The words and silence of politicians have dire consequences in Finland for us

by , under Enrique Tessieri

After the stabbing of ten people in Turku on Friday, politicians like President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, Interior Minister Paula Risikko and the national media appear to be carried away by their prejudices and hostility towards asylum seekers. Even Jussi Halla-aho, the chairman of the Perussuomalaiset* convicted for hate speech, threw his hat in the ring.  

These politicians, like many others, are the ones who speak to us about mutual respect and social equality but despite such assurances, they are not meant for migrants and minorities. They loathe our social welfare system and the noble values so much that they intend to destroy them. On their list of suspicious people are not only those who are different from them but the most vulnerable sectors of society like the unemployed, single mothers and others.

They tell us that there is no connection between what happened in Turku and plans to fast-track a new intelligence law and ever-tougher stances against asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, migrants, and minorities.

We know that there is a connection and if we don’t watch out, they will sell out everything great and noble about Finland that took decades to build.

Read the full story (in Swedish) here.

After Friday’s tragic events in Turku, we have seen a spike in hostility against non-white Finns throughout the country. Business establishments were attacked as well as innocent people whose only “crime” is being Other. One of these was a young man told to remove himself from a seat, and another was stabbed in Vantaa after being asked if he was a Muslim.

These cases are, like hate crimes, only the tip of the iceberg.

By using what happened in Turku to further water down our rights to privacy, stoke the fires of racism and hatred by labeling vulnerable people like undocumented migrants “security risks” reveal how far down we have stooped as a nation. Matters are so bad that the media does not even challenge Halla-aho’s fantasy of placing all rejected asylum seekers into camps like in Hungary.

Instead of asking for calm and defending our culturally diverse community from hostility, President Niinistö, whose track record on cultural diversity is dismal, preferred to campaign for the 2018 presidential elections than uphold our Nordic values. He made it perfectly clear that what happened in Turku was not an attack on all people that live in this country.

Instead of placing the blame where it belonged, Niinistö, Sipilä, Risikko, and others answered with their shameful silence instead of standing up for social equality and the importance of mutual respect between people. There was no post-Anders Breivik moment when then Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg calmed and started the country’s healing process by stating after the horrific act that left 77 dead there should be more openness and democracy.

The reaction of our politicians to what happened in Turku is light years away from Stoltenberg’s leadership.

If there is one matter that became apparent after Friday, it is that the “two extremes” argument or as US President Donald Trump blames the “many sides” for what happened in Charlottesville, is in tatters.

It is the duty of these politicians to stand up and defend every resident in this country and our culturally diverse community from racists and hostility. Their job is to make this country safe for everyone. Shrinking from such a responsibility and stoking the fires of hatred and revenge instead is cowardice.

Being blind to the hatred and racism in this country is living in denial. These politicians are in denial about our cultural diversity and would do almost anything to ensure that non-white Finns, what Minister Risikko refers to as “non-Finnish looking people,” to remain second- and third-class citizens.

Words and silence have dire consequences.

They if anyone should understand this.

* 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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