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Brussels group slams 'slave auction' ruling

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 31 Oct 2011, 15:14

Published: 31 Oct 2011 15:14 GMT+01:00

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The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), based in Brussels, argued that the "slave auction" constituted racism and urged for the incident to be taken seriously.

"ENAR expresses its utter outrage that such actions remain unpunished and are not being condemned. Such proliferation of crude racism and incitement to hatred is totally unacceptable and needs to be treated with all the seriousness it deserves," the group wrote in a statement.

ENAR, who previously has expressed their disgust at the incident in an open letter to democracy minster Birgitta Ohlsson, has now slammed Sweden for not meeting its obligations in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

"In Sweden, the legislation that is meant to protect the human rights of every individual only exists in theory but not in practice when it comes to protecting minority rights," the group argued.

The incident, where three people with blackened faces and ropes around their necks were led into the hall by a "slave trader" and later sold, occurred at student association Halland Nation in April.

It was reported to the police by the Afro-Swedish Association.

After the incident, posters depicting the association's chairman, Jallow Momodou, in chains started appearing in several public places in Lund and at Malmö University College.

While the artist responsible for the posters, Dan Park, was charged on Thursday with both hate speech and defamation, the association argued that the decision not to prosecute the students exposed a situation where Afro-Swedes do not enjoy the same protection before the law in Sweden as other groups.

"The prosecutor's decision to not press charges... reveals that in Sweden this protection exists only in legal terms and in a false Swedish self-picture of tolerance and openness," the association wrote in a statement.

Story continues below…

The district prosecutor Mattias Larsson explained his decision on Friday by saying that the students' intent to "show contempt for a people" couldn't be proved and thus did not constitute hate speech.

"It was a costume party really, and that has to be considered in this case," he said to the local Sydsvenskan daily on Friday.

The Afro-Swedish Association however argued in a separate statement that the ruling indicates that anyone is free to "ridicule black people - as long as you dress up" and argued that slavery is not treated as seriously as crimes such as the Holocaust.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:42 October 31, 2011 by Abe L
If you intend to loose all your credibility as a anti-something organization running of public funding then getting angry over a student event is absolutely the way to go.
17:46 October 31, 2011 by lovedealer76
Well what can one say here,swedes strongly believe they are immune to international accusation/criticism,they're always right,aren't you swede?
19:40 October 31, 2011 by skatty
If I have been the judge of this case, then I would study the case more carefully. I would accept the case as a "costume party" and not related to race if the participant in the party just used costume to present themselves as slave.

As far as I know (by the articles from The Local, and if I consider the articles are true) some participant in the party showed up with blackened faces and rope around their necks in their "jungle party". This is a kind of racism act; it's not "costume party". I mean generally, if somebody (white) color the face or body to black and show up as a black slave then the case should be consider a racial and racism case. If the participant wouldn't color themselves to black and just would appear with a rope around their neck with their own white color, then it could be considered as a "costume party". There are many kids, who wear Indian costume to play cowboy and Indian fight, but even kids don't color their faces to red, or at least I have never seen it before!
19:44 October 31, 2011 by ?????
"a false Swedish self-picture of tolerance and openness"!!!!!

False? I'd say it demonstrates exactly what tolerance and openness really is. They tolerated students having a party! Oh, what a crime! I'd also say prosecute those who dress up like women for insulting the opposite sex, those who dress up like devils for insulting the church, those who dress up like Vikings for insulting the countries that Vikings attacked, and so on...

Is getting a life that difficult for some people?
19:48 October 31, 2011 by HYBRED
"The Afro-Swedish Association however argued in a separate statement that the ruling indicates that anyone is free to "ridicule black people - as long as you dress up" and argued that slavery is not treated as seriously as crimes such as the Holocaust."

What is this statement, a freakin' joke? Do a search on any search engine on modern day slavery/human trafficking and you will find a whole host of groups fighting against it.

It would appear that the Afro-Swedish Association is leaning on some 200+year old slave times to promote themselves and their opinions. And with their name it would indicate they are only concerned with slaves with African heritage. What aout all the others?

Talk about a bunch of racist biggots.

And right on time we have another funded group in Brussels shooting off their mouth. And look how long it took them. It should be a human right not to be subjected to soome of these groups in Brussels. Even their sprouts suck.
20:10 October 31, 2011 by skatty

As a matter of fact all of them, who you mentioned; the dressed up like women, devils and Vikings, have been prosecuted in different part of the world, in different times during the history!
20:42 October 31, 2011 by Grokh
good, throwing a few dumb people in jail for acting stupidly is not a priority there are alot more people that belong in jail instead of a few moronic students.
20:42 October 31, 2011 by skogsbo
the world needs to move, there has been to much of this president or minister apologising for act carried out by folks ancestors ages ago. What about vicar and tarts parties? They are kids, in Sweden they don't grow up until at least 24/25 when they have been out of uni. They may not have acted perfectly, but I'm sure they have learned that by now. If it wasn't a themed party then that would be different, either way it's no hanging offence. Some folk are far too offended on other people behalf! The only person who could be offended if they saw it, would be someone who has been kept as a slave themselves, I doubt there are many in Lund, well those kept as such against their will anyway!
20:52 October 31, 2011 by Kaethar
I agree with Mattias Larsson. Motive is everything when proving a hate crime. Dressing up as slaves at a costume party is not indicative of harmful intent. Sure, some people may be offended by it but there are people offended by everything. As another posted had said do you want to make cross-dressing illegal as well because it may offend someone?

A ruling like this makes me proud to live in Sweden since it shows openness and tolerance of people with different opinions than your own. If ENAR and the Afro-Swedish Association want to be taken seriously perhaps they should focus on actual prejudice and discrimination in society. Going after how people dress is only going to open them up to ridicule by the vast majority of the population (both in Sweden and in Europe) when their presence is in fact recquired for issues regarding actual racism.
21:27 October 31, 2011 by Migga
It`s not a human right to not be offended. It`s disgusting to see that some people want to hang these students out to dry on an international and national level. All because of a costume at a costume party. It has gotten way out of proportion.
23:10 October 31, 2011 by Uncle
"In Sweden, the legislation that is meant to protect the human rights of every individual only exists in theory but not in practice when it comes to protecting minority rights," the group argued."

No, the energy is definitely directed towards the correct country. Oh, the evils of Sweden!

Who cares about Sudan that kills millions on the basis of race and religion, who gives a jack about the Tigers in Sri Lanka, berbers in N. Africa, kurds in Turkey and Iran, pygmies who are legal CURRENT slaves, whites in Zimbabwe, indian tribes in S. America, Aborigines, "russification" of northern nomads in Russia, racist clashes in Kosovo, situation of blacks in the Persian Gulf, Gypsies in Eastern Europe, Innu people in Canada, chinese in Indonesia, jews in arab states...

Who cares about all of these, when Sweden did not PUNISH people after the COURT decision has been made according to every European rule of independent trial? Let's invest out time in this, since the situation everywhere else is GREAT!
23:45 October 31, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
What if they had dressed as white slaves?

Throughout mans history there have been more white slaves than black!

If they were portrayed as white slaves...who would complain???... Yeah, right!!!
01:01 November 1, 2011 by matona1
the slaves and master issue is beyond just costume,many people are still slave in their own land,slavery is not a thing of physical all the time is a thing of mind,we blacks should stop blaming any one for our misterious life,every resources you can think f is in africa but still yet we are still a slave of wealth.
05:09 November 1, 2011 by Fredio
The unfortunate repeat of evils of past (History) is as a result of 'sweeping them under the carpet' and not teaching the young ones what their forefathers did to other and how evil and wickedness was once and still being glorified (Only in a slightly different way).

The mockery of the millions of souls that was brutally murdered and subjected to an unimaginable gruesomeness, in any form or manner should not be a think to make fun with. Yes some argued they were just students, but that is how it all starts, from making fun of it to putting it in practice, Hitler youth had such fun too. Sometimes people are quick to forget the evil they did to others but those that such evil are directed at may not forget it so easily and that is why at a slightest opportunity, you may see some act that may see 'senseless' to some, but to those who perpetrate such act, they will see it as a 'justified revenge'.

Honestly Sweden is sliding slowly into murky waters or morally bankrupt countries of 'imperialistic hawks'. Their (Swedish) involvement in a genocidal war and atrocities in Libya, has made many to start to look at Sweden differently from their known 'neutrality' from aggression and bully state. The lame excuse of 'obeying UN resolution' of stopping 'Gadhafi' from killing his people, yet went in and bomb o pieces tens of thousands of 'same' civilians that they claimed to have gone in to 'protect' leaves a sickening taste in the mouth of every rational person with some element of sanity or justice.

It is outrageous that countries (West) that claims to be 'democratic' or even civilised could sponsor known terrorists and helped them carry out coup d' tat with destruction of thousands of lives and leveling of the whole country with bombs.. Ironically, they claimed not have money to help Greece, or Portugal out of their economic problems, not to mention their claim of not having money to drop help to thousands that are dying every second of starvation in East African, not so far from Bomb riddled Libya!

Lesson of the past has never been learnt, and the repeat seems to be ongoing, else the same attitude of being 'masters' to Africa is what made NATO/West to go on uncontrolled 'Rambo' rampage of bombing senselessly (Even against their own runs) a whole population and country, without pausing a minute to ask, how they will feel should their countries be destroyed same way by forces whose intention was as clear as light. That NATO/West claimed to be interested in 'protecting civilian' is so cheap that even fools will not buy it. When a single bomb out of countless thousands dropped in Libya could feed a whole town in the starving neighboring countries.
05:53 November 1, 2011 by Kevin Harris
In Sweden, the rule of law supercedes the mob,s demand for revenge.

The members of ENAR, often come from countries where that is not the case. It is no suprise they do not understand the prosecutor,s decision.
11:13 November 1, 2011 by rise
Did they succeed in selling the slaves? There's only mention about the auction but no telling if any slaves were actually sold.
11:22 November 1, 2011 by Migga

Sweden hasn`t dropped one bomb over Libya. Get your facts straight before you open your mouth or you will just look dumb. Sweden is a peaceloving country and has been like that for the last 200 years. No other country in the world comes close. And how you can talk about Sweden going into "murky waters" after a student costume party is ridicolous. Get your proportions in line.
11:45 November 1, 2011 by RobinHood

Er, which "genocidal war" are you suggesting Sweden is/was involved in? Could it be that Sweden has fought a "genocidal war" without anybody noticing. Or are you a bit loopy?
12:13 November 1, 2011 by ?????

"No other country in the world comes close"

hmm, Switzerland for a start?
13:06 November 1, 2011 by Migga
@ ?????

My bad, I thought Switzerland were involved in the world wars somehow. Sweden is still number one tho. With a couple of years to spare.
15:01 November 1, 2011 by Uncle

It is interesting. Whatever you are doing is not even invented by muslims or European socialists. This is a propaganda development of USSR. First rule - deny the truth. Second rule - exaggerate whatever the enemy is doing. Third rule - say it often enough to become truth, even is not related to the topic.

"What uprising in Hungary/Czechoslovakia? This bunch of imperialist paid terrorists?" or "What invasion into Afghanistan/Angola? It is merely assistance to our worker brothers"

Arafat was instructed not to ever mention the size of Israel. Soviets also were experts in "photoshopping" pictures already in the 30's, (the way some photoshop smoke above Beirut).

Soviets also described the horrors of life in the US, while rotting millions of their own people in concentration camps. They described the nightmare of European "regimes", while glorifying socialist dictators in Africa and Asia.

So what you are doing now was indeed a good example of Grandpa Stalin thinking. It is OBVIOUS to all that there were no thousands who got killed under carpet bombing of NATO. Nevertheless, claiming it may create a truth in some future. It is clear to everyone that muslim rulers in Lybia, Yemen, Syria and Iran has much less consideration of human life and much less precision weapons than the west. But NOT SAYING it may make people forget.

Good job. Obvious, but still a good try.
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