Pieksämäki reception center fire shows that the Finnish media and police service consider asylum seekers “guilty before proven innocent”

by , under Enrique Tessieri

It is surprising that the Länsi-Savo story below doesn’t mention once the term “suicide” in the story about an alleged Iraqi 45-year-old asylum seeker who locked himself in Thursday night and attempted to set his room on fire. 

Reports Länsi-Savo: “One asylum seeker at the [Pieksämäki] reception center is suspected of starting a fire in his room,” said Senior Constable Kari Toivonen of the Eastern Finnish police department.

Moreover, the story does state that the asylum seeker had locked himself in a room, and set it on fire because he felt frustrated by the slow pace of his asylum application process and missed his family.

The question we should thus ask is why would a person, who is not considering committing suicide as well as put in harm’s way other people, would lock himself in a room and try to set it on fire?

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These tweets by @onkkoponkko highlight how hard and unkind we have become. If Finns treated their own kind the way they treat asylum seekers today this country would be up in arms.

Instead of just accusing the man of a criminal act, the Länsi-Savo reporter should have asked if reception centers in this country offer adequate psychological help to people suffering from depression and other issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

But the suspect who tried to take his life is an asylum seeker. Asylum seekers have no voice in Finland and are usually guilty before proven innocent. The narrative of the Länsi-Savo story and that of the police reveals how heartless and cold we’ve become as a society to the suffering of others. Finding a human with feelings in Europe these days isn’t easy especially in Finland.

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Read full story here.

In an earlier Länsi-Savo story the head of the Pieksämäki reception center, Juha-Pekka Itkonen, only thanked the staffers at the reception center for putting out the fire.

“I’ll give the an A+ [for how they handled the situation],” he was quoted as saying.

The fire chief, however, did give credit to the asylum seekers at the reception center.

Migrant Tales reported Friday that it was the asylum seekers who forced the door open and extinguished the fire not the employees as Itkonen stated.

But this is part of the ongoing narrative about asylum seekers in the media. Little credit as possible is given to them because the government, too many politicians, police service, media and public treat asylum seekers with suspicion and unwelcomed guests.