This week a certain political party here in Switzerland, one that claims to be of and for the people, has been anything but of and for the people.
In fact, actions by its party members have ranged from downright divisive to blatantly xenophobic and racist.
Obviously, as an immigrant to this country and as a naturalised citizen, I find such actions quite alarming, as should anyone, who calls Switzerland his or her home.
What exactly, you might be asking yourself, could cause such alarm? Well, here is a quick synopsis of the week’s events:
Over the weekend, a member of the political party in question suddenly found himself in very deep water as a result of the following tweet on his Twitter account: “Maybe we need another Night of Broken Glass…this time for mosques”.
Not only was the hateful message a direct attack against the Muslim faith, but, by invoking the horrible events of November, 1938, which were a precursor of the Holocaust, it was also insulting to all of those whose lives were affected by the actions of the Nazi regime before and during the Second World War.
You would think that one such tweet would suffice, but sadly the hate did not end there. The same person then doubled-down with an equally reprehensible message that called for getting rid of “filth” by “shooting certain people”.
On Monday, in an unrelated (at least temporally) event, a different member of the same political party and elected official of the cantonal parliament of Zurich put forward the motion of officially dividing Swiss citizens into two categories, namely those who were born here, the so-called “real” citizens, and those who are naturalised Swiss citizens, the “problematic” citizens.
How would such a distinction be in any way, shape or form beneficial? According to the party member, it will help to “make visible the deficits of naturalized citizens”. It seems to me that one is or is not a citizen, that there is no gray area to this definition, but I freely admit, being the naturalized citizen that I am, that my logic could be deficient in some areas.
As a party of and for the people, one could surmise that its members would shy away from divisiveness and xenophobia, but for the time being, actions unfortunately do speak louder than words.