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The dark side of Switzerland

February 11, 2016, 77 Comments

IMG_3795The black sheep is back, and it’s still a sad sight to see. The last time this racist poster reared its ugly head in 2010, the Swiss went on to vote in favour of deporting foreign criminals who had committed serious crimes. This time round, it’s much worse. Now every foreigner is a (potential) criminal.

Foreigner = criminal is as simplistic and ludicrous as Muslim = terrorist (or even Swiss = racist) but it’s that attitude that the SVP want the Swiss to believe. Switzerland’s largest and richest party hasn’t waited for parliament to enact the first referendum result but instead is pushing through a much harsher proposal. One which abandons all pretence of justice or human rights.

Under the new proposal (known in German as the Durchsetzungsinitiativ, or DSI) two convictions for minor offences in any ten-year period will be enough for a foreigner to be automatically deported. No appeal, no say, no review. In other words, run a red light then get done for shouting at a policeman, and you are out.

Two minor offences are treated the same as rape or murder. It is that simple. And that laughable.

Of course in the long list of crimes included in the proposal, one is noticeable by its absence: tax fraud or evasion. That you can do to your heart’s content and you’ll never get kicked out. But if you cheat the benefit system for only 300 francs, off you go.

One rule for the rich, another for the poor; one rule for the Swiss, another for the rest.

DSI means that Switzerland will become a place where there is one law for citizens and one for foreigners, who make up about 24% of the population. Justice will no longer be blind and Switzerland will no longer be fair.

Never mind that over half of all crimes committed here are merely traffic offences (and half of those by Swiss people). Never mind that one small offence will leave a foreigner under threat of deportation for ten years. Never mind that ‘foreigners’ born and brought up in Switzerland will be deported to their parents’ original homeland, despite maybe not even speaking the language.

When the black sheep poster last appeared, I wrote that it was showing the SVP in its true colours: red, white and black, the colours of the Nazi party. Nothing has changed since. How long before foreigners are forced to wear a sign so that the law-abiding Swiss know to steer clear of them? Maybe a big red A for Ausländer?

Switzerland likes to see itself as a beacon of democracy and fairness, an all round good-egg that sets an example to the world. On 28 February the Swiss have the opportunity to show that that image is not a lie. How sad it would be if they went over to the dark side and voted for the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

So dear Switzerland, please do the right thing and say NO. For you and for us. We are your neighbours and colleagues. We are the woman on the bus and the man in the street. We are the waiter at your table and the cleaner of your homes. We are your friends and relatives.

We are foreigners. We are people. But we have no vote so we are counting on you.

77 Comments on "The dark side of Switzerland"

  1. Tom Thursday February 11th, 2016 at 08:01 PM · Reply

    I left Switzerland in 2006, pretty much when you arrived. I’m a citizen for almost 5 years in NZ and was allowed to vote after 12 months. Imagine how Swiss politics would look like if the same was applied 🙂

    • Diccon Bewes Thursday February 11th, 2016 at 11:11 PM · Reply

      Whereas I have to wait 12 years to even apply to become a citizen. Until then I have no voting rights at all.

      • Paul Friday February 12th, 2016 at 03:56 AM · Reply

        Why 12 years? It’s 10 now isn’t it? It was reduced down from 12 the other year

        • Diccon Bewes Friday February 12th, 2016 at 08:47 AM · Reply

          10 years was approved by parliament but it has yet to come into effect. It will need another year or so at least!

  2. Webpundit Thursday February 11th, 2016 at 10:10 PM · Reply

    How can the law be “racist” when it is applied without regard to race? If you can find any section of the proposed code that makes reference to race, please post a rejoinder, along with a link. If not, you might want to expand your understanding of the proposed legislation beyond your willfully invidious misinterpretation of the metaphor “black sheep.”

    • Diccon Bewes Thursday February 11th, 2016 at 11:10 PM · Reply

      If you actually had taken the time to read my post rather than just get angry, you would see that nowhere do I say that the proposal is racist. I say that the use of the black sheep is racist but not the DSI itself.

      • Siegfried Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 12:03 PM · Reply

        Diccon Bewes, im a Dark Skinned person someone who you and other critics might say is the type of person the image of the black sheep is directed at in German and English which are my two languages there is the expression of the black sheep in the family,dass Schwarze Schaf, my point the black sheep is not a racist expression it simply implies the bad behaved one im not sure how this expression came about but people who say this today do not mean race and I am Swiss and I have already voted yes. Most of my bad experiences in Switzerland I made with foreigners especially foreigners from Kosovo and Turkey,I also had some good friends from there so I know that there are also good people,but I went to school with enough foreigners to know that some have no respect for Swiss people and Swiss laws and we have been far too lenient with foreign criminals,in some instances we even give violent multiple offenders probation which is absurd but it happens,some commit crimes while on probation and dont have to serve the probation in prison. I would have voted no if the parliament had not added the so called Härtefallklausel to the AI,the Härtefallklausel is designed to remove the automatisms and I am voting yes precisely beause of the automatism,the automatism is the whole point, you commt crime X and get consequence Z and you know what you will get even before you commit the crime so if the consequence Z is too much for you THEN DONT COMMIT THE CRIME! I will not allow you to project the blame from the criminal individuals onto the Swiss voters as this initiative affects LAW BREAKERS, people have the choice to follow the law and have no problem or break the law and have problems,problems that they brought on themselves.

        • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:21 AM · Reply

          It is the automatism that is the problem for many people as it bypasses the normal code of justice and the constitution.

          • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:19 PM ·

            Diccon Bewes the next time you drive 55KMH in a 50KMH Zone and get automatically flashed and fined I want to see you protest the automtism. GOOD LUCK

    • Diccon Bewes Thursday February 11th, 2016 at 11:21 PM · Reply

      Not forgetting the fact that in English the word ‘race’ does not only apply to the colour of one’s skin. As the dictionary definition makes clear:
      “a : a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock
      b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics”
      In other words the English race or the Swiss race. In this context everyone who is not a member of the Swiss race will be subject to the DSI and so therefore it could be deemed racist.

      Dictionary definition from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/race

    • Siegfried Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 11:48 AM · Reply

      @webpndit Every country has different criteria for Citizenship, in some countries it is virtualy impossible to become a citizen,if Switzerland has a high bar then the better,we Swiss do not believe in the American concept of buy xl packages that are of less quality,we believe in getting the small thing that is geat quality, so yes wed rather be restrictive with who gts absolute rights to live,enter,work,vote etc. as we will have to live with these fellow Swiss forever whether they turn out to be good or bad.

      • Normal Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 10:41 AM · Reply

        If you think being a swiss is a great package then you have no clue about the world at all. Keep in mind, We have to leave with the Swiss like you too. Who you are is a clueless generalist,incapable of emphaty, racist(yes you are), disrespectful to human righful you dont like it,well too bad.

        You wanna deport me,that is also too bad cause I dont even leave in Switzerland,hahahaha !

        • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 11:28 AM · Reply

          Just to point out, I am not Swiss.

        • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:31 PM · Reply

          @Normal if thats really what you are lol, I am Swiss, my father is Swiss,this is my country,I know why I am here but if you have some problem with Swiss people,Swiss laws or our System then you are welcome to leave just as you were welcome to come here and benefit from our country as you obviously have otherwise you wouldnt be here, the truth is that Switzerland does something better than the country you came from otherwise you wouldnt be here. And racist,you cannot change your skin colour and the negative effects that it can have for your life if you meet a real racist like Ku Klux Klan etc., but you can avoid being a criminal very easily, you dont accidentally rape women, rob gas stations or break into apartments and steal, these are conscious decisions that some people make and if they choose to do this then they must live with the consequences. I do not want to deport foreigners, I want to deport foreigners that commit crimes in my country, that is all, most of the 2.2Million foreigners in Swizerland will have absolutely no problem as this law doesnt affect them. I actually read both deportation initiatives highly doubt that you have.

  3. TT Friday February 12th, 2016 at 02:01 PM · Reply

    For the sake of accuracy, traffic offences are not among the offences that will get you deported. However, getting into a fight or arguing with police will. Which does not make the DI less of a lunacy of course.

    • Concerned Saturday February 13th, 2016 at 03:45 PM · Reply

      No however they could still be counted as the previous offence that, upon commission of one of the offences in the second list of the proposed law, will count as deportable offences. Draft law categorises two sets of offences; first resulting in immediate deportation; second resulting in immediate deportation if they are second offences (Strike Two, if you will). No requirement for the first or second offence to be in the list of proscribed offences, only that a judgment has been issued.

  4. Pierre Bruneau Friday February 12th, 2016 at 02:17 PM · Reply

    If that’s what you mean by “racist”, then I’m surprised you’re so surprised. It’s the foundation of modern Westphalian states.

  5. Mark Friday February 12th, 2016 at 03:54 PM · Reply

    While I agree with the sentiment of your post, I have to correct you on the two traffic offences being enough for getting kicked out of the country. Firstly, a traffic offence is not on the second list of “minor” offences https://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/vi/vis433t.html. Secondly, for the first traffic offence to count as strike one, you’d have to get at least a Geldstrafe (not Busse).

    You could however be kicked out because of first driving 50km/h in a 30km/h zone and then getting convicted of hacking or minor bodily harm (or indeed any of the offences on the second list). This initiative is essentially creating a real two-tier society while at the same time trampling over the Swiss judicial system. It’s a terrible mess.

    • Diccon Bewes Friday February 12th, 2016 at 04:30 PM · Reply

      Except running a red light can lead to a conviction and so could count. There are many examples of this in the press at the moment. Here is one I found at random:
      “Sandra wohnt in Basel. Sie pendelt jeden Tag zwischen Basel und Liestal, wo sie in einem Restaurant arbeitet. Ab und zu fährt sie die Strecke mit dem Auto. An einem Morgen übersieht sie eine rote Ampel und wird dabei geblitzt. Der Fall wird als grobe Verkehrsregelverletzung gewertet. Sandra muss fünf Tagessätze gemeinnützige Arbeit verrichten. Damit ist die Sache abgehakt.”

      • Mark Friday February 12th, 2016 at 05:17 PM · Reply

        Running a red light can in some occasions count as strike one (as I mentioned a traffic offence can count if you get a Geldstrafe, and that’s only with “Grobe Verkehrsregelverletzung”). So we agree on that.

        A traffic offence can’t however count as strike two as it’s not on the list. That’s why in that article (http://www.tageswoche.ch/de/2016_2/schweiz/708176/) they continue:

        “Ein Jahr später fährt sie nach einem Apéro nach Hause. Im Tram wird sie kontrolliert. Sie hat kein Billett gelöst und will sich aus der Affäre reden. Ein Kontrolleur stellt sich neben sie und rückt näher an sie heran. Sandra verliert die Nerven und sagt: «Kommen Sie mir nicht näher, sonst setzts was.”

        This would be then “Gewalt und Drohung gegen Behörden und Beamte (Art. 285 StGB)” which is on the second list.

        So, a major traffic offence + something from the second list is required, two traffic offences won’t be enough. Does that make sense?

        • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:18 AM · Reply

          It does now but will the average voter understand that? Or the foreigner who has one strike and fears being deported for a similar offence, even though they might not be?

          • Mark Thursday February 25th, 2016 at 08:27 AM ·

            We completely agree on the fact that DSI is a terrible idea, there’s no doubt about it. And as some have pointed out in some not-so-right-wing media – it will mostly succeed in keeping well-educated foreigners from considering Switzerland as the country to settle in permanently. On the other hand, people that have nothing to lose won’t be deterred by it.

      • Willy Gruen Monday February 15th, 2016 at 06:51 AM · Reply

        That case isn’t finished yet with the above quote, you may add “Ein Jahr später fährt sie nach einem Apéro nach Hause. Im Tram wird sie kontrolliert. Sie hat kein Billett gelöst und will sich aus der Affäre reden. Ein Kontrolleur stellt sich neben sie und rückt näher an sie heran. Sandra verliert die Nerven und sagt: «Kommen Sie mir nicht näher, sonst setzts was.»
        Die Aussage kommt nach der Auseinandersetzung zur Anzeige. Ein Gericht wertet ihre Worte als Androhung von Gewalt gegen Beamte – wozu auch BVB-Kontrolleure zählen – und spricht Sandra schuldig.” And thus, with the DSI she would be expelled….

      • Siegfried Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 12:05 PM · Reply

        Are you quoting examples of the opposing side which are hypothetical or actual verdicts from real Swiss courts?

        • Sue Friday February 26th, 2016 at 08:07 PM · Reply

          Hey Siegfried, it doesn’t matter if these examples are based on real cases or not. Laws provide the framework on which a judge bases his verdicts. If this law should pass, then a deportation will be the only possible outcome in the scenario described above.

  6. Arist Friday February 12th, 2016 at 05:44 PM · Reply

    Dear Diccon,
    Every once in a while I have a look at your blog and very often like your articles.
    However, this time I completely disagree not only with your view – which is your right to think or say whatever you like – it is mostly the terrible inaccuracies that you have in your article:
    1. Black Sheep = Racism: please be advised, that there is an idiomatic term in German about the black sheep, which refer to illegal or antisocial behavior, not to race or origin. So it is not the “white sheep vs. the African sheep” for example. So here we have a clear misunderstanding that very often happens due to lack of knowledge of language and Swiss / Swiss German culture.
    2. You will not be sent out for running a red light and just speeding within 10 years. It requires some more qualified law breaking here, e.g. speeding at excessively high speed for example which requires jail time even for Swiss people. Being a petrolhead myself, I am not a fan of this particular law at all – but I have to accept as well, that it is considered a “crime” to speed at 200 km/h on the Autobahn or above 140km/h outside of town.
    3. Tax fraud is a crime, tax evasion not – many foreigners don’t understand that, but nevermind. Essentially tax fraud requires a falsification of documents, while tax evasion can be omitting to show a part of your income (just not mentioning it). Btw, someone who tries to pay less taxes than he should usually made a lot of money, is spending a part of it in Switzerland and doesn’t rely on social welfare, i.e. doesn’t cost the country anything. Someone who cheats to get social benefits however is a burden to the country and commits fraud at the same time. I would actually rather keep the tax evader and fine him while kicking out the social benefit fraudster out. But this is my personal opinion and you might see that differently.
    4. Drawing a comparison with the Nazis due to the colors red, white and black is just stupid and lacks any substance. The SVP is a party that might be to much on the conservative right wing for your personal taste, but which operates within constitutional boundaries. it is clearly not a right extremist party – there actually is one, it’s called the PNOS which consists of marginal characters such as Skinheads and open Nazis.
    5. Probably the most important inaccuracy in your article: the DSI had to be launched only due to the fact that the parliament had refused to implement what the people voted for 5 years ago (first sheep poster). At the time there was a counter suggestion (Gegenvorschlag) from the federal council which was dismissed and the initiative (Ausschaffungsinitiative) was accepted. What the parliament then did, is implement the features of the counter suggestion, putting in the hardship clause (Härtefallklausel), which would essentially allow to circumvent the whole point of the law making it weak and tried (and is still trying) to sell this to the people as a true implementation of the initiative. The SVP had long ago warned, that they will launch the DSI if the law will not reflect the Initiative from 2010. As their warning was ignored they have now launched the DSI. Actually, I would vote for the DSI out of a mere principle already, that it is very questionable to go against what people have voted for. What the parliament tried to do is very dishonest towards the Swiss people.
    Now something general to the foreigners in Switzerland and elsewhere: Switzerland is a small country and it is a fact that here are many foreigners. I can speak for myself, but for me they are all very welcome here. The vast majority of them are very valuable contributors to our country and system. To kick out the ones that are not will only benefit the ones that are the good ones, since it would raise their image (for example many Serbians I know are now voting for SVP since people from their area of origin are misbehaving and discrediting them – they suffer because other people from Ex-Jugoslavia contributed to the bad image of them).
    Furthermore in other countries as a criminal foreigner you get kicked out quite quickly and nobody is questioning it (e.g. US) so I would not exaggerate the drama here.
    Best Regards,
    Arist

    • Sue Friday February 26th, 2016 at 09:05 PM · Reply

      Hey Arist, just a few thoughts to the things you mentioned above:
      1. Black Sheep and racism. I guess it really depends on your personal interpretation of those posters. If a dark skinned person is offended by them i really can’s blame them, as it certainly can be read that way. Of all the parties in Switzerland, the SVP really stands out when it comes to shape public opinion. I’m pretty sure the double meaning was intended.
      2. As Diccon has stated, the problem here is that two minor offences are enough to get you kicked out. There are so many problematic things about the catalogue of minor offences included. Just an example: For someone to be charged with “Rauffhandel” (taking part in a brawl), it’s enough if the person you got in a fight with has a friend standing nearby. Also, I’ve witnessed a number of times in which the wise police or the border patrol have acted disrespectfully (sometimes bordering on racism) towards foreigners. If someone lost their temper n such a situation that could be the second strike. It also makes it more difficult for foreigners to report cases of domestic violence because the stakes are suddenly so much higher.
      3. Tax evasion vs tax fraud: I find this distinction veery hypocritical to say the least. it basically means that someone can potentially “forget” to pay SFR 10’000s worth of taxes (just a cautious estimation) and that’s just fine. However, if someone, who needs help from the welfare system, forgets to report that a child of theirs started an apprenticeship they can get kicked out for cheating the system. If you’d ever need an example of how some laws are shaped to benefit the rich, this would be a good place to start.
      4. Lets just say they’ve mastered the art of shaping the public opinion and red/black/ white seem to be the go-to method for signalling attention.
      5. It’s true that last time, the Swiss people accepted the suggestion without the “Härtefallklausel” (SVP) and not the version of the parliament. However, the catalogue with all the minor offences wasn’t voted upon either. To say, that the SVP’s version is the only way to preserve “the will of the people” (as they like to call it) is inaccurate verging on dishonest.

      Just one more thing: No one should be made responsible for the conduct of an entire people. To hold a person accountable for the dealings you’ve had with other people of his “group” (whatever that means) is placing an awful lot of pressure on said person. By the same logic you could place all men under general suspicion: 76,28% of all crimes committed in 2014 that fall under the Strafgesetzbuch were committed by men.

    • nmelesi Wednesday December 14th, 2016 at 12:04 AM · Reply

      A bit late but nevertheless a slight correction, the two situations that you stated are actually tax fraud:

      “Tax fraud is a crime, tax evasion not – many foreigners don’t understand that, but nevermind. Essentially tax fraud requires a falsification of documents, while tax evasion can be omitting to show a part of your income (just not mentioning it). “

      Tax evasion consist in finding and using loopholes in the tax law in order to pay less taxes. If one deliberately declares less income to pay less taxes is straight-out fraud.

  7. TJ Martin Friday February 12th, 2016 at 06:58 PM · Reply

    The sad thing Diccon is the more books of yours we buy and read … the more we’d like to take my CH relatives up on their offer to retire in CH [ Ticino ] … the more we fall in love with the idea as romantic as it may seem …

    The more the country and people of Switzerland are sending a very clear message to anyone .. even a US citizen with CH background such as myself … to stay away . Oh sure .. its fine to come over as a tourist spending copious amounts of money … but don’t even think about staying . Sigh ..

    Oh well … if its any consolation [ for you not us ] things here in the US what with NeoCons [ translating into Neo Fascists ]… ‘ The Donald on the rise ‘ … Jim Crow rising from the grave … xenophobia ascending .. the financial divided widening by the minute etc .. are at least as bad if not worse then they are in CH

    But …. despite the negativity of it all …. I do thank you for your candor on this subject … making our decision process a lot better informed [ family has its agenda as to why they want us there so tend to gloss over subjects like this ] .. giving us plenty to consider … and even if we do decide to come into the fray that is becoming CH … at least we’ll have a clear view as to what to expect when we arrive

    Which is to say Diccon … Again .. thank you .. we [ wife and I ] owe you …. and if you’re ever our way [ Colorado USA ] we’ll figure out someway to return the favor

    • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:58 PM · Reply

      TJ you need to stop eating propaganda of the opposers, you like most foreigners and especiall westerners are very welcome. Dont mistake a strong hand of the law against some violent Kosovarian Macho with racism.Swiss are fed up and will no longe tolerate the foreign criminals thats all.

      • TJ Martin Friday February 26th, 2016 at 09:36 PM · Reply

        Siegfried – Fed up especially with any criminal element be it foreign or home grown I completely understand and agree with whereas blatant verging on Fascist prejudice I do not . Remember I have relatives in CH [ Ticino ] ,… we are hearing both sides of the story and it does appear overall that the Far Right is on the rise in CH as well as the rest of Europe and the UK as it is here in the US . But secondly I do hope you are right and the naysayers are over stating the case because in all honesty should Donald Trump win the presidency here in the US [ not an unlikely scenario unfortunately as of today 2/26/16 ] our escape to CH may become a reality sooner than later .

  8. Maggie Curran Saturday February 13th, 2016 at 11:14 AM · Reply

    Surely, since Switzerland has no original Swiss language and the language spoken in an area is that of the nearest country to the border with that region, that indicates that everybody in Switzerland is a foreigner? This isn’t about race, it is about money and how much power that money can buy.

    • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:55 PM · Reply

      If you claim that we have no orginal language then you obviously dont know anything about Switzerland.

  9. Shihab Joi Monday February 15th, 2016 at 11:06 AM · Reply

    Does the definition of foreigner apply to people from outside Europe? Will those holding EU passports be subject to the same two strikes and you’re out rule?

    • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:13 AM · Reply

      Foreigner applies to everyone who does not have a Swiss passport, no matter where they come from. or even if they were born here

  10. Frank Monday February 15th, 2016 at 11:12 AM · Reply

    I am Dutch and moved to Switzerland in 2010. Regrettebly the only Dutch word known to the entire world is Apartheid. I never expected the posibility to live in a country where Lady Jusitia is not blind. And, she doesn’t even have a say in this. Furthermore, Switzerland will have to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Switzerland, home of the International RedCross. Where the Geneva Convention was born. I really hope the Swiss will take their responcebillity and vote NO. The SVP won’t stop here and things could take a bad turn for everybody.

  11. Joanna Sosabowska Monday February 15th, 2016 at 12:50 PM · Reply

    Thanks Diccon, for highlighting the black sheep-saga!
    Only thing i would like to add is: how come in a country which relies on soo many foreigners (when the CGN ferries Evian-Lausanne don’t run for some-weather reason, the CHUV hospital in Lausanne has a lack of nurses close enough to having to close down certain services/departments) and that’s not mentioning the ones who actually live+pay taxes here, none of these non-Swiss, either born here or foreigners who don’t (yet) have Swiss passport -or those who can’t take 2nd nationality as their home country does not allow dual nationality- have a-ny political say in the country!
    All voting/decision making is done by Swiss only.
    In most EU countries other EU residents at least can vote in regional & European elections, so when a decisions need to be made on building a new tunnel or fly-over, local ‘foreign’ residents get to have a say too. Something that is completely absent in CH, despite fact some live+pay taxes for years even decades!

    • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:24 AM · Reply

      In some cantons resident foreigners can vote on local matters, but it’s mainly in the French-speaking part (eg Vaud) which is generally more open to such liberal ideas.

      • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:50 PM · Reply

        Joanna Switzerland is no EU Member thats why,and if the 85% against it dont change their mind then this shall remain so.

  12. Mark Monday February 15th, 2016 at 01:42 PM · Reply

    Does this apply to visitors? I frequently have to go and work in Switzerland and got a speeding ticket a few years ago. Would I not be allowed into the country if I got another?!

    • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:52 PM · Reply

      Mark unless you plan to rape,rob or kill you will have no problem.

      • Sue Friday February 26th, 2016 at 09:09 PM · Reply

        As stated above, if it were only that, the outcry of those of us who oppose this law wouldn’t be what it is.

  13. Dr Mo Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 11:38 AM · Reply

    Thank you for your thoughtful piece. There is very little in English on this referendum and while many of read German, legalese is a bit difficult for most. Existing laws already cover felonies and violent crimes, this goes much further. The wording in the referendum intentionally allows for minor offenses to be interpreted as grounds for removal. One wonders whether that will be applied universally the same or whether certain “more desirable” immigrants will be treated differently, for instance with a traffic violation. Since there is no judicial discretion, the discretion will be in the hands of untrained police and local officials. And how could they “forget” tax fraud and evasion? Very slick. You summed it up best with, “One rule for the rich, another for the poor; one rule for the Swiss, another for the rest.”

  14. Siegfried Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 12:16 PM · Reply

    I always find it funny how some complain that they have no say ofcourse you have no say if youre a foreigner like duh, there is a established process for becoming a citizen you are welcome to follow it and become Swiss as many have done before and will continue to do in the future and then vote and decide the future of Switzerland, but as a Swiss I will never accept that a foreigner can Land at ZRH Airport move into his Apartment and 1month later vote on Swiss issues that he knows nothing about and if you critics took two minutes to think about it you would see why your position is dangerous, foreigners must first get to know the Swiss culture,laws and traditions and things that Swiss do different and why they do it different and why it works so well otherwise people will simply vote based on how they were Socialised where they come from eg Saudi Arabia,USA,China,France etc., even with our direct neighbours there are some cultural differences.

    • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:20 AM · Reply

      I agree that a foreigner should have no say after being here one month. But what about ones who have been here ten years, paying taxes, becoming integrated? They still have no say at all. Or the ‘foreigners’ born here who have to go through the process of naturalisation so they can vote?

      • NotSwissYet Monday February 22nd, 2016 at 05:01 PM · Reply

        Thanks Diccon for your article, as it gave me lots of information about the initiative. The comments from many Swiss gave even more clarity, so thanks to them as well.

        But on the topic of the non-ability to vote after staying here for 10 years, I will disagree with your stand. I guess you were aware of this rule before you moved here, and you still decided to live here. The wish of the local people have to be respected. Its possible that some rational group can force a initiative to decrease the limit to less than 10 years, but again the Swiss will decide.

  15. Siegfried Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 12:24 PM · Reply

    The issue is not the Posters the issue is the Initiative,the opposing side is completely against it as it goes against their world view of open borders/no border, no human is illegal etc. in essence core leftist principles. They come up with ridiculous critisicms like eg that rich people will not be deported, I guarantee you that a rich rapist,murderer etc. will absolutely be deported from Switzerland if he has commited one of the crimes on the list,its not like rich people only commit financial crimes and if leftist critics claim that this is the only isssue keeping them from a yes vote then please lobby your leftists to add a new list of financial crimes to the deportation list or better yet they can bring their own deportation Iniatitive targetting specifically rich foreigners lol, but no they likely wont do it as again its not about rich vs poor, they think that the Kosovarian etc. criminal is some poor soul who needs to be saved like a puppy on the side of the road with a broken leg as someone who has had problems with these criminals I tell you you could not be more mistaken, these guys especially the violent ones are sadists who need to be removed from our society because they are beating up innocnt people,raping women,robing etc. Take a look at what is oing on in France ad Germany with criminal gangs etc. if we want to prevent it from getting that bad in Switzerland and reverse the negative things that have already happened then we must vote yes.

  16. Siegfried Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 12:32 PM · Reply

    As a Swiss I challenge any law abiding foreigner reading please this tell me what problem you will have in Switzerland specifically with this law if it comes into effect?

    • Diccon Bewes Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 11:32 AM · Reply

      I am a law-abiding foreigner and I have a problem with it, precisely because it changes the nature of justice. People living here would be treated differently for the same offence, purely based on their nationality. It is not a human right to commit a crime but it is a right to be treated fairly under the same system that governs all the inhabitants.

      • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:38 PM · Reply

        Diccon Bewes are you saying that the Swiss must tolerate your presence if you were to commit crimes in Switzerland and that if the kick you out then they are the bad ones and no you who caused this on yourself?

  17. Eric Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 01:27 PM · Reply

    The dark side of Switzerland, who is the bad one the criminal offender or the citizen that says he must go, you whish to remove the responsibility from criminals to the society that the criminals are victimising,next youl blame the police for catching them and the Prosecutors for prosecuting them.Get this in your head foreign Criminals are not Welcome here if we could kick Swiss criminals out we would but we cant because the Swiss constitution clearly forbids it and a Statless person cannot be deported anyways.Foreigners flock to Switzerland because they know they can live good here and make a good salary, and no one foreigner will stay away if this law comes into effect if anything even more will come as Safety is a great good to most sensible people.

  18. Logic Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 01:38 PM · Reply

    Simply put an automated deportation system is simply in humane and injustice as the person is even given the right to defend him or herself. If I am driving my pregnant wife to the hospital above the speed limit, then I shit on this stupid law

    As not all foreigners are the same,not all swiss are the same too. I have seen so many arrogant Swiss people who are simply provecateurs. This law wil give them even more tools to harres the foreigners.

    It is already stupid that I leave here 7 years,speak the language, pay taxes but have no right to vote on the things that concerns me. Then give my taxes back when you deport me on some illogical reasons.

    Here is an idea, how about stop labelling all foreigners as criminals and let the justice system work. As a qualified person I had to wait 5 months to get my work permit. However, I see houndreds of unqualified foreigners here due to asylum seekers even the Kurds. Why not to stop that first.

    • Siegfried Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 07:47 PM · Reply

      @Logic if you have a medical emergency you are allowed to drive faster but you will have to explain yourself to the police later but you will almost certainly not be prosecuted.Please inform yourself before you make comments on things that you do not understand. You lived here for 7years and think that you are entitled to vote on Swiss matters well you are not,maybe you want to run for election in the Swiss parliament or become Bundesrat,maybe we need to build you a state or name a street after you lol. You are a foreigner learn our language,our culture and then in I think its12 years then you can become Swiss and then and only then will you get to enjoy all the rights of a Swiss,never forget this with rights also come responsibiltiies.

  19. James Malone Monday February 22nd, 2016 at 09:54 AM · Reply

    Its very simple, Swiss always see themselves as superior and are forever trying to step on your feet. The truth is they are poorly educated and low skilled, that is why you encounter so many foreign skilled workers here. if it wasn’t for the banks then here would be poorer than poor. This vote is nothing more than an attempt by narcissistic valley people who believe the SVP bullshit propaganda to scrabble at the falling gravel of what little to no power they have in their own country that is surrounded (and entirely depended on) European Beast. The future repercussions will be tremendous for all Swiss passport holders abroad, no longer will you have right of movement, no longer will you ‘nip over to Germany to buy your cheap food’ or order goods from abroad – after you try them on or test them in your own shops :))

    The EU will not permit this attitude and the Swiss know it. Dark days ahead and sinking into a dictatorship.

  20. Joanna Sosabowska Tuesday February 23rd, 2016 at 07:09 PM · Reply

    Suddenly i remembered Lady Di had a red knitted jumper
    of white sheep, with 1 black one right in the middle 😀

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/193584483956817047/

  21. Monika Saturday February 27th, 2016 at 11:26 PM · Reply

    I would not get into detail why the initiative is discriminatory towards foreigners. I will rather focus on the danger of overruled the legislative branch which is precisely what the initiative those when it said that if a foreigner commit two minor crimes is directly deported without any judge consultation/evaluation. I agreed that there it should be a law that if a foreigner commit a major crime called: raped, murder, repeated robbery, domestic physical or psychological abuse it should be deported. Nevertheless, if I would be a Swiss citizens I will be more concern with a party of increasing power that is trying to overruled the legislative branch, that is the real danger

  22. Sam Sunday February 28th, 2016 at 12:10 AM · Reply

    I’m an English guy that’s live in Switzerland for 15 years. I’m married to a Swiss woman and I have two children.

    I am now genuinely concerned about my future here in Switzerland, now that I understand that minor offences are included in this “two strike” system. From what I understand, in certain circumstances, driving across a solid white line can end up with a court visit and be counted as a minor offence, so I would literally be afraid to drive my car.

    My mother in law accidentally ran a red light and got involved in a minor accident a year ago, resulting in a fine and loss of license. As she is Swiss she would have nothing to worry about, but it shows how easily these things can happen.

    From my point of view, as a contributing member of society, I should not have to live under the real fear of deportation, and I won’t do it. If this initiative gets voted for and put into law, then I will take my family to England where I can live with some sense of stability and security for my children. I wonder how many other people in my position are thinking the same right now?

  23. Dr Dawson Sunday February 28th, 2016 at 08:28 AM · Reply

    We’ve lived in CH for 26 years now, both our kids were born here, and we finally became Swiss about 6 years ago after our Gemeinde president suggested we should, so I think we have a reasonable idea of what makes the Swiss ‘tick’ (pun intended). I don’t think they are any more or less foreigner phobic than anyone else, but many are very parochial and the direct democracy model allows overtly right wing parties like the SVP to actually prey on the unfounded fears of many and they vote emotionally rather than rationally, or don’t bother to read the details, but rather react to the headlines. All right wing parties everywhere use the same tactics. The difference is the initiative model allows single issue parties – the SVP is very boringly anti-immigration, anti-foreigner, and very predictable – to grab the tabloid headlines with their single issue policies and then force votes on these to get them passed as laws.
    My daugter occasionally gets comments in school questioning her Swissness from some classmates, these are the same kids who were at playgroup, Kindergarten and primary school with her, she speaks unaccented Swiss German and they have known each other all their lives! Does it come from the parents or are the kids just little sods? Or will they all grow up to be SVP supporters!
    To counter this both of us have voted against this small minded, xenophobic initiative and I hope a majority of voters will do the same.
    By the way we do understand the concept of ‘black sheep’ it exists in Britain and many other countries too, as in calling someone the black sheep of the family, but this is just a convenient cover for when complaints are made about the poster. Anyone remember the posters of mainly non-white hands grabbing Swiss passports a few years ago? I suppose they were just black sheep too……..

  24. Peter Utzinger Monday February 29th, 2016 at 07:11 AM · Reply

    Switzerland was built by people who worked hard and struggled to make it a great country. Now people from Europe want to come and enjoy all the benefits rather than work hard to improve their own countries. Why not go back to Britain and be proud of being British and work to improve your own country. Maybe your work is simply sycophantic? You have lost touch with your own origins and culture so you fawn over a foreign one. Why not go back home and rediscover and strengthen your own roots. Write about Britain! Your comment on this issue shows that you are another cheerleader for the European super state. The way of life of the Swiss has drawn you here, but then you want to destroy it because you have no confidence in your own culture. Go home to Britain and be a warrior. Diversity means no culture and no roots. See the beauty in your own culture and roots and then you will not look to the Swiss anymore or gawp at the proud Swiss for celebrating their culture. The vote was lost because people have been brainwashed by Europe and soft politics. The people have become complacent, weak and pampered by fine living. Switzerland became great because people did not tolerate certain behaviour; behaviour the SVP are highlighting and taking a stand against. Why do you think Switzerland is known as a clean country? Because people don’t tolerate litter. Why are many British streets littered with garbage? Because you won’t go home and take a stand. It’s much easier not to and flee.

  25. Peter Hirsch Monday February 29th, 2016 at 07:32 AM · Reply

    The Dark side of Switzerland? Please go back to Britain.

    • Another Auslander Thursday September 1st, 2016 at 02:18 PM · Reply

      Is that a request or a command? Who died and made you the executive decision-maker of all things in Sweeserland??

  26. John Holland Tuesday March 1st, 2016 at 12:26 AM · Reply

    I started studying all about Switzerland after stumbling upon the YouTube videos of someone named Sean Hross.

    To say that Sean Hross is critical of Switzerland and dislikes Swiss people and their culture would be the understatement of several millennia. In a very large body of videos, he rants and raves his case that the Swiss and Switzerland are “Nazi Tamplars” and the secret descendants of the pharaoh ruling class of ancient Egypt, which he says ultimately took all their wealth, knowledge, and power and retreated into Europe as first its ruling class and then took up a concentrated haven in Switzerland.

    Hross describes the Swiss as insanely crypto-racist, xenophobic, small-minded and stratospherically narcissistic, regarding their proper place as being light-years beyond other nations. He also claims that their quality of life is achieved by essentially being a nation of vampire bankers who both actively cultivate and prosper from the rest of the world’s misery.

    Anyhow, after watching a number of Hross’ videos and hearing all his rants and raves, I wanted to see how much of it I could verify for myself, via other sources. So I’ve watched the famous Swiss 1978 film “The Swissmakers”, which is a dark comedy about the Swiss immigration process, and I’ve also read the books “Why Switzerland?”, “The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Swiss”, and of course I’m currently reading Bewes’ “Swiss Watching”.

    And my conclusion? Well, what I’ve gathered from all these various non-Sean-Hross sources is that Switzerland does indeed seem to be pretty much everything Hross accuses it of being, in terms of a silently seething racism and xenophobia, but because they control so much wealth and power and seem to hold a monopoly on the vary notion of quality itself, most everyone who tries to write about the Swiss, they are too afraid of the repercussions of saying so openly, so they half-humorously only allude to it with oblique examples of incredible Swiss — and it’s German-Swiss in particular — small-mindedness and a fixation on the petty and picayune.

    But can I corroborate all the other “Nazi Templar” stuff? Not yet, if indeed ever. But I will say that in recent years, Switzerland has only just begun to be revealed as a land of quite dark and sinister secrets, such as its laundering of Nazi gold stolen from the Jews and other groups during the Holocaust, as well as its horrible longstanding tradition of “verdingkinder”, where children of parents in financial distress would actually sell their own children to wealthier families to work as unloved family slaves. The children would actually be moved into their owning families’ houses and live there as their slaves, kept all the while at arm’s length from any proper interaction with the family, with their only role there being to do work, indefinitely.

    Also, let us not forget that Switzerland is the land of the uber-sinister artist-sculptor H.R. Giger, of “Aliens” fame. That in itself is very telling.

  27. Kristin Tuesday March 1st, 2016 at 02:03 PM · Reply

    Diccon, thank you for this piece and for your strong words of caution. I was happy to see the news yesterday that the Swiss rejected the proposal. I’m an American new to CH and here with my husband on a two year contract for work. We’re both fair-skinned and of mixed European ancestry. Already it’s been impossible not to notice that some Swiss look at and speak differently to me than they do to people who are more obviously foreign. I wasn’t expecting a large amount of diversity here but I also didn’t anticipate seeing elements of white privilege come in to play. (Obviously this is not an issue so much of skin tone as it is about nationality but it is a quick method to classify people and something that people do all the time.)

    I’ve always embraced the American dream of success through hard work and the ability to embrace change but realize that not all people or nations feel the same way. The continued popularity of Donald Trump (??!?!) demonstrates that xenophobia is alive and well even in the great American melting pot.

  28. Werner Friday April 15th, 2016 at 11:26 AM · Reply

    Thank you for casting this very important TRUTH. These SVP people are Dangerous. They do not respect the others. This is the first law of Declaration of Human Rights. People should behave in brotherhood. But How Can we Fight such an organized group ? How can we defend ouselves when we are in dispute with some of them ? What are the associations and organizations in Switzerland that fight against SVP ? That would be another interesting Post my friend !

  29. sean hross Saturday August 13th, 2016 at 05:36 PM · Reply

    Switzerland was founded by the Templars; watch videos like “Auschwitz Made in Switzerland” and “Octogon The Empire of Darkness” or this video in french: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Beb57H2RFqA

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