Â I’m not talking about hot chocolate. In fact, I’m going to say something negative about Switzerland here. I personally don’t even know anyone from Switzerland. If you happen to be Swiss I hope this doesn’t offend you. This is really about perceptions that people can have, especially me as an American. I really do think Americans don’t get the full news, the true story sometimes. News is often slanted. I’m sure it happens in other countries as well, not even counting those countries that totally control the newpapers and television. It probably happens in France although I have to say that I will see things on TV here that aren’t shown in the States on the news.
Â Anyway. One day while at a tennis match I took a break to make my way to the toilets. On the way back I saw and smelled some waffles being made and stopped and bought one with chocolate on it. Later as Maurice and I passed by the stand he asked if I wanted one and I told him that I’d eaten one earlier. That’s when he said, “You mean like a Swiss?” I said, very puzzled, “What? How is that like a Swiss?” He explained to me that during WWII, when Switzerland declared itself neutral, many people right across the border in France were starving and the Swiss, who weren’t, didn’t help them. Maurice had relatives who lived near Annecy which is 30 minutes from Switzerland. Now I know you can’t paint the whole country with the same brush and that there were many brave people in Switzerland who helped many people during the war. Really, is there one country in this world that doesn’t have something to be ashamed of? The USA and the Indians–hello.Â France with its Vichy government during WWII, etc.
Â But it made me realize that I had been taught to think of Switzerland and their neutrality as noble. I’m not sure why. It made me change my perception then of something I’ve always assumed. Maybe being neutral isn’t noble. It’s a way of staying on the fence, not getting involved and sometimes taking advantage of those not neutral, but suffering in a war. It was a horrible time. Perhaps if they had been invaded it would have been different. I don’t know enough about history to even know why Germany didn’t invade Switzerland. I read that the Alps made an invasion look to difficult to Hitler.
Â At first when Maurice started saying that to me-“Oh, like the Swiss?” I was a little amused but now it makes me mad. It’s like saying I’m selfish and it sends me off like a rocket. Of course, when he is in the kitchen making tea for himself, does he ask me if I would like some? Not usually. Then I tell him, “Don’t ever call me a Swiss again!”
Â Any Swiss out there reading this who would care to give me their views?