Finnish racists are threatening our children
2017-06-15 14:40:41 -
Panu Höglund

It is unfortunate that there is again not much else to report from Finland than the ongoing triumph of racism, but what can you do?

What’s happened now is that racists heard a rumour about a Muslim call to prayer that had been heard from the Vesala comprehensive school in Helsinki. It was just part of the usual attempts of the school to inform children about the varying cultures and religions in our country; this was part of the curriculum when I was a child myself 40 years ago, a long time before anyone had heard that big word ‘multiculturalism’. Now, however, a gang of grown-up men had the brilliant idea of organising a demonstration near the school to show how much they hated Islam.

It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, of course. For some months now, a related group of racists has been camping in front of the main railway station in Helsinki just in order to disturb the asylum seekers who have their protest camp in the same location. 

The racist protesters haven’t exactly come across as the paragons of good behaviour; some of them have been drunk, and they all have been threatening bloody murder on anyone who disagrees with them. Now it seems that these people are not even leaving little children alone. 

When I was a pupil in elementary school, school bullies used to be just a couple of years older. The Muslim children of today, younger than 10 years old themselves, have to put up with bullies who are almost 50.

You can’t exactly say that the big shots of Finland are particularly conscious of the predicament of those Muslim children. Quite the opposite: the Minister of Internal Affairs, Paula Risikko, paid a friendly visit to the racist camp in the railway station square, a visit that gave great encouragement both to the racists in the camp and their co-religionists elsewhere.

As regards Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland, dishearteningly he adopted the understanding and terminology of the racists in a recent statement remarking upon immigration, saying something to the effect that ”uncontrolled immigration” should be stopped.

Racist propagandists have been repeating the old nostrum about stopping ”uncontrolled immigration” since time immemorial. However, Finland has never been known for particularly ‘uncontrolled’ immigration policies. What Swedish right-wing loonies have always said is that they just want to adopt Finnish immigration policy as it is known to be strict. So this ‘uncontrolled’ is reminiscent of Schrödinger’s cat: whether it exists at all depends entirely on the observer.

Some time ago the president made an attempt – a very half-hearted attempt, but even that deserves to be recognised and acknowledged – in a statement to find fault with the onslaught of racism in Finland. But then the online lynch mobs went crazy speaking brutally ill of Niinistö himself and especially his young wife Jenni Haukio.

You’d think that the president would have turned viciously against a group of people speaking of his wife that way. But that’s not how it works over here. It speaks something of how completely the politicians in Finland are in the thrall of racists: when that lot threatened his wife, his reaction was not to protect her, but to appease them.

It seems now that society in Finland has failed the Muslim children who are being harassed by gangs of grown-up drunkards. It seems even to be the opinion of our very president that Muslim children are themselves to be blamed for this harassment, and that these kinds of school invasions are part of citizens’ free expression of opinion.
Probably the day will soon come when a child is killed by these drunks running wild in schools. And I am afraid our president won’t acknowledge his own responsibility for that.

Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish.
TAGS : Finland Children Racism
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