Dear Oprah: Switzerland is not racist, just ask your friend Tina Turner
BY ELISABETH LANG, ETN CORRESPONDENT, EUROPE
ZURICH: -- Switzerland has a long culture of being a haven for the rich and famous, no matter where they are from or what color they are. As a matter of fact, Tina Turner has lived for over twenty years in Kusnacht on Lake Zurich and has a Swiss passport.
Presently, there are about 5,000 celebrities in Switzerland as well as super wealthy and not so wealthy foreign citizens who enjoy a "high-end lifestyle" and the tranquility of the country. Not all of those people are here just for the incredible natural beauty and the white gold in the mountains called snow.
They are also here for the security of their families, to protect their assets, for more privacy, and for the lump sum tax they can negotiate. They all feel safe and happy.
You can ask the Arabs who have lived in a villa on Lake Geneva for decades, or the internationally-known celebrities who enjoy the fact that nobody bothers them or is staring at them in restaurants. You can find James Bond Sir Roger Moore playing golf in Wallis or famous Hollywood icons having dinner at the next table without anyone calling the paparazzi - a reason Sophia Loren feels so at home in Geneva.
But Geneva could not survive without all the numerous Arab families who come to visit in the summer season and spend their holiday money at Geneva’s hotels and shops.
It is where Phil Collins takes his children to school, and where Formula One tycoon, Bernie Ecclestone; IKEA owner, Invard Kamprad; eldest son of former Lebanon Prime Minister, Bahaa Al-Hariri; music legend, David Bowie; automotive executive extraordinaire, Sergio Marchionne and many others have found a nice chalet and a less stressful fiscal refuge.
Full story: http://www.eturbonew...riend-tina-turn
-- eTN 2013-08-13
116 replies to this topic
Posted 2013-08-13 09:16:50
Dear Oprah: Switzerland is not racist, just ask your friend Tina Turner
Posted 2013-08-13 09:24:19
I don't think the author of that piece appreciates how offensive her article is. Switzerland, the place where wealthy war criminals go to hide out, where tax dodgers run away to, and where former government officials enjoy their ill begotten wealth.
Missing from the article is that the Ikea founder that she lauds, has been discussions with his homeland tax authorities as to how he can return home. Also missing is the mention of how Switzerland provided a lovely place for the North Korean leader to enjoy the delights of wealth while his countryman starved to death. Ahh yes, Switzerland, the country where the bankers go to hide out after they screw up and cheat.
Posted 2013-08-13 09:30:11
Seems all the examples of foreigners living in Switzerland are just typical of ordinary working class people.
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Posted 2013-08-13 09:31:22
I think the article was just aimed at Oprah, who accused a sales assistant (and therefore Switzerland) of being racist, I believe, allegedly. The mention of all the other foreigners was purely an attempt to "justify" that all races and foreigners are welcome there, in my opinion, and not to hype up any of those individuals or to suggest that they are angels.
Posted 2013-08-13 09:35:43
There is a difference between how people live in a country and how it treats its visitors. There is racism throughout Europe towards tourists especially Asian tourists. end.
Posted 2013-08-13 09:43:34
I'm not sure I get the "and therefore Switzerland' part.
Oprah indeed accused a sales assistant. I have not read anything that suggests she generalized that accusation to the entire nation. I think she is more than sophisticated and intelligent enough to know that within any country live at least some rascists.
Posted 2013-08-13 09:48:39
I lived there for 40 years and took Swiss citizenship. Tax havens? I always hear this. Try the channel islands, or Delaware state, very reasonable. War criminals? Who accepted Pinochet in to her home when he had 'a little trouble' with the authorities.. Thatcher her name was. They found war criminals in the USA and the UK before now. ...Switzerland accepts more refugees per head of population than most countries, at the same time being the envy of Europe for having the right to refuse building permission for mosques by public referendum. As far as I know the 'North Korean leader' wasn't breaking any laws when he bought property in Switzerland and it would not have been possible, due to the rule of law (not like some places I could mention) to turn him and others like him, away at the airport.
Yes they do ok, possibly because they have a system of direct democracy and were sensible enough to stay out of two world wars.
Jealous are we?
Posted 2013-08-13 09:58:48
Posted 2013-08-13 10:12:49
"i'm not racist but...
Posted 2013-08-13 10:39:53
No you di'init you silly little shop clerk! The OPRAH does not lie.
Posted 2013-08-13 10:54:27
I do not like Oprah. I am sure however her interpretation is correct The shop keeper made an assumption that she would prefer to buy a cheaper bag than the one she asked for. I am sure that the fact that she is black was a major part of the shopkeeper's decision to act as she did, This is racism.
Posted 2013-08-13 11:21:19
Anyone paying that kind of money for a frickin purse is really off the bottom of the page of the, people I give a crap about list.
Posted 2013-08-13 11:29:52
Yeah, well, she probably earned the cost of that sack in the time it took you to write that post ...
Posted 2013-08-13 11:31:32
perhaps this will clear it up for you
Posted 2013-08-13 11:35:41
I think that the OPRAH experienced a mild form of racism, for reals.
So if that's true, is it ALSO true that spice bias at restaurants based on race is also a kind of manifestation of racism?
I think so:
Racism is pervasive. Some is a big deal, some isn't. It doesn't have to be a lynching to be racism.
Edited by Jingthing, 2013-08-13 11:36:57.
Posted 2013-08-13 13:07:58
Jeez, pass me the toilet roll...!! It's how Elizabeth Lang has interpreted things and that's the basis for her article, hence "Switzerland is not racist...". How picky!!
Posted 2013-08-13 13:12:34
If I were OPRAH, I would be mean OPRAH. I'd buy the shop, fire the clerk, and tell her -- you'll never sell another handbag in Switzerland again!
The new shop would be called: 100,000 Euro and Up Handbag Shoppe, By Appointment Only (Submit financial bona fides)
Edited by Jingthing, 2013-08-13 13:17:56.
Posted 2013-08-13 13:35:48
Could be Harry, but it could also be the expertise/experience of the shop assistant. If she did the same to someone wearing cheap clothes, someone old or young, and so on, or going straight to the more expensive stuff when an Arab man walks in, or man carrying a briefcase and sporting a good suit, etc, it could be construed as discrimination - or it could be construed as assumption based on experience. One is illegal, the other simply sometimes incorrect. Making a mountain out of a molehill is just silly - and surely it would be much more fun to dismiss the assistant and get another to serve you the expensive stuff instead.
Reminds me of my Mrs here about maybe fifteen years ago. We were in the Night Bazaar at Chiang Mai (it was still pretty good then). I was standing away from the stall which my wife was perusing. It was a stall selling knock-off Rolexes and the like. While digging around through the watches as she was wont to do (usually for presents for people back home - she is Thai, but we lived in the UK back then), a rather obnoxious middle-aged American women came to the stall with a similarly aged, but rather henpecked (though not uxorious as it turned out) husband. She dug around in the pile of watches too, before snootily announcing, "You can see they are fake - look at the one that women is wearing!" - whilst pointing at my wife's wrist. She was much surprised when my wife turned to her and said, "Actually it is real - I bought it in Jersey", in good English - the husband winked and smiled as he passed, following his somewhat embarrassed wife. Her assumption: Young Thai women in a market pondering fake watches sporting a three grand Swiss watch - must be fake (and can't speak English) - safe bet really, but incorrect at that time. We thought it very funny, so did the stall holder when the Mrs told him in Thai - racist though? Nah, just a bad assumption.
Posted 2013-08-13 13:41:35
Nope. That wasn't an assumption based on race at the watch stall. That was an assumption based on CONTEXT, the lady was looking at FAKE watches! Not the same kind of thing as Oprah-gate at all!
Posted 2013-08-13 14:01:21
You missed the point Jingthing. The lady was American and we know that all Americans are racist. Occasionally, Americans get confused with Canadians, but never mind.
Posted 2013-08-13 14:14:38
She is also an actress and a talk show host.
She is not a fashion icon, though, because her bag didn't match her shoes because of some shop assistant in Switzerland.
Posted 2013-08-13 14:17:11
I'm not really a fan of Oprah, nor a detractor, but she DID experience racism in that shop. Not really such a big deal, more of a bag deal, but when you're Oprah things tend to get BLOWN up.
Edited by Jingthing, 2013-08-13 14:18:33.