By Enrique Tessieri
The reaction and threads concerning the tragic death of a Somali national in Oulu, Finland, Tuesday after three white Finnish suspects barged into his home reveals the strong divide between “us” and “them.”We still have a long ways to go as a society to deal with social ills like discrimination. Paradoxically, tragedies like what happened in Oulu bring us ever-closer to the issue.
While we should give the Finnish police the benefit of doubt and trust their professionalism, there are many cases that show the opposite and undermine the credibility of law enforcement officials. Some that come to mind immediately are the decade-long coverup by the German police of hate crimes by neo-Nazi groups, and the infamous L.A. riots, when three policemen were acquitted in 1992 after being videotaped beating a black motorist.
The L.A. riots caused the death of 53 people and as many as 2,000 were injured. The cost of the riots was between $800 million and $1 billion.
While the work of the police should reveal fairness and abiding duty to the cause of justice, factors like politics and prejudice do unfortunately get in the way.
If there are police credibility issues among Finland’s immigrant community, the police should find ways to increase trust.
While we believe in the professionalism of our law officers, we at Migrant Tales are concerned about the ever-worsening atmosphere for immigrants in Finland. What happened in Oulu Monday night does not assure us that matters are getting better.
We do not have to venture far from Migrant Tales to grasp what is wrong with Finland today when it comes to the attitudes of some Finns. Here is one thread by Allan that is especially worrying: “Now if it so happens to be some gluesniffers on bad acid after drinking kärpässienikilju, where exactly are you blaming *them* ? No, you are blaming all Finns for having that as their social norm.”
Another blogger, Depressed N Worried Immigrant, writes: “I went to read iltalehti chatting room and i was shocked literally, there is no one single person condemning the death of this young man theye’re giving all kind of excuses…”
The police is one important source in resolving the tragedy that took place in Oulu Monday night.
It is the second incident so far in Oulu in a month where a person has fled perceived danger by jumping off the balcony. You can read the story (in Finnish) here.
Let’s wait for their verdict.