When does a trickle become a flood when speaking of refugees?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

When we speak of refugees, when does a trickle become a flood? Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Olli Immonen, the far right politician who warned us recently about the “nightmare of multiculturalism,” who uses and warns us of “an avalanche” of refugees since 1,000 more refugees came to the country in July versus the same period last year. 

Some Finnish media, like MTV3, even ask President Sauli Niinstö about this “flood.” The Finnish head of state, who has usually been quite on the rise of xenophobia in Finland, claimed without giving any figures that we should get “ready that the number of refugees to Finland will rise significantly.

Näyttökuva 2015-8-18 kello 10.51.34
Here is a new story by MTV3 that speaks of the “flood” of immigrants. There are no clear numbers, only colorful terms that instill fear like “flood” nd “avalanche” are used to describe the situation.  Read full story (in Finnish) here.

“We have already seen a record number of asylum seekers have soared this summer and we must must get ready ready that their numbers will grow significantly,” he was quoted as saying on MTV3.

While the human tragedy going on in war-torn countries like Syria are a cause for grave concern, is the situation made any better if we start to fear-monger in the same way as far right groups by using terms such as “flood” and “avalanche?”

Certainly not.

But let’s go to the original question: What is a flood of refugees? How many people are we speaking of?

Last year, the number of asylum applicants in neighboring Sweden totaled 81,325, according to The Guardian, which cites Eurostat. Denmark and Norway had 14,715 and 13,265 applicants, respectfully.

How many asylum seekers did Finland have last year?

Brace yourselves: 3,625!

Is this a “flood” if the number of asylum seekers to this country is much lower than what Norway, Denmark and Sweden accepts?

Here is a good example of how the national media feeds xenophobia and fear-mongers.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language 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. Yossie2

    It was about my even earlier comments getting deleted. You even answered me telling me not to insult people (which I have not done). Your comment to me got deleted too.