Letters to the editor
Switzerland’s “colonialism without colonies”
Many Swiss multinationals are still busy exploiting the south. The idea that Switzerland became one of the richest countries in the world solely through its own hard work is absurd. Colonialism is still here. All we have done is replace the white racketeers with national puppets we approve of. We keep them in power with money and weapons.
It is quite incredible how Switzerland has developed this collective guilt because a few Swiss benefited from colonialism and slavery. And now people today who had nothing to do with it have to pay compensation. The recipients of the compensation cannot be traced back to the real victims either. This is no moral tale.
History is the study of the past. What happened then was the accepted norm of that era, not necessarily the present. To try to apply the norms of the past to those of the present is an unacceptable comparison. Yes, the past was wrong in our eyes, but it was the acceptable practice of that time. Are we to be blamed for the actions of our ancestors? The answer is no, nor would it be acceptable in any court of law. As long as we live our lives, in a way that makes us proud, without harming others, and without breaking any current laws we are leading good lives. Who knows how the future will judge us?
We should look and search more the present - how much is the West including Switzerland, benefitting from slavery today? The past is the past, we should learn from the past and adapt our action today - do we? Can we afford our western lifestyle, or are we living on the back of others? I venture to say, we still do - slavery still exists, maybe it is not as visible as in the past - but it is still as brutal as it was. It is a complicated world - greed for money and power is an obstacle for humanity to flourish.
Tearing down statues because people’s values have changed? Granted, making money from the slave trade is reprehensible in today’s world. Then again, maybe a CEO’s salary at a hundred or a thousand times more than the minimum wage will also be seen as reprehensible in a few years. Someone who is highly thought of today may be seen as an exploitative criminal in future. Changing values could affect us all, even me and you. This is why I would prefer if every monument were changed to incorporate modern perspectives. For example, you could add another plaque to Mr de Pury’s statue showing the source of the wealth used to finance his philanthropy.
The divisive issue of 5G
People will not rest until everything is destroyed. Then it will be too late. Climate change is enveloping us and causing problems that 5G cannot fix. Real progress can only happen when people look inwards instead of outwards all the time. But who wants to hear that? New ideas come from inner peace, not from being constantly bombarded with information.
I was disappointed not to see any mention of the pros and cons of Huawei in the “Swiss Review” article on 5G. Unlike in English-speaking countries, this issue almost seems non-existent in Switzerland. The significant security concerns associated with a manufacturer from a totalitarian state do seem justified to me in some respects.
In my view, there are two important arguments. First, who will benefit the most from 5G? The big corporations that can gather more information on users. Second, do we want to entrust our personal data and all our interests to a totalitarian state that tears up agreements?
La Brévine, Switzerland’s very own Siberia
Thank you for this rural article on La Brévine. It warmed my heart! Born in Lausanne in 1950, and having spent the last 40 years in Miami, my heart remains in the forest and our mountains.
Great article! Thank you for granting me this moment of nostalgia.
Thank you for this lovely walk through Little Siberia, Switzerland. I was born not far from this town, in 1956. On the way home from transporting the milk from the farm to the dairy, I got lost in the wind and the snow. I found my way thanks to the electricity poles, but my ears were freezing. They didn’t fall off, but I couldn’t feel them! I put up with the cold for years.