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Our well hidden racism Our well hidden racism
by Thanos Kalamidas
2020-06-23 05:39:12
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I think the first time it really hit me – and it did hit me hard – was when I noticed that the Finnish state broadcaster had changed its social media avatar into a “Black Lives Matter”. The very same day the very same broadcaster published a survey showing that Finland is one of the most racist countries in Europe.

rac001_400Socking? No if you think that another survey has far-right True/Pure Finns party getting 24.3% support and Jussi Halla-aho trying the suit he’s going to wear the day he will be elected prime minister. To give you an idea, Keskusta, the Centre-party that took most votes in the last elections (April 2019), barely reached 21%.

While a lot of public figures, parliamentarians and members of the True/Pure Finns Party never really tried to hide their prejudices and racism often finding their way to the courts, the former leader of the party populist Timo Soini tried to cover it into nationalism, not always successfully, Jussi Halla-aho never felt the necessity to hide it. He has often been to the courts with accusations of racism, hate and Islamophobia, he has often been sentenced and surprise-surprise he is a strong reference to the mass murder, far-right terrorist Andrew Berwick’s manifesto. Intriguingly Halla-aho is often referred as Mestari (The Master) by his followers …Fuhrer(?).

Without any further comment, 21%, - one in every fifth Finn - wants this man as their leader and they adopt his policies and ideals and acts accordingly. What I mean is that despite the most anti-racist laws in Europe, a public servant who embraces Halla-aho’s view of the world paraphrases the law …accordingly. Imagine a judge or any civil servant who believes (Halla-aho’s words) “The prophet Muhammad was a paedophile, and Islam is a religion that sanctifies paedophilia, that is, a paedophilic religion,” applying any kind of judgment on a Muslim. And as Hitler taught us, you can be selective, these things are not …a la carte!

But this is the obvious enemy, the front window enemy, the visual enemy and there are always to fight this kind of enemy. The Finnish parties already do by creating a united front from all major parties against this far-right wave and trying in the meantime to educate and inform the people in what True/Pure Finns and Halla-aho really mean and want. In Sweden happened exactly the same with the democratic parties united against the Swedish Democrats.

But the real enemy is not in the parliament, is in everyday life. It is the racism we don’t understand and use every day. In most European countries the most common way to undermine somebody is to call them “homo”. You can hear it even in schoolyards and most of the time it has not to do with somebody gay but while undermining somebody’s masculinity it becomes prejudice to gay people. In Greece when you talk about a shop with expensive prices people call it …Jewish without understanding the anti-Semitism hiding behind this phrase whilst all environmentalists are hippies with long hair who eat avocado and smoke weed all day long.

I’m sorry to say but the list is endless reaching even the commonly used “Hip hip hooray!", which is related to Hep Hep Riots, the anti-Semitic demonstrations that started in Germany in the 19th century. Germans reportedly cheered "hep hep" as they forced Jews from their homes. 

The battle to racism should start from ourselves and our everyday life because we are partly responsible for the lack of understanding of its severe consequences. Education and information about racism, prejudice and discrimination should start from home and follow at school so we won’t get in the end Jussi Halla-ahos.

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