Christian Thibault, chairman of Rasmus, Finland’s only national umbrella group against racism, said in a statement that the Red Cross site on Facebook that manages the Against racism! page has been unfairly targeted by critics for linking one of Reija Härkönen’s opinion pieces.
“I was alerted by a number of people about this today,” he said.
Härkönen is a well-known blogger who has written numerous opinion pieces about topics dealing with racism in Finland.
Visit Against racism! Facebook site here.
The majority of the comments on the Against racism! site that criticize it for linking Härkönen’s opinion piece argue that the Red Cross should not mix or take a political stand against racism. One comment stated: “Reija Härkönen is free to give her opinions about he Perussuomalaiset [PS]* elsewhere other than the Against racism! Facebook page.”
Thibault said he couldn’t understand the logic of such statements.
“This is an odd claim that doesn’t make much sense,” he said. “How can you be ‘neutral’ when you are fighting against a social ill like racism? In such a fight you need a good arsenal of arguments and an effective plan of action.”
In light of the recent parliamentary elections and the possibility that the PS may form part of the next government, some analysts in Finland believe that anti-racism activism will get harder since many of the NGOs in this country get their funding directly from the state.
Certainly a party like the PS that is hostile to refugees and certain groups like Africans and Muslims will not make life easier for Finland’s ever-growing culturally diverse community.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.