The Tom Packalén case is not only a reminder of what Finland can expect if the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* ever get into government, there is the real threat that we are in danger of forfeiting our successful Nordic welfare state for populism, nativist nationalism and xenophobia. In the face of this threat, it is the near-silence of our society in the face of this threat is a cause for serious concern.
Where are the moral leaders of this country? The politicians? The Media? Why is President Sauli Niinistö so quiet? And what about the church, the artists and celebrities?
How many editorials have been written by Helsingin Sanomat or other dailies about the Packalén case, where he treats a social problem like youth gangs and marginalization as the “ripening fruits” of immigration policy? That his clarion call has encouraged street patrols by neo-Nazi groups and members of his party?
Why isn’t their outrage in the media about a statement by PS MP Olli Immonen, who warned that “if officials don’t have the will or resources to protect the security of its citizens,” Suomen Sisu will take matters into its hands?
The complacency of the politicians and the media must hinge on the general perception that populism and racism are given the benefit of doubt in this country.
Not taking a stand against a politician who labels whole vulnerable groups, in this case marginalized Finns and Finnish minority youths, is the crux of the problem. The same silence we are witnessing today by the complacent media is what permitted the PS to become the third-largest party in parliament in the 2011 elections.
It’s clear that when an MP from an anti-EU, anti-immigration and homophobic party like the PS mixes immigration policy and marginalized youth you are going to have an explosive brew. The exact purpose of Packalén’s blog was just that: to arouse and fuel suspicion of Finland’s ever-growing culturally diverse society.
Despite what PS MP Tom Packalén claimed, the police said that there aren’t street gangs in Helsinki and there aren’t street gangs that are causing a crime wave. Read full story in Finnish here.
The PS is today a morally bankrupt party that has nothing to offer to Finland except for a polarized society, anti-immigration, nativist nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric. For some white Finns this may be difficult to comprehend, but for migrants and other minorities the message is clear: the PS is a hostile and dangerous party to them.
The irony of the ongoing one-sided debate on our ever-growing cultural diversity is that the “ripening fruits” of the PS and anti-immigration sentiment are creating the problems that such parties warn us of. Social exclusion is costly to taxpayers.
Considering that about 60% of migrants live in poverty in this country speaks volumes about how we are not dealing with the issue. We are not tackling these problems because it is in the interest of parties like the PS to turn them into worse problems. It’s the way they get votes and forms part of a general scheme to keep Finland white.
Building a Finland based on social inequality, social exclusion and prejudice will end up destroying the very successful society we built after World War 2.
It took Finland about 27 years of bitter strife and devastation in the form of civil war, the rise of fascism in the 1930s and three terrible wars (Winter War, Continuation War and the Lapland War against Nazi German) to finally get it right and build a society based on our Nordic welfare state values like social equality, education and equal opportunity.
The undeclared “war” against our culturally diversity by parties like the PS resembles that Finland before 1945.
The PS is a morally bankrupt party because they have nothing to offer to this country except a ruinous recipe for failure.
* 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.