October 2, 2015
A refugee in Oulu, Finland: “I would feed this food only to a dog – or woman!”
“They have their own menu tailored for them according to their wishes”, says the manager of the meal service.
About 70 asylum seekers marched yesterday afternoon seven kilometres from the Hiukkavaara refugee centre to the Oulu police station, escorted by police.
No one really knew what was the reason for this demonstration. The so-called refugees had been complaining of their living conditions at the old army barracks, as well as the food, and it turned out at the police station that food was the culprit.
One Iraqi asylum seeker had carried with him a plate of white rice, declaring that it was fit for dogs to eat, and women, but not men like him.
After the asylum seekers had demonstrated their disgust to the media for a few hours, they accepted to be transported back to their quarters in Hiukkavaara, by the police and volunteer workers.
Today some research was done as to their food. It turned out to be lactose-free and modified to the asylum seekers’ needs.
The plate that the asylum seeker was so flamboyantly presenting to the media as dog food, was, indeed, rice, but without the beef and vegetable sauce, and the sallad that goes with the dish.
“The demonstration was a great surprise for us”, says the service production manager Pauliina Värttö from Oulun Serviisi that provides the food to the refugee centre.
“They have their own menu tailored for them.”
“Soups, porridges and potatoes are not to their liking, apart from the rice porridge, so we don’t offer them. Even for the rice we have considered different alternatives to offer variety”, explains Värttö.
Värttö says that the asylum seekers eat a lot more than other customers.
“One serving may include eight hamburger patties and ten boiled eggs. We deliver them substantially more food than to any other place we serve.”
So, if the culprit is not, in reality, the food, what could it be?
The real reason might be that Finland has now decided to suspend all asylum requests made by Iraqis and Somalis, and re-evaluate their need for asylum as for example Sweden sees that Iraq and Somalia are safe countries.
About 80 per cent of all asylum seekers coming to Finland are from Iraq, and about 10 per cent from Somalia. Almost all of them are men. And they came to Finland from Sweden.
These Iraqis and Somalis came to Finland hoping for life-long support. Anxiety may escalate quickly if the prospect changes to deportation. No-one knows who these people really are and what they are capable of, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that tragedies will be avoided.