An article in Mikkeli-based daily Länsi-Savo (10 August) interviewed three members of the Finns Party (PS) from the South Savo region who claimed that racism has no place in the party. If this is true, it is significant and welcome news.
In the face of the numerous racism scandals that have overshadowed the activities of the PS over the years and, at the latest, in July, the claim by the members of the party is fantastical. We believe that racism has historically been as important to the PS as the Swedish language is to the Swedish People’s Party.
But in the name of fairness, I (Tessieri) would like to thank the PS who, in the meetings of the Mikkeli City Council that I have attended, do not speak of immigrants in a demeaning way like their fellow MPs in parliament.
Racism is a serious social illness in which groups of people are treated as inferior due to their ethnic origin, skin color, nationality, culture, or religion.
While the party may not necessarily recognize its immigration policy as racist, it is highly discriminatory. The changes proposed by the government, especially the PS, in the new policy promote inequality and make it more difficult for migrants to participate in our society as equals.
We also disagree with Jani Sension that this summer’s numerous racism scandals is something made up by the media.
If the racism scandals have highlighted an important point, it is the Finnish media’s important role in defending the rule of law and the fundamental rights of all people, regardless of background.
PS Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen, who has also published racist and far-right posts and removed them from her social media sites, has said that the government’s immigration policy will undergo a paradigm shift.
We hope that in light of these racism scandals, the media will experience its own paradigm shift in its role as the nation’s watchdog and not leave a stone unturned in its important work.
Enrique Tessieri, Yahya Roussi
The authors are members of the board of Kansainvälinen Mikkeli, a registered association promoting diversity. Tessieri is also a deputy city councilperson of the Mikkeli City Council.
Read the original letter to the editor here.