The Rautiainen scandal: The PS’ short and selective memory

by , under Enrique

The Amon Rautiainen* scandal, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) municipal council candidate in Kotka who suggested on Facebook that Muslims should be boiled alive, reveals the Finnish anti-immigration party’s short and selective memory. 


Freddy Van Wanterghem, the PS chair of the local association in Kotka, is a good example of the party’s double talk, or first I will say something vague to the media and then erase it vaguely and offer you a snow job instead.

The PS city councilor is quoted as saying on YLE in English:

“He [Rautiainen] is a candidate, and voters can make up their minds who they want to vote for.”

He first hints in the quote above that it is sort of ok to write that kind of hate speech on Facebook, but then disassociates the party form Rautiainen’s controversial posts.

For those who might have forgotten, Van Wonterghem was sentenced for inciting ethnic hatred in March for suggesting that it was good matter that a Muslim woman would be killed because ”it would be one less Muslim giving birth.”

Sorry Van Wanterghem but you’ve been caught with your hand in the double-talk cookie jar.

*Does anyone know if Amon is Rautiainen’s original first name? 

 

  1. Mark

    Interesting that in the new story, YLE say that Rautiainen “criticized Islam”. For those who cannot or have not accessed his actual comments, this sounds perfectly okay and they will be asking themselves what all the fuss is about.

    However, calling for Muslims to be boiled alive is hardly ‘criticizing’ Islam. There is nothing ‘critical’ about this comment, and portraying his words in this way only plays directly into the PS agenda that you cannot ‘critize’ Islam, and that it’s fundamentally an issue of free speech, when we all know that it’s just a cover for hate speech.

    Come on YLE, where are your editorial standards?

    • JusticeDemon

      Mark

      I think it’s fairly obvious that Yle is keen to avoid continually repeating the precise thuggish sentiments that have landed Rautiainen in trouble. The remarks were detailed in Yle’s Monday afternoon Finnish language coverage when the story first broke, and now this latest English language report sticks closely to a corresponding Finnish language news release from yesterday afternoon.

      Yle evidently can’t decide whether police is singular or plural, but otherwise the standard of English is borderline acceptable.

      As usual Hannu is being a complete front-bottom and giving us a demonstration of where candidates like Rautiainen draw their support.

    • Mark

      JD

      I think it’s fairly obvious that Yle is keen to avoid continually repeating the precise thuggish sentiments that have landed Rautiainen in trouble

      And that’s fair enough. But their way of summarising those sentiments has somewhat changed the appearance of the basis of the comments. In other words, a subtle yet distinct shift from hate to criticism. It’s much easier to defend ‘criticism of Islam’ than ‘hatred of Muslims’. Clearly his ‘boiled alive’ comment has a lot more to do with hate than criticism.

      Rather than criticism of Islam, they should have written ‘attack on Muslims’. If that is too strong, then they could have used: ‘invective against Muslims’.

    • Mark

      Actually, I’m not sure they do stick to the Finnish version.

      on esittänyt rasistisia ja herjaavia lausuntoja

      The words used here are ‘abusive/defamatory’. In the follow-up story, they refer to the comments as ‘vulgar and threatening’, and nowhere talk about ‘criticising Islam’.

      I guess that Finns at least won’t be misled by the Finnish text. But for me, the follow-up English text is very misleading. Makes me wonder who does their editing and whether they have an agenda.

    • JusticeDemon

      It’s not really fair to subject online reports of breaking news to detailed analysis, especially when they have passed across the desk of translators working to a deadline.

      A distinction is often drawn between the principles of a religious tradition and the conduct of its adherents, but when an attack targets all of those adherents collectively for the only quality that they all have in common, then that distinction needs to be highlighted explicitly. If I argue that Christians are responsible for destroying the global environment, then I am at least implying very strongly that there is something wrong with Christianity in this respect. The distinction between criticising Christians (for their understanding of the doctrine of stewardship) and criticising Christianity (for promulgating such an understanding) is too fine for the layman to make. There is also a strong element of by their fruits shalt thou know them at work here, suggesting that there must be something in the tradition that encourages – or at least fails to inhibit – misconduct by its adherents.

      Anyway, I can see no reason to challenge the translation in this respect. The English version talks about “criticising [someone] in a coarse and threatening manner”, which I think adequately renders the Finnish “kritisoi [jotakuta] alatyyliseen ja uhkaavaan sävyyn” (illative of manner). Any editing of ideas here has been done in the Finnish language.

    • Mark

      JD

      It’s not really fair to subject online reports of breaking news to detailed analysis, especially when they have passed across the desk of translators working to a deadline.

      Too much to ask them to be aware of negative stereotyping of minorities in the media or even to be aware of political spin? Not in my view.

      The English version talks about “criticising [someone] in a coarse and threatening manner”,

      I guess my reading of it was a bit different:

      In his posts, the Finns Party candidate standing for election in the southeastern municipality of Kotka criticised Islam as well as Finland’s political leadership in a coarse and threatening manner.

      I interpret the ‘as well as’ as creating separation between the clauses, so that they could be rewritten thus: ‘the candidate criticized Finland’s poltical leadership in a course and threatening manner, as well as criticizing Islam’. The seperation between the noun and its modifier is too big.

    • JusticeDemon

      I don’t intend to get sidetracked over the situation of translators working with Yle beyond observing that the competent trade union has recently had cause to remind this company of the old adage about peanuts and monkeys.

      You are right to observe that “as well as” can serve as a strongly separating conjunction in English. This explains why it tends to be used in mechanical translations of sentences including the Finnish conjunction sekä. In fact when I saw this particular sentence in English I was expecting to find something with sekä in the Finnish source.

      In fact the source turned out to be quite straightforward, even with the slightly unusual illative of manner:

      Teksteissään Rautiainen kritisoi alatyyliseen ja uhkaavaan sävyyn muun muassa islaminuskoa ja Suomen poliittista johtoa.

      With no further background knowledge than can be gleaned from the article itself, I would probably render this as “Rautiainen’s Facebook posts included crude and intimidating criticism of Islam and senior Finnish politicians.”

      The Yle translation was:

      In his posts, the Finns Party candidate standing for election in the southeastern municipality of Kotka criticised Islam as well as Finland’s political leadership in a coarse and threatening manner.

      Leaving aside the translator’s failure to dissolve the typically Finnish “inessive leader”, the most noticeable peculiarity in this translation is that the proper name “Rautiainen” has been replaced with a very long noun phrase. It is not clear why this was considered necessary in context. If we insist on expressing the complex illative of manner alatyyliseen ja uhkaavaan sävyyn as an adverbial in English, then we are forced to put this adverbial in the least natural place, right at the end of the sentence. This gives us a sentence that is badly overloaded at both ends, so it is unfortunate that the translator then chose to use “as well as” in the middle instead of the perfectly serviceable “and”. At least somebody realised that there was then no room for the clumsy and arguably redundant muun muassa, although I managed to accommodate this comfortably in my version.

  2. virmamatt

    Mark, your language skills are about as good as Yle’s journalism.It sucks, it stinks and it is disgraceful.

    Inline with your comments as well. Utter nonsense.

    • Mark

      Virnamatt

      And you have said what, exactly? That you don’t like my comments? And yet we are all none the wiser as to what, if any, thoughts are spinning round your head!

      Let’s see now – sucks, disgraceful, nonsense. And that’s just for breathing! 😀

      Glad to see it gets up your nose, though. Keep it coming. All you do is illustrate the general level of intelligence of these people running for office in the name of PS.

  3. virmamatt

    The Finnish broadcast company is a bullshit institution, surprisingly many people agree on that, even journalists have for the past 15-20 years.

    You sound like a brattie Mark, unable to comprehend the read text, unable to any kind of objectivity and critical thinking.

    PS, PS and PS is guilty for everything. Even things they do not do.

    Aaah, you got it from there.

    -pepole (ethnic groups) are not equal in front of the law by the previous Supreme court decision. State propaganda perhaps?

    POSITIVE

    • Mark

      Remind me again, virmamatt, you were the one who confused Pekka Haavisto for a PS member, when really we were talking about Kai Haavisto, the lorry driver, whose only brain function on Africa is to send rice.

      Yet again you fail to actually make a substantive point, other than to tell me you don’t like me. Why do you feel the need to do that, I wonder.

    • Mark

      Oh, and your Master’s conviction for hate speech was not somehow a vindication of his argument but a reflection of his gross ignorance in regard to the law and to the paucity of his own defense of hate speech.