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Swiss Cross

Switzerland is famous for cultivating a taste for cleanliness, orderliness, cuckoo clocks, chocolates, secret banking and a safe haven for investors. It is also known for its neutrality policy and as a place of refuge. But...

Swiss Cross

Swiss Cross

Swiss chocolate is famous for its smooth taste, but it has been getting politically whiter recently, and the neutrality and refuge statuses now depends largely on the wealth and racial origin of the intending immigrants. Islamic minarets are banned. 

The SVP (Schweizerische Volkspartei) is the right-of-centre Swiss People's Party and they have been gaining popularity in recent years. Their logo is not a Swastika - far from it - they use a gentle green logo, since the party has its roots in the Farmer's Party of 1917. Nevertheless, many immigrants know to their cost that they are not welcome in this part of Europe.

To its credit, and in contrast with many other European countries, Switzerland has no international disputes and in 2005 spent just 1% of its GDP on the military (compared to 2.6% for France, 4% for the US).

This has not always been the case, however.

The Swiss Confederation has a history no less violent than any other European State. In the 13th century, the white cross appeared on the banner of Schwyz (an early Canton from which we get the name 'Switzerland'). This symbol had been given by the Emperor Frederick II when granting autonomous sovereignty. Thereafter, soldiers from the Cantons wore a white cross on their tunic or armour when going into battle.

It wasn't until 1814 that the white cross appeared on a red background for the Confederation's official seal and didn't become the national flag's design until 1889. The flag is unusual in that it is square. Most country flags have a height-to-width ratio of 3:5 or 2:3 and flags tend to get squared only for the military and in war time. (Another square flag is that of the Vatican City.)

Red Cross

But despite their flag of war, Switzerland is home to the Geneva Convention and several other international groups such as the Red Cross (whose banner is an inverse of the Swiss Cross). Traditionally, Switzerland maintains its neutrality and seldom ventures into international political controversy which has led to criticism for sitting on the fence. This image changed somewhat when they joined the United Nations in 2002.

See also the similar Dannebrog Cross.

Crosses on flags

Switzerland is not the only country that shows xenophobic intolerance.
- Egypt, with 10% of its population Christian, makes it almost impossible for Copts to build churches.
- Moldovans witnessed a mob led by an Orthodox priest smash a menorah (www.haaretz.com/...)
- ...and sadly, the list goes on.

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