Visa Ban on Senegalese Artists is Racist

Ban is part of racism and discrimination of immigrants in Sweden

As mentioned earlier in one of the articles at KSB, the Senegalese Artist Titti will not be on board during the 2010 Africa Night Cruise because Senegalese artists are currently not being granted visas to Sweden. Due to this reality, the organizers of the Africa Night Cruise eliminated Titti from the Artist list so as to avoid last minute disappointments.

According to ABC News of September 23rd 2010, the former Swedish Ambassador to Senegal, Agneta Bohman, says that Senegalese Artists have tended to “abuse their visas” and that this is the sole reason why they are currently being denied visas to Sweden.

The Ambassador has since been reported to the Swedish Justice Department by Christoffer Wetterström, a Music producer, who told ABC that his firm has lost millions of Swedish Kronors in income because of the visa ban imposed on Senegalese artists.

In reality, the hardline stand on the issuance of visas is an official government policy that affects not just Artists from Africa but the general Immigrant community in Sweden. The ban is a direct response to extreme Right wing politics based on anti-immigration policies aimed at closing down European boarders to non-Europeans and blocking asylum seekers from entering Europe. This Policy is part of the general “Protectionist program” of the wider European Union countries that have been lurching from one crisis to another following the deepening crisis of capitalism internationally.

Overproduction of goods especially in the advanced capitalist countries without a corresponding growth in domestic markets has led to close down of many industries and factories across Europe and this tendency has created huge structural unemployment in many European countries including Sweden. The situation has been exacerbated by greedy currency speculators whose retrogressive economic activities have stagnated investment in employment creating ventures and facilitated crises in the Banking industry.

With millions of European youths out of work, and with the failure of European governments to blame the crisis on a failing economic system, immigrants have become easy scape-goats to help divert attention from the main issues. To appease the national white populations and to prevent European youths from seeking the root cause of the problem (this could breed revolutions), many governments in Europe are focusing on limiting immigration and this explains the general visa ban on non-white people seeking to enter Europe regardless of the legitimacy of their reasons for seeking to travel. The inevitable consequence has been the growth of xenophobia, racism and discrimination of non-white people across Europe.

The dilemma is that the “Zero immigration” policy being practiced by sitting governments is a replica of policies being peddled by the extreme Right-wing parties like Sweden Democrats which scooped 20 seats in the just concluded Swedish General elections.

While the visa ban on Senegalese Artists seeking to perform in Sweden ought to be condemned, it also needs to be put into its proper perspective because the ban is an extension of racism and discrimination of immigrants in the job and housing market across Sweden, a problem which will never be resolved through Right wing politics that has attracted a tiny number of Swedes who voted for Sweden Democrats.

Okoth Osewe

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