Refugees and Rape, Wrong Man Selected as the Athlete of the Year and Clowns VS Bigots

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Javelin thrower Tero Pitkämäki receiving a high five after being announced as the Athlete of the Year at the Sports Gala at Helsinki Arena on Tuesday January 5 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Javelin thrower Tero Pitkämäki receiving a high five after being announced as the Athlete of the Year at the Sports Gala at Helsinki Arena on Tuesday January 5 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The shocking comments of the Helsinki deputy police chief, Ilkka Koskimäki, caused an uproar last week after he insisted that sexual assaults in the streets of the capital were unknown before the refugee-wave hit ashore in 2015. The essence of the article was his controversial words while Koskimäki sitting high enough to have a birds-eye-view. I also happened to witness a scene during the New Year’s celebrations that possibly was related to the events. No xenophobia here. Just a journalist doing his work.

Nevertheless, Koskimäki’s comments and my observations, whether accurate or not, get buried under the heavy hammer of statistics, when looking at the big picture.

In 2015, about 20 refugees were suspected of sexual assaults from a total of 931 reported cases of rape and aggravated rape, according to Tommi Ree, the superintendent of the National Police Board. The number equals 2.148 per cent of the total. Less than a drop in the Töölö Bay.

On another note, the statistics reveal that the migrants who arrived in Finland seem to have a relatively short fuse. They are a suspect of more than 200 assaults last year. The migrants, however, were not on a killing spree attacking native Finns – the hallucinated nightmare brought up multiple times in the speeches of bigots. The vast amount of the brawls were between the refugees themselves.

The vast amount of the brawls were between the refugees themselves.
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Tero Pitkämäki carrying his awards. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

I attended the Sports Gala last week’s Tuesday at the Helsinki Arena. It’s an annual event where, among others, the Athlete of the Year is selected by the critical jury of the National Organisation of Sports Journalists’. I’ve got major problems with some of the selections.

I can’t understand how the javelin thrower, Tero Pitkämäki, won the Athlete of the Year award for the third time. Don’t get me wrong, Pitkämäki is talented and one of the best javelin throwers to ever have pushed off from this frosty country, but he came third in the World Championships in Athletics in Peking in July.

Let me suggest a few alternatives for the prize.

How about Jenna Laukkanen? A young swimmer in her ’20s, who won gold in women’s breaststroke in both 50 and 100 metres courses in the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Israel in December.

3×180 paused, long stroke A video posted by Freddi Smulter (@superhurri) on

Or Fredrick Smulter, 31, the world champion of bench press, taking off from his family piggery turned into a gym in Ostrobothnia? He won the title in Sweden in May in the category of men weighting over 120 kilos. I had a brief conversation with him at the gala.

Why didn’t you receive recognition at the gala? Why didn’t you receive any award?

“It just goes without saying that some sports are considered above others,” Smulter said in a tailored dark suit matching his dark short hair and square jaw. It’s not easy to find a proper jacket, when one’s chest measurement is one and a half meters. “I was bitter at first. But I got over it.”

“It just goes without saying that some sports are considered above others.”

The treatment fullfills the word unfair in so many ways. The man, after all, won the title as a result of extending 401 kilos! Clean of doping, if I may add. He could push off his chest five sports writers, weighing an average of 85 kilos but he was not even listed among the 85 candidates for the Athlete of the Year award . . .

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Heavyweight boxer Robert Helenius cheering after winning the European championship title at Helsinki Arena on December 19 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

My third shot for the winner is the one and only, heavyweight boxer Robert Helenius, 32. He has overcome a gold medal worth of injuries and bullshit from his previous team and doubters. The undefeated Helenius is one which Russians would call a real man, muzhik. In December, he pocketed another scalp after winning the European championship title in a thrilling fight under the eyes of a home audience of over 13,000 at Helsinki Arena. Helenius’ placing among the candidates is 51 . . . and so I crunch the list into trash bin. “I wish that Finland will do better in sports next year, so that the Athlete of the Year award is not won with a bronze medal,” Pitkämäki said in his award speech.

“I wish that Finland will do better in sports next year, so that the Athlete of the Year award is not won with a bronze medal.”

Meanwhile, a group of clowns, Loldiers of Odin, is representing Finland in the headlines across the globe. On Saturday, they hopped through the centre of Tampere dressed as a bunch of clandestine clowns, to meet and make fun of their primary target: Soldiers of Odin, a street patrol, formed to “fight the fear caused by immigrants.” Especially among women.

Loliders of Odin, a street group founded to oppose and make fun of the anti-immigrant group 'Soldiers of Odin', patrolling in Tampere on Saturday January 16 2016. Picture: Loldiers of Odin

Loliders of Odin, a street group founded to oppose and make fun of the anti-immigrant group ‘Soldiers of Odin’, patrolling in Tampere on Saturday January 16 2016. Picture: Loldiers of Odin

 

Soldiers of Odin would prohibit the practice of Islam in Finland. Picture: Soldiers of Odin

Soldiers of Odin would prohibit the practice of Islam in Finland. Picture: Soldiers of Odin

Soldiers of Odin, which originates from the northern city of Kemi, consists of about 400-500 people in the whole country. They say their members are “ordinary citizens” with a mission to “secure the streets of Finland in as many cities as possible.”

While Soldiers of Odin hit the streets of Tampere on Saturday night, Loldiers of Odin cartwheeled the same streets with a group of 20 people in a frost of about -17 degrees.

In a video, a tall man dressed in a purple-striped bathrobe and a helmet with horns and wearing a mask with a thick beard, high fives people having a smoke outside the bars. “I am Odin,” he exclaimed referring to the one-eyed god of war and death and the sky as well as wisdom and poetry in Norse mythology.

The video climaxes with the clowns going toe-to-back against Soldiers of Odin, about a dozen guys, many wearing bomber jackets walking away in a tidy line along the zebra crossings. “When we meet next time, we’ll have brand new fun and games!” the clowns sing while shaking tambourines.

However, the video doesn’t show the peace-making tactics of the police, who visited the scene with a mission to de-escalate the provocative measures of the clowns. Maybe it was because the lack of drama: no one was apprehended nor did anyone file a report of an offence.

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Odin, the Wanderer by Georg von Rosen 1886.

Hilmar Örn, the head of an old pagan Norse religion Ásatrú Association, a subset of Heathenism, is sad because one of their most important gods is associated with an anti-immigrant association. “It’s terrible. Those people don’t understand the whole point,” he said in an interview for NYT.

He gets stunned again and again after extreme right-wing organisations use Norse mythology as a tool of their hate. Heathenism is a religion of tolerance and conservation. “Heathenism is in practice a beautiful model for multiculturalism,” he said.

Örn gets stunned again and again after extreme right-wing organisations use Norse mythology as a tool of their hate.

One of the most important principles of the Ásatrú Association is to treat the fellow human  with respect, whether one is the host or a guest. “It has nothing to do with white supremacy,” Örn said.

According to Soldiers of Odin, “80 per cent of the amount refugee tourists should be diminished.” In addition, “the practice of Islam should be banned in Finland.” But hey, one can’t argue that Soldiers of Odin is a cool name, involving a one-eyed god and all that . . . “We were pondering on many names for our group during last September. ‘Soldiers of Odin’ was the best according to the majority of our group,” said the head of the organisation, Mika Ranta, and rank-and-filer, Kimmo Oksman, in an interview for a blog at a gas station in Kemi.