NSK Passport

Starting around the end of 2006 there was a major upsurge in people from Africa, mainly Nigerians, applying for the NSK passport. Normally interest in the passport would come from those who have been long following Laibach or the other groups of the NSK. Towards the end of 2006 I started to notice a significant jump in the request for information and in particular for the application form. Virtually all the requests appeared to be coming from Nigeria. Originally there had been an online form, which could be filled in, and sent off with the appropriate fee would result in an NSK passport. However the online version of the application form had to be withdrawn when the NSK headquarters started getting flooded with applicants from Africa, who were believing that the NSK passport would allow them to enter Slovenia and Europe. Now the NSK passport application forms are limited in their availability, no longer online though they may be found in NSK books and at NSK related events. However the online form had been widely copied before it went offline so it still crops up and applications using this form continues to be sent to the NSK headquarters.

The NSK had been caught up in the mass movement of people from Africa, fleeing corrupted and dictatorial states along with those simply seeking life in a more modern society. It's not straight forwards for Africans to enter Europe, they require visas and if there were any reason to believe the applicant would try to overstay their permit it would not be granted. Immigration control is very strict with those trying to go through the official channels but virtually non-existent to those taking the illegal approach. This policy has led to many taking tremendous risk with their lives and has created serious problem with criminal gangs springing up to get involved in people trafficking. While it became a major issue for Europe it was still rather surprising that the NSK would be affected in any way but in an ironic way as Europe is flooded by migrants from outwith, the NSK suffers the same fate. For a number of reasons there is the belief that an NSK passport would make entry into Europe easier. While this is not the case and the Slovenian government web site has even had to post a statement online making clear that the NSK passport holders will not gain entry unless they have other valid documents, however African applicants for the passport continues to flow in. Anyone sending the fee along with a properly filled in form, including those from African addresses would received a passport, however some of those people tend to move around a lot and their addresses go out of date so the whole process has often been a little chaotic.

Oddly after the NSK published adverts in the Nigerian press explaining clearly that their passport was not a travelling documents it set off another wave of requests seemingly believing the advert was an attempt to deceived them. Now that it has been made more difficult to get an NSK passport it adds to belief that the rumours are actually true and drives people towards the gangs who are able to sort out an NSK passport for an extortionate fee. It has also led to a flood of emails requesting forms and information. Some did state that they knew the NSK passport was not travelling document but wanted it anyway, possibly to legitimised a reason to travel to Europe if they could highlight an NSK event to attend hoping the authorities would permit the travel if they had the passport. Irwin soon decided to investigate the situation as part of a wider documentary on the NSK passport. While looking into the issue they filmed and interviewed some of the African passport holders who had made to the UK and were living in London, in a project with the visual anthropologists Esben Hansen and Julie Boticello.

I suspect the whole issue was sparked off by fraudulent gangs offering to obtain NSK passports on the false promise that they can be used to enter Europe and do so at a vastly inflated price. One man from Africa paid an agent 300 Euros to receive the passport and was naturally angry that it was completely meaningless as a travel document and will in no way assist his entry into Slovenia or Europe. These gangs are certainly responsible for much of the confusion and high demand from Africa spreading the belief that it presents an easy entry into Europe and they are probably also involved in people trafficking business. Nigeria has a bad reputation for internet fraud and is where the bulk of demands for the NSK passports are coming from although occasionally certain emails have also referred to agents in Cairo, Egypt which might suggest the gangs involved are international or others are taking up the same scam. Certainly one group appears to be based in London. There are even email addresses that would look as if they are related to the NSK such "nsklaw@" "nskpassport@" or even nsktravelagent@. The NSK organisation themselves have been very concerned and have since reacted to the situation in a number of ways. But while these gangs continue to profit on the false rumours it will likely to be a problem for a long time.

DHC 2008

The NSK State was created back in 1992 shortly after the independence of Slovenia from the Yugoslavian federation. It was to be a state in time rather than one limiting itself to a geographical area. The first embassy organised by Irwin opened for a few days in Moscow 1992; later passports were issued to interested applicants around 1994 onwards as the idea grew. Now the number of passport holders is believed to be in the thousands. It's probably best described as conceptual art, it does not offer much practical uses though there has been stories of the passport being very useful in Bosnia during the conflict. Elsewhere they have often been accepted as a form of identity though it's not recommended to be relying on it where there is security issues such as flying or travelling by boat. Some people collect stamps to their book whenever they attend NSK events, often passport holder are offered discounts on the entry fee to certain NSK related events.

Following Dublin 2004 the various NSK groups gradually dissolved back into independent units with their own separate agendas. While no longer a functional or active cultural organisation the NSK continues as a State existing in time and still issues NSK passports. Laibach created a national anthem for the NSK State that featured in the Volk album.

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