Switzerland Passes Racial Apartheid Laws


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In recent weeks, I reported that Greece’s descent into Fascism has resulted in immigrants, LGBT and poor people facing mass arbitrary arrest, assault and imprisonment as government policy. However disquieting news now comes from Switzerland, as the government passes laws establishing an Apartheid system, segregating immigrant groups from public spaces and housing them in detention camps.  Why is Switzerland, and other European nations turning on their immigrants?

Et Tu Switzerland?

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Switzerland is largely known for watches, army knives, tax avoidance and ski-ing.  The country is actually called the Swiss Confederation and is a federal parliamentary republic, more on the model of the US than many European states. The nation is bordered by Germany to the North, France to the West and Italy to the South and has a population of 8 million people.

According to the World Bank, Switzerland is the 6th richest nation by GDP per capita, above the United States (7th) and the United Kingdom (22nd).  Wealth inequality (the gap between rich and poor) in Switzerland is also lower than in the UK or the US.

The Swiss have one of the lowest unemployment rates, at 2.9%, the kind of figures that the UK (7.8%), the US (7.4%) or Greece (26.7%) can only dream about.

Switzerland has one of the lowest immigration rates of any nation on earth, at just 1.27 immigrants per 1,000 people last year; this is lower than Luxembourg (8), Italy (5), UK (3), and the Netherlands (2).

Switzerland is also by no means homogenous, with a historic legacy of immigration leaving 20% of the country with an ‘immigrant’ background (meaning they are descended from immigrants). This immigration is almost entirely 19th-20th century European immigration.  As a result the country has four official languages; German, French Italian and Romansh.

So if Switzerland is one of the wealthiest, most equal countries on the planet, with a legacy of immigration but no major immigration issues today – why on earth is it closing its borders and becoming an Apartheid state?

Apartheid Switzerland

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Switzerland earned the ire of the EU in April this year as it announced a cap on EU immigration of just 2,180 for 12 months.  This is in direct contravention of the policy of open borders within Europe which permits the free movement of Europeans across the continent. Although not members of the EU, Switzerland has approved bilateral treaties with the EU for the free of movement of persons.

In June, 80% of Swiss voters backed government plans to place tougher rules on those seeking asylum in the nation.  These rules mean people can no longer seek asylum for being conscientious objectors or deserting foreign militaries – this mainly targets African asylum seekers fleeing conscription in Eritrea.

But it didn’t end there.  Local authorities are now introducing wide ranging and draconian restrictions on asylum seekers, announcing thirty two Exclusion Zones, that it public spaces which asylum seekers are no longer permitted to enter – including swimming pools, libraries and churches.  One of the rules even includes no ‘loitering in school playgrounds’ implying the most negative of connotations upon those seeking asylum.

Speaking to the Independent, Mayor of Menzingen Roman Staub supported the apartheid legislation stating “This is certainly a very difficult area, because here asylum-seekers could meet our schoolchildren – young girls our young boys,”

On top of this asylum seekers are to be accommodated in detention centres, guarded by the police.  This is not for their safety, but apparently the protection of the Swiss people.  The head of the cantonal government, Beat Villiger, said “Even though the occupants will be women and children, there will be criminals among them,” he said, and Staub agreed. “If anyone does turn out to be a criminal, we expect the immigration authorities to come down hard on them,” he said.

Switzerland has the lowest crime rate in the world.

Yet, far from being the unendorsed actions of renegade cantons (districts), the federal government of Switzerland has come out in support of the moves.  According to the Telegraph:

Urs von Däniken, of the Swiss federal office for migration, told the German broadcaster ARD: “These are sensitive areas which have been marked out in the interests of peaceful coexistence between society and asylum seekers.”

Switzerland has just 48,000 asylum seekers waiting to be processed.  This is double the rate of asylum seekers per head than its European neighbours, but those nations have significantly higher immigration numbers from both within and without the EU.

There are however, dissenting voices within Switzerland.  From the Independent:

“A spokesman for Switzerland’s non-governmental Refugee Council described the restraining orders as “intolerable and inhuman” and demanded that the authorities suspend the measures. “It is up to the authorities to create an atmosphere of openness,” the spokesman added. The human rights group Solidarité Sans Frontières said the restrictions were “blatantly discriminatory.”

And even billionaire women of colour like Oprah Winfrey are not safe from the racially exclusionary culture of Switzerland.  Oprah was refused service at a high end store this week, by a sales woman who explained to her that she could not afford the goods in the store.

Where is the Solidarity?

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Switzerland has been quite happy to generate its wealth from the ill-gotten gains of some of the most corrupt and evil regimes, corporations and individuals in human history.  This is the country that refused to return Nazi gold confiscated from Jewish people, or adequately compensate their loss.

The notorious tax haven status of Switzerland has seen Treasuries across the globe, including the UK, chasing up the Swiss government for lost revenues.  Just today, Tax Justice Network reveals a botched deal with Switzerland means efforts to recoup £3.2bn (a fraction) of evaded taxes squirrelled away in the nations vaults has collapsed.  The UK is likely to receive no more than £347m, and as Osborne counted this money in his figures for deficit reduction, the pain will likely come from already hard hit public services instead.

So while the Swiss state is happy to enjoy the wealth granted by the oppression and impoverishment of others, it is not willing to deal with the consequences.  The thought of brown, black and white people fleeing to their shores from across the countries exploited by the very corporations and individuals stashing their cash in Geneva accounts has whipped up a dangerous racial rift, resulting in these exclusionary policies.

With Greek internment camps, Swiss exclusion zones and UK #RacistVans – isn’t it time we took a look at ourselves and stopped blaming the victims of this unfair system, and stand in solidarity with them instead?

Get Involved!

You can tweet @ukhomeoffice and join the fightback over the #RacistVan

You can join the petition to call and end to Greece’s internment of ‘undesirables’

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99 thoughts on “Switzerland Passes Racial Apartheid Laws

  1. […] Passes Racial Apartheid laws…WTF??? Switzerland Passes Racial Apartheid Laws | Scriptonite Daily Seriously? Just when you though the day couldn't get worse news wise…. __________________ […]

  2. […] Some bloggers even related the incident back to the refusal of Swiss banks to return deposits to Jewish victims of the holocaust and their descendan…. […]

  3. palemale says:

    How about we respect the democratic decision of Switzerland’s people instead? Or does the democratic referendum that democratically elected these measures into place not have a role to play in how thw Swissdemocratically elect to rule themselves…

    • smeznaric says:

      People voted in a referendum, therefore the decision is right. Is there a name for this fallacy?

      • Bravo_Alpha says:

        yes – democracy……….

      • P Jutzet says:

        Yes , the will of the people , that is why there are hardly any unpopular laws in Switzerland , people have a say on every law that the Federal Council wants to introduce , unlike many other “democracies”

        • catterel says:

          What is known in Switzerland as “the sovereign” – the people who vote on all these issues are the ones who care about what happens, and the rest are content to assume that common sense will prevail. Surprisingly, it usually does.

    • Sometimes democracy is the tyranny of the majority, as someone once said.. The majority in Germany once voted for Hitler, remember?

      I believe that human rights overrule all so-called democratic decisions. Not only in Switzerland, but also in my own country, Denmark.. 🙂

  4. Greece? Do you mean to say Russia?

  5. Thomas says:

    Stop quibbling! did not the EU threaten to throw out Greece how about that for Apartheid?

  6. Inda Lauryn says:

    Reblogged this on Corner Store Press and commented:
    I’m going to pray for Tina Turner. She had to live through this shit growing up in Tennessee.

    • Melissa Ka says:

      Tina made her bed a long time ago and she’s been sleeping in it. Besides they’ll let her stay as long as she’s got money in the bank, there’s nothing the Swiss love more than money, they used to be mercenaries since back in wee days. Whoever said the Jews loved money obviously never met a Swiss Bank all its holocaust money that it doesn’t want to return. SMH

  7. Anonymous says:

    When a country opts to live in a globalized world in the 21st century, which entails globalization, free movement of capital and people, access to markets and labour, transnational and national migration, access to resources etc, reverting back to the good old days is not an option. This is what globalization is all about. The sharing of ideas, people, resources, capital, etc. The Swiss should not have the illusion that they can benefit from what is advantageous to them from the globalization agenda, while refusing certain basic premise of the same agenda which is free movement of people. I also believe the Swiss are signatory to the UN charter on people facing persecution to offer safe haven.
    My second point was alluded to earlier but most of the posts seem to have ignored it. The West in general for quite some time has greatly benefited from the periphery (developing or under developed nations) largely in part due to their access to these markets, resources, labour, etc. In addition to this, the West has generally set the tone or imposed their economic and political agenda on the periphery at will. The globalization agenda through liberal economic practices has come at an expensive price for the masses in these developing countries. 30-40-50 % unployment, militarization, political suppresion, torture, detention, labour restraints (barring unions) and numerous other measures. While the West greatly benefited through this agenda (trans-national corporations, capital, access to labour, etc), the developing world was being left behind and in some cases stagnated economically and politically. Why do I mention all these?
    The migration that you see now in Switzerland and everywhere else in the West is part and parcel of the same globalization agenda that imposed liberalization and economic/political hardship en masse. The Swiss benefited when the corrupt officials from the south deposited their ill gotten gains by supressing their populations (ie. Zaire, Egypt, Syria, Libya, etc). Thus, the migration issues facing the Swiss is the chicken coming home to roost.

  8. msmarguerite says:

    I agree with all of your points and I would have happily reblogged this on my own blog except for two slight factual inaccuracies.

    1) Switzerland is not part of the EU and never has been (look it up) so “earned the ire of the rest of the EU” should be “earned the ire of its European neighbours” or something like that

    2) 20th century European immigration happened, however linguistic diversity in Switzerland is not a result of immigration but linguistically diverse cantons joining the Swiss Confederation centuries before.

    Just some constructive criticism…I dream of having this active a comments page on my own blog. Hats off!

  9. Powerful stuff. Thank you for being a glimmer of light in a very dark recess no one wants to deal with.

  10. […] Switzerland passes racial apartheid laws, segregating and housing immigrants in detention camps. […]

  11. Swiss says:

    Hey there, I thought reporters should be fair and balanced and correct and objective?

    This article is very disappointing to add in to the comments above on people who have corrected you regarding asylum seekers and :
    1) Individuals with immigration background in Switzerland 35% http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/en/index/themen/01/07/blank/key/04.html AND CH never had colonies which certainly influenced the immigrant flow over time. I live in an area where the population is 1/3 foreign nationals.
    2) Oprah was not refused service
    3) There has not been a law passed…….
    4) The following text you have written I will just let you read again for yourself:

    So while the Swiss state is happy to enjoy the wealth granted by the oppression and impoverishment of others, it is not willing to deal with the consequences. The thought of brown, black and white people fleeing to their shores from across the countries exploited by the very corporations and individuals stashing their cash in Geneva accounts has whipped up a dangerous racial rift, resulting in these exclusionary policies.

    Yes there is a lot wrong with the world, yes there are many people evading taxes at home to live in Switzerland, yes there are right wing movements here as elsewhere. Yes the country has a lower unemployment rate than anywhere else, it also has less protective employment laws than the UK, France and Germany, and entire generations of families cannot survive on state benefits as they can in the UK. The system has always worked in the past because people put more money into it, in the form of taxes etc and in general because the tradtional Swiss population doesn’t take money out of the system in the form of benefits unless they have no other option. This means if you are unemployed and you can possibly afford it, you won’t register with the unemployment agency but pay your own way. This influences the numbers. And means the country can function. In addition there is a very high rate of part time jobs here.

    So yes the country is well off, and certainly it has benefited from disasters in the rest of the world, I defy you to find a country in the developed world that hasn’t, but the story is a lot more complex than the one you tell.

    And but is that a reason to attack the country or maybe to look long and hard at the model and figure out if something is worth adopting?

    This is a poorly researched sensationalist article,

    • Scriptonite says:

      1. I’ve referenced my statistics.
      2. Yes she was, it’s in multiple news outlets across the world, and I’ve provided source.
      3. The regulations are in place and have been announced, I refer you to the sources from within and without Switzerland.
      4. You’re welcome read more of my blogs to appreciate that I am a very critical citizen of unjust policies across the world.

      Your final remarks somewhat diminish your argument though. Your references to generations of people in the UK living off social security for instance, and the generally nationalistic overtones, as if you are saying ‘yeah, well your country is rubbish too’. Not the first of these type of comments I’ve had on this article from within Switzerland.
      I’m not nationalistic in any way so it just seems a bit…petty. There is an awful lot of unpleasant stuff happening across the world right now and I cover alot of it. I don’t avoid covering any region or country. A more useful form of this national pride would be to actually make the country a better place.

      There is a serious situation happening inside your country, where asylum seekers ARE being banned form public areas as outlined above. That IS happening. Are you proud of this? I am not asking rhetorically, are you happy for people seeking asylum in Switzerland to be treated like this?

      I close the argument on the piece by referring to the situation in the UK where our government has also taken to scapegoating immigrants for economically systemic problems, ditto Greece. Unless we all work together to ignore this bogus argument, then we will continue to see vulnerable groups marginalised as criminals and ‘undesirables’.

      • swissmissi says:

        I am late to the party, but I just can’t let this stand.

        1. You referenced your statistics with a wikipedia article, and then you misquote it. The article states, that in the year 2000 20% of all people permanently residing in Switzerland did not have a swiss passport. Which is not the same as “having a immigration background”. Why you didn’t quote the 2011 number, which is 22.8% is beyond me.
        2. She wasn’t refused service. Was she treated correctly? If she said she wasn’t, she wasn’t.
        3. There was no law passed in Switzerland. One town decided (not via a law, it was actually a contract) to have zones, where asylum seekers only can go with an ok from the authorities. The agreement affects 23 asylum seekers right now, in 2015 there will be 150 seekers in that town.

        So your post is just plain wrong via exaggeration. Do I think, you are right to fight unjust policies, yes I do, and I applaud you for it. Do I think these policies are unjust, yes I do. I think it is unjust to have borders per se. But that doesn’t make your post right.

    • Bryan says:

      As an Irish man,about to marry a Swiss woman, I would like to add a couple of (probably ill-informed, but personally experienced) thoughts.
      I travel to CH several times a year, mostly to Zurich, but I have also spent time in various cantons, including Ticino, St Gallen, etc….
      I dont have an arse in my trousers, I dress like a style-aware homeless person, and I look like someone that might rape your St Bernard and rob your Swiss bank.
      And yet, I have been treated with the ultimate courtesy, kindness, and welcome EVERY SINGLE PLACE that I have been.
      I do my grocery shopping in either Migros or the Co-Op, and when asked a question at the checkout (I dont speak German nor Swiss German), almost invariably the member of staff switches to English ( well, I couldnt expect them to speak to me in Irish…), or, if that particular member of staff does not speak my language, they will find someone who does.
      I lost my passport, one time, running to catch a plane in Zurich.
      Arriving at the boarding gate, and finding that my passport was missing, I started to panic.
      The person at the gate produced my passport with a smile.
      The good burghers there had beaten a former national cross country runner to the gate with his passport!
      I dont love Switzerland because of the woman I love, I love it because it is beautiful, and it does so many things so very well, and in a way that I wish my own dearly beloved country could.
      There has never been a single visit where I have not marvelled at some small or big thing that I wish I could see at home.
      In contrast, in my homeland of 44 years, I have regularly been stopped and questioned/ searched by our own increasingly militiarised police force, or refused service in certain establishments, (I favour the Celtic-Viking unshaven but neatly trimmed look du jour. I also have red hair (rota haar?) which leads some people to think that I am a native Irish traveller (ie, Gypsy)
      I work full time. I have my own photography business, as well as managing a nationwide organic food concern. I am Irish, and can prove it back to at least the 16th century, and I have official records to show it. But yet, I am not allowed to either buy or build a house for my family in the county (canton), Wicklow, that I have lived in for the last 18 years, because…I wasnt born in Wicklow.
      Equality my hairy Irish Arse.
      If anybody on this stream wants to take a shot at any countrys rights record, line up your sights on Ireland…asylum seekers, objectors etc……and come back to me.
      I LOVE my country, truly, madly deeply. I would never live anywhere else (although I would love to retire in Ticino some day…)
      Sorry for the long reply, but, you know, the Irish are famous talkers…..
      Bryan (Briain O Maolcathail)

  12. Anonymous says:

    et tu switzerland? i think you meant et toi switzerland. et tu switzerland means is very incorrect. but pretty good article anyway

  13. Absolutely despicable. I wonder if people will care enough boycott Swiss products the way they have been boycotting Russian vodka

  14. […] third item put a spotlight on Switzerland, where race relations are deteriorating rapidly. It seems the authorities have been passing racial apartheid laws as ways of controlling immigration – and it was easy to imagine why this would be permitted […]

  15. Melissa Doordaughter says:

    I look forwasrd to a day when humans are free to travel the earth with out restrictions of “immigration” or “asylum seekers”. The current problems with asylum seekers etc stems from the gross inequality between the first and third worlds.
    If instead of spending millions on weapons every year, the “developed” nations spent that money on helping improve the quality of life for all, immigration would no longer be an issue.

  16. tothepoint says:

    Entirely against this legislation, but note that “on the model of the US” is a little too US centred formulation. Switzerland is very old and its constitution was clearly not made on the model of the US.

    • Scriptonite says:

      Thanks. Though to clarify most will be more familiar with the US as a model of federal govt than many others. Was of course not saying that Switzerland modelled their government on the US! Lol

    • mat says:

      The swiss constitution as it was setup in 1848 is clearly modeled on the american example. Everything else is myth and simply wrong. Before 1848 or lets say before the napoleonic era, switzerland didn’t exist! It was a place of constant religious wars and conflicts. Stop believing in the myth of 1291 and the “bundesbrief”. The believe in swiss exceptionalism is one of the roots of this legislation, and also a problem our country should face.

  17. Sam says:

    Just a reminder that Switzerland is not in the EU and it is not signatory to any ‘open borders’ treaties.

    The three contiguous countries have been ravaged by wars and racism, causing misery on an unthinkable scale over the past several hundred years, which the Swiss have managed to avoid. The Swiss are therefore not entirely inclined to leap into taking moral lessons from those countries.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think a country laden with Nazi gold has any claim to the moral high ground.

    • smeznaric says:

      Switzerland signed the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons over ten years ago with the EU. So actually, despite not being in the EU, they are signatory to open borders treaties.

      • Sam says:

        You’re right, and I was being guilty of lazy argument. I was thinking of ‘right of residence’.

        • smeznaric says:

          The free movement of persons agreement includes the right to residence. Works both ways, Swiss can also live and work in the EU and EEA members.

          • Sam says:

            I’m going to go and bury myself. I commented, on this site, earlier today, on the basis of what I thought I knew, which on turn was on the basis of having worked in Geneva 30 years ago. Later, I actually made the effort to look it all up on the web… whoops.

            • Ashamed Aussie says:

              Sam, you are the first person I have known on the internet in a long time to admit you were wrong. This is a quality that more people should exhibit. Good on you.

      • An open border treaty like Schengen does not grant or imply right of residence, it simply allows EU citizens to visit this non-EU countries. Not all EU countries are signed up to Schengen (e.g. UK, Romania et al), conversely not all Schengen signatories are EU members (Iceland & Norway are two of the others). This is not an apartheid situation where a ruling minority voted to keep a majority down, this is the citizens of a fully democratic state voting overwhelmingly to enact laws that they see as protecting their way of life and standard of living.
        You mention “African asylum seekers fleeing conscription in Eritrea”; why should Switzerland (or any other European country for that matter) take them in? How many other countries have they gone through where they could have claimed asylum? Yes, you can whinge about the state of Eritrea’s neighbours and how hard it is, but if the moderates leave, Africa is never going to get fixed without massive, Western intervention.
        TL;DR: The Swiss want this, they’re a democracy, they’re under no more obligation to welcome immigrants than you are to let someone live with you in your house because they think it’s nicer than their current one.

        • Melissa Katanda says:

          “You mention “African asylum seekers fleeing conscription in Eritrea”; why should Switzerland (or any other European country for that matter) take them in? How many other countries have they gone through where they could have claimed asylum? ” Why are Europeans still flocking in Africa then? You don’t seem to know politics, the way it works and all its consequences. Let’s see how much fun the so-called 1st world would have if everybody closed their borders.

        • a globalized world? says:

          there are things like the conventions on human rights and refugees that many “1st world” countries, such as switzerland, sign-on to and are therefore “obligated” to take stands on these issues and welcome asylum seekers….

        • The issue here is that the OP wrote “open borders within Europe”. Open borders, or Schengen is one thing. The “Free movement of people” is another thing. Open borders, as you said, only means that: open borders. It has nothing to do with residency. However, Free Movement of People does. IT’s one of the Fundamental Rights of the EU, and it’s an agreement to which EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland have agreed upon with the EU. An all countries in the EU are part of Schengen, the exception being the UK (and Ireland followed them). Romania and Bulgaria are only awaiting for it to be enforced since they’re too new to the EU and need to develop some extra security measures for the borders they have with outside the EU.

    • Sam says:

      Correction to my post above: passage should have read “to any >of the EU’s internal< 'open border' treaties".

      Careless argument makes for bad argument; my apologies.

  18. Every nation is fully entitled to protect itself from those who seek to overturn its laws and plunder its resources. This is part of an honourable tradition of Human Rights, upheld by the United Nations. Problems with immigration arise, not with issues of ethnic origin, but when the new arrivals resist assimilation into their host cultures and fail to adopt the social values that made western societies free and prosperous in the first place.

    • smeznaric says:

      First of all, how do we know who exactly resists assimilation? Surely not all asylum seekers fall into this category. And secondly, isn’t a part of those freedoms you describe the ability to choose for yourself the views and culture you want to adhere to? Aren’t our own actions against the immigrants a greater threat to the principles of liberty than are the immigrants who are simply attempting to exercise these rights?

      • haidianzhen says:

        Not all, and not even most, ‘asylum seekers’ resist assimilation.But there are enough who do and they constitute a problem that must be dealt with. The ‘freedom’ to attack a culture, and particularly a host culture, is not guaranteed by law of any sort. Liberties enjoyed by the present generation were won, and maintained, by sacrifice of previous generations and should be handed down to future generations intact.

        • smeznaric says:

          What does it mean to attack the host culture? There will be a minority who will take on militant views and I would be very much surprised if many here were against cracking down on folks who attempt to use violence in pursuit of their views, whether they are immigrants or not. If it is merely to hold beliefs that are contrary to host culture’s beliefs then surely that is within their rights according to the liberties we enjoy today. If we take this right away we have sacrificed those liberties already.

          Regarding future generations, I am more worried about the growing and large minority of people who would like to do away with these principles than I am about immigrants who exhibit cultural differences. The reason is that the second generation immigrants are often significantly better integrated than the first generation. And if they don’t intend to stay that long then I don’t see what the fuss is about.

    • Isn’t part of assimilating into the cultures of the host nation the ability to meet in public parks, swim in public pools and enter children’s playgrounds!

      • haidianzhen says:

        What is the point of this posting? Freedom of movement is a freedom accepted in law, provided, of course, that it is not freedom of movement to criminals to further their criminal intentions.

    • Roy Watson says:

      Nice elision there of “resist[ing] assimilation” to “overturn[ing] its laws and plunder[ing] its resources”. And gee, those poor Swiss have so little to share, don’t they?

      • haidianzhen says:

        What is the point you are trying to make? If you, or I, or the Swiss, wish to share their property, they are free to do so. What claims – I mean what lawful claims – have others upon the property of the Swiss, either as a nation or as individuals?

        • Martin Forrester says:

          The Jews have claim on their stolen gold, we (the UK) have claim on our tax money. By helping crime to be profitable, you aid & abet.

        • Melissa Katanda says:

          The Congolese people have their claim on all the money Mobutu plundered in then Zaire that the Swiss government has never returned.

    • Thomas says:

      We have all been there! No weapons and we would have no more hunger in the world within 10 days. As for Races and apartheid, I lived in SA from 87 till 98 and have seen all of it Personally, being Swiss that is! Government all over the World are raking in Money wherever and in whatever Country you live. We have to learn to Love and respect each other! I have been Teaching Black and Colored People in SA in Apartheid time when it was Illegal. I live now in Wales UK what strikes me most in the UK I feel the population is more suppressed then in all the Countries I ever visited before Financial and political you vote for a Dictatorship and they ( Government ) do whatever they want to do. The same everywhere else for that matter. Only People have the power when they sand up together, if they White, Black, Green or Yellow Religious or not from what ever country. EU is the most corrupt organization in the World. Passing more and more Laws to enslave the People. Good luck to us all.

  19. ajweberman says:

    Maybe they don’t want to self destruct

  20. Annos says:

    Austria is going the same way!. There again, as you so rightly say, so many countries are.

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/new-john-pilger-film-utopia-to-be-broadcast-on-itv-and-released-worldwide

  21. […] In recent weeks, I reported that Greece’s descent into Fascism has resulted in immigrants, LGBT and poor people facing mass arbitrary arrest, assault and imprisonment as government policy. However …  […]

    • Anonymous says:

      I really admire the work you guys do at Occupy London, Scriptonite Daily and other like-minded organisations. However,this is a prime example of media distortion and unworthy of an organisation like Occupy London or Scriptonite daily. Your post about the banning of asylum seekers (not all immigrants) in the public swimming pool (not all public places) of one particular town (not all of Switzerland) is poorly researched, and the story with the handbag shows more about Ms Winfrey’s insecurities than about the existence of racism in Switzerland. The Trois Pommes boutiques ( http://www.troispommes.ch ) are amongst the most exclusive shops in the world. I have been in such shops on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, just to look around, and the staff in such establishments are trained in evaluating the customer’s buying power buy looking at the jewelry and clothes they wear. Even though I was wearing a suit and tie (Marks & Spencer, not Armani) when I was in such a shop last time (after a concert in Zurich, I’m a freelance musician and NOT rich), the stuck-up shop attendant made it understood that she’s not following me for the purpose of customer service, but to keep an eye on me. So, if anything, this is much rather a display of the disgusting face of international elitist capitalism than Swiss racism. My dad was born as an Italian and only became Swiss in his teens, this makes me a second generation immigrant to Switzerland. I know the stories of all the prejudice the Italians, the Turks, the people from former Yugoslavia, the Eastern Europeans, and now the Eritreans and Arabs had to face during their struggle for acceptance in Swiss society. Let me assure you and anybody who reads this that, on international comparison, Switzerland is the least racist country I have ever lived in (UK, UAE, USA, Ireland, Switzerland). This might come as a shock to many people in the US and GB, due to the bad coverage Switzerland has gotten in mainly the US press in the last years. I ask anybody who doubts this to come here and have a look for yourself. Don’t just read the sensationalist articles by questionable “news” outlets like Sky, Fox. etc… who just want a good story that plays on fears and anger, and don’t bother with actual news content. Yes, there are racist (ignorant, insecure, and hateful) people in Switzerland, but ironically this type of citizen is bred by Swiss politicians who try to emulate the US style of making politics, playing on fear and insecurities of people to get votes. Thankfully though, it has been shown in most of the elections LAST YEAR (we vote multiple times per year on all kinds of issues), that these people (although making a lot of political noise) are losing more and more ground. Many more moderate members of the SVP (Swiss People’s Party) have even split away from the party because they moved too far to the right. Keep in mind, the Swiss “right” is still 100 miles left of your “US Democrats”. This has the effect that the remaining members are the more extreme kind, are getting louder and more vulgar at debates, whilst having less and less political influence. These people do not represent Switzerland. Most of them actually do not even know a foreigner personally. Their hate is caused by ignorance and can be fought by education and information. Racism is like a shadow, if you shine light onto it, it disappears. For this to happen, we need good schools and news sources who’s mission it is to inform the people, not to sensationalise the news and stir up emotions in order to get higher ratings. Thankfully we still have both in Switzerland (with very few exceptions, but we all know who they are). Frankly, I am shocked that you, an organisation I believed in, picked up on this without questioning the story and without doing the proper research. Maybe it is time for some self reflection. The same goes to all people now posting uninformed and vulgar comments about Switzerland on this forum. You don’t want to become like the thing you fight against, but currently you display the same behaviour we all know from supporters of rather more questionable groups on the right side of the political spectrum. By the way, in the last 24 hours 12 people have been killed by US drone strikes, someone in Greece has lost their entire livelihood, a family in the US Midwest had their home foreclosed because all the family’s money went towards the cancer treatment of their daughter, a former GM worker in Detroit committed suicide because he lost his entire pension, The rightful opposition movement to Assad’s regime is being undermined by people who are more interested in arms deals and regional influence,… I think this is much more newsworthy than the story of a rich woman that was mistaken for a poor woman in a luxury shop in Zurich. Don’t you think?

      • Scriptonite says:

        All those stories are frequently covered here. The Oprah section was two lines of this piece. I’ll cover in justice anywhere and everywhere it happens. You’d be better expensing your energies fighting it with me rather than putting up this paltry defence for a clearly racist set of policies.

      • Franklin says:

        Its good to here someone defend Switzerland on this. The assimilation of strangers is always difficult, but the biggest change every society is having to cope with is just how many of us all there are now. When my father in law was born there were 2 billion of us. Migrants as a % of population is not the issue. Its the absolute numbers. Asking migrants to declare that their cultural heritage of no real further value is part of the racist message, but to most people, expecting migrants to make the effort to fit in seems reasonable. When the number of recent immigrants is high, many people have experience of a population that is often poor and vulnerable, but which is yet to work out the compromises they need to make to be accepted. Although this can be racism, the same process goes on when people move into a village. People should never forget that rapid population growth has transformed society in a way that has left communities without the social capital needed to engage constructively with new comers. The result is that there is a real fear and sense of threat from immigration, especially from communities that have either avoided adapting to a world that includes migrants (UKIP) or who feel challenged for what little they have got, both materially and culturally (EDL). The political challenge is to avoid oppressive measures such as the Swiss formal stigmatisation of asylum seekers, the UK holding camps and the racist vans, let alone the sick use of political language to define immigrants as a parasitic underclass. Instead it is an urgent priority that the avoidable and unwanted reasons for migration are addressed. That is a responsibility all stable and functioning societies need to take on. It is very sad that there is very little debate on this issue, as it has big implications for many areas of policy. So if we want less migration of people in crisis we need to get serious. Meanwhile the “be a racist or hold the door open” dichotomy shows the immaturity of the debate.

        • Rowan B says:

          “Instead it is an urgent priority that the avoidable and unwanted reasons for migration are addressed.” I like this, if said migrants did not live in poverty or in fear of their lives because of the political regimes they live under, maybe they wouldn’t feel the need to migrate, to the wealthier life that westernised countries enjoy. Maybe the bottom line is that those of us who have, need to share far more with those who have not, how many are willing to give up some of what they have so that others may have a little more. Are you ready to give it up !

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure if I agree on everything, but it is a very valuable contribution to the conversation.

      • Quintesson says:

        Well written!! I am half black (Suriname) and my mother is swiss and i definitely co-sign this post!! There are a lot of racist in this country, no doubt. But thats based on a lack of contact, prejudices and Media influence. i am clearly against this new ‘rule’ from this little Town of 6000 people.. But there are truly more important News to be broadcasted, By the way.. the U.S is in my eyes the most racist country off all!

      • Swiss says:

        Very well said, very differentiated, by a fellow Swiss who actually knows the country and therefore has something valuable to add. It’s a shame that Scriptonite doesn’t take you up on a point by point basis but responds defensively. I am not sure why what you say is a paltry defense against racist policies, it seems that there is freedom of speech and each persons thoughts should contribute to the debate. If however, as you state in your comment, and as i see in the response you got, some opinions are automatically discounted because they are different, then you are right that in truth the debate is very close to the political far right. Interesting and I guess human

  22. Jack O'Hare says:

    Just popping in to thank you for continued thoughtful posts, the information and opinions you share are valued. A pity you get these utterly retarded comments.

    “you got youre inspiration from Opray Winfrey” indeed…

    • Scriptonite says:

      You are most welcome. I think people have a real issue with acceptif something as racist when it chimes with their own prejudices…as they’d then have to admit their own racism. They’d be better of owning it and giving it up. Life’s too short to waste it on bigotry

      • Jack O'Hare says:

        I could almost respect a racist with a semi-solid, albeit fallacious reasoning – compared to these cowards who fear to come to terms with their own conditioned inhibitions, born of parents, peers and local culture, and uphold them shyly while dodging any clarified statement.

        … Almost, but not quite.

    • subimaginati says:

      Retarded? Really? Because you couldn’t think a word that wasn’t a disabilist slur?

  23. zookro says:

    I agree with anonymous and xsayarsa…..very disappointed with this article…the Swiss are targeting asylum seekers not all immigrants. the so called apartheid laws apply only to people who are seeking asylum, not all people who are not white. It’s up to the country how many they can let in…I thought the photo was SA as it looked like Africaans language…so I was puzzled as they don’t speak it in Switzerland. Poor show.

    • Scriptonite says:

      If you don’t think that labelling refugees seeking asylum as threats to children and criminals and barring them from public spaces is racist – you’ve got your own prejudices to deal with

    • Jack O'Hare says:

      Do you have anything intelligent to say, such as a logical defense of the laws introduced? Or do you expect us to think this is absolutely fine because Eritrean asylum seekers are ‘the bad kind of foreigners’?

      The Oprah Winfrey story is conspicuously perfectly timed to highlight the problem here – that even a globally known American celebrity and billionaire can be caught out by the casual racism of the Swiss.

    • a globalized world? says:

      so how will the average swiss citizen be able to tell the difference between an “immigrant” and an “asylum” seeker? i bet they’ll use race.

  24. I saw this briefly on the news today, and thought it sounded absolutely disgraceful. Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it’s one I’m staying away from in the future.

  25. Xsayarsa says:

    I don’t see why any country should be forced to allow anyone to just move there, so the cap should be up to them. The UK is a prime example of how much of a mess things become when immigration (both legal and illegal) gets out of control.
    Segregating asylum seekers is probably one of the smartest things they could do as it will make those with less than honest reasons think twice before trying it. Those just seeking to avoid prosecution for crimes in their homelands will look elsewhere for their easy ride.
    Oprah is just annoyed the sales assistant didn’t recognise her.

    • dorota says:

      how is the alternative to putting people who had already suffered in concentration camps and treating them like convicted criminals ‘allowing anyone to just move there’? and who exactly is advocating that? are you saying treating migrants with dignity would be as outrages a move as just opening the borders to anyone?

      The UK is not a prime example. immigration is not out of control or even a serious problem unless you listen to and internalise without questioning the viscius peopaganda of current government. it is a strategy to get people who will not question it scared and support ridiculous harmful measures but even more to distract them from what really is happening with services they should instead be worried about and a lot.

      immigrants add greatly to the wealth of the country while rarely using public services, they gladly take jobs no one else will and make sure the whole sorry state works somehow. thats the long and short of it.

      now asylum seekers are a small percentage of that. do you honestly believe these people who suffered greatly in their countries often saw their families being murdered in front of them and managed to somehow escape should be further humiliated in case there are some imaginary criminals between them? that it is ‘smart’ ??

      lastly try to remember those pesky migrants and asylum seekers are people like you, a lot of them women and children, just less fortunate, they are not some dark anonymous threat and if there are the ocassional criminals among them there are much easier – and cheaper to the tax payer- ways to spot them and lock them up than to humiliate hundreds of other people, just think about it

      the questions you should be asking yourself is who told you immigration is out of control and who told you there are criminals among asylum seekers (do you even know anything about the process?), why they want you to believe that and why you do

    • a globalized world? says:

      because of the international conventions on refugees. don’t want them, don’t sign on. simple.

  26. John David Jones says:

    I have just posted a comment in support of your article, and your response to the first “Anonymous” comment above. The post was not added to the thread, and I received a response saying, “You are posting too quickly – slow down”. I have not posted on the site for several days and am not a regular poster. What is going wrong with the site for that to happen..?

  27. Anonymous says:

    The picture is from south africa and you got youre inspiration from Opray Winfrey , i am truly dissapointed with this one .Honestly

    • Scriptonite says:

      1. It’s a reference to the title of apartheid.
      2. Inspiration did not come from Oprah, but timing did.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well done on completely missing the point of the article – the pic from SA corresponds to the apartheid movement which the Swiss actions emulate, and how can Oprah being told a handbag was too expensive for her make the facts presented less valid?

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