Racism: Swedish student leader appeal

(May 02, 2011)

A black Swedish student union leader who has been victimised in a campaign of hate is appealing to the UK Black community to spread the news about the racism he and students at Sweden’s Lund University have been subjected to.

Just over a week ago Jallow Momodou of the National Afro-Swedish Association reported two Lund student associations for failing to take action when guests for a ‘jungle party’ dressed as slaves with up with blackened faces and ropes around their necks to be sold at auction.

The University took no action and instead Jallow himself was subjected to a racial hate campaign.

Following his complaint, he 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.

The poster read ‘Our negro slave has run away’ Mr Momodou, who had been alerted the night before that the posters may be circulating at the university, consulted the attending librarian.

In a letter to Nu-Beyond’ founder Dr Lez Henry Jallow Momodou writes:

A racist spectacle was held at one of our most respected institutions for higher learning, Lund University. The incident took place on Saturday night April the 18th at a student dinner gathering at Lund University’s student’s nations. The students were painted in a racist depiction of blacks referred to as Black face bearing lynching ropes around their necks led by another white fellow student to represent a white “slave trader”. They were then sold in an auction as a joke!

The fact that the incident took place at a university suggests that there is a lack of awareness in Sweden of the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade in which Sweden played a significant but often overlooked roll. In fact Sweden was one of the last countries in Europe to abolish slave trade.

I took it upon me to report the racist incident to the police and the equality ombudsman, but since then, I have been the subject of racist reprisals. Apart from threats and a smearing campaign against me people have put up the attached manipulated poster of me represented as a slave in chains at my place of work but also around the city. Incidentally I also happened to works at Malmö University which is another seat of higher learning in Sweden.

This year have been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the year for people of African Descent in which the member countries plead to do their utmost so that people of African descent shall be able to fully enjoy their economical, cultural, civil, social and political rights. Given what have just transpired, I think it is imperative thatthis is brought to the attention of the government in Sweden so it can be addressed accordingly.

What measures will be taken in schools and universities towards this end and how the government will guarantee the safety of all the black people or for that matter other citizens who denounce racism. I humbly request you spread the news through you entire network to make sure that there is political pressure from outside Sweden (I have attached the picture that is being circulated and put up all around Malmö)”.

Dr Henry who was invited to Malmo University by Mr Momodou a few years ago to speak about the Chattel slave trade, said; “Having visited Malmo, I was not as shocked at the behaviour of the students as I was at the treatment Jallow has received, to the point where his family is in hiding due to the threats against their lives.  The offensive image of a chattel slave has been posted across the city and the authorities do not seem to be that bothered or attempting to act against this blatant act of racism.

"That is why people need those who expereince racism and work in that field to head the programmes that are commissioned to eradicate it. Otherwise nothing will change as many believe in the myth of multiculturalism in Western societies, yet this case demonstrates why it is not so as racism is alive and kicking and in these times of strangled economies it will get worse." Dr Henry concluded

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