Perussuomalaiset (PS)* politician Terhi Kiemunki not only is an example of the illness of racism that inflicts Finland but that of a party and a society that offers fertile ground for bigotry towards and social inequality of migrants and minorities.
Setting aside her racist and Islamophobic views, it’s the PS’ reaction and the passivity and silence of other political parties to Kiemunki that is especially worrying.
Racism and bigotry have become so public and “normal” in Finland lately that we can find excuses to justify such anti-social behavior. We can soften the blows of such a social ill by placing white gloves to cover enraged fists.
The whole debate in the media, and the silence and empty promises of the PS’ partners in government and the opposition, show the extent of the problem.
Kiemunki and the PS are laughing out loud all the way to the bank. They are cashing in on political points for the municipal and parliamentary elections of 2017 and 2019, respectively. As they do this they rub salt on our collective amnesia.
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
While I’d be the last person in Finland to be invited to a closed-door meeting with the PS and Kiemunki, who is pleading not to be sacked from the anti-immigration party, her argument would be a simple one.
“Haven’t I given the party positive publicity by affirming to our voters that we hate Muslims?”
Silence and nods of approval would follow.
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), a Brussels-based NGO, gave the following recommendations for Finland to challenge Afrophobia and xenophobia in general:
- Establish an equality body responsible for dealing with discrimination cases within employment.
- Greater promotion of cultural diversity at schools is needed to better reflect better the diversity of Finland in the 21st
- A plan needs to be developed and implemented to increase the ethnic diversity of the workforce in the public sector in particular within the non-discrimination Ombudsman’s office and the police service.
- Finnish Law should integrate a direct provision for hate crimes to ensure that hate crimes are adequately recognized and punished as such.
- Government agencies and NGOs must improve their monitoring of discrimination in all areas and especially in employment.
* 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic Finn.”