Racist panic being spread in Finland – by the mass media
2019-02-01 00:00:00 -

Panu Höglund


At the beginning of the year, Finland was awash with stories about young girls being ‘groomed’. A gang of young lads of immigrant background had been apprehended by the police and were suspected of sexual congress with underage girls — and of course all the online racist trolls started to drool about how they’d collectively wreak revenge upon ”foreigners” as a collective.


At time of writing, one of them is bragging on the social media how he’ll kill three or four Arabic-looking children as a compensation for the raped girls, and his followers are urging him on.


As regards bourgeois politicians, they obviously made their own use of this hysteria – and why not, as it is an election year in Finland.

We heard them pontificating about how anything like this had ”never happened in Finland” before the ”dark hordes” from foreign parts had made their way to us. Of course, idiotic theories about the role of Islam in the ”paedophilia of the Arabs” abounded, and if you found any fault with this kind of discussion, you would be accused of a ”censorship mentality” because ”we must be allowed to discuss difficult things”.


It turned out that the truth was very different from the hysterical rumours. What it was about was young men, some of them minors themselves, seducing girls in their early teens with beer and cigarettes.


Obviously Finnish law does not allow 16-year-old lads to spend a night with a 13-year-old lassie, and thus these fellows will stand trial and, if not acquitted, they will be given prison sentences.


But this story is much less dramatic than the first version we were told. It’s not about adult men kidnapping little kids to have their wicked way with them, and it’s not about a foreign culture or religion: it’s rather about the kind of sexual silliness typical that these young men certainly picked up from their purely Finnish peers.


Moreover, this isn’t the first time this sort of thing happened. We have seen this for a couple of years already, and at least once it turned out that Russian propaganda factories were doing their best to add to the hysteria. Journalists should be able to recognise the ready-made propaganda formula and to try to reduce the panic, but it seems they prefer to join any stampede of this kind.


A journalist should be professionally capable of recognising urban myths as urban myths. They should also be able to question stories which correspond all too well with racist prejudices. Regrettably, it seems that this particular skill is not very strong among Finnish-language journalists in Finland.


Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish. His newest publication is the anti-racist thriller Tine sa Chácóin.

TAGS : Gaeilge New Irish Racism
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