Feature

Switzerland: We’re pioneers in crafting racist ads

Now a far-right group has upped the ante with its ads in support of a bill to automatically expel any foreigner who commits a crime, said Rachad Armanios in Le Courrier.

Rachad Armanios
Le Courrier

Switzerland has rapidly become the world leader in racist political posters, said Rachad Armanios. We started last year, with the infamous billboard that persuaded the country to ban minarets. It’s visually quite stunning: A forest of minarets, each one pointy as a spear and evocative of a missile, sprouts from the Swiss flag, while in the foreground a woman peers menacingly out of the eye-slits in her burqa. Then came the anti-immigration poster showing three white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the pasture.

Now a far-right group has upped the ante with its ads in support of a bill to automatically expel any foreigner who commits a crime. One poster consists of a photo of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and the words “He wants to destroy Switzerland”—a reference to the strained relations between Libya and Switzerland since 2008, when Qaddafi’s son was arrested in Geneva for allegedly assaulting two servants. In what it called “the best interests of the state,” the government has banned the Qaddafi posters. But thanks to the controversy they caused, the ads have already succeeded—everyone in Switzerland now knows what they say. The lesson is that extremist propaganda works. “In this game, democracy is taken hostage.”

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