By Gilbert-Michel Rolle
NEW YORK, 18 OCTOBER 2007When I was a history student at the University of Fribourg and
was looking for a subject for my thesis, I said that I wanted to analyze
the extent to which the Nazis had infiltrated Switzerland during the war
years, between 1939 and 1945. I was not given
a warm welcome. My advisor made it abundantly clear that
the Bern archives of that period were not yet in the public
domain and I would do better to choose another subject.
Since then others have been given access to these sulphurous documents.
The fuss with respect to Jewish funds shed a rather bright light on this
shadowy period, full of blood and gold, in which extreme right-wing
organizations, still underground, stood ready to take over the country the
day Hitler invaded Switzerland. But the Führer died in his bunker.
The rise of racism, which today pollutes Switzerland from Limmat to
Lake Leman, is nonetheless worrisome. Brownish, nauseating pollution has
infiltrated, drop by drop, the Swiss ground water. The moral health of the
country and its international prestige are degraded a bit further after
each election. If we can believe attentive observers, the decomposition of
the body politic has already begun. The first brown spots seem to have
developed on a number of isolated members of the police force, who, under
cover of their uniform, were able to hide their sores and satisfy in total
impunity their most sadistic instincts against the Other, the Stranger.
Lacking a national doctor, they could count on the tacit support of a
slack Center and an ever-more-vociferous Right. Soon the nation will add
its barking to the herd of the xenophobe billionaire of dubious pedigree
who will devour Mein Kampf before Switzerland is torn apart.
At that point, a hateful cough will afflict another segment of the
population: among those of independent means, the retired and others who
collect State pensions, some will be covered with pustules and begin to
tremble with rage when they hear the word "stranger". What in fact is
this worrisome shadow that sweeps the cramped streets of their little
towns with their narrow sewers? The question was rapidly answered in their
feverish brain. "The Other, the Stranger" a new barbaric horde, come
from elsewhere to abuse social benefits to which one is entitled. And
entitlements are not to be shared !
And that is how the plague went through its most extensive mutation,
political this time: deserting the Left that courageously fought for
decades to put into place old age and invalid insurance from which they
benefit today, many of those of independent means are running to the
extreme right with the speed and fanaticism of panicked lemmings.
Dont they realize that when the Swiss People's Party (SVP) is
installed on the throne of racism and atavistic fears, they will attack
the social benefits on which so many pensioners depend? The xenophobic
plague in the brain of Dame Helvetia will then have triumphed. She will no
longer need to seal her borders; old and disfigured, she will be of no
interest to anyone!
Swiss parliamentary elections: Sunday
21 October 2007.
Gilbert-Michel Rolle is a classical
singer based in New York and is a citizen of Switzerland and the United
States. Born in Fribourg, he was educated at a Jesuit institute and holds
an undergraduate degree in Contemporary History and French literature
from the University of Fribourg. He completed his graduate studies at
the University of Paris (Sorbonne). Mr. Rolle's new CD is entitled
"Musical Voyage". His web site is www.gilbertrolle.com.
Related CK Archives
Pardon My French:
Bloggers Debate France's Presidential Candidates
Days of Glory:
Valor, Racism and the Ingratitude of the French
Interview of Corey Cerovsek
Review: European Paintings From New York's Metropolitan Museum in
Gaza at the
Crossroad of Civilizations
The Best and Worst of Maurice
Festival 2005: Interviews with Thomas Quasthoff and Measha
Festival and Academy 2004: In Company With Evgeny Kissin
Maurice Béjart Returns to
Stolen Nazi Art
Scourge of Hyacinths