A political campaign poster, deemed to be openly racist in that it shows white sheep ostracising a black sheep, has been put up throughout Switzerland, provoking a storm of protest. The nationalist party which created it is proposing that all foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland should be deported, maybe even along with their families.
Ueli Maurer, the president of the Swiss People’s Party responsible says: “Black sheep means people or incidents which trouble us. Everyone would like to get rid of them but it has nothing to do with black or white in the context of racism.”
Others don’t see it that way. They say it is blatant xenophobia from a party which is the country’s largest, shares power in the coalition and controls the Justice ministry. Ronnie Bernheim of the Swiss Foundation against Racism said: “It is a bad way of politics but unfortunately, very often, including in this country, a successful one.”
The deportation scheme proposed harks back to Nazi-era practices when entire families could be expelled for the crime of one member. One man of Sudanese origin in Geneva said: “The symbolism is purely based on skin colour. For me, when I look at the poster I’m like, yeah, well its nothing new because I have lived here for nine years.” The Swiss People’s Party maintains that foreigners are four times more likely to commit crimes than Swiss nationals.