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Sunday Aug 21, 2011
The public discussion in Northern Europe that followed the Utøya-massacre in Norway has been characterized by attempts to silence the political opposition. The popular opinion among the political left in Northern Europe is that Anders Behring Breivik’s monstrosities are a result of toxic and contagious hate speech which led him to murder 77 people.
The past month has witnessed a birth of a new age which is suggestive of a Kafkaesque spirit in Nordic political discourse. The accusers are pointing fingers at people whose names appear in Breivik’s manifesto and in other dubious forums, mainly online. The accused can only fight the accusations by claiming that they cannot control when and where their names appear.
One of the first victims of the new zeitgeist was Jussi Halla-aho a Finnish MP for the The Finns, and whose name appears in Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto. This led the party secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Mikael Jungner, to demand that Halla-aho resign from his post as the chairman of the parliament’s administration committee.
The chairman of the Left Alliance and the current culture minister of Finland, Paavo Arhinmäki accused many of his fellow MP’s of quietly tolerating hate speech. He added that in the case of the massacre in Norway, “silence is a sign of approval”.
In the light of these comments, it is interesting to note that Arhimäki has been at the forefront of bringing football hooliganism to Finland which is arguably one of the most violent and hateful sub-cultures in Europe. Arhinmäki was also one of the organizers of Smash Asem and was arrested during a violent demonstration. The sole purpose of the demonstration was to wreak havoc in Helsinki.
Whether sports or politics, minister Arhinmäki has been one of the protagonists of organized hate speech.