Thursday’s A-studio: How the Finnish media and politicians paint immigrants with a single brush

by , under Enrique Tessieri

I almost fell off my seat when I watched A-studio Thursday. Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Hanna Mäntylä justified the ongoing victimization and labeling of Finland’s small migrant community. She said this was fine because some white Finns are poor. 

“We have in effect people who live and are on the verge of suffering from hunger because they don’t have enough money to pay for food on a daily basis,” said Mäntylä. “Yes, these kinds of stories come in loud and clear on the campaign trail like why we have this kind of immigration policy in Finland.”

One of the problems with this kind of claim by Mäntylä is that she includes all migrants and paints them with a single brush.  Her point is a clear example of scapegoating but neither the host nor the guests brought this up.

Is it the fault of those refugees fleeing war and hunger that some white Finns are, as Mäntylä points out, on the verge of suffering from hunger?

Of course not but she blames all migrants for this.

If we are fair, Mäntylä’s statement reveals the hostility of the PS towards cultural diversity and how they want to keep migrants as second- or third-class citizens.

Mäntylä’s view of immigration – she doesn’t distinguish between migrants and refugees never mind humanitarian immigration – is one matter but when those present like Ilkka Kanerva of the National Coalition Party, Green League MP Ville Niinistö and Antti Kaikkonen of the Center Party don’t challenge such populist statements that too speaks volumes about why migrants are the favorite punching bag of politicians.

Since the majority of migrants are employed in this country and pay taxes, how many of these migrants that Mäntylä cites are we speaking of? How many thousands compared with the hundreds of thousands of Finns who get social welfare? In English we call this a storm in a tea cup. Another good term is scapegoating.

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PS MP Hanna Mäntylä states that it’s fine to loathe all migrants and demand a change in immigration policy since there are Finns who are on the verge of suffering from hunger in this country. Her statement is a good example of scapegoating.

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The real face of PS MP Hanna Mäntylä: MEP Jussi Halla-aho in the background and PS councilman Harri Tauriainen of Kemi. On Tauriainen’s sleeve is an emblem of the White Guards, which were abolished as a fascist organization after the Continuation War (1941-44).  Taurainen’s message has a strong white supremacist label. One of his many quotes about refugees were: “…it’s odd that we can’t put in line in Finland  this colored human trash. Just put a stamp on their ass and deport them for good from Finland.” Source: Facebook.

Watching A-studio was a big disappointment. Even the host, Jan Andersson, never challenged Mäntylä and asked her how many migrants is she speaking of that are “a problem and threat” to Finland.

Certainly Mäntylä or the PS would ever say because that would take a lot of hot steam from their scapegoating.

The media and politicians in Finland still speak of anti-immigration as being “critical of immigration (policy)” and fascism as “nationalism.”

Sad and especially unfortunate for those migrants and minorities that live and work in Finland and that have to endure daily victimization and hostile labeling on shows like A-Studio from Mäntylä and her populist anti-immigration party.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names 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. 

  1. PS voter

    Why are you twisting her words? For example, she certainly distinguishes between migrants and refugees/humanitarian immigration and emphasizes that Perussuomalaiset is not against employment-based immigration.

    BTW, I hope that Abdirahim “Husu” Hussein, doesn’t carry out his threat of quitting politics, if Perussuomalaiset is given seats in the cabinet. I think it would be short-sighted and regrettable loss.