helsinki Times.

Even if the passengers did not have a valid ticket, one could ask if this is how such an incident ends: humiliation, security guards, and the police.

How many white Finns end up in this situation if they don’t have a valid AB-zone ticket, which costs 2.80 euros!

Let’s assume that there is no ethnic profiling involved and that white Finns receive the same treatment as a black person.

Even so, this type of news does more to destroy the credibility of the police and the HSL ticket inspectors than anything else.

Other big trust busters are ethnic profiling and institutional racism.

The Perussuomalaiset picks on vulnerable single mothers and migrant men

by

“Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence.”

Jimmy Carter

Some sectors of the media and other people like teachers believe that silence is the best response to racism spread by politicians.

One former journalist of the Mikkeli-based Länsi-Savo believed a few years ago that the best way to challenge racism was not to notice it.

Read the full story here.

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairperson Jussi Halla-aho offers us many examples of the racism spread by politicians in Finland. His comments on migrants, especially asylum seekers, reveal a pathological obsession with the topic.

(more…)