Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Detained in South Africa

basin bey negus world passportLast Friday Yasiin Bey was detained by South African government officials while trying to leave the country with what’s being called a fake passport.  The travel document that is now in question is called a World Passport.  Extremely uncommon? yes.  Fake? not exactly.  World passports are generated by an organization called ‘World Service Authority’ (WSA).  When government officials come into contact with one it’s not unusual for them to question their legitimacy as they’re rarely seen and are barely even known to exist.  Additionally, these passports are legally dependent on just one document from 1948 produced by the United Nations.  The founder of WSA was an activist by the name of Gary Davis who was jailed over twenty times while attempting to use his world passport. Regardless of whether or not Yasiin’s detainment is lawful, his arrest for using a world passport shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.  A world passport is supposed to allow one to exercise his or her right to claim themselves as a world citizen rather than a citizen belonging to just one country.  Countries can choose on a case-by-case basis whether or not to accept this document as proof of identity for travel.  In the past, South Africa has allowed travelers to enter and exit with the use of world passports (see below image).

World_passport_johannesburg_south_africa_negus yasiin bey
In an audio message reordered by Yasiin Bey he freestyles a poem called “no more parties in S.A” in which he states that he has not broken any laws and that he and his family are unjustifiably being held captive against their wills.

“I haven’t broken any law, and I’m being treated like a criminal. I know I’m not unique in that regard, and I am grateful that I’m here with my family. I haven’t been physically harmed or anything like that. However, I have been detained.” – Yassin Bey

He suspects that there are political motivations behind the actions that authority have taken. Yasiin also takes the time to announce his immediate retirement from the music and film industry. Listen to Bey’s entire message below.