What does it mean to be …?
“What does it mean to be …?” is a new small project I decided to launch, it will consist of short essays written by guest writers telling us what it means to be from various European countries. This small project is about identitarianism and European diversity and also a way to give voice to the various followers of Defend Europa from all around the continent.
It is important to remind ourselves how rich Europe is when it comes to the various regional identities, our beautiful European diversity, the good diversity. The second episode will be on Switzerland, The Alp Right (follow him on Twitter @thalpright) will tell us what it means to be Swiss.
What does it mean to be Swiss?
To understand what it means to be Swiss you have to understand our history. Since we don’t have a common language, it is the shared deeds of our ancestors that connect us as a people. It`s also worth mentioning that unlike many other nations Switzerland was built from the bottom up and not the top down. Originally it consisted of three cantons who rose up against the oppressive rule by the Duke of Habsburg. The other 23 cantons joined over a period of several centuries, of their own free will.
This unique development process resulted in a country with a decentralized state and a unique form of democracy. The voting age population has the power to propose changes to the constitution and vote on them in binding ballots. It can also veto laws passed by parliament. The purest form of this democracy can be observed in the canton of Appenzell Innerhoden, where the voting age population gathers on certain days and votes by show of hand on the business that would normally be handled by a parliament. This is the reason we never joined the EU, we don’t really trust our own government with too much power and we certainly don’t trust the bureaucrats in Brussels with it.
I already mentioned that we are a heavily decentralized nation. The cantons have a lot of autonomy, until 1848 they were technically independent states. This is due to our high levels of local diversity, there are four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh along with a variety of local dialects. This kind of diversity is of course not to be confused with the globalist kind of diversity that wants to mix all people into a collective without any identity. Our geography and our decentralized state allow the indigenous regional cultures to thrive without fear of being replaced by another one. There is also the fact that although we are proud of our regional identities and may even speak different languages we are all still swiss first and foremost.
We must not forget that these things are not God-given. This country didn’t appear out of thin air. It was built by our ancestors who sometimes had to sacrifice everything. We owe it to them and to our children to defend it. So that the sacrifices of the former were not in vain and the latter can enjoy the fruits of those sacrifices. And that is a big part of what it means to be Swiss in my opinion, to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices of our ancestors and to defend their achievements so that our uniqueness does not disappear.
But of course, being Swiss isn’t just some big mission. There are also the small and simple things. Like enjoying a Fondue or playing Jass (a traditional card game) with friends. Maybe visiting your local festival. To keep these smaller traditions alive is probably just as important as defending our political traditions and rights.
That’s what it means to be Swiss in my eyes. To hold up our national identity while not forgetting our regional ones, to defend our unique political rights, celebrate our heritage even in our day-to-day life, remember the history of our ancestors who made all those things possible for us and keep their spirit alive so our children can enjoy them too.
Countries already taken: Portugal, France, Montenegro, Switzerland
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