YASIIN BEY AND HIS FAMILY’S POSSIBLE DEPORTATION FROM SOUTH AFRICA

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For several months now, a petition asking Africa to grant asylum to so-called African-Americans has been circulating on the internet. The letter, addressed “Dear African Governments”, lists real reasons for this decision; frustration with neo-slavery, police brutality, discrimination at different levels, disparities in economic statuses, amongst other complaints. Stacey Dash, actress from “Clueless” seemingly still “Clueless” in a recent interview stated that we need to stop playing the victim To some even amongst our own people say that is all we do is complain. However, the question has yet been asked “If we were recent Africans coming to America shouldn’t
have asylum already and not have to request it?”

        Almost every African country allows dual citizenship.

 In a piece for The Washington Post, immigration defense lawyer Raha Jorjani attempts to make the case that black Americans could qualify as refugees in their own country because of their incarceration rates and for being targets of persecution at the hands of police officers.

According to the King Alfred Plan, i.e. REX 84 states “There will be many cities where the Minority will be able to put into the street a superior number of people with a desperate and dangerous will. He will be a formidable enemy, for he is bound to the Continent by heritage and knows that political asylum will not be available to him in other countries. The greatest concentration of the Minority is in the Deep South, the Eastern seaboard, the Great lakes region and the West Coast. “
          In the midst of the so-called “Black Lives Matter” movement, whom is being funded by George Soro, these injustices are far from an exaggeration – They are actually enough for any person(s) to consider emigration from a place. However, aside from listing the travesty of inequality in the United States Corporation, the petition discounts the nuances of migration within the diaspora, which is the real travesty. Here are just a few of the reasons the petition is not just reductive, but ironic. Moreover, it tells us a great deal about the U.S. when a nation that boasts of its own human rights record and lectures others on their shortcomings has such a grave problem of injustice. Take for example the disproportionate killing of Black people by law enforcement, the fact that there are more Black people under correctional supervision than were enslaved, higher sentences for Black people based on race, economic exploitation of Blacks, a racial wealth gap, voting rights infringements and so many other glaring examples of injustice and discrimination.
Jorjani argues that America is a dangerous place for Black Americans, and Black people should not have to flee the U.S. and seek refuge in other countries. This is true.  But let us consider for a moment, hypothetically speaking, what Black America would do and where they would go if they decided to stop struggling in the U.S. and search for greener pastures.  Surely it is an issue that individuals such as Marcus Garvey addressed, and there are the examples of Liberia and Sierra Leone, nations in Africa which were established as colonial homelands for freed slaves.
Perhaps this would prove an interesting time for Black people to venture out and consider what the rest of the world has to offer, including the nations of the Caribbean and Africa, where Black people are in the majority.  There are nations such as Brazil, which boasts the largest population of African descent outside of Africa and has one of the largest economies in the world, or Ghana, which, with its booming economy, has become a mecca for African-Americans, with thousands visiting each year, and 3,000 living in the West African nation, according to the Christian Science Monitor.  Those who have been to a Black-owned and operated country know the feeling when they walk down the street and everyone looks like them, and there is no fear of being racially profiled or otherwise discriminated against because of your skin.

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Moreover, it tells us a great deal about the U.S. when a nation that boasts of its own human rights record and lectures others on their shortcomings has such a grave problem of injustice. Take for example the disproportionate killing of Black people by law enforcement, the fact that there are more Black people under correctional supervision than were enslaved, higher sentences for Black people based on race, economic exploitation of Blacks, a racial wealth gap, voting rights infringements and so many other glaring examples of injustice and discrimination.
Jorjani argues that America is a dangerous place for Black Americans, and Black people should not have to flee the U.S. and seek refuge in other countries. This is true.  But let us consider for a moment, hypothetically speaking, what Black America would do and where they would go if they decided to stop struggling in the U.S. and search for greener pastures.  Surely it is an issue that individuals such as Marcus Garvey addressed, and there are the examples of Liberia and Sierra Leone, nations in Africa which were established as colonial homelands for freed slaves.
Perhaps this would prove an interesting time for Black people to venture out and consider what the rest of the world has to offer, including the nations of the Caribbean and Africa, where Black people are in the majority.  There are nations such as Brazil, which boasts the largest population of African descent outside of Africa and has one of the largest economies in the world, or Ghana, which, with its booming economy, has become a mecca for African-Americans, with thousands visiting each year, and 3,000 living in the West African nation, according to the Christian Science Monitor.  Those who have been to a Black-owned and operated country know the feeling when they walk down the street and everyone looks like them, and there is no fear of being racially profiled or otherwise discriminated against because of your skin.

On Friday, we reposted Yasiin Bey (better known as Mos Def) was arrested on Thursday in Cape Town, allegedly over using a World Passport  while trying to leave the country. Okayafrica spoke with Bey’s official representative who maintains that the allegations against him are false. Up until now Bey himself has been silent. Tonight, the rapper and actor released an official message on Kanye West’s website.The ten-minute phone recording begins with a freestyle from Bey that nods to Kanye’s new songs, “No More Parties in L.A.” and “Real Friends”:

“Peace, this is Yasiin. No more parties in SA. Please, tell them no more parties in SA. Hey home affairs, I don’t need to stay. I reason I stay away. I committed no crime any place. Why these police all up in my face? Why they raiding my place? Why I don’t feel safe? This is not an expression of fear. This is just to make things clear. My intentions are pure in coming here. And that’s for everything I love or hold dear. Homies in the building. So is my wife and my children. I committed no crime. Why is the state wasting my time? They must be out of theirs minds. I forgive them, that’s the spirit of divine. I just want to go where I’m wanted. Where I’m loved. Stop fronting. Where I live is my choice. You cannot mute my voice. Thank you Kanye West for being a real friend, a real friend, a real friend. No more parties in SA. Please, no more parties in SA. I heard you the first time, I’ll go away. And when I leave, that’s exactly where I stay. This is not an expression of fear. This is just to make things clear. A Country Called Earth Everywhere, A Country Called Earth Everywhere. No more parties in SA. Please, no more parties in SA.”

Bey then says that he’s currently in Cape Town, where he’s “being prevented from leaving; unjustly, unlawfully and without any logical reason” and the South African government wants to deport his family.

He continues to maintain that the World Passport is not a fictitious document and that he has broken no laws. “I have made no false claims,” he says. “I have not misrepresented myself. I’m under unnecessary state supervision… And, I have reason to believe, or suspect, that there are political motivations behind the way that I am being treated. This is following no reasonable strain of logic, and it’s also… curious. I haven’t broken any law. And I’m being treated like a criminal.”

According to Bey, he just wants to go home. “All I seek is to leave this state. I’m not looking to state any future claims against things for damages and none of that. People keep whatever state jobs that they’re worried about or concerned about losing, because I just want to go home. And I don’t live in America, and I have a right to […] wherever I please. Without fear, or without interference. The State of South Africa is interfering with my ability to move, but to even fulfill my professional obligations unnecessarily. But that’s fine. We don’t have to be enemies and we don’t have to be friends either. My family and I are prepared immediately to make whatever move that we need to make outside of this state never to return to this state again. We don’t have to be here. We’re not […] to be here. And we’re compliant in every possible way, reasonably.”

Bey also reveals that he’s retiring from the music industry and Hollywood, effective immediately. He’ll be releasing his final album in 2016. “His troubles with authorities in South Africa are another battle in the war of individual freedom all over the world.” For Yasiin to extend his own personal feelings and ideologies (the one’s he so faithfully extolled in rap) is to take “conscious” rap to an entirely new level. He’s acting on his lyrics, even. He’s eschewed trying to change the United States to simply leaving it.

So the complex legalities of his arriving on a U.S. passport and trying to leave on a World passport are beside the point. The point is that, in his mind, Yasiin Bey shouldn’t need a passport. We should all be fit to move about the world as we desire, exploring, and looking for freedom. Looking for ourselves. That, for me, is the most important lesson Yasiin Bey has ever told. It’s his best lyric. It’s his most brilliant album. Sometimes people make art. And sometimes people are art. May this retirement stuff be nonsense. And this immigration stuff disappear into the void where it belongs.

“Some folks get on a plane, go as they please / But I go overseas and I get over-seized / London, Heathrow, me and my people / They think that illegal’s a synonym for negro’” – Mos Def

That’s Garry Davis—WWII vet, Broadway actor, and peace activist. He started the non-profit World Service Authority in 1954, which claims to defend “your fundamental human right to freedom of travel.”
The WSA began making World Passports, and has issued over half a million in its 60+ years of existence. Davis pushed the passport for years during his travels, and was arrested dozens of times as a result.
Garry Davis passed away in 2013. These days, David Gallup runs the WSA, and he had some things to say  about Bey’s situation:
“A fraudulent document is one that ‘willfully intends to deceive.’ The World Passport is meant only to be a World Passport, nothing more and nothing less… Because the passport presents itself as what it is—and not ‘pretending’ to be a national governmental document—it cannot be considered ‘fraudulent.’
Please note that the South African government has no law against the World Passport. Whatever is not prohibited by law is allowed by law. Because they have no law against specifically the World Passport, they must recognize it.”
The movement, however, has not caught on with many national governments. The World Passport is only recognized in a handful of countries (Ecuador, Tanzania, Mauritania, Zambia, Burkina Faso, The Vatican, and Togo), and proof of their acceptance —scanned documents from the nations’ governments—dates back to 1954. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are purportedly among those in possession of a World Passport.
But they probably never tried to use it at the airport—in that regard, Yasiin never had much of a chance. From Wikipedia: “Success in crossing a border using a World Passport is generally attributable to the whim or ignorance of individual immigration officers, not official recognition of the document. As a result, traveling on a World Passport has never been easy.”
For now, Bey is scheduled to appear in court on March 8. We’ll update as the story progresses.

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters, a pan-African Socialist party led by the controversial and charismatic Julius Malema, is using Yasiin Bey’s immigration woes to argue for an end to all visa requirements for Africans and members of the African diaspora. The EFF statement cites violence against blacks in the U.S. and Europe as a reason that South Africa should be more open to black emigration. In recent years, South Africa has seen periods of xenophobic violence directed against economic migrants from around the continent. Read the press release below:
The Economic Freedom Fighters condemns South Africa’s Home Affairs department’s reactionary harassment, condemnation and arrest of Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) on the basis of immigration papers. The EFF condemns Home Affairs reactionary policies, conduct and actions that seek to criminalize and alienate Africans in the diaspora.
All African countries and South Africa in particular carry a historical obligation to be home of all Africans from the diaspora because it was partly due to their efforts that apartheid was internationally condemned, sanctions imposed and Apartheid South Africa isolated until the regime capitulated to a negotiated political settlement.
It cannot be in the laws and practices of South Africa to criminalize, arrest and even deport Africans from the diaspora who made it their mission to visit and find home in South Africa. Africans in the diaspora, particularly from the US and most parts of Europe are harassed, assaulted, arrested, discriminated, treated as sub-Humans and even killed because of the colour of their skin. It therefore cannot be correct that when these Africans come back to their origins and roots, they are subjected to the same treatment by a black government.
The EFF calls for the immediate repeal of laws and policies that give the State the right to arrest, harass and banish Africans for immigration purposes. Enforcement of immigration laws, particularly for Africans in the diaspora who do not pose any security threat to the country, must be handled in a far much more humane and acceptable way. As a matter of principle, the South African government and all governments in Africa should waive the VISA requirements for all Africans in the diaspora who want to come home.
The EFF will write to the Ministry of Home Affairs to immediately withdraw all charges brought against Mos Def, and propose that the the ministry helps him and his family with administrative immigration issues that should be complied with. Banishment, arrests, and deportations of Africans from the diaspora cannot be done in the name of South Africans because many other Africans wishing to visit the country will be discouraged.
The EFF upholds and stands by progressive pan Africanist perspective that seek to defend all Africans in the continent and diaspora because for many centuries, Africans have been on the receiving end of slavery, savage killings, savage drowning in the oceans, colonial dispossession, racism and now imperialist control by whites.

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