Migrants were very active in the early 1980s and on October 19, 1982 we marched for the first time since a group of East Pakistanis, today Bangladesh, marched from Helsinki to Turku in the early 1970s demanding work. The march by the East Pakistanis may have been the first by foreigners in Finland.
Migrants and Finns should join hands as they did in 1982 and the early 1970s demanding civil rights and jobs.
According to a blog by Pekka Myrskylä, Statistics Finland development manager, the majority of migrants in Finland live in poverty. If this is true, shouldn’t this worry us? Shouldn’t we begin to do something about the ever-growing inequality and poverty among migrants as well as Finns?
The likelihood that anti-immigration and populist political parties will make significant gains in the European parliamentary (MEP) elections on May 25 is other disturbing writing on the wall. Finland’s anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset are expected also to do well in next month’s elections.
The question is what do we do if Europe makes a deeper turn to the populist anti-immigration right. Should we stand idle and silent and see how our rights are being watered down or act?
If we look at the marches of the early 1970s and 1982, the answer is clear: unite and challenge the beast.
A flyer distributed for the October 19, 1982 march demanded hunan and civil rights for migrants.
A poster asking migrants and Finns to take part in the October 19, 1982 march.