By Enrique Tessieri
Even if Helena Eronen’s boss, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari wants to play down the impact of his aide’s blog entry by claiming that we do not know what satire is, the whole affair exposes something far worrying: It is a new dive into the depths of these shameful political times.
I don’t know what is worse: what Eronen wrote or Hirvisaari’s defense.
As everyone knows, Eronen published a column Wednesday on Uusi Suomi suggesting how foreigners should wear armbands to help the police to distinguish whether the person is a Finn or not.
Hirvisaari wrote on his blog Wednesday evening that the scandal exposed the “ever-evident rot of the [Finnish] media:”
Now, folks, think about it. If an MP says that Finnish media is infested with rot, what words would he spare for immigrants never mind Muslims?
Hirvisaari was fined for hate speech in December.
One of the questions we could ask about what the Eronen scandal reveals is wrong with Finland today and where is it heading?
What do we accomplish by writing and suggesting that foreigners should wear armbands especially during these difficult times? Nothing at all. Instead we do nothing more than promote greater polarization of our society by stressing “us” and “them.”
Much of the persona of the PS as a party relies on promoting “us” and “them.” The racism and prejudice that festers in the PS, and which gets a lot of attention from the media, will destroy it in the end.
But not all agree with Hirvisaari’s take on things. Possibly one positive matters to emerge from this scandal is PS parliamentary leader Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, who condemned what Eronen wrote.
“I hope that we can distance ourselves totally from these types of writing,” she was quoted as saying on MTV3. “They bring harm to our party and parliamentary group.”