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How Swiss Is This?

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Just to alleviate any unwanted stress from not knowing, very Swiss indeed:

Alfred Escher wielded so much power and influence during his lifetime that he was nicknamed King Alfred I. An immense bronze statue of modern Switzerland’s founding father stands, fittingly, in front of Zurich’s main train station. Escher was a politician, but he was also an entrepreneur who founded the country’s railway network along with its leading university and the banking giant Credit Suisse.

Sure, politician, build the nation, blah, blah. But that statue’s for building the railways – you know, something useful.

The story then deteriorates:

Switzerland – or the city states that acted as its predecessor – never had any colonies, but it has a colonial past.

Erm, really?

Through its textile industry, which was key to the country’s industrialisation, Switzerland was closely tied to the triangular slave trade. “Through the production of printed cotton fabrics, known as indiennes, Switzerland acted as a supplier for the transatlantic slave trade,” said Marcel Brengard, one of the historians who conducted the study. “The indiennes were sold in west Africa, and the money made from the sale was then used to purchase slaves.”

This is to blur the meaning of “colonialism” beyond a useful one. Trading with people is colonialism? Seriously?

That’s going to make Bangladesh’s life pretty hard if Primark selling me a t-shirt is me being colonised by Bengalis. As opposed to a more useful meaning where Tower Hamlets has a significant Bengal derived population. The to are different things and we do need to have the language to differentiate between them.

“This has to do with a new generation of researchers and key publications that have put the subject on the agenda in universities,”

Ah, yes. As everyone’s already done the subject to death stuff needs to be made up to give folks something to do. As with microaggressions and so on. Even those whines about the patriarchy in what is clearly the most gender equal society the world’s ever seen – this modern world.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve also noticed that everybody bangs on and on about the (Atlantic) slave trade, which lasted a few hundred years, and completely ignores slavery itself which lasted something like 40,000 years. And bangs on about British slave trading, which lasted 93 years instead of the Spanish slave trade that lasted 200+ years. And in that 40,000+ years, we were the only ones who decided to not only abolish slavery and the slave trade, but to actively use state funds to embark on international piracy to stamp it out in other countries.

    • Imperialist chauvanism, telling foreigners how to run their lives and their countries. That would never happen today would it? We wouldn’t be insisting the Saudis let women out of their homes, we wouldn’t be insisting that Africans stop stoning homosexuals, we wouldn’t be insisting that the Chinese stop locking up people who want a say in the running of their country.

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