“Switzerland is becoming irreconcilable” – headlined the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 31 August this year. Indeed: The fronts between the vaccination advocates and the vaccination opponents are becoming more and more insurmountable. The opinion climate in the population is becoming more and more hostile. The understanding of some people for the measures, ordered by the Swiss Federal Council, is like that of prisoners in a tunnel tube. The measures taken by our neighbouring countries are not considered. Certificate obligations are demonised by some and very much welcomed by others (some of whom come from the same sector), although or rather because the vaccination rate in our country, less than 70 percent, is far below compared to other countries (due to the relaxation of measures and certification requirements). Returning to an international meeting of parliamentary leaders from around the globe, it should be noted that our Austrian neighbours enforce much stricter regulations, even in outdoor areas of restaurants, despite higher vaccination rates. Accordingly, we have an almost liberal regime with regard to compulsory certification and other ordered measures.
Those who believe that the pandemic can be overcome with demonstrations, threats, even with the use of violence, will one day realise that the virus will not take this into account. Even a division of our society will not stop the disease.
I therefore call on all citizens to refrain from such interventions. Instead, we should seek to meet each other in peaceful dialogue, listening well and in mutual understanding, and to overcome this pandemic crisis with respect for each other’s thoughts. Let’s stop blaming each other, let’s stop sowing resentment and discord between societies. Instead, let’s make sure that the gap between friends and families does not widen. Such widespread sentiments and hatreds certainly do not solve problems. But they leave behind deep wounds and rifts that will be very difficult to heal or overcome in the future.
Let us rather join hands and try to make the best out of this difficult situation. The strengthening of cohesion, the power to solve problems together and to shape the future positively together are values of our country. They have made Switzerland the country for which we are still respected, even admired abroad. Let us reflect anew on these values of the successful past and let us free ourselves from the seed of discord that is dividing our society. I therefore call on all of you, as carriers of political responsibility and in face of the current difficulties, to play an active and socially unifying role in our democracy.
Take the opportunity to contribute to reconciliation in society, in associations, but also in tense situations in families. Use the opportunity to actively contribute to pandemic response by getting vaccinated or periodically tested. In our country all of us have these opportunities. Meanwhile, people in African countries, for example, with vaccination rates of less than 5 per cent, can only dream of such opportunities.
These are my thoughts on the current political situation, which moves me a lot. I am touched by what is actually happening in our country. •
Source: taken from Official Bulletin no. 21.9001 of the session of 13 September 2021
(Swiss Council of States, Autumn Session 2021: Statements of the President);
(Translation Current Concerns)
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