Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fortress Switzerland

The people of Switzerland seem to have taken an object lesson from the Swedes and the British, and have decided to step back from the brink of the immigration cliff. According to AFP, Swiss voters have strongly approved a tightening of asylum laws:

According to early poll projections, Switzerland has voted heavily in favour of making it harder for asylum-seekers to gain entry to the rich Alpine state.

Despite warnings of damage to Switzerland’s humanitarian reputation, some two-thirds of voters appeared to have said ‘yes’ in referendums on laws limiting access for non-European job-seekers and making the country’s asylum rules amongst the West’s toughest.
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Ah, yes, “warnings” — a nice impersonal construct. Who was “warning” the Swiss? Kofi Annan? Human Rights Watch? The International Socialist Alliance? Or maybe the Arab League?

And it seems that voters are expected to pay more attention to Switzerland’s reputation than to their own physical and economic well-being. “Dietrich! Don’t vote ‘yes’ on that referendum! How could we hold our heads up in polite company if we passed such a racist law?”

Switzerland must have organizations analogous to the ACLU, left-wing spoilers that have the time, the money, and the know-how to put a spanner in the works of the democratic process:

The measures have already been passed by both parliament and the government, but opponents raised enough signatures to force a national vote.

AFP, being a good buddy of Reuters, knows how to frame the story, and makes sure to include the opinion of an “opponent”. Needless to say, it’s the only voter that they quote:

“I have voted ‘no’,” said 35-year-old Raphael Engel after casting his ballot in Geneva. “Europe is more and more becoming a fortress and Switzerland should set a humanitarian example.”

This reminds me of NPR back in 1984, covering Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory. The reporter stood outside a polling place, sticking a microphone into the face of voter after voter, but somehow only the clips of Mondale voters ever made it onto the air for “All Things Considered”.

The Swiss, instead of setting a humanitarian example, have decided to be a beacon of backwardness for the racists, bigots, and Islamophobes among us. More power to Switzerland!

Do you think Europe is starting to wake up? First the Swedish election, and now the referendum in Switzerland…

One by one the nations of Old Europe open their bleary eyes, clutch their aching heads, look at all the garbage and empty wine bottles around the room from last night’s wild socialism party, and moan, “What the hell was I thinking of?”


Hat tip: Reader LN and commenter Thanos.

22 comments:

Phanarath said...

Thats great. Mostly for switzerland.

Half a year back or so. I read a story about a turkich woman in Switzerland who where teaching at a Koranscool and otherwise keeping to herself and her family.

She aplied for citizenship but was denied, on the grounds that she had made no effort to integrate into the swiss communaty.

I dont think any other country in europe would make that kind of judgement. Mostly it seems to be considered the responcebilety of the host country to do the integration.

We should learn from Swizterland.

Mihir Shah said...

http://www.dawn.com/2006/09/24/int2.htm

Looks like it is spreading now!

Muslims must apologise for conquest: Aznar: Former Spanish PM defends Pope

MADRID, Sept 23: Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar on Friday defended Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about Islam, saying the pontiff had no need to apologise and asking why Muslims never did, according to newspaper reports published on Saturday.

“Why do we always have to say sorry and they never do?” Mr Aznar told a conference in the United States.

“It is interesting to note that while a lot of people in the world are asking the pope to apologise for his speech, I have never heard a Muslim say sorry for having conquered Spain and occupying it for eight centuries.”

Zerosumgame said...

I've read in several sites where Muslim migrants now make up 20% of Switzerland's population. This seems way too high, does someone know a more accurate figure?

Zerosumgame said...

According to early poll projections, Switzerland has voted heavily in favour of making it harder for asylum-seekers to gain entry to the rich Alpine state.

It's long been hard enough for asylum-seekers to gain entrance to Switzerland. Just ask the Jews who were turned back in the 1940s.

Oh, you can't. They're all dead.

And just remember that Switzerland has long banned kosher meat in the country.

So forgive me if I am not sympathetic to the Swiss. I doubt very many Jews are.

Meme chose said...

In the UK Blair's government keeps passing helpful-sounding laws, but the left-dominated bureaucracy and legal profession see to it that no matter what the legislation says, essentially no immigrants are actually sent back home.

Switzerland will have to do better than this before its vote proves to have any real significance. Certainly the British bureaucrats and lawyers care nothing for what they consider to be 'stupid' popular votes.

Profitsbeard said...

Looks like those who make the cuckoo clocks know about the meaning of "cuckoo's eggs".

May all of Europe follow their lead.

Faithful Muslims belong at home in Mecca.

They can then hate us from there in peace.

(Is the Ka'aba the world's largest cuckoo clock?)

ajm said...

Two recent TV programs showing the level of the public debate on Islam in Switzerland:
In German last week: http://www.sf.tv/sf1/arena/index.php?docid=20060922
In French yesterday: http://www.tsr.ch/tsr/index.html?siteSect=314901&sid=7071258&cKey=1158735528000

lcmslutheran said...

At least they are realizing how their liberal attitudes are sinking their country and their culture. Now if only the U. S. could realize the same thing about their southern border.

Ron said...

One thing that puzzles me about the whole European immigration debate: The core issue, as I understand it, is that the European population is aging and needs and influx of younger people for all the usual reasons.

For some reason, Europe seems to have turned to the Muslim world for this influx, giving rise to the horrible state of affairs we now witness.

But there is another source of people far more integratable: Latin Americans, including Mexicans.

These people are (1) mostly Christian; (2) Western, so share the same cultural roots; (3) largely peaceful; (4) very hard workers (I believe, all difficulties aside, that Latin American immigration has been a big plus for the U.S. and I've read studies that suggest they integrate at a very high rate.)

So, I guess the question is: why didn't Europe turn toward these people? And is it too late to (1) force Muslims out of Europe and (2) inviate Latin Americans in to fill the void.

RON

Phanarath said...

The idea that Europe somehow needs immigration, is a spin from the left I think. Europe hasnt turned to the muslim world, they have turned to Europe for a better place to live. The left dosnt want to turn them away for fear of being seen as Nazis. So they try to see something posetive in it.

Vol-in-Law said...

Many of the economic job-seeking migrants in London, where I live, are indeed from Brazil & elsewhere in South America, though their numbers have been overwhelmed recently by the huge Polish influx. The thing to bear in mind about Europe is that there are two sorts of non-first-world immigration here:

1. Economic - Poles, Brazillians, Chinese etc. These people come here as quietly & anonymously as possible, to work. We often barely notice them despite their huge numbers. Sometimes their children tend to criminality (eg West Indians/Caribbeans) but their contribution is generally positive.

2. Rent-seeking - often Muslim, some east-European (esp ex USSR and Albania), sub-Saharan African (eg Somlia). These immigrants are often (fake) asylum seekers and are more interested in parasitising the European welfare states than working, few work legally, if they work at all it is in addition to their benefit claims, often huge. Many are criminals; some nationalities are extremely violent.

Red River said...

Zerosumgame got it wrong: "It's long been hard enough for asylum-seekers to gain entrance to Switzerland. Just ask the Jews who were turned back in the 1940s."

This is propoganda.

Switzerland admitted more Jews on a per capita basis than any other nation in the world and despite being surrounded by and threatened by the Nazis who wanted to use the refugee inflow as a cause to start a war.

Furthermore, many have criticised the Swiss Banks - but the flip side is that the Swiss banks made it possible for many refugees and persecuted persons to escape from the Nazis. They allowed Switzerland to ride out the War and oppose Hitler by running a positive accoutn balance.

The Swiss were ( and still are ) very serious people. The Swiss militia had standing orders to round up and summarily execute known Nazi collaborators if the Reich had invaded. One reason the Warsaw Pact stayed out of Western Europe is that they would had have to fight the Swiss.

Many American Liberals would be appalled to visit Switzerland and see that guns are far more common there than in the USA. The whole nation is an armed camp.

Dave Schuler said...

I think it bears mentioning at this point that Switzerland isn't a member of the EU (the Swiss aren't joiners). If they were, they'd have problems doing this.

Dave Schuler said...

The whole nation is an armed camp.

I believe that Switzerland is person-for-person the most militarized nation in Europe. Unless they've changed the laws recently they have universal military service and everybody keeps their service weapons in their closets.

Have I mentioned that my family is Swiss?

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

And besides, UNHCR is talking out of its arse.

PG

Archonix said...

avidm I'm glad you pointed that out. People often bemoan the immigration policies of EU members without realising that the dead hand of the EU prevents them from actually doing anything about it.

Though, it has to be said, the hand is only there as long as those governments consent to it being there...

Phanarath said...

As far as I understand it, all EU can do on these matters is to make reports. These report, if they go agains the policy of a gorverment, will then be used by the opposition. But its only an indirect power. And as Archonix said; you can just ignore it. This can and does happen to countries like Switzerland, Norway and the US, as well as the memberstates.

I am sure that in the US, the Opposition will use anything they can against Bush. And so if they can pull out a report from EU that speaks against his politics, they will. Its the same here.

heh.. I Imagine that this is part of the reason, many rightwing Americans dislike EU.

Rich Rostrom said...

"Switzerland does not have an army. Switzerland is an army."

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Phanarath,

Hmmm...

As with all things EU related, the situation is never quite as simple as anyone ever tries to make out.

"And as Archonix said; you can just ignore it."

Not really. UK law is subordinate to EU law: The EU has supremacy.

Whilst France may have a refreshingly cavalier attitude to EU directives (having an ample sufficiency of local bureaucratic interference), this is not the case in the UK: 80% of our laws originate in Brussels. However, the EU and all its workings is such a taboo topic that many/most are spectacularly ill-informed.

It is normally the UK Government that takes the rap for stuff when the law in question originated in Brussels, we had "shared" (i.e. entirely given up) sovereignty over the policy area some time ago and Parliament has little chance to review and no mechanism to amend legislation.

As for Dave Schuler above, I should illustrate a further complexity. You are correct that Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but it IS a signatory to the Schengen Agreement and thus has completely open borders to the other Schengen countries (i.e. everything except plucky little Lichtenstein.)

It has no land border controls whatsoever. This, in a way, is why this referendum is so important: the only way you can get into Switzerland is by land (in which case you cannot claim asylum there as you should have done so on first arrival in the EU) or by air (in which case you must have had a passport and/or visa on arrival).

PG

Phanarath said...

There is a lot I dont know about these matters. I didnt even know Switzerland was about to join Schengen. I just read this yesterday. It seems that EU has started to complain and so has UN by the way. UN is worried that these rules will make it harder, for UN workers and diplomats, to come an go.

To make the whole thing even more confusing. Denmark is a member of EU, but not a part of Schengen.

Its true most of our laws come from EU. Even Norway, who isnt a member, simply Copy/Paste most of them.

But its up to every country to enforce the laws. And thats the point I feel some American commentaters sometimes miss.

In Denmark we have laws that the "EU comission of disrimination" (I have no idea if that is realy its name), dosnt aprove of. They say the laws are - hold on to hats and glasses - indirectly discriminatory towards ethnic-groups who like to make arranged weedings with people outside the EU. And the funny thing is, that they are right. And so they keep writing reports and the goverment keeps pointing out factuel flaws in the reports. They are realy sloppy work.

And while this circus is taking place the laws in question are being enforced.

But no, I am definetly no expert in EU, and I think you would need to be, to understand the whole thing. But I wantet to counter the perseption of EU, as a kind of superstate.

Don Miguel said...

"I've read in several sites where Muslim migrants now make up 20% of Switzerland's population."

I've read that in several places and couldn't believe it since I had lived there for three years and had a pretty good idea about what the Swiss think of foreigners. Looking through some Swiss government numbers from three years ago I found the overall total to be around 3% (if I remember correctly) with it varying between Kantons from 1% to 5%. Note that the majority of Muslims in Switzerland are Bosnians (and thus Europeans) which makes me wonder how "limiting access for non-European job-seekers" would have any effect.

As noted by other posters the Swiss are well-armed and have universal conscription for all able-bodied males. If I remember correctly service lasts until they are around 35 and they have to go to training every year. And yes, they not only keep their guns at home, but also some ammo (although there are severe penalties for opening the sealed ammo).

The Swiss army and infrastructure is designed to defend against an invading army such as that of the defunct USSR. Bridges are built with the vital points to destroy them already noted. Mountains have large caverns with who-knows-what in them (I’ve seen a road that ended in a mountain-side with a false “door” big enough for large vehicles to drive through). Some of the large valleys have pre-built and hidden armed firing positions already sighted for invading armies. In the apartment building where I lived the car entrance was designed so that a tank could not drive into the garage and the subterranean levels had bomb-proof blast doors.

The Swiss are ready for an external invader, but are they ready for the internal kind?

George Chernikov said...

I'm linking to your post in my blog because I think your posting very clearly illustrates the xenophobia that is so clearly prevalent in Switzerland. The discrimination against the non-Swiss - and in particular, non-First World citizens - is discrete, but no less effective. It disgusts me that Manpower can call me to offer me a job, only to withdraw their offer and tell me frankly "Sorry, but we don't work with non-EU citizens".

As a Belarussian living in Switzerland on a Student Permit B, I have experienced my fair share of raised eyebrows at my nationality. It still shocks me that a country that houses the European UN headquarters can be so xenophobic and so intolerant of foreigners.