Finland hasn’t been itself for a number of years, especially after a populist Euro-skeptic and anti-immigration party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, rose to the political major leagues in the 2011 elections.
Sadly Finland appears today lost politically. it is like a blind person using as its seeing-eye dog nationalism and xenophobia. It has become a country that has not only lost its self-confidence but in some cases fears its own shadow.
That shadow that it fears is in the form of the worst populism, nationalism and xenophobia. Challenging those three social ills is difficult for some Finns because what they are seeing is themselves in the mirror.
I am especially saddened by the present state of Finland. I am disappointed because I know this country has overcome great adversity and can do better. Blaming others and scapegoating is the way cowards do things.
Finland isn’t a country of the masses but of individuals who can make all the difference.
The roots of Finnish xenophobia can be found in the media. This billboard from tabloid Ilta-Sanomat states that the Somalis aren’t leaving but staying in Finland. Source: Migration Institute.
Don’t believe all the nationalistic mumbo jumbo of politicians about how we are in good hands with them and that we have nothing to worry about our national security. Our national security hinges on preventing people fleeing war from moving here, according to them.
No, don’t believe them because it’s nothing more than potent cocktail mixed with bravado and xenophobia that they are offering as relief.
Since we don’t have a clear idea where we’re heading in the future some prefer to look behind their shoulders and romanticize nostalgically about the days when we gave the Red Army a black eye in the Winter War and how we became a prosperous nation after we got two black eyes from the USSR in the Continuation War.
Two matters are bewildering us: our successful geopolitical near-isolation during the cold war (1945-1991) and how we during that same period killed our cultural and ethnic diversity by making our country a not too friendly place for immigrants and foreign investment.
One party that is nostalgic for those cold war days of the past is the PS. And why shouldn’t they be? The only European economic association we belonged to back then was EFTA, which we weren’t even a full member. Press censorship was rife too. Despite everything Finland was white and there weren’t any refugees knocking at our doors either.
Finland was back then ruled by strong charismatic leaders like Urho Kekkonen.
What does Timo Soini as foreign minister and his party want to accomplish?
His mandate and presence will certainly scare away skilled migrants and foreign investment from Finland. Even in good times, when there was less xenophobia in the air, Finland wasn’t a popular destination for migrants.
Why would I want to move to a country like Finland that sees foreigners as a problem and where these newcomers are near-constantly reminded that they aren’t from here? Doesn’t make sense, right?
Finland’s politicians are playing with fire when they are silent about the PS’ far right and neo-Nazi problem.
Helsinki substitute councilman Olli Sademies wrote last month that he wants African men living in Finland to be forcibly sterilized after their third child.
If that comment didn’t make you think twice about the type of a country you’re living in, PS MP Olli Immonen posed Wednesday with a group of neo-Nazis in front of national hero Eugen Schauman’s grave.
Swedish People’s Party MP Eva Biaudet, who spoke to Migrant Tales this week and whose interview will appear on this blog shorty, believed that our ever-growing culturally diverse society could offer two scenarios: It could bring us closer to the Nordic countries and Europe or force us to turn our backs on these two regions.
Finland is in real danger of becoming a country that fuels its worldview with isolationism, nationalism and xenophobia.
If we don’t act this is the kind of country will be giving our children and grandchildren.
* 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.