Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Freedom of Speech

I just have to share the latest, controversial poster adorning the Swiss highways and byways. And the occasional side of a barn. To explain the purpose/reasoning for this political poster I offer the following from Swissinfo.ch 30.December 2008:

"The rightwing Swiss People's Party says the labour treaty with the European Union will undermine the country's independence and lead to more unemployment.
In February voters will have the final say on a parliamentary decision to prolong an accord aimed at easing access to the labour market and extend it to Romania and Bulgaria.
The government, business community, trade unions and most political parties argue the labour accord - also known as the free movement of people agreement – is crucial for the economy and relations between Switzerland and its most important trading partner.
However, People's Party President Toni Brunner warned of dire consequences if the labour treaty were to win a majority at the ballot box on February 8.
"Salaries will drop, joblessness will increase, more people will take advantage of and plunder our welfare system and the level of protection against foreign criminals will be dangerously reduced," he said on Tuesday."
Well - let me say that Romania and Bulgaria are not happy to be portrayed as nasty, black crows by the largest, conservative political party in Switzerland.
Bart and I were saying I really should have been taking a picture of all the posters aimed at foreigners and immigration legislation in the last 2 1/2 years. What a pity you missed them. You don't see posters such as these in the US of A. For some reason, I think the ACLU would have them blocked. Even though we have freedom of speech. We just aren't supposed to "see" the freedom?
Let's see.... There was the poster with all the white sheep kicking out the black sheep. This was aimed at passing legislation that allowed the Swiss government to send "home" entire immigrant families who had a minor child convicted of a federal crime. The "black sheep" of the family scenario. But many took offense to the "color" of the sheep which created a racial outcry.
And then, the multi-colored hands reaching into the pot for a Swiss Passport. Wishing to further restrict those who might try to obtain such passport. Good grief, it's hard enough as it is. Among the things you must do in order to obtain a Swiss Passport - live at least 10 years in the country (the last 5 of which must be in one place/city), speak passable German during the application process, history, interviews, background checks, etc.... I have a friend who's been in the process for almost 2 years now. Ah, but she didn't marry a Swiss (even then it can take over 5 years). I'm getting tacky now - moving on......
Many of the people we come across have been born and raised in Switzerland but don't have Swiss Passports. Their parents were Italian, German, French, etc... and therefore, they hold the passport of their parents home country. Some find it troublesome by nature of the bureaucracy to obtain a Swiss Passport - so they don't. When their children are born, they too will have a non-Swiss passport. Nor can these people vote in Switzerland - in spite of birth, work and paying taxes. Because they don't have the passport.
Switzerland is a democracy and they will vote on this issue Sunday. And in Canton Zurich they will also vote on whether to make the "rich" ($1. million/year and up in tax. income) should start paying 'regular' taxes. Yes, read that statement a couple times and let it sink in. However, I could never begin to explain it other than to say there is a reason why the "SuperRich" try to reside in certain Canton's in Switzerland - they get to "negotiate" the taxes they pay.
So - there's my bit of political Show 'n Tell from Switzerland. Enjoy your day!!!!!!

1 comment:

MOM E said...

Thanks for the post and the whole story. After seeing it I have been curious...hmmm...not sure I'll put one up in the front yard. Like you said our "freedom of speech" only goes so far.