Thursday, January 14, 2016

Anti-immigrant 'Soldiers of Odin' raise concern in Finland

Europe has always been racist. It was no accident that since the days of colonization of the vast territories of Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand it only brought destruction, death, and suffering on others. And as Malcolm X had so brilliantly said (in another context), such criminal activities had to eventually rock the boat inside Europe, or as he said, "The Chickens Come Home to Roost." 
In the last 100 years, we, therefore,  witnessed the First and Second World Wars, Bosnian ethnic cleansing, let alone the Holocaust - all emanating from Europe. While it has stopped shedding blood of its own kind in the last few years, Europe has not stopped killing others. In the last three decades alone, it not only laid the foundation for what now seems to be perennial wars in the territories spanning from Pakistan to Nigeria, but also participated in actual killing of people in those territories (with its boots on the ground and dropping bombs and missiles from the air and water), which did not spare civilians, even children. 
As a result of those decades of criminal activities, refugee problem has now become a reality. Even the refugees are knocking on the doors of Europe - seemingly the only continent (outside, of course, far away North America) that seemed to them safe to raise the surviving family members. 
And the Europeans are upset with this turn of events, even in Germany in spite of Chancellor Merkel's noble attempt to provide shelter in her country to some of the fleeing refugees.

But outside Germany, most European nations are not so welcoming. Consider Finland. Yes, that cold, God-forsaken Finland where no one truly wants to settle in, and surely not from hot climate areas, unless that is the only option left behind. From my years of globe trotting, I know from my own experience and encounters with the Finns, most Finns are tired of living in their own country. Every opportunity that they get to settle in North America is grabbed by them. But they are opposed to sheltering refugees who probably has not found any other alternative place. They don't see any problem with their hypocritical attitude!

Wearing black jackets adorned with a symbol of a Viking and the Finnish flag, the "Soldiers of Odin" have surfaced as self-proclaimed patriots patrolling the streets to protect native Finns from immigrants, worrying the government and police.
On the northern fringes of Europe, Finland has little history of welcoming large numbers of refugees, unlike neighboring Sweden. But as with other European countries, it is now struggling with a huge increase in asylum seekers and the authorities are wary of any anti-immigrant vigilantism.
A group of young men founded Soldiers of Odin, named after a Norse god, late last year in the northern town of Kemi. This lies near the border community of Tornio, which has become an entry point for migrants arriving from Sweden.
Since then the group has expanded to other towns, with members stating they want to serve as eyes and ears for the police who they say are struggling to fulfill their duties.
While most Finns disapprove of the group, its growth signals disquiet in a country strained by the cost of receiving the asylum seekers while mired in a three-year-old recession that has forced state spending and welfare cuts.

Finnish police have also reported harassment of women by "men with a foreign background" at New Year celebrations in Helsinki, as well as at some public events last autumn.
You can read the full story by clicking here.

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