We have only to blame ourselves for the rise of vigilante gangs, racism and fascism in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

                                                                                              Shortly, we’ll look at this period as the lost decade where we openly and shamelessly flirted and sided with racism and fascism.

Remember these quotes about the vigilante white supremacist Soldiers of Odin? They were made by public servants that should know better. In a Facebook posting, the far-right vigilante group is threatening (surprise, surprise) Africans, Arabs, dark-skinned people, vegetarians gays liberals, humanists and others with acts of violence. 

Any sensible person could have seen the writing on the wall: Groups like the Soldiers of Odin are white supremacists supported by other white Finns and the establishment.

Their rise is similar to the Perussuomalaiset* (PS), whose ascent to political power was assisted by the media, politicians (and I wouldn’t be surprised by Russia’s troll army). The fact that too many don’t see these groups as a threat to our Nordic democracy and society is the best indication we have of our denial of the issue.

Is it a coincidence that the police service gave support to such vigilante groups when they started to show up more in Finnish cities and towns? This year, an openly racist Facebook page was uncovered with over 2,800 police or about one-third of the country’s police service. Does a survey in 2016, which reveals that 80% of the police see asylum seekers as a threat, say anything about racist attitudes. What about if 25.1% stated that they voted for an openly anti-immigration party like the PS?

Let’s look at these public representatives that are supposed to defend our society but failed miserably in the task:

Detective Chief Inspector Markku Tuominen. Marshall Carl Mannerheim’s portrait as commander of the White Guards is highly suggestive. Source: Nurmijärven Uutiset.

  • Detective chief inspector of southern Finland, Markku Tuominen, surprised a lot of people In January 2016 when he was quoted in the media as saying that Finns should avoid contact with foreigners. In December, we even read that the police service of Häme welcomed street patrols in the town of Asikkala, according to Hämeen Kaiku.

Deputy Police Chief Ilkka Koskimäki. Source: Twitter.

  • Finnish deputy chief of police of Helsinki, Ilkka Koskimäki as saying in January 2016 in the Daily Telegraph: “This phenomenon [sexual harassment] is new in Finnish sexual crime history. We have never before had this kind of sexual harassment happening at New Year’s Eve.”

Really? Have Finnish women ever before been harassed sexually by Finnish men?

National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen and Minister of Employment Jari Lindström. Sources: Uutismaailma and Turun Sanomat.

  • National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen and Minister of Employment Jari Lindström openly supported in 2016 vigilante gangs while Interior Minister Petteri Orpo was skeptical.
  • Add to the above the complacent silence of politicians like former PS leader Timo Soini and a long list of others and a clear picture emerges: It’s fine for white folks to be racist and fascist as long as they are hostile to Muslims and other non-white groups they scapegoat.

  • Another worrisome phenomenon that helped fuel the rise of vigilante groups was the Finnish media’s fascination, their toothless editorials and lame reaction to vigilante groups and the rise of racism and fascism in the country.

I consider Pohjolan Sanomat of Kemi as one o the best examples of media fascination for racism and fascism. Today we know that the vigilante group has a lot of members with criminal records. Read the original story here.

A warning by the Soldiers of Odin to commit acts of violence against people who oppose fascism and racism. Source: Facebook.

* After the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.

A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

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