The dark side of Switzerland
February 11, 2016, 77 Comments
The 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.