Letters to the editor

Continued adherence of the Federal Council to the thousand franc note and to the new banknote series

Contrary to the belief of the EU states to suspect anyone paying more than five hundred euro cash of tax evasion and to therefore skip five-hundred euro note, the Swiss Federal Council has fortunately a positive attitude towards the honest citizen who may once pay with a thousand franc note, without suspecting him of tax evasion. Recently, the Federal Council confirmed this in his response to an interpellation by SP National Councillor Kiener-Nellen. The Government shows slightly less courage as it allows for the removal of the portraiture on the new series of banknotes. I appreciate the importance of anti-counterfeiting, which the Swiss National Bank praises the new series of banknotes for. But I wonder why Switzerland now – as the euro countries – waived depiction of heads of pioneering personalities from their banknotes and replaces them, as in the case of the fifty notes, by a blossom of dandelion? I wonder as an artist and retired teacher for artistic expression, how this imagery is supposed to represent values such as sovereignty, stability, neutrality and independence? Artists with an international reputation such as Sophie Thaeuber Arp represented a clear anti-war stance, at least with their Dadaist art and Alberto Giaccometti saw human beings at the centre of his art – values, which certainly express the neutrality and humanity of Switzerland! I can’t get it into my head that the Swiss National Bank is voluntarily giving up to depict heads on its bank notes and is ingratiating on the already “headless” euro notes. This in contrast to leading world currencies, as for example the dollar bills where the depiction of heads still has a meaning! Do we really have to give up on depicting “heads” on the upcoming Swiss banknote series, to be economically, socially, politically and culturally up to date?

Matthias Elmiger, Ebnat-Kappel

(Translation Current Concerns)

Sign the referendum against “Development of the Swiss Armed Forces” – for preserving Switzerland

Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer stated in July 2014 in an article “With the development of the Swiss Armed Forces to more security” the following: “The army’s mission is to ensure the security of the country. We were not in a position to do this.” Nevertheless the Parliament agreed to the “Development” of the Swiss Armed Forces (WEA), in fact an abolition of the army in form of a reduction from 220,000 to 100,000 troops. Of those only 24,000 man are combat troops. How should the army now comply with the mission of the Federal Constitution to ensure the security of the country with these small remainders? This is a mission impossible for “the best army of the world”.
The Swiss people want to adhere to the neutrality and general compulsory military service. They are aware that security is a prerequisite for freedom, independence and prosperity. A credible militia army guarantees security also in times of crisis. We want to provide the human and financial resources for national defence to the army – so that all can live in security and freedom. The SVP (Swiss People’s Party) is committed to a modern armed and well-trained militia army to preserve an independent, free and neutral Switzerland. There is barely a month time to sign the WEA referendum. Signature sheets are available at www.armee-halbierung-nein.ch/.

Peter Aebersold, Zurich

(Translation Current Concerns)

“Who’s playing with fire here and why?”

The world has got accustomed to the permanent crisis. One hopes for good news, but instead of sustainable containment we have to realise an expansion towards Western Europe. Last but not least the refugee crisis should open everybody’s eyes, to see that the players having the ball are merciless with everyone.
Recently the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke of neo Ottoman intentions of the Erdogan government. Is Lavrov right in saying this? The conflict with Turkey could also expand into a regional/supraregional war. With regard to Syria, the Turkish Government proved to be a generous supporter of the terrorist militia IS. Russia requests Turkey to close the border to Syria – but obviously this does not happen. A little further to the East, the “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict flares up again. Freeze and thaw as needed, just as fine food. Armenia is a Christian country, Azerbaijan is Islamic, Islam is practiced there rather moderate. Who is playing with fire and why? Already in 2013, Xi Ping announced that China strives for the development of the Silk Road, via Baku to Armenia, also to the South of Iran, as an additional connection through the South Caucasus. Are the intentions of the instigation hidden here? Still a little further to the East, we find Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is a part of the ancient Turkestan, and Erdogan wants to bring back all Turkic peoples of the region under his rule. China will not put up with this.
During our recent stay in Montenegro, we saw with amazement that the CRBC, a Chinese state-owned company, builds a formidable highway from the seaside town Bar through several tunnels through the Dinaric Alps, up to the border-station with Serbia, Boljare. Also, we could find out that the renewed “unrest” in Macedonia against the Government is “created” by the same forces as the Maidan in the Ukraine. Also here there are connections believed to the Silk Road – and development of Energy supplies – both intended to be blocked. Although the Government in Montenegro is firmly in Western hands, the opposition is allowed to install large posters at the main roads claiming a “No to NATO”. Is it a reason to hope?

Dr Barbara Hug, Tobel

(Translation Current Concerns)