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Old 01.10.2011, 19:54
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What Would Be The Swiss Response

A woman of immigrant origin (Greek, who married an American, got citizenship, etc) criticizes the leadership of the country, discusses basic business morality, criticizes cultural norms, etc). She also has an obvious accent. She is the owner of a major online news outlet (Huffington Post, which she might have sold actually...)

Is there are a Swiss version of this woman? Would Swiss people tolerate a woman with an obvious accent, who has no Swiss ancestry, criticizing the fundamental structure of Swiss society in Switzerland on television?



What about this guy? Indian born Muslim, American educate with fairly popular political show that regularly criticizes the U.S. on television (CNN: based on Atlanta).

He writes books called "The Post American World"



Or an Iranian (Persian)-British woman leading one of the top 3 Sunday Morning news shows in America, Christiane Amanpour who regularly ciritiszes the U.S. government, political and economic culture, etc. In the video below, the second Muslim woman is a professor at New York University, but a Pakistani born Canadian. The only native born America on that panel is the white guy...



According to some Swiss folks on this site, these "damn ungrateful foreigners" should shut up and go back where they came from if they don't like it. They should have nothing to say about America.

As I said, foreigners criticizing America? So what? As long as they are honest, I think us Yanks are pretty used to it. We even pay them to do it.

What about you Swiss?
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Old 01.10.2011, 21:06
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

Why would anyone want to critize a country he or she has chosen to live in voluntarily? I mean, if one doesn't like the country one lives in and whose citizenship one has acquired, why not moving somewhere else which fits best one's opinion of what a fantastical country must be? Foreigners getting citizenship of the country they have chosen should always be grateful and respect the country they have been so warmly received in. And no, I'm not swiss, but I love this country.
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:18
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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Why would anyone want to critize a country he or she has chosen to live in voluntarily? I mean, if one doesn't like the country one lives in and whose citizenship one has acquired, why not moving somewhere else which fits best one's opinion of what a fantastical country must be? Foreigners getting citizenship of the country they have chosen should always be grateful and respect the country they have been so warmly received in. And no, I'm not swiss, but I love this country.
where are you from originally?


I think Americans are quite nationalistic, or I did until I came to Europe, but we recognize a fundamental thing.

All criticism is not the same.

Example A: "I hate this place, everything is stupid, the people, the culture is f'ed up, the weather sucks, blah blah"

Example B: I think this is a great country, but it might be improved by A and B...what do you think? If not why not?

The responses to A and B in Switzerland are typically some version of "love it or leave it, shut up foreigner, go home"

That does not tend to be the American response, although that response exists, it is the minority, if it was not I could not show you famous personalities on popular well watched stations on American tv as i just have.

We have had countless (and I am sure if put to the test I can name a dozen immigrants) who have fundamentally changed U.S. society or government policy (for the better and worse) in the last 100 years. Most people accept this as normal, and generally good.

But apparently you have found utopia, so...
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:30
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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As I said, foreigners criticizing America? So what? As long as they are honest, I think us Yanks are pretty used to it. We even pay them to do it.


What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:33
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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Why would anyone want to critize a country he or she has chosen to live in voluntarily? I mean, if one doesn't like the country one lives in and whose citizenship one has acquired, why not moving somewhere else which fits best one's opinion of what a fantastical country must be? Foreigners getting citizenship of the country they have chosen should always be grateful and respect the country they have been so warmly received in. And no, I'm not swiss, but I love this country.
So, if your adopted country became involved in various nasty activities that made you ill just thinking about, you should just shut up, put your head down, and be thankful to them for your passport? That's hardly the definition of being a free and empowered citizen. It's also exactly the kind of head's-down sheep-like attitude that governments and certain political parties love. I have more respect for people who love their country but are honestly critical about its failings. No place is perfect and no place couldn't stand a little improvement.
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:39
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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So, if your adopted country became involved in various nasty activities that made you ill just thinking about, you should just shut up, put your head down, and be thankful to them for your passport? That's hardly the definition of being a free and empowered citizen. It's also exactly the kind of head's-down sheep-like attitude that governments and certain political parties love. I have more respect for people who love their country but are honestly critical about its failings. No place is perfect and no place couldn't stand a little improvement.
Yeah it sounds like some third world tribal mentality to me...

I agree with you...no place is perfect, I believe in continuous improvement (evolution)...the Japanese have a phrase for it "Kaizen"
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:43
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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That does not tend to be the American response, although that response exists, it is the minority, if it was not I could not show you famous personalities on popular well watched stations on American tv as i just have.
But this is, in a nutshell, what makes America what it is...love it or hate it, you can show up from noballistan, in your birthday suit, folks will ask you where you're from, smile and offer you a beer. The EU spends more of its time defending its borders and states the size of Kansas claiming that they might loose their identity if they welcome outsiders. Can you imagine a bunch of folks from Kansas yelling at a bunch of Missourians to get off their land cuz, you know, they're not from Kansas? (Not that anyone wants to live in Kansas, mind, but in case they did ).

That's the fundamental bottom line difference between the US and the EU...we just don't get their feudalism/fiefdom-ism. It works for them, kinda, but it'd never work in the US.
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:48
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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Why would anyone want to critize a country he or she has chosen to live in voluntarily? I mean, if one doesn't like the country one lives in and whose citizenship one has acquired, why not moving somewhere else which fits best one's opinion of what a fantastical country must be?
I guess the answer is in your question. If you choose to live somewhere, why wouldn't you be entitled to raise awareness of issues you want to take some sort of ownership of, in order to improve them ? Doesn't "love it, change it or leave it" apply to naturalized citizens as well ?

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Foreigners getting citizenship of the country they have chosen should always be grateful and respect the country they have been so warmly received in.
I think once you have citizenship of whatever country accepted you, you're as entitled as anyone else to have an opinion on a subject. Self-censorship in these cases would imply there are second-class citizens, wouldn't it ?
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Old 01.10.2011, 22:49
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

No idea how many parts of the US you've lived in- but it does not always work like this. Many people from the deep South will not buy a beer from a NYer- never mind welcome them. Have you ever tried being a Mexican in Arizona or Colorado (unless you want to clean the toilets)? One of my cousins from NJ moved to California to escape 'foreigners' - then she said she just had to move again as 'she couldn't even recognize the vegetables at the supermarket'. What they say about Obama and his wife makes your hair stand on ends too- and nothing to do with politics. Racism is alive in the US- really - sadly.
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:03
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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Why would anyone want to critize a country he or she has chosen to live in voluntarily? I mean, if one doesn't like the country one lives in and whose citizenship one has acquired, why not moving somewhere else which fits best one's opinion of what a fantastical country must be? Foreigners getting citizenship of the country they have chosen should always be grateful and respect the country they have been so warmly received in. And no, I'm not swiss, but I love this country.
My first suspicion about Switzerland is that they were zenophobic because they didn't have a culture of immigration like in the U.S. I was surprised to to realize that 20% of Switzerland is comprised of immigrants compared to only 12% in the U.S.

The underlying assumption here is that the host country is doing the immigrant a favor. Clearly the relationship should benefit both parties, or one would be inclined to renege. Countries like Switzerland and the United States NEED immigrants. Switzerland's economic model is based upon the premise of immigration, both of wealthy immigrants and of people who possess the skills needed to run their international services businesses.

I don't understand the relationship that choosing to live somewhere voluntarily has to do with the right to participate in public discourse. If you live somewhere, participate in that community, pay taxes etc., not only do I think that you should have the right to criticize that country, to improve the place that you live, it's your responsibility to do so.
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:04
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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No idea how many parts of the US you've lived in- but it does not always work like this. Many people from the deep South will not buy a beer from a NYer- never mind welcome them. Have you ever tried being a Mexican in Arizona or Colorado (unless you want to clean the toilets)? One of my cousins from NJ moved to California to escape 'foreigners' - then she said she just had to move again as 'she couldn't even recognize the vegetables at the supermarket'. What they say about Obama and his wife makes your hair stand on ends too- and nothing to do with politics. Racism is alive in the US- really - sadly.
It's a big country, Odile. Yes, the big regions, New England, The South, The Midwest and The West and California all have their issues but, by and large, if you travel from East to West, and I've done that a few times by car, you won't have any of the same issues as someone driving from St. Petersburg to Rome. There are 400 million folks and, chances are, if you're from somewhere else, folks generally welcome you. Last time we moved back to Boston, the neighbors 4yo made a "welcome to the neighborhood" picture for us and another brought us chocolates. I have rarely been so touched.

As for your cousin from NJ...do they have vegetables in NJ?! Given the produce mecca that California is, I don't doubt there were many she didn't recognize.

As for the Obamas...well, that's a topic for another thread.
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:09
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

Don't agree with this. I've never heard of a southerner refusing to buy beer from anyone.

Of course there are zenophobes everywhere, I think we are talking about trends.

And man you have some racist cousins, but I don't think that is a typical opinion. People have kind of chilled out about that--they don't even bat an eye about biracial couples etc. these days. I think the U.S. is a relatively tolerant place.

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No idea how many parts of the US you've lived in- but it does not always work like this. Many people from the deep South will not buy a beer from a NYer- never mind welcome them. Have you ever tried being a Mexican in Arizona or Colorado (unless you want to clean the toilets)? One of my cousins from NJ moved to California to escape 'foreigners' - then she said she just had to move again as 'she couldn't even recognize the vegetables at the supermarket'. What they say about Obama and his wife makes your hair stand on ends too- and nothing to do with politics. Racism is alive in the US- really - sadly.
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:14
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

Hmmm...big country US certainly is, depends where one is, too. Had a friend from Barrington Hills to drop me off at Kalamazoo, when we stopped at groceries there which was predominantly black and super pleasant, I was shocked to hear his "you really want to stay here?"... I think there is no point trying to make any generic statement about the US. But racism, yes, have encountered a lot of it there. Despite of my friends being the least uptight folks on the planet, there is still loads of weirdness going on.

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Old 01.10.2011, 23:19
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

All citizens in a democracy have a duty to question what goes on in their country, to criticise the government and to use democratic means to change what they disagree with. The alternative is to live in a dictatorship.

If you don't like living in a democracy, have you tried Syria or Burma?

Cheers,
Nick

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Why would anyone want to critize a country he or she has chosen to live in voluntarily? I mean, if one doesn't like the country one lives in and whose citizenship one has acquired, why not moving somewhere else which fits best one's opinion of what a fantastical country must be? Foreigners getting citizenship of the country they have chosen should always be grateful and respect the country they have been so warmly received in. And no, I'm not swiss, but I love this country.
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:21
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

Agreed- generalizations and stereotypes rarely help - here, there or anywhere. I've been shocked at the racism encountered about some groups in the US, and in most places in the world - sadly. Switzerland included- sadly.

Me, I love weird vegetables (and living in mixed communities and relationships).
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:22
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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I was surprised to to realize that 20% of Switzerland is comprised of immigrants compared to only 12% in the U.S.
Oh. My. God. The reservations must be enormous !
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:27
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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If you choose to live somewhere, why wouldn't you be entitled to raise awareness of issues you want to take some sort of ownership of, in order to improve them ?


I think once you have citizenship of whatever country accepted you, you're as entitled as anyone else to have an opinion on a subject. Self-censorship in these cases would imply there are second-class citizens, wouldn't it ?
That obviously depends on the timing. IMHO, generally speaking any issue of the country, be it cultural or political, that already existed when a person asked to become citizen of the country is implied to have been accepted by the very fact that one applies for the citizenship. Of course for any new topic appearing since then, a naturalized citizen should have as much right to express his opinion as any other.
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:41
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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No idea how many parts of the US you've lived in- but it does not always work like this. Many people from the deep South will not buy a beer from a NYer- never mind welcome them. Have you ever tried being a Mexican in Arizona or Colorado (unless you want to clean the toilets)? One of my cousins from NJ moved to California to escape 'foreigners' - then she said she just had to move again as 'she couldn't even recognize the vegetables at the supermarket'. What they say about Obama and his wife makes your hair stand on ends too- and nothing to do with politics. Racism is alive in the US- really - sadly.

I've lived in Ohio, Virginia, California, Virginia, and Illinois (Chicago), Texas (thanks to my military father).

I am well aware of how Americans are. I've lived in many regions.

The Deep South is not representative of the U.S. as a whole, nor do the majority of Americans live there, and "deep south" is not all "deep south". Houston is a liberal democratic city, but the surburbs and rural areas are deeply conservative and often backward. Atlanta is alright, but drive a couple of hours to Macon and you will think you entered another country.

But the point is, on average, America is pretty liberal, if it was not, those people above, could not be famous, rich, on popular television programs, etc. Someone in America is watching them, buying their books, inviting them on talk shows, etc.

Racism is alive and well everywhere.

Want to know what my girlfriend's father says about Muslims and Germans. Might make your hair stand up too.

No one is saying American is perfect, it is definitely not. My point is obviously not perfection. If your point is to prove America is not perfect, well you can stop right now, because you aren't saying anything any reasonable person does not already know.

My point is to compare the general attitude in Switzerland, and especially with some posters here to the environment I come from.

Often we think things are normal because that is how we grew up. We might think it is normal to take strong objection to any foreigner saying anything about our country, tell them to shut up, leave, etc.

That is not always a normal attitude everywhere in the world. Clearly not.
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:43
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

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Hmmm...big country US certainly is, depends where one is, too. Had a friend from Barrington Hills to drop me off at Kalamazoo, when we stopped at groceries there which was predominantly black and super pleasant, I was shocked to hear his "you really want to stay here?"... I think there is no point trying to make any generic statement about the US. But racism, yes, have encountered a lot of it there. Despite of my friends being the least uptight folks on the planet, there is still loads of weirdness going on.
yawn...I can find some place that is also some bizarre exception to a general rule and hold it up as some type of example.

Come on...most Americans don't live in the type of place you describe or hold those attitudes, if they did a whole lot of things would be different. Obviously it depends on where you are, we have 300 million people, 4 time zone in the 48 lower states (not counting Hawaii and Alaska), deserts, subtropical, temperate, grass lands, mountains, etc. I'm talking about the average, not the extreme skewed example.

Do you really want me to talk about the extreme examples of Switzerland and hold that up as an example of what Switzerland is?

the truth is if there was no national market for the individuals above, they would not exist as famous people, making money, selling record numbers of books, etc.

None of these people exist on "government run tv (Public broadcasting network: PBS)", they are famous from work in the free market on private television networks.

Regardless of whatever backwoods racists you may have encountered they can't represent anything approaching a majority of the market. I can point out more people, I selected 3, but I can show you 10, pretty easily.

Are you a visible minority?

If not, then I think my experience with racism in America, having lived in many states, is pretty significant (and that of my family).

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Old 02.10.2011, 00:50
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Re: What Would Be The Swiss Response

To the person who said that over 20% of people in the country are foreign, compared to 11% in the U.S...this is true.

But why? In Switzerland many foreigners are "C" permit holders, many second generation. In America if you are born there you are automatically a citizen.

I checked immigration rates per capita last year and posted them on this site somewhere. They are almost identical, Switzerland actually edges out the U.S. slightly. The issue is what happens to foreigners who get in.

It is easier to become a citizen, faster to get a green card...so the amount of "foreigners" by law decreases quite a bit. Also, my belief is, that more foreigners in the U.S. want to live and stay there, they settle and integrate (in their own way)...Switzerland has more transient foreigners who stay a couple of years and go home or to another job somewhere else.

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