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Astrid Thors' asylum seekers Astrid Thors' asylum seekers
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-11-26 07:11:56
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The headline was “Finland plans to review benefits granted to asylum seekers, says Astrid Thors, Minister for Migration and European Affairs” and you start wandering how much these people are getting so the ministry is seriously thinking to review them?

Apparently it all started from a Finnish newspaper that checked how much asylum seekers take in a Sweden and Germany then compared them with what they take in Finland and they decided that this was the problem with the recession, but I will return to the newspaper later. The point is that instead of giving a proper answer Ms Astrid Thors promised a …reviewing!

But let’s start in a different way, first of all the people who are asylum seekers are people who didn’t move to find a better life, to get better education or become rich are people who are running for their life. These people are hunted in their own countries for their ideas, for racial or prejudice reasons, they have been tortured and imprisoned and their life is in danger and it is not because the United Nations protects them but because it is our obligation as democratic states to protect them and save their lives. These people didn’t choose their destiny, they were forced into it, and they are forced to seek for settler. These people probably left behind them families, fortunes and riches and it is our obligation to help them at least to keep their dignity. None of us would like to be in their place and remembering the regrets all of us in Europe have for what happened in our home with the holocaust is enough.

Then Finland is not exactly the country with the huge number of asylum seekers. If we start with the millions from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and Sudan who need a safe settler that the number of asylum seekers in Finland for the year 2008 was 4,035 with 89 of them granted asylum sounds so sad especially compared – just like the newspaper did – with the over 300,000 for the year 2000 in UK; 250,000 for the year 2000 in Germany; or if you need a smaller country the nearly 70,000 in Austria. Something also interesting is that over 57% of them have their asylum granted. Again, compared all that with the 4,035 asylum seekers in Finland and 89 of them granted asylum the numbers are sad, really sad anyway you look at it.

They are sad because there millions of people who seeking asylum and it is sad that we don’t granted to all of them. And remember, we are not talking about migration, financial immigration, illegal immigration, love immigration; we are talking about people WE ARE OBLIGE TO HELP. And please don’t tell me that not all of them deserve asylum. Perhaps there are five ten out of the four thousands who don’t but the rest of them don’t take it mainly for political reasons. And I will explain this political reasons, the state doesn’t care if in Iran homosexuality is punished with imprisonment or death, what the state cares about is what short of relationship they have with Iran. That a woman will be executed in Egypt for her religious believes doesn’t touch the state as long they don’t spoil their relations with Egypt. That’s why you get in the end only 89 granted asylum and the rest living with the guillotine over their heads.

But coming now to the money, what is enough and what is too much? I never understood that and the newspaper is very kind to inform us that a family of five asylum seekers in Finland gets 1,300 Euros a month plus a place to live! And is this considered privilege? When they say family if five they mean mother, father and three kids? Blimey! And how they live with 1,300 Euros a month? This is not Greece or Spain where the basic salary is 800 Euros a month! This is Finland and you expect a family with three kids to live with 1,300 a month? I’m not going to say anything about their residence. The only thing you have to do is just visit the one in Helsinki to understand. In a country where there parks and forests everywhere there is a concrete building with concrete yard and barbwire around where the asylum seekers settle!

But let’s return to Germany for example and it is easy to check it online. The asylum seekers first of all take money which are called “pocket money”, they get assistance in any excused expense and financial support for the kids and their expenses and that’s because until the day the courts will decide their situation they are not allowed to work. After three months staying in the reception center they can move to renitence or a hostel which of course the state pays. The same time with the new immigration laws they are taking language lessons and of course all the kids follow school, German public school. Of course they get full health cover that includes psychological support.

The Finnish newspaper had every right to publish something like that and it had the same right to publish the latest news about Raikonen, the latest celebrity’s new boyfriend or Michael Jackson’s glove but the minister of Migration and European affairs should answer that the Finnish policy for asylum seekers is there to help people and not that she is reviewing it. Actually what the minister Astrid Thors must do is talk with the other European partners and bringing the example of Finland make them review their benefits policy. If the asylum refugees in Sweden take half of the benefits then this is embarrassing for Sweden and not for Finland.

Finally I have to say that it makes me proud to live in a country that takes care of the asylum seekers, people we are oblige to help; a country that can become an example to all the European states for that than I am for a country that is proud for a formula 1 driver and a grotesque rock group that won the Eurovision contest and I hope Ms Astrid Thors realize that before moving her reviewing!


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Emanuel Paparella2009-11-26 10:27:36
The status of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers would be much less of a social problem were the all nations of the EU more mindful of their millenial heritage which prescribes that "You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Deut. 10:19


Joe2009-11-26 18:14:08
Jesus Christ! Any more of this Marxist's garbage and I am gonna vomit!


Eero Nevalainen2009-11-26 18:47:25
Astrid Thors is probably the most incompetent and ideologically driven minister in recent memory... I wonder what that person is still doing in government.

These asylum seekers that people like Halla-aho (peace be upon him) talk about have nothing to do with proper "refugees". They just show up at the border, probably trafficked, destroy their documents, lie their age and so on, and start getting disco-money... and soon pull in half their clan.

And by the way, did you publish this piece in Swedish too to make some kind of a "Finland is a bilingual country!!1" point? It is remarkable how stuff like that just has to be done as a matter of principle to satisfy ideological goals and desires :-)


Thanos2009-11-26 20:13:09
Eero the reason i published the text in Swedish has none of those aims, the simple reason is that we lack articles in the Swedish language even though we cover a lot of the main European including Finnish and we thought that it is about time to add some in Swedish. you must have seen that we did the same with another article about ...Zimbabwe!

Joe the beauty of internet is that you have a choice, nobody forces you to read it!

Emanuel, I think prejudice screams like the one from that newspaper just deepen the problems with the refugees than helping and immigration is something that we have to accept and make the best of it than complaining. Apart of that I think that Finland has very good immigration laws and they keep them (even though sometimes they need to be more flexible.


Edna2009-11-26 23:35:55
Thank you so much Thanos for writing about this. I have had the same thoughts myself!


ap2009-11-27 19:39:40
Finland has very good emmigration laws, not very good immigration laws. Apparently the Finns are much better received elsewhere than they receive.


Eva2009-11-28 01:38:42
ap - I agree!


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