New Swiss Ad: Come Here and Suffer

Xenophobic TV spots airing in Africa portray destitute immigrants
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2007 8:10 AM CST
Switzerland has become a central front in debates over immigration in Europe.   (Getty Images (by Event))
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(Newser) – While most countries promote tourism or business opportunities, new Swiss TV spots airing in Nigeria and Cameroon make the nation look blatantly unfriendly, writes the Independent. The ads roll up the red carpet by depicting a destitute African immigrant begging, being chased by police, living under a bridge, and calling home to pretend everything's fine. The tagline: "Fleeing does not mean starting a new life."

"We must show Africans that Switzerland is not a paradise," said Christoph Blocher, whose xenophobic party, which recently swept to victory on a notorious anti-immigrant platform, funded the spots. The ads' producers insist the message is for Africans' own good, pointing out that 10,000 immigrants have died, mostly drowning, en route to a new life in Europe.