She was eight years old and boarding a commuter train in Helsinki when a man pushed her off the train back onto the platform and muttered, “get out of my way, you little monkey.” Amai Farah Abdi is the child of Somali immigrants who are trying to create a new life far from the madness and chaos of their native land. Her father said Amai had merely come to get money from him to purchase a transit pass when she encountered the bigot on the train. Fortunately, for Amai there was a decent woman who gently got her back on the train and protected the child from further abuse.
Anna Rastas wrote a doctoral thesis on the topic of treatment of immigrant children in Finland including those who were adopted and those who came with parents. After interviewing dozens of children she encountered repeated stories about prejudice and bigotry. Rastas believes many Finns are so unaccustomed to prejudice against children they are bewildered in how to react. Do they speak out, watch and shake a head or take action? Children often are always confused and many do not speak to parents and teachers about these incidents.
It might be wise for Finnish educators to develop programs which confront these issues and assist both victims and those on the sidelines of the importance of not merely speaking about them, but taking legal action.