When you hear “oder” you might think of the famous German river (see the Wikipedia’s photo above).
But, if you live in Switzerland, “oder” is definitely the most common refrain of every Swiss German spoken sentence! It has a kind of (useless) meaning like the English rhetorical questions “isn’t”, “don’t you”, etc. at the end of a sentence.
Some days ago a colleague (I calculated them!) used multiple infamous “oder”s with an average of one every 30 seconds during a two hours’ meeting! Unbelievable! The small “o” word really became like an unbearable noise to my ears!
By the way… the most international Swiss, to stay consistent to their proud “oder”, even when speaking a foreign language, have absolutely no problem to declaim in English sentences like:
It is quite hot today, or? (Aka: It is quite hot today, isn’t it?)
It was very nice, or? (Aka: It was very nice, wasn’t it?)
Next time it will be better to attend the meeting with ear protection, so that the colleagues will understand my sensitivity to the “oder” word, … OR?
All European football fans, including me, are excited for the soccer European Championship “Euro 2020” which is played in these weeks.
Some days ago the match I had been waiting for for 20 years finally happened: Italy-Switzerland… and Italy won 3-0!
I come from Milano (Italy) and I have been living for 20 years in Switzerland, Canton Argovia. As probably many other emigrants, I feel well in the Confederation, but when Italy shall be supported I have no doubt about my homeland and the national Italian pride is at its top. Equipped with the tricolour flag at the window, Gattuso’s shirt from 2006 and a lot of enthusiasm for our soccer heroes, I watched a great show on the pitch.
By now the passport can be both Italian and Swiss, but my “heart” remains white, red and green!
Switzerland is often seen as a paradise, where everything is supposed to be working well. However, in this period, the situation is dramatic or even desperate in some cases, even if here they are quite good in “hiding the dust or uncomfortable matters under the carpet…”.
In particular, the government and the cantons made and are still guiltily making a lot of mistakes, getting a lot of critics from all over the world. Just to try to save economics (Even if a lot of people have been already “silently” and quickly fired from many Companies), health is considered as a second priority, with preventive measures against COVID-19 which are too weak and, considering the infection numbers, clearly ineffective.
The “Tages Anzeiger”, the daily newspaper from Zurich and one of the most important in Switzerland, analysed what foreign press thinks of the Swiss way to fight the COVID-19 emergency. Here the most significant quotes.
“Switzerland is still thinking of being a particular case…” (Foreign Policy, USA)
“It has been returned too quickly to the politics of the small cantons…” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, DE, regarding the continuous passing the buck regarding the responsibilities to define what to do between the central federal State and the 26 cantons)
“Switzerland is the second Sweden…” (Welt, DE)
“Why the government continues to be reluctant to take severe decisions?…” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, DE)
“A risky strategy…” (Financial Time, UK).
“A perfect example of what Germany should not do…” (Karl Lauterbach, German socialist politician and professor of health economics and epidemiology at the University of Cologne)
“…more testimonials tell about a Swiss weak approach, for a long time, with superficial preventive measures in the Companies, protocols which were not complied with, basically about a situation which created COVID carriers” (Corriere della Sera IT, regarding the dramatic increase of infections and quarantines in a small city, Arcisate, near the border with Switzerland).
It is crazy to see the passivity and lack of vision of the Swiss government which, in front of a continuous increase of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, almost every day holds monotonous and boring press conferences, only to acknowledge the situation with no gut and no flexibility to change the route inside this terribly disruptive storm!
Do you know what happened to the mentioned CEO of the shopping centre “Shoppi Tivoli” after he authorised the 50th anniversary party with a lot of people too near to each other and often without masks?
Think… The precise Switzerland…
Think… The rigid and respectful Switzerland…
Think… The healthy Switzerland…
Think… The balanced Switzerland…
Think… The practical Switzerland, where you pay a fine if you park your car ten seconds more than the allowed time…
Think… The right Switzerland, where you can throw the used glass bottles only in special times…
NOTHING! That CEO got neither a fine, nor he was arrested. He just has to adjust and submit again his safety concept for the nice shopping centre to the authorities!
Scandalous, isn’t it?
But it is not finished.
He even had the gut to proclaim his satisfaction for shrinking away with no financial consequence! Unbelievable!
It is not fair to criticise government decisions during an emergency, but if these decisions directly contributed to spread the Coronavirus infections, causing a lot of deaths, then I think they should be denounced. Hopefully that everything can work as a lesson learned.
The Swiss government, the Swiss perfect application of the federal state which gives full powers to the Cantons regarding the public health, the slowness of the Swiss politicians, and the absence of humility to learn from other countries are dramatically and very quickly dragging Switzerland into a new severe COVID-19 emergency, putting this small Country very low in the ranking of the efficiency of the implemented measures to combat COVID-19!
Here some macroscopic evidences and unforgivable Swiss mistakes since the start of the pandemic.
1) During the “first wave” of the contagion, started also in Switzerland at the very end of February 2020, the main consultant of the federal government and communicator on COVID-19 matters was a certain Dr Daniel Koch, so-called “Mr Corona”, head of the department of infectious diseases of the Federal Office for Public Health. In some interviews, he started minimising the pandemic, “showing off” his very past experiences in Africa during the Ebola outbreak, and adopting the still disgusting comparison between COVID-19 and the “usual” flue. He never warned about the use of protective masks; on the contrary he always said that the social distancing would have been enough, even on the public transportation, to avoid any contagion! According to Dr Koch, masks would have given the people a fake feeling of safety. When Dr Koch was calmly spitting his “truths”, all the world, including (even if late) WHO, already recognised the importance of adopting protective masks to control the diffusion of possible infections.
Dr Koch retired in April and stopped brainwashing the Swiss population, who was never really taking into account the possibility of using masks indoor, only relying on hygiene and the 1.5 meter distance. Distance which, by the way, very few were really keeping, misunderstanding the “common” maximum 50 cm with the minimum 1.5 meter! However Dr Koch left no real successor as single point of communication and expertise, leaving the health minister quite alone.
2) Switzerland introduced the mask obligation, on the public transportation only, on the 6th July 2020, i.e. more than 4 months after the start of the emergency! A scandalous delay!
3) Even if some cantons obliged the use of masks indoor, some others never imposed this measure, despite the exponentially increasing number of infections. Unacceptable!
4) Finally, with a guilty and unforgivable delay, the Swiss federal government obliged the use of masks indoor (public places, stations, bus stops, airports, …) only on the 19th October 2020, 7 months after the start of the COVID-19 “hell”! Unbelievable!
5) After having reported increasing new infections every day for the last two weeks, last Friday, 23rd October, Switzerland hit 6’634 new infections in one day. Considering that Switzerland has a population of slightly more than 8’500’000 inhabitants, you can calculate what this number would mean in your own country…
6) Although the infection numbers are increasing exponentially in the last weeks, after obliging the use of protective masks, the health minister, Alain Berset, and the government are hesitating to define new more severe rules to try to contain and reduce the number of infections. The health minister promised new measures but not before next Wednesday, 28th October. Why? Because he has to agree these measures with the cantons (and probably with his government mates…).
When the emergency can put the health of the population at risk, the actions shall be severe and quick and not just politically aimed at not changing the daily routine of the population! Why not “motivating” the respect of the rules by introducing significant fines for not following them, to eventually finance the most penalised working categories in this emergency?
One of the worldwide actions to fight COVID-19 is (still) the social distancing.
In Switzerland they have been proud for long time having set 2m as distance everyone has to keep from the others to protect himself/herself and the others.
This 2m “mantra” is more than the Italian 1m, or the German 1.5m or the vague “according to the common sense” prescribed in Sweden and France. And the Swiss are very happy for this.
But the fact is that very very very very few people respect the 2m distance in the Confederation (maybe no one knows how does a 2m separation look like?): the distance often becomes 20cm as a practical rule here!
But the most of the people is very keen and honored, unfortunately, on not wearing protective masks! Even the government was and still is very foggy regarding the use of masks! Just 6% of the people use masks on the public transportation!
20 actual cm and 6%! These are the numbers that, for me, confirm the fact that the low COVID-19 infection cases in Switzerland at the moment is just due to luck…
… no one is using the umbrella in Switzerland?
Even if the sky is very gray and the clouds are full of rain, the typical Herr Schweiz or Frau Schweiz never take their umbrella before leaving their house.
That’s a mystery. Without protection from the rain, is someone maybe feeling more powerful?