Wednesday was a good day for racism in Finland. National Coalition Party (NCP) substitute MP Pia Kauma, who accused migrant women three years ago of demanding social welfare to buy new baby carriages, took over as MP after Alexander Stubb started his tenure at the vice-president and member of the management committee of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Kauma’s appointment was overshadowed two days earlier by Gleb Simanov, who videotaped and published on Facebook Somali minors for allegedly attempting to bum a ride on the bus. Simanov got fired as a result but was hired Monday by Onnibus.
While both persons come from different backgrounds, their racist actions are the same: Both targetted Somalis to show without proof how they abuse the system. Both are politicians and their actions and comments helped label and stigmatize migrants by reinforcing stereotypes.
Kauma, who based her claim on hearsay, and even if she apologized for what she said, is an example of how politicians use the racist card to get attention and votes. First, they make outrageous claims that are later disproven by journalists. By then it’s too late because the fake news is out there.
The scandal ignited by Kauma kicked off with the following statement in Länsiväylä: “Why must migrant families get social welfare to buy new baby carriages if [white] Finnish families recycle used baby carriages?”
When asked Wednesday by Helsingin Sanomat about what she said, Kauma claimed it helped her to understand why politicians are so careful about what they say. “There would be a better debate if we’d express our opinions openly,” she added, suggesting that she can use her power as an MP to label and stigmatize migrants even on the basis of fake news.
Migrant Tales considers Kauma’s statement and her apology in 2014 as disingenuous.
Social Democratic Helsinki city council person, Abdirahim Husu Hussein, posted this satirical picture about Kauma.
Bus driver Gleb Simanov
“Since I have now studied the Onnibus.com company thoroughly, it’s now clear that it is a responsible and punctual company that I appreciate. Everyone must have a ticket on boarding the bus irrespective of their ethnic background, which isn’t racist behavior [if asking for a ticket]. Lauri told me that I cannot videotape customers on the bus. The matter is clear!”
Simanov said he wouldn’t have videotaped and posted on Facebook if his former employer would have made clear to him that there is such a rule.
Simanov’s hiring by Onnibus reveals a lot about today’s Finland and how structural racism is alive and kicking in this country. Onnibus’ Helke does not apparently care about Simanov’s actions and poor judgment or the fact that he worked in close cooperation with far-right and alt-right groups, like Suomen Sisu and Paavo Tajukangas, to drive home his racist message.
Simianov has also appeared in videos where he supports Vladimir Putin’s expansionist policies in the Ukraine against the so-called “fascist regime” in Kiev.
Since Onnibus has laid off bus drivers and cut back on its scheduled services, Simanov’s hiring may have something to do with giving the bus company more public exposure and more passengers by stating indirectly that racists are welcome to travel on Onnibus.
UPDATE (4.8): Teivo Teivanen claims in the tweet below that the owner of Onnibus and Simanov have both publicly campaigned to limit the rights of homosexuals.
Simanov organized a demonstration on the sixth anniversary of 22/7 when Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway. Coincidence or ignorance?