mermaidcamp

mermaidcamp

Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

Trouble In Downtown Switzerland

December 20, 2016 3 Comments

Bellvue

Bellvue

Parade Platz

Parade Platz

The sophisticated and cosmopolitan city of Zurich was the scene of a terrorist shooting at a mosque yesterday. I always admire Swiss tolerance, but know that recently they have been concerned about the immigration problems plaguing all of Europe.  Zurich is my favorite city on earth, and Switzerland my favorite country.  The form of government just thrills me because they leave decision making and almost all the taxes in the hands of local cantons.  The arrangement is called a confederation.  It was formed for the sole purpose of self defense back in feudal times. They speak 4 official languages, and typically don’t bother to learn the other three that are not their mother tongue.  The exception to this rule is Romansh, a language that much resembles Latin, spoken by a few Alpine hillbillies.  The Romansh speakers have to learn Swiss German to communicate with the outside world.  I heard Romansh a lot when I first went to Gruadbunden in 1985.  I found it easier than German because I studied Latin.  It is now slipping into history, but a few pockets of speakers still use it, mostly in isolated villages.  Localism is the theme and the heart of governance for the Swiss. They may have been thrust just a little too quickly into their own version of globalism.

I had some visitors last winter who teach school in Zurich. They teach German  language, and speech pathology respectively. We talked about the changing attitudes toward foreign workers inside the country.  The tensions they described did not exist when I spent time there.  They took as many refugees as they possibly could and put them all to work. They created special businesses just to give them jobs. They are trained in language and job skills.  Now the system has been strained to the maximum, and the population is changing.  The strength of their currency and economy continues to be a magnet for immigrants from everywhere.  My friends reported a large number of kids in school who don’t speak the language and become disruptive.  They never had this kind of thing in classrooms in the past.  It is a sign of some kind of breakdown.

The city of Zurich is the economic, but not the political, capitol.  The nickname of the city is Downtown Switzerland because of the undeniable sophistication it has. These terror incidents can happen anywhere now, but I am shocked and dismayed to learn that a mosque was attacked near the main train station.  It makes me very sad to know that even the Swiss are now living with this threat.

Helvetia Knows Best

February 16, 2014 3 Comments

Helvetia in Bern

Helvetia in Bern

Helvetia is the lady who holds the cantons of Switzerland in the palm of her hand.  She is an evolution of Abundantia, and represents the confederacy.  She presides over an extreme form of democracy in the heart of Europe.  Her resources are many and very well managed.  Her people are healthy wealthy and wise.  Her needs are few. She gets by on a minimalistic budget that covers the Swiss Army, and leaves big taxation to the cantons.  This allows her to live in relaxed elegance in comparison to her neighbors.  For centuries the Swiss have depended on foreign labor by executing contracts that required the guest worker (many from Italy before the EU) to return to the home country several times a year.  Hotels and resorts close the doors and the workers go home during soft tourism seasons.  In season the hotels provided lodging and meals for the imported workers. Although the Helvetian Confederation did not join the EU it had to make a series of trade agreements in order to survive and thrive in the very middle of the EU countries.  I used to spend a lot of time in Switzerland before the EU and I honestly did not think Europe would even pull it off in the beginning.  I was not alone in this belief.

The Swiss are very liberal in social terms and conservative in fiscal terms.  They are brilliantly efficient and endlessly frugal and creative.  They have generously accommodated Tibetans, Africans, Tamil Tigers and other refugees, providing education and finding employment for many.  Now they have an influx of Germans and Eastern Euros that have taken over much of the service segment.  This is a cultural nightmare for Helvetia and her healthy economy.  It is not so surprising to see that the rural populations are the one’s most opposed to the mass immigration.  The Italian canton, Ticino, which is inundated with Italians who wish to stay voted with those in the countryside.  They have preserved an individual culture in a confederacy with four official languages and do not wish to see history and tradition lost.

This is a small version of a big issue, which is why some are saying this could be the beginning of the end of the EU.  I respect the Swiss who want to keep the identity and independence that is an integral part of their society.  I used to tell my Swiss friends they need not vex themselves because they own the source of both the Rhine and the Rhone, the last clean water in Europe.  They can simply do what they do best, and set up meters to measure and sell that water.  Although that sounds outlandish now, there will be certain political and economic repercussions following this restriction of immigration.  My bet is on Helvetia, who is wise and has the best interests of her people in mind. She will have to defend her confederacy now.

%d bloggers like this: