Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WTF? or Who are the True Finns?

I usually do not like to blog about politics especially because it is a hot button issue I know very little about and used to be uninvolved in not having the right to vote in the USA. Now that I live in Finland I can vote, recieved my letter telling me where to vote and when. I have hundreds of candidates to choose from here from a couple of dozen parties. I am just guessing here I have not actually counted or looked up the number and am not going to.

The big parties are Kokoomus and SDP. Currently Kokoomus is in control of the parliament. Other little parties are Vihreät (Greens), Työväen puolue (workingpeople's party) and my current favourite Vasemmisto liitto (the leftist unity). All translations are the best I can do and not necessarily the official translations. There is not polarised conservative liberal divide. There is no conservative at all by American standards, until now. There is a cluster of deformed, hateful, ignorant parties rising up around the monstrosity of the Perus Suomalaiset (my translation would be basic or stereotypical Finns but we will just call them the WTF party).

When ever a member of the WTF party is interviewed on television, they sound uneducated. They lack a proper grasp of the Finnish language. They sound hickish uneducated and aggressive. That is my opinion. Their platform is, get those damn dirty immigrants out, they are all freeloaders and do substandard work and are lazy. When you point out to them that there are plenty of hardworking well educated diligent immigrants they say: "Oh them, they are fine, we are just against those that freeload and wont assimilate." Never mind most immigrants into Finland are here to study, work or following their spouses that do. Finland takes in less refuges based on population than other Scandinavian countries. I spend a lot of time with immigrants and have met no one that fits the description that the WTF party has labeled as the vocal majority and the trouble. Where are they?

They released their statement of principles and there is one particularly troubling part. They state that foreigners are supposed to follow Finnish laws and customs. I thought the first was a given but what does the second part refer to? They do not qualify it further. Are they just referring to eating rye bread, saunaing, swimming in a frozen lake, speaking Finnish etc.? Perhaps they want them to conform to the seedier side of Finnish customs like binge drinking, depression, collecting unemployment while being depressed and binge drinking. Teens drinking alcohol in the backs of busses and cussing loudly at night. I am sure they mean the better side of Finnish custom but being so ambiguous is dangerous, for them, the immigrants and those Finns who care about them. Honestly, is a black man ever going to assimilate to their satisfaction? He can learn Finnish, get a job, pay taxes, become a citizen, vote but they still would not want him to marry one of their daughters unless he could wipe the black off his face.

They are against such high "kotiutumistuki" (settlement aid), what kotiutumistuki? You can't even get it unless you have lived here for like six months and take Finnish classes or go into mol (government employment agency) approved work training. Besides it is not higher than "työmarkkinatuki" that is given to unemployed Finns that have never held jobs to aid them with living expenses so they can find one. Immigrants need that money. They have a hard time finding jobs unless they are very highly trained. Othervise they need the extra time to learn Finnish and to get trained for a job that they have harder time getting because they maybe brown. Discrimination in hiring may be illegal but it does not mean it does not happen. The only difference between kotiutumistuki and työmarkkinatuki is that one is given to immigrants, the other to citizens and kotiutumistuki is given for longer giving the immigrants more of a chance to not only get job training but ALSO to learn Finnish.

I am not saying there are no problems with immigration in Finland. What I am saying is that the WTF party is blowing it way out of proportion. They have no idea what the challenges faced by immigrants are because all the experience they have with it is traveling to other countries, getting plastered for an entire week at a time, acting like an idiot and not remembering a thing about it. That too is another Finnish custom.

1 comment:

  1. Immigration is a hot button issue over here. But unlike Finland its not as easy to control when you have 3000 km of open desert to patrol.

    Be grateful that you have so many parties to choose from. Finland is one of the most democratic countries in the world. (I think your 7th, US is 17th) Over here you have two choices, Democrat or Republican. Sure you can vote for a 3rd party, just don't expect them to win.