Happy Swiss National Day


My fellow Swiss citizens,

You may remember me as the cute little girl who lived on the alp with her grandfather. For me, my grandfather personified Switzerland; small, self-sufficient, and smelling strangely of cheese. And I love him just like I love Switzerland, passionately and, ideally, from upwind.

Sadly, grandfather was taken from us during the recent pandemic. He’s still alive. I mean he was jailed for hoarding toilet paper. He gets out next Tuesday. During the lockdown, and with grandfather “away”, I had plenty of time to sit and think about the world in which we live.

At first glance it may seem that the world´s gone crazy. We have a dangerous man in the Kremlin, an ambitious man in Beijing, and an orange man in the White House. We have climate change and Brexit, social, gender and racial inequality, Corona virus, Kanye West and the Kardashians.

But in Switzerland we are ok, right? We have a direct democracy, great quality of life, and loads of toilet paper. And, as my old friend Peter the goat herder always says, we have a fantastic health care, a world-class education system, and universal in-door plumbing. Trust me, you do not want to spend time with a man who is surrounded by goats all day before he has had the chance to shower.

But our beautiful country has not always been this way. Our forebears had to fight hard over centuries to secure the kind of life we enjoy today. We must watch over it every day. We must cherish and nurture it. And we must never, ever take it for granted, for there are always dark forces that lurk in every corner, and no I am not just talking about the Austrians.

So, my fellow citizens, on this 1 August, let us celebrate our glorious Switzerland.  But let us never lose sight of the fact that our hard-won freedoms can evaporate fast. As the great David Hasselhoff once said, the only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

Viele Gruyère
Mad Heidi


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