Considering how the media treated before the April 2011 election racism and far right ideology and how social media sites were teeming with racist online lynch mobs, we are today waking up from the hangover of our state of social inebriation. The aftereffect will not go away in a day, week, or month but will take a very long time to wear off.
Instead of alcohol, Finland has been consuming and experimenting with racism, nationalism and far right ideology as answers to our ever-growing cultural diversity The more it drinks, the more we lose touch with reality and what is good for us.
Was it a coincidence that the attack in Jyväskylä marked exactly the eightieth anniversary when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany as chancellor and transformed the country into a totalitarian state?
When speaking of far right violence and racism in Europe, we cannot avoid addressing social ills like intolerance.
Claiming that social exclusion of white Finnish youths is one of the main factors behind what happened in Jyväskylä is only addressing part of the problem without seeing the whole picture.
Reading a number of editorials about what happened in Jyväskylä, only one by Savon Sanomat cited racism as the real culprit. It wrote: “An even greater threat from organized extremist movements is a sort of daily racism that is targeted against immigrants and even to our [Swedish-] language minority. Attitudes in Finland have changed course, which isn’t anything to brag about.”
The Kuopio-based daily makes a valid point. Every day racism, xenophobia and attacks against our Swedish-speaking minority feed far right and populist-nationalist groups. They are the 98 octane fuel that permit it to spread their intolerance.
Bears hibernate in winter but so can countries for many years when they live in a state of denial. Finland is no longer a nation owned and controlled by just white Finns. It is a fact that we are an ever-growing culturally diverse nation.
Let’s not give an Andres Breivik the opportunity to commit murder on a mass scale before we understand that our response to intolerance was inefficient.
Everyone in Finland has the right to be treated as an equal member of society and with respect.
Some sectors of our society have a very hard time accepting this. They are not only white marginalized Finnish youths, but a far bigger group that extends to all sectors of our society.