An Outside View: Is it possible to call a racist a ‘Nazi’?
2018-11-01 14:20:42 -


By Panu Höglund


The last news from Finland is that Johanna V, a journalist, faces prosecution because she called a city councillor, Junes L, a ‘Nazi’.

V had been warning her Facebook friends about how L disturbs every anti-racist happening, which in itself is no news to anyone who has any idea of the online activities of right-wing extremists in Finland.

Moreover, L keeps company with self-identified ‘National Socialists’, and when the racist thinker Jared Taylor visited Finland, L was among those who organised the visit and the speech event.

So it is easy to come to the conclusion that L is indeed a Nazi in the colloquial meaning of the word. But anyway, when L filed a complaint against V, the public prosecutor took it quite seriously.

L is known as one of the biggest trolls in Finnish online life. In fact you should laugh about someone like him. L might be a completely ridiculous character, but the subculture of the extremist right adores him. They see him as a “courageous dissenter” and a hero.

Now that L is trying to have another ‘slanderer’ prosecuted, it is important to point out the way L himself has with words: when Finnish radio was trying to contact him back in 2013 for an interview, he afterwards described the situation saying “some whore from the radio phoned me”. And this is not at all exceptional; this is how he always expresses himself.

The Finnish legal term for ‘libel’ translates as “insult of honour”. Many people ask now if L has any honour left to be insulted with the word ‘Nazi’, especially noting his friendly relations with real neo-Nazis. At the same time, authorities are not at all as happy to take seriously the complaints filed by the ‘other side’.

Myself, I have been sent very unambiguously worded threats some weeks ago – telling me that I and my wife were in danger if I would not “stop insulting National Socialists”. I filed a complaint, because this was clearly illegal intimidation, but neither the police nor the prosecutor was interested. This is not the way they would welcome someone like L.

Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish.

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