I asked a Finnish MP in the mid-1980s why she didn’t speak out against racism if she knew it was an issue. Just like the hatred of the Soviet Union and Russians made us go to bed with Nazi Germany in World Wr 2 (1941-44), the same hatred permits us to be racists and bigots today.
Over 20 years later, we saw the rise of the Perussuomalaiset*, the first political party in modern Finnish history to capitalize on racism. The result: their numbers swelled to 39 MPs in the parliamentary elections of 2011 from 5 MPs in 2007. Our rendezvous with racism and fascism gave us a lost decade. Instead of building “us” we were tempted to polarize and fuel “them.”
It is a very high price to pay to grasp that racism and fascism are hazardous to a country’s health and well-being.
* After the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.
A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS