Run, Nigger, Run

I came to this country as a refugee in 1990, at the time of recession and when foreigners where a rarity. As a result, we had become a “Somali shock” overnight. It was common at the time to hear racial slurs, to wake up to the sounds of “perkele”, to drink tea to “mutakuono” and to dance to “vitun neekeri”. People would stop to gawk on the streets, kids yelling “look mommy, a nigger”. Grandmothers would ambush me in the swimming hall shower and scrub me down, hoping to wash the color off. Others, after a few pints, would come over to touch my hair and make inappropriate propositions. I went from being an individual, with aspirations, feelings and rights, to a degraded sub-human: a “mud face”, “nigger”, “whore”, and “social loafer”.

On the good days when I needed exercise, which was usually from Monday to Friday, I got that while being chased by skinheads, at 7:30 every morning on my way to Finnish lessons. I had gone, overnight, from hating running, to becoming a talented long distance runner.

What were these skinheads doing at the bus station at that ungodly hour? These were young boys and a few older diehards who’d mapped our movements, formed a vigilante mob and decided that we had to go. To get to the language center, we had to walk through a darkly-light tunnel, pass the taxi stand, then cross the road and walk a few blocks to the center. The skinheads would converge in the tunnel, set upon us, raining blows like a machine gun and then run after us. Those guys also introduced me to gender equality: justice was meted out to even the women. You had to make a mad dash for the exit of the tunnel, out to daylight, to humanity which just stood nonchalantly watching, laughing and from there onward it was smooth, languid running.

When one of us finally managed to call the police, we were told to keep on running, after all, it is in our African blood, isn’t it? Isn’t that how we got to Finland? Tired of being chased, harassed and physically attacked, I approached the police and reported the skinheads. I was told to run and to avoid being chased. The police eventually agreed to escort us every morning to the language center. We went from the nightmare of having skinheads on our heels to being trailed by one or two police cars. Not what one would hope for, especially coming from Africa, were the police spell trouble and torture. On the last day of being escorted and as a farewell gesture, one of the police men drove up closely, rolled down his window and told me “run, nigger, run”.

Twenty three years later, racists are still chasing and beating up on innocent people.

Recently, a Somali mother with two children under the age of six was left wailing, crying her eyes out and devastated at the Pasila station. She had come from Malmi that morning, cheerfully talking to her Finnish children and looking forward to the day. A person behind her on the escalator violently pushed her three-year old baby out of the way and stood in front of her. She asked the person, a blond woman, why she pushed the child. The woman looked back, snickered and smacked the six-year old girl on the face, smashing her lips and nose wide open. The mother, shocked by the brutal act and the amount of blood spilling from the face of her daughter, yelled for the bystanders to stop the running woman. THEY JUST STOOD AND WATCHED, LIKE SPECTATORS IN A STADIUM. The mother could not run after the woman and leave her kids on the escalator.

When the police came, all the witnesses were slowly dispersing. They refused to step up and be responsible citizens. The mother implored the spectators, tried to appeal to their decency and humanity, but to no avail. Now the case has not gone far, the children are psychologically traumatized and the mother wrecked with feelings of hopelessness, anger and deep hatred. Why do Finnish people do this? Why did they choose to be passive, watching such a heinous act? This is a child, a child! I could understand if it were an adult being attacked. But a defenseless CHILD: that is just plain callousness. Please, if you were at Pasila that day, please go to the police and do your bit. That deranged woman needs to be brought to justice. The next child she attacks could be YOURS.

Times have changed, mostly for the better. The face of racism has changed from milky white to differing hues of yellow, red, chocolate and sometimes green. Racism is no longer exclusive to the Finns. No, we also have migrants doing that. It is okay to bash the Somalis, if only to score brownie points and curry favors. If you’re a frustrated migrant, with low self-esteem and disgruntled disposition, just walk up to a Finn and tell them how you despise those nasty Somalis, sit back and expect to be invited for coffee the next day. You’ll be sorely disappointed for your turn will come too one day. But as you attempt to do this, don’t forgot that you’re here, enjoying relative peace, because we did the running, bit the bullet, endured the worst and paved the way for you.

Why am I opening up old wounds if times are better, as I claim? Because I am tired of hearing that the Finns are racists. That we cannot integrate into this society because we are of a different color, religion and culture. That Finns want us to give up our culture and religion. If that were the case, why are our children learning, free of charge, their mother-tongue and religion in schools? Where else in the world do you have such endless and highly sought after educational opportunities, all paid for by the state?

I’m not denying that racism isn’t a problem in this country. Racism is a global phenomenon that can also be found in Somalis as well as in other migrant communities. Take the example of migrants running on the tickets of populist parties here. I am talking about the ones who glare at you, huge bucket loads of condescension dripping off them and whose mistreatment is even worse than the actual racists. God forbid you should run into them in the hospitals, the government offices and even on the streets.

However, I have a problem with generalizing it to the wider population. The majority of the Finns, often silent and in the background are tolerant, peace-loving and civilized people.

The racists, although vocal and visible, are a small minority in this country. How do you recognize them? They have one thing in common: hatred. It is targeted at people who are doing well, who have jobs, businesses, high salaries, education, good living standards and who speak languages other than just Finnish. They’re easily manipulated and gullible because of their low educational level. And so they take it out on people that they perceive to have led to their misfortune. They tend to live in denial and have a utopian outlook on life: like waking up one day to the sound of angels singing in harmony, violins playing and finding a colorless Finland.

If all Finns were racists, like some claim, then life here would be hellish. Imagine that for a moment, imagine it again for a little while longer, and let it sink in slowly.

Take the opportunities available in this country, learn the language, get an education, work hard and abide by the national laws/norms. If, despite all that, you still feel unwelcome and sick of it all. Don’t despair, there are other countries looking for competent workers and who will gladly take you in. Finland is fast becoming a country known for training and exporting highly skilled labor. But remember to come back. Running away is not the best and only solution. I write from experience here.

We need to engage the tolerant majority constructively, unite forces with them, find common goals and work towards an inclusive Finland. I believe that this is our country, no matter what, and we will be here long after the storm has died down. I love Finland and I love being a Somali-Finn. This is my country, my home, my mother is buried here and my children were born here. Stop being apologetic, stop complaining, roll back your sleeves and join us in finding a solution and building bridges.

 

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47 Comments

  1. I love your writings and forthrightness. =) Thank you for sharing your experiences!
    Recently I had also been watching your talks on youtube, and I feel your heart fully over issues pertaining to unfair treatment of non-Finns.

    In particular I liked what you said here–

    “Because today we live in a Finland where everything has to be perfect. Language has been used as a tool to bash people over the head. And since Finnish has been used for a tool for combat, nowadays it is used to cause a lot of misery. It is used to inflict a lot of hatred and pain. The more that happens, the more I’m inclined to move away from a country, from a language that I have used for the past 25 years, because I want to be equal.”

    I just have one question–what do you think of the topic of equality related to non-White foreigners in the next 5 years in FInland? Would there be any significant changes?

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  2. Hi there,
    this was beautifully written, but so sad, too. Keeps me wishing I could somehow change things, do more. It’s like being filled with this impotent rage; can’t do anything to help that child anymore, can’t go and undo the terrible things done to our fellow humans.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and raising awareness. Have a wonderful day!
    -K

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    1. Hi K, this is also a celebration. We have come a long way from 1990 and the future beckons brightly. Rage is a good reaction, when it leads to positive change in our society. The aim of my writing is to get us to reclaim our society, the values that this beautiful, welcoming country stands for. We should not let the vile acts of a sick minority tarnish the image of our country and jeopardize our democratic values. The time has come for us to say enough is enough and to take a stance. Thank you for dropping by. A blessed evening to you too.

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  3. This was a very well written article, Fadumo, and we reprinted it with permission on the Migrant Tales blog. You’re approach is very balanced, even while your experiences would justify a more a polarised reaction to the hatred and antagonism.

    I have seen blatant racism sometimes also among the educated classes, though it is more rare, and in that sense, it is even more surprising. But then again, I’ve also seen that same passive reaction to it by other educated people in the room. In this case, it was dressed up as a kind of heroism, accusing young Somali males of cowardice, for not returning to Somalia to fight in the civil war there. I was an English teacher at the time, so I took the opportunity to do the next lesson on the history of the Civil War, and how civilians have been the biggest victims in the situation. While the fear and prejudice of foreigners/blacks is the same, the justifications are more sophisticated the more educated the individual is.

    And there are a few educated individuals in populist parties, such as Halla-aho, who try to put a respectable face to those prejudices. The less educated often hide behind these individuals and their arguments, to give their prejudices respectability. It’s altogether a different challenge to take on these educated bigots, because they claim to speak with facts, and then, all too easily, it becomes academic, and cerebral, and the human stories become lost, while all the while the ‘racism’ is denied, and presented as something else, as immigration-scepticism, for instance.

    I really liked your writing style as well. You have a very sharp literary pen that makes you a joy to read. 🙂

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    1. Great to have you visiting and for bringing a different perspective to the discussion. I fully agree with you that even some of the educated people can be racists. But this is also a very small minority within the racist minority. There is no point in appealing to a sick mind, especially if it has its own agenda, is power hungry and cold-blooded, no matter how educated it is. That is a person who wants to get to the top by all means necessary, even if it means inciting hate. And that is why I have deliberately overlooked this very, very, very small group and instead focused on the majority.

      I am inclined to think that racism is prevalent in all these political parties. The only difference is on how it is expressed. Indeed, “education” can bring some sophistication to the evolution of racism. Certainly, evolution has taken place: We had the skinheads in the 90’s and now we have the populists. But this too will change. They too, will disappear, as the skinheads did from the streets. We need to prepare ourselves for that, too. Once you know a disease, then you also know how to prevent/cure and stop it from spreading.

      I am honored to have you this reblogged on the Migrant Tales blog. Thank you for your encouraging words and I look forward to collaborating further. God bless.

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      1. Yes, the narrative on the ‘Other’ will change, I agree. Nationalism is something that has only become possible with the ‘nation state’, and people perhaps don’t realise that this is something relatively new – a few hundred years ago in Europe, countries were very much divided into regions, clans, even neighbourhoods, with often long long histories of antagonism and wars between them. In a way, that antagonism has shifted more towards ‘outsiders’ as ‘nations’ have become more coherent units of identity.

        I agree that this is a very small minority, though it’s very much a sliding scale. The milder forms of prejudice are the most common, and the more extreme forms, are by definition, the most rare. Also, there has been a backlash, especially on social media, to the populists hijacking all things ‘Finnish’. That’s good to see. On the internet, you see all the most extreme opinions and reactions, but it’s easy to imagine they are more common that they are – again, the ‘silent’ majority seems to make more room for these opinions.

        One thing is clear – your articulate, compassionate, balanced and experienced voice in this discussion is very welcome indeed.

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        1. Mark, you’re right about the populists hijacking discussions on Finland. I’ve had several of them today attempting to do that. It looks like one person writing under several aliases. Very interesting reading, once you sort through the grammar mess and insanity. One gets the impression that this lot are a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

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        2. I don’t know how good your Finnish is, but I recommend Panu Höglund’s, Sakari Timonen’s blogs and Paljastettu 3. I think Panu said that having encountered racists and nazis made him think that these people are possessed. Not really surprized, if they can roll their neck around or start climbing walls and ceilings or become werevolves at full moon and howl.

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        3. Stacy, its always a pleasure reading your witty posts. I read the blogs that you mentioned. Does Sakari have a new blog? His old blog seems to be deactivated. Panu and Paljastettu 3 are gems, very telling of the state of the society, especially when it comes to the Nazis and terrorists of the net. Their presence has also increased on my blog: I’ve received messages calling me a fucking nigger, telling me to go home, that I am a failure because I don’t speak the language and that I am a liar. Entertaining indeed! They are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

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        4. Yeah, Sakari has a new blog here: http://uuninpankkopoika.byethost31.com/

          ” I am a failure because I don’t speak the language”

          As if they suddenly started to love you when you spoke Finnish, or anything. You just cannot win.

          ” that I am a liar”

          I have avoided that, because that is a conversation ender, but their whole politics is based on a lie. What I really wonder is that I wonder that when they keep cheating everyone else, does it ever cross their minds that they might be cheated as well by their ruthless peers. Does it ever cross their minds that if those people get any more power they themselves are never right-wing enough, never white enough, never Finnish enough.

          It is painful for us also, because we are losing friends and relatives to bigotry.

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  4. This is very powerful text! I just hope that some day people would treat each other equal. We are all the same. Color of your skin or your religion should not be used as a excuse to discriminate. We just need to learn to accept our differences. I wish that racism would die out. We need love, hate is too great a burden to bear.

    God bless you 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the kind response. The future is in your generation. You inspire me. You motivate me. You are the reason why I write. Please create a social movement and take control of your future. You are the future.

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  5. This is a very profoundly written text and I am glad to see that despite the horrifying experiences you have gone through in Finland, you still resist to label the entire society racist due to it. You insights are valuable contribution to the discussion of a multicultural Finland.

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    1. Thank you Nitin. I also enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to your posts. I, like you, am grateful to this country for it gave me education, shelter, security and freedom. I believe in not generalizing issues because of a few negative encounters. Glad to know that you are out there and that we share the same views.

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  6. Thank you for your very well written blog. I was so, so shocked to read this, though it was not the first similar incident I had read about. There was a story of a Finnish mother whose coloured child was verbally abused by some lowly drunk, even that horrified me but who is sick enough to physically attack small children, is beyond me!!! How could those people just stand by, especially those who saw what happened (I suppose some must have)! (Maybe the people further away were confused what was going on and what they should do? I want to believe that people are better than that, so I try to make up explanations…)

    I have to say that if I saw something like that I might be so appalled that it might petrify me to such an extent that I would be unable to function quickly. Hopefully, though, I would regain my functioning and be able to help at least somehow. Usually, for example if I see drunk people behaving badly in the bus, I have to contain myself before I say something and risk getting beaten up or something… It makes me so angry that children, and decent adults, cannot travel even during the day without seeing completely inappropriate behaviour.

    After such incidents, and thinking about the amount of Finnish “hörhöjä” that can be seen all around (especially in the very neighbourhoods where most of the immigrants live), I would not be surprised if some immigrants start to think of all Finns as racists, drunks, drug-addicts and all-around awful people, and to resort to “counter-racism”. Thank you for considering also the fact that not nearly all Finns are like that, and there are civilized normal people who just want to live a normal life, hopefully in good harmony with all immigrants and non-immigrants, and who certainly do not wish to see ANY child abused – verbally or physically – EVER.

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    1. That incident is not at all surprising to me, for I have myself been a victim in subway in 2002. In two years I did not dare to go to subway again. I could understand why no-one interfered at the moment (for the fear of becoming a target of violence), but I did not understand why no-one commented when the situation was over and I left the subway. Even the sms-messages in the papers complained about a howling, lonely dog in front of Sello, but no empathy for me. This left me highly traumatized and I was in a traumatized state for many years.

      That is also one reason why I step in. I have been educated in matters pertaining to people’s health and I would react if someone had a stroke or other accident in a public place. Protecting people from becoming traumatized is part of health care. That is also why I strongly oppose hate speech and I have removed hateful stickers around Helsinki and other towns whenever I have come across them.

      The people that targeted me in subway were part of an ethnic group and I harbored hate and resentment towards that group for years. Then they became a involved in an ethnic conflict and I got to know them in the Social Center Satama, where all discrimination was against the house rule. After that I was okay. The Bourgeoisie was hellbent in tearing town the Social Center because it had so good results of different people mixing together peacefully and that went against the Bourgeois goal of racism, sexism and hate-mongering.

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    2. Thank you Uuni for the brave response. Your point of people fearing for their safety and therefor not intervening is valid. I’ve sometimes thought that fear might be a factor. However, what happens when your turn comes up? How would you want to be treated? We cannot continue to live in fear for the rest of our lives. I appreciate your candid response. It is a step in the right direction and an indication of the positive change taking place.

      I would like to see the government instigating a mass campaign encouraging people to care and intervene in the cases of physical attacks and medical illnesses. What do you think?

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  7. I am so sorry to hear about the violence you and other immigrants have faced! Makes me sad and angered! 😦

    “The majority of the Finns, often silent and in the background are tolerant, peace-loving and civilized people.”

    I disagree. If this was the case, racists would be publicly admonished. I have battled against political soldiers in the forums for years, but I have to give up, there is just too much racism and hate around.

    “The racists, although vocal and visible, are a small minority in this country. How do you recognize them? They have one thing in common: hatred. It is targeted at people who are doing well, who have jobs, businesses, high salaries, education, good living standards and who speak languages other than just Finnish. They’re easily manipulated and gullible because of their low educational level. ”

    I disagree, again. I fit the description, but I am not racist. I truly also hate capitalists. Capitalists are the instigators of racism in this country, for their simplified philosophy is a zero-sum-game: if someone gets something extra, it is taken from someone else. But the economics does not work that way. How much do you hear this zero-sum-game being repeated in media. There you go!

    It is not the poor or uneducated people that control the media. The Finns party supporters earn more than people in general. Perhaps you only see the boneheads or an occasional drunk harassing, which I don’t, I would interfere, and make your allegations based on that.

    But, you are right that you personally and Somalis in general belong here, welcome! You might want to read Neil Hardwick’s book about depression, also. He got fed-up with this country and its atmosphere. The atmosphere, paranoia and victim-blaming are also wearing down ethnic Finns. Finland has always been a country where people had to walk away. Now, when the undesirables don’t, it is time Finland learnt to deal with the plurality!

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    1. Let me start with what we agree on: the issue here, in addition to racism, is the national sport of watching from the sidelines. If a person has a fit, is attacked, raped, mugged or something similar happens to them, they’d be left to their own devices. A Finnish grandmother gets mugged while people watch. A diabetic falls down and has a fit, people will stand and watch. An African man gets beaten, people stand and watch. A young child runs around lost, people pretend not to notice. This is across the board: even you would not be helped. Why is that? Are we to infer that they do this because they’re capitalists?

      I fail to understand what capitalism has to do with the racist attack of a child? Does the fact that one is not making enough money justify taking it out on innocent people? Why can’t they take it out on the political system that drives such policies? Most racists that I meet always start an interaction with ” I am not a racist but….”. Capitalism is not going around punching people, racists are doing that. I believe that all parties, including the left, are to blame for the current xenophobic atmosphere. The Finns part is not the only racist party in this country. Racists are in all of the other political parties. The supporters of the Finns party are not wealthy nor are they well educated. How else would you explain the clowns that they have sitting in the parliament?

      “Now, when the undesirables don’t, it is time Finland learnt to deal with the plurality!” I am not sure I understand what you mean here. Who are the undesirable you’re referring to?

      Personally Stacy, I hope you’ll keep soldiering on. If we all gave up, where would we be tomorrow?

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      1. “is the national sport of watching from the sidelines. If a person has a fit, is attacked, raped, mugged or something similar happens to them, they’d be left to their own devices. A Finnish grandmother gets mugged while people watch. A diabetic falls down and has a fit, people will stand and watch. An African man gets beaten, people stand and watch. A young child runs around lost, people pretend not to notice. This is across the board: even you would not be helped. Why is that?”

        I think it is common knowledge in Finland that you can get in trouble with the law if you interfere with a criminal or even defend yourself against an attacker and Finns are overly sheepish in what comes to law and legalities, while, I think, the practice is that it is OK to use reasonable force.

        “Are we to infer that they do this because they’re capitalists?
        I fail to understand what capitalism has to do with the racist attack of a child?”

        It is the zero-sum-game that they promote. A racist falsely thinks that because there are refugees, there will be less money for him. I have patiently tried to explain them that even if there was miraculously a large sum of money in vaults, it would not be spent on ordinary Finns or the refugees or the war-veterans or the elderly, but on Guggenheim and the lavish luxuries of select few. I don’t know how successful I have been. While they are suspicious of all foreigners even working in the same shitty jobs they are and living in the same crappy neighborhoods they do, they are totally confident that some Björn Wahlroos is totally understanding of them just because he ate whitefish casserole as a child like every other Finn.

        “Does the fact that one is not making enough money justify taking it out on innocent people? Why can’t they take it out on the political system that drives such policies?”

        I have no idea. Some of us do, but our protests are weak and often ridiculed. Many of us are on the enemy lists of the National Resistance. I wonder why my name is not there. Perhaps it is cognitive dissonance. They still want to believe that zero-sum-game -crap that comes from all the media and it is weary to be a total dissident and reject propaganda, so they choose the easy way out. They were also raised Bourgeois. I was also raised Bourgeois, but doing crappy jobs, cleaning houses for rich people and carrying ads, boy, did I soon learn to think otherwise!

        “The supporters of the Finns party are not wealthy nor are they well educated. How else would you explain the clowns that they have sitting in the parliament?”

        Because James Hirvisaari and Hakkarainen and Oinonen are in good terms with Jesus and Hirvisaari sings Gospel and all that crap. They are most all idiots. People in the Coalition party are idiots, too, but they can usually conceal it better. For instance, Risikko is an idiot wanting slavery back to Finland, but few think she is as idiot as some Hakkarainen, but I am pretty sure she is. She is just more articulate idiot. Fortunately the Coalition Youth are totally open about arrogance, privilege and racism, so people are not fooled. Unless they want to be fooled, of course.

        ““Now, when the undesirables dont, it is time Finland learnt to deal with the plurality!” I am not sure I understand what you mean here. Who are the undesirable you’re referring to?”

        For instance the Communists had to leave after the civil war, beggars and other poor people left before WW I, lots of rural folks who did not find their place in cities left in the 1970’s for Sweden. They also caused troubles in Sweden, they were called the guerrillas of Slussen, so Sweden was sorted out what was the Finnish problem. Also, during the wars, children were sent to Sweden. Many homosexuals have moved to freer countries. Finland has always been outsourcing its problems to neighbors instead of dealing with them internally, unless prison camps for communists were that.

        “Stacy, keep soldiering on. If we all gave up, where would we be tomorrow?”

        I try to, but these people are like brainwashed, cannot speak any sense to them and they say the same about us. There are many good blogs that counter the radical right, namely Paljastettu 3 and Sakari Timonen’s blogs and some others. Radical right is trying to get those blogs shut and they keep intimidating bloggers, even sending death threats. I have not been on the line of fire myself, though, but I am sure that libel me as ruthlessly as they’ve libeled the others.
        They are a threat to democracy. Most Finns have been spoiled with peace in such a way that they do not love democracy any longer and are willing to give it away without a good fight.

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        1. Thank you Stacy for sharing your experiences. I agree with your summation that we are giving up democracy without a decent fight. My blog has been up less than a month and already I’m getting some interesting comments from some funny sources. Thankfully, I’ve been able to delete them without any further disturbances (knock on wood). So yes, I do understand and empathize with your sentiments.

          For the Finns following the law sheepishly, one is to infer that it is selective. Clearly the minority that attacked you and that attacked the young child are not sheepish. Imagine if we boldly stepped up and intervened. How cool would that be? I’d rather go to jail doing the right thing then be free having done an injustice by watching. Silence is equal to acceptance.

          Lastly, any shitty job is better than begging at the social office. Similarly, a crappy housing is better than being on the streets. One effective way of tackling racism is through unbiased representation of the migrant communities in the media. Other effective ways are availing jobs, increasing access to education beyond the ninth grade and educating the society about diversity.

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        2. I agree with you that it is better to go to jail than to watch injustice happening and that silence is accepting violence. Most Finns have not had a physical fight since the schoolyard while boneheads and other racists practice it regularly. We don’t have black belts in karate. I understand cowardice, but I do not accept it. I think many Somali women would greatly benefit from self-defense courses that are especially made for women.

          The situation with jobs is why I especially hate the right-wing parties. It seems to me that most racist incidents happen in public transportation and in the vicinity of railway and subway stations. If you can afford a car, you are protected. As a matter of fact, even riding a bike protects.
          With a shitty job you have to supplement it with welfare and the news is that people that were fooled to the elderly care will be laid-off or replaced with lower-paid workforce. In the janitorial business you are given zero-hour -contracts where that zero hours is more than just a probability. When the salaries erode, however, food, rent and transportation become more expensive. The neo-liberal politics of austerity is a downward spiral.

          Educating the society about diversity is often seen as biased propaganda, “left-wing, communist, pinko”, whatever. I suggest it would be good for Somalis and other immigrants to make friends with other Finns in the Facebook and in hobbies. I don’t know if I have such specific hobbies that do not attract immigrants, but I have never seen Somalis in my hobbies. Perhaps they are more in sports, like playing soccer, I don’t know.

          Education is a difficult issue. I crashed into one immigrant complaining how Finnish is taught in classes and that you cannot even take garbage out unless you know Finnish. That is not even enough. Where I live, they also require impeccable Swedish. The titles also become outdated. I started out as a “home aide”, but nowhere there is employment for home aides any longer, it is “practical nurse”, which is the same thing, basically, under different name, and now they are busy inventing yet another title with specific training. You always end up with some qualifications short, unless you are fresh out of school and then they say, “good, you don’t have enough work experience, but we can let you practice for free”. It is an unending circle of not being wanted anywhere!

          Basically, the downward spiral has to be reversed and there are no quick ways for that, leaving the euro, pissing off a lot of banks and rich people… at that point I’m sure the EU and the States make a “rescue operation”, a military invasion or a trade embargo… Finland would be a pariah state like Belarus, Cuba or Venezuela… but more and more people are willing to take the risk. Not the far-right, though, even though they are loud about it.

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  8. I am really ashamed of everybody that witnessed the horrible incident and did nothing! There is no excuse for behavior like that. I wish the mother and the children all the best and hope they will recover from this terrible experience. I as a mother of two children feel sick to my stomag of this act of violence towards little children.

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  9. This is beautifully written and very witty too. I had no idea of the kind of racism that Somali Finns endured before things got better. And the story about the mother in Pasila is just heart breaking, I could not believe that not even one person stepped up to do what was right.
    The world is getting smaller and smaller, and soon it will have no place for people who are not evolved enough to see past a persons physical appearance.
    Thanks your for doing your part to educate people about how to live in harmony.

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  10. As long as there are humans there will be also good and evil, friendly and racist people. I have been living in Africa as an European and I can tell that the racist people have there exactly the same arguments as they have here. If you work you are stealing someone’s job, if you don’t you are just having fun and not doing anything for the society. Anyways, wise and courageous words from the blogger!

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  11. Many thanks for the post. I have heard most of the issues highlighted but I must admit that this the first time I have seen it in black and white. And I must add that it was well coined. I am on the same page with you regarding your suggestions on the way forward. Most importantly, your admission of the existence of some form of haterate among us (immigigrants) is a step in the right direction. Problems must be admitted before solving them. From 2006 to date, the encounters i have heard includes a Somali calling me “black man”, “Finns telling me to go back to Africa”, raining insults, and so on. I considered each of these encounters as isolated acts and never tried to come up with sweeping statements or generalisations. When I narrated the black man issue to a fellow country mate, I was shocked to hear from him that all Somalis are like that. I told him that is impossible. That is like saying that all Finns are racist. That is not true either. Years later, I was vindicated when I met many well educated and responsible Somalis in seminars, schools and mosques. The more i get closer to them, the more I realise that the Somali who called me black was just drop out of the ocean. A similar interaction with Finns also revealed the same thing.
    Therefore, I would like to join you to call upon everyone to “engage the tolerant majority constructively”. This call includes my country mate who told me that all Somalis are like the one who called me black man, the racist, etc. All of them need to be better informed. Many thanks once again.

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    1. Hi there Anonymous. Please post your thoughts in the future in your own name. You have nothing to fear.

      As for the comments, I concur with you. The first time I heard the derogatory name “nigger” was in Somalia. At the time, a young African-American man was attacked and arrested in a taxi for being a “spy”. He was described as a “nigger”, with kinky hair and a big nose. Also the Bantu minority in Somalia got the short end of the stick as well. Shocking, right? But when that is used against us here, we are the first ones to shout racism with indignation. What goes around, comes around.

      Indeed, we need to also educate our migrant communities and to look the elephant in the room right in the eye. How do you propose that we proceed?

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  12. It was lovely of you to bring the truth out and write. The true racist and skinheads of Finland will never end. Even now they are in the government. I love your blog and keep up the good job dear sis. I am proud of you.

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  13. Good morning Silverleaf. That was precisely what I was going for! Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment. That is very thoughtful of you. I was not sure how the post would be understood and received. A blessed day to you.

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  14. This is so well written and thought out. The tendency, as your reader, was to rail against the ignorance and bigotry and unfairness and general outrage. But you took it, delicately, in a different direction and brought me, as your reader, with you. This is truly an art, the art of persuasion and of adept journalism. It should be published, far and wide.

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