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RACISM

Racism whistleblower faces ‘negro slave’ taunt

The man who reported two Lund University student groups over a party featuring guests dressed as "slaves" to be sold at auction has since been subjected to racial slurs at his workplace.

Racism whistleblower faces 'negro slave' taunt

Jallow Momodou of the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) reported Halland and Helsingkrona student associations for failing to take action when guests who arrived at “jungle parties” showed up with blackened faces and ropes around their necks.

Following news of his complaint, Momodou arrived at his office at Malmö University on Wednesday morning to find posters on the library bulletin board featuring his face superimposed on the image of a naked man in chains.

“Our negro slave has run away,” read the text on the posters.

Momodou, who had been alerted the night before that the posters may be circulating at the university, consulted the attending librarian.

He was told that a student had handed over a stock of similar posters on Tuesday night, which had apparently been printed out from the library computers.

“It felt awful…really, really bad,” Momodou told The Local.

While he was also angered by the posters Momodou said he isn’t surprised.

“For me it’s proof that racism really exists in Sweden and is on a level comparable to the southern United States in the 1970s,” he said.

Momodou has since reported the incident to the police.

And his supervisors and other high ranking officials at Malmö University all expressed their concern about the incident and promised to do what they could to ensure similar incidents didn’t occur in the future.

In an interview published later on Wednesday by Lund University’s student newspaper, Lundagård, controversial artist Dan Park, claimed responsibility for the posters.

“I want to make fun of the fact that people get upset about something like this,” he told the newspaper.

At the time, Park was putting up copies of the poster in Lund.

He believes reaction to the “slave auction” has been blown out of proportion.

“Certain people are always offended. They have no sense of humour,” he said.

Park was arrested while putting up the posters and is suspected of doing so without a permit. However, prosecutors will also look into whether he may be charged with racial agitation, the Expressen newspaper reports.

Now that the creator of the posters has been identified, however, Momodou hopes that the promises of action to address the incident will be realised.

“I’m really hoping and expecting that the university and police will take responsibility and show that such actions will not be tolerated,” he said.

Momodou also lamented that no politicians had publicly condemned the “slave auction” incident, calling the lack of response “tragic”.

“I’m a Swedish citizen and there are lots of Afro-Swedes who feel attacked by this,” he said.

Momodou emphasised, however, that he wouldn’t back down in the face of racism.

“I will not be intimidated,” he said.

“If anything, this encourages me to keep fighting for my rights.”

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RACISM

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize

The international civil rights movement Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation on Friday won Sweden's Olof Palme human rights prize for 2020.

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize
A Black Lives Matter protest in Malmö, June 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The foundation was honoured for its work promoting “peaceful civil disobedience against police brutality and racial violence all over the world,” prize organisers said in a statement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013 in the United States, has “in a unique way exposed the hardship, pain, and wrath of the African-American minority at not being valued equal to people of a different colour,” the statement said.

The movement had its major international breakthrough in the summer of 2020 following several cases of extreme brutality in the US, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Sweden's anti-racism protests aren't just about what's happening in other countries

Prize organisers noted that an estimated 20 million people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in the US alone, and millions more around the world.

“This illustrates that racism and racist violence is not just a problem in American society, but a global problem.”

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize worth $100,000 awarded by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund.

It commemorates the memory of Sweden's Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, an outspoken international human rights advocate — and vehement opponent of US involvement in the Vietnam War — who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986.

Since 1987 the award has honoured human rights defenders around the world including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

An online prize ceremony will take place in Stockholm on Saturday.

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