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Thread: French elections

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    the US is still a young nation with vast territories and resources, founded by people with an open mind
    people in the US are open minded and mobile
    it is still the land of oportunity for every one

    Europe has the burden of a long and complicated history
    most people are not mobile and many are jealous of succesful people
    I think you will recognise this with some of your relatives in Italy too

    immigration policy is completely different
    the US choses its immigrants
    they must be mulitlingual or English speakers
    they must have the proper skills to make it in America
    when they come to America they know that they will have to rely on themselves and their own skills
    they also know that if they make it, they will be respected

    political correctness has manipulated some false feeling of guilt upon the European administrators
    they allow immigration for the wrong reasons
    they think that everybody is entitled to the same rights and material comfort as the Europeans
    they attract the wrong people, often people that even can't make it in their own native country
    many of them are illiterate, more of them speak only their native language and are not used to meet strangers

    yesterday it was in the news : many (?) Syrians, even some that are granted asylum in Europe go back to Syria
    again they have to rely on human trafickers, because Turkey don't allow them to cross Turkey to get back into Syria
    they take the plane to Greece and from there they are smuggled into Turkey by human traffickers
    these people interviewed realise that because of the language they can't get a job and they find it hard to learn the language of their host country
    they are dissapointed because things are not as they were promised by the human trafickers who brought them into Europe and now they are homesick
    I ask you, if they are unable to assimilate and if it is safe enough for them to return home, why were some of them granted asylum in the first place?
    Generally, I agree, Bicicleur. However, we have millions of illegal immigrants who don't speak English, have no skills, and had no health screening or criminal background checks. Some of them are members of criminal gangs before they even arrive here. Yet, half the country won't even agree to turning over convicted felons for deportation. As I explained during the election, mass deportations are out of the question in the U. S. It's not Europe.

    Btw, there's no requirement that immigrants speak English. My parents didn't speak a word of it when they arrived. Asylum seekers aren't screened for much of anything.

    I'm sorry, but assimilation is a two way street. If you're treated with respect, acceptance, and even friendliness from day one it's much easier to let go of the past.

    This is a list of notable Turkish Americans. Now, many of the academics came here for research purposes, but most are just descendants of immigrants. I didn't even know some of them had a Turkish background until I read it here yesterday.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Turkish_Americans

    I was particularly surprised by the singers Neil Sedaka and Edie Gorme. I assumed he was Jewish of some sort and she was Italian.



    I thought her husband and singing partner was Italian. I looked it up and he was Jewish. So I was wrong twice. :)
    See, no one cares.



    @ Maciamo, France is indeed a completely different case. As for Switzerland, after my experience near Zurich as a teen-ager visiting some cousins I've never been back and I'll never set foot there again. It's the only time in my life I've ever been disrespected because of my ethnicity, and all because I addressed the postmaster in Italian. Stupid me, I thought I was showing respect by using one of the three official languages. From what I've heard Germany is as bad or worse. I'll never go there either, nor do I buy products from either country.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    As I explained during the election, mass deportations are out of the question in the U. S. It's not Europe.
    can you explain the 2nd sentence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It's the only time in my life I've ever been disrespected because of my ethnicity, and all because I addressed the postmaster in Italian. Stupid me, I thought I was showing respect by using one of the three official languages. From what I've heard Germany is as bad or worse. I'll never go there either, nor do I buy products from either country.
    Is it the only time?
    I guess your relatives in Switzerland also had some bad experiences.
    Otherwise I don't get it.

    I can tell you I've had the same experience once, and it was in Sienna, Tuscany.
    But I don't draw any conclusions from that. Those that disrespected me and my wife were just stupid people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Is it the only time?
    I guess your relatives in Switzerland also had some bad experiences.
    Otherwise I don't get it.

    I can tell you I've had the same experience once, and it was in Sienna, Tuscany.
    But I don't draw any conclusions from that.
    Disrespect strictly and only because of my ethnicity? Yes, it was the one and only time in my life. True, I've never been to Germany. Sorry, Bicicleur, but the bad treatment meted out to Italian immigrants in Germany and German speaking Switzerland is a fact.

    I'm surprised you were treated badly in Siena strictly because you're Belgian. The only terrible reaction I've ever seen against northern Europeans is when ex- World War II German soldiers brought their families on vacation to the villages where atrocities were committed. I don't know what they expected; it showed a singular lack of sensitivity even if they personally were innocent. Did they think you were German?

    A woman I know wanted to live in her father's Ligurian town for a while after she retired. She had to give it up because the old women were just brutal to her German husband. Needless to say, I don't excuse this behavior. As that generation dies it will end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Disrespect strictly and only because of my ethnicity? Yes, it was the one and only time in my life. True, I've never been to Germany. Sorry, Bicicleur, but the bad treatment meted out to Italian immigrants in Germany and German speaking Switzerland is a fact.

    I'm surprised you were treated badly in Siena strictly because you're Belgian. The only terrible reaction I've ever seen against northern Europeans is when ex- World War II German soldiers brought their families on vacation to the villages where atrocities were committed. I don't know what they expected; it showed a singular lack of sensitivity even if they personally were innocent. Did they think you were German?

    A woman I know wanted to live in her father's Ligurian town for a while after she retired. She had to give it up because the old women were just brutal to her German husband. Needless to say, I don't excuse this behavior. As that generation dies it will end.
    There was no reason to asume we were German, and even then it would be no excuse.
    We were the only non-Italians in the queue and we look northern European.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    There was no reason to asume we were German, and even then it would be no excuse.
    We were the only non-Italians in the queue and we look northern European.
    You're quite right. I apologize for the behavior of my countrymen on that occasion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    are there large Turkish communities in the USA?
    100.000 voter in USA and just 34.000 gave vote

    1.490.000 voter in Germany and 600.000 people gave vote.

    The main difference is brain migration and worker migration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Bicicleur, you have to admit the problem is not just on one side. The U. S. is just more welcoming and tolerant of immigrants, which makes assimilation a more attractive option.
    Totally agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    You're quite right. I apologize for the behavior of my countrymen on that occasion.
    it's ok

    as I told you, these were just a few stupid people
    it was just a single experience, not representative at all, it didn't happen to me any where else

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    @ Maciamo, France is indeed a completely different case. As for Switzerland, after my experience near Zurich as a teen-ager visiting some cousins I've never been back and I'll never set foot there again. It's the only time in my life I've ever been disrespected because of my ethnicity, and all because I addressed the postmaster in Italian. Stupid me, I thought I was showing respect by using one of the three official languages. From what I've heard Germany is as bad or worse. I'll never go there either, nor do I buy products from either country.
    I don't know what he could have said that was so disrespectful, but it is unfortunately pretty common all over Europe, and indeed all over the Old World (Eurasia and Africa) for people to make fun or disrespect people of other ethnicities or linguistic groups. I have travelled in over 50 countries on all five continents and found this attitude everywhere except oddly in the Americas (but that is also the continent where I spent the least time with Africa). Perhaps that's because in the Americas national identity is not linked to ethnicity, as people are mixed from all over the world.

    Even in Belgium it is very common (esp. among the lower class to middle-middle classes) to make fun and make disparaging jokes about people on the other side of the linguistic border. As a child I would hear jokes about Flemish people every week at school, which other kids heard from their parents. That's the kind of jokes that one would expect from early 20th century racist propaganda, comparing them to pigs or stuff like that. Things are tamer nowadays, or maybe it's just because I don't frequent people from lower social levels any more. It happens both ways between linguistic groups, and I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true in Switzerland. I am sure German speakers like to crack silly jokes and throw ethnic slurs about French and Italian speakers, and vice versa. I have always found such jokes petty, narrow-minded and intolerant, but that's unfortunately how a lot of ordinary people are (just look at the share of people who voted for Brexit in the UK because they didn't want Frogs and Krauts in their country anymore, as they would say). Wikipedia has two lists dedicated to ethnic slurs (here and here) as if they couldn't fit everything in one page.

    All East Asian countries have (mildly) derogatory terms for Westerners/foreigners/outsiders. It is Gaijin in Japan, Laowai/Guizi/Gwei lo/Sai Yan in China, Farang in Thailand, Ang Mo in Singapore, Buleh or Orang Putih in Malaysia and Indonesia...

    I have lived four years in Japan and the Japanese use the word gaijin (literally 'outsider') all the time to refer to Westerners. Children in the street point at the foreigners giggling and saying 'Gaijin, gaijin!". When entering a shop even adults would sometimes exclaim 'ah, gaijin da!' ("oh, a foreigner), as if they thought we don't understand them. Often it is pretty innocuous, but not always. There is almost always a feeling of exclusion ("you are different!", "you are not one of us") even when there is no hate or malice behind it. Once a salesman rang at my door in Tokyo and when I opened his face changed, taking a mortified expression and he just said 'ah, shimatta, gaijin da!' ("oh shit, a foreigner!"), once again completely oblivious to the fact that I could understand him, as if there was no way one of those stupid foreigners could understand Japanese.

    I have noticed over the years that in every country these terms of exclusions, ethnic slurs and jokes come from a mixed sense of anxiety toward the unknown and a desire to feel superior to the outsiders who "invade" our home country. The nastiness behind the comments depend on the country's culture and the person's social class and character. The Japanese are generally too kind and polite to say anything really shocking besides throwing the word gaijin all the time to make you feel excluded.
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    This has become a much "bigger" issue than I anticipated, but it was nothing like that. I was 17 years old and walked into the post office to get stamps for my letters. I didn't know if the man spoke English, but I thought it was more likely he spoke Italian since it's one of the official languages there so I spoke to him, politely, in that. He launched into what seemed like a five minute screaming tirade.

    I was later told that he was ranting that if I was going to live there I'd better learn to speak German. There was also a general tirade about too many Italian immigrants, and something of a sexual nature about which my relatives refused to be explicit. The worst thing was that not one person spoke up to intervene, not even the women. There are individual crazy people everywhere, but if they didn't agree, why stay silent?

    This was apparently not an unusual occurrence, and not the worst of the mistreatment: most people wouldn't rent apartments to them, people would routinely get beaten up, etc. The contrast to my experience in the U. S. couldn't have been more extreme. I understand it's better now, but I'm not the forgive and forget type.

    There is "ethnic" humor in the U.S., or at least there used to be; in these days of "safe spaces" and "triggers" it's disappearing. I never liked it; it's just a marginally more acceptable way of insulting people. It's pretty easy to put a stop to it by just turning the tables. People like to dish it out, but they don't like to take it.

    American reactions:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6x8OgIhprs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    This has become a much "bigger" issue than I anticipated, but it was nothing like that. I was 17 years old and walked into the post office to get stamps for my letters. I didn't know if the man spoke English, but I thought it was more likely he spoke Italian since it's one of the official languages there so I spoke to him, politely, in that. He launched into what seemed like a five minute screaming tirade.

    I was later told that he was ranting that if I was going to live there I'd better learn to speak German. There was also a general tirade about too many Italian immigrants, and something of a sexual nature about which my relatives refused to be explicit. The worst thing was that not one person spoke up to intervene, not even the women. There are individual crazy people everywhere, but if they didn't agree, why stay silent?
    Had it happened to me, I would have explained to that idiot that I wasn't an immigrant but a tourist and that there is no reason I should have been able to speak the local German dialect. Did you tell him you were American to see his reaction?

    I am not surprised that bystanders didn't react though. It really depends on the culture, but in the more reserved and introverted Germanic cultures people don't usually like to meddle in other people's business. And the Swiss are known to be particularly reserved. Even as I, as a French speaker, wouldn't have said anything as a bystander as I'd think it was none of my business. But if someone had talked like that to me you can be sure that I would have talked back the guy into such a shame that he would have had to hide under his desk.

    This was apparently not an unusual occurrence, and not the worst of the mistreatment: most people wouldn't rent apartments to them, people would routinely get beaten up, etc. The contrast to my experience in the U. S. couldn't have been more extreme. I understand it's better now, but I'm not the forgive and forget type.
    Italian immigrants getting beaten up in Switzerland? I am very surprised to hear this. On the other hand, it's not that surprising that it's hard to find a place to rent in a country where even multi-millionaire expats (or tax refugees, if you prefer) are not allowed to purchase more than one property in the country, and only if it is their main residence. There is no Western country that is more restrictive than Switzerland about what foreigners can do. But Japan is similar in that respect. Foreigners can buy as many properties as they want, but it's almost impossible to rent a place for a foreigner, no matter how wealthy, if you do not have good recommendations from Japanese citizens as well as a Japanese guarantor to vouch for you. It may actually be easier to just buy a place to avoid all the trouble. For anybody who cannot find a guarantor (not something a Japanese friend or colleague will accept lightly), the Japanese have special "gaijin houses/apartments" that dedicated companies with English-speaking staff rent to foreigners at a highly inflated price. It's a form of organised discrimination at the national scale against foreigners, whatever their origin or social level. There is just no equivalent in the West. Yet, to most Westerners Japanese people appear friendly, polite, respectful, kind and tolerant. The Japanese have a concept called honne vs tatemae, which is the dichotomy between one's true feelings (only shared with close family members) and the public façade one adopts in social situations. Foreigners only see the latter. At least German speakers speak their mind and don't hide behind a façade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Generally, I agree, Bicicleur. However, we have millions of illegal immigrants who don't speak English, have no skills, and had no health screening or criminal background checks. Some of them are members of criminal gangs before they even arrive here. Yet, half the country won't even agree to turning over convicted felons for deportation. As I explained during the election, mass deportations are out of the question in the U. S. It's not Europe.

    Btw, there's no requirement that immigrants speak English. My parents didn't speak a word of it when they arrived. Asylum seekers aren't screened for much of anything.

    I'm sorry, but assimilation is a two way street. If you're treated with respect, acceptance, and even friendliness from day one it's much easier to let go of the past.

    This is a list of notable Turkish Americans. Now, many of the academics came here for research purposes, but most are just descendants of immigrants. I didn't even know some of them had a Turkish background until I read it here yesterday.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Turkish_Americans

    I was particularly surprised by the singers Neil Sedaka and Edie Gorme. I assumed he was Jewish of some sort and she was Italian.



    I thought her husband and singing partner was Italian. I looked it up and he was Jewish. So I was wrong twice. :)
    See, no one cares.



    @ Maciamo, France is indeed a completely different case. As for Switzerland, after my experience near Zurich as a teen-ager visiting some cousins I've never been back and I'll never set foot there again. It's the only time in my life I've ever been disrespected because of my ethnicity, and all because I addressed the postmaster in Italian. Stupid me, I thought I was showing respect by using one of the three official languages. From what I've heard Germany is as bad or worse. I'll never go there either, nor do I buy products from either country.
    I've been thinking about this further, and I agree that Americans are more open.
    However I still think the main succes to immigration is a proper selection of the immigrants.
    The US applied the same criteria for all immigrants, except for the black slaves they imported.
    And now, more than 150 years after the abolishment of slavery there still exist black communities who feel discriminated and not part of mainstream American white society.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    This has become a much "bigger" issue than I anticipated, but it was nothing like that. I was 17 years old and walked into the post office to get stamps for my letters. I didn't know if the man spoke English, but I thought it was more likely he spoke Italian since it's one of the official languages there so I spoke to him, politely, in that. He launched into what seemed like a five minute screaming tirade.

    I was later told that he was ranting that if I was going to live there I'd better learn to speak German. There was also a general tirade about too many Italian immigrants, and something of a sexual nature about which my relatives refused to be explicit. The worst thing was that not one person spoke up to intervene, not even the women. There are individual crazy people everywhere, but if they didn't agree, why stay silent?

    This was apparently not an unusual occurrence, and not the worst of the mistreatment: most people wouldn't rent apartments to them, people would routinely get beaten up, etc. The contrast to my experience in the U. S. couldn't have been more extreme. I understand it's better now, but I'm not the forgive and forget type.

    There is "ethnic" humor in the U.S., or at least there used to be; in these days of "safe spaces" and "triggers" it's disappearing. I never liked it; it's just a marginally more acceptable way of insulting people. It's pretty easy to put a stop to it by just turning the tables. People like to dish it out, but they don't like to take it.

    American reactions:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6x8OgIhprs
    my experience was not exactly the same, but we were in a queue of only Italians, and none of them spoke and they all avoided eye contact with us
    and we even didn't intend to settle in Italy, we were just tourists trying to spend our money

    IMO opinion what happened is very rare, especialy in a place that receives a lot of tourist visitors, but apearantly it can happen anywhere
    these are just stupid people

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    I'm sorry, but any character trait which prohibits a person from intervening when another person is being verbally abused, and especially a young person, is a character trait which should be overcome. It's a matter of morality and simple human compassion for me; they were in short supply that day. Nor do I think his behavior would have been justified if I had been an immigrant. The video I posted shows, lmo, how people should behave in such circumstances.

    As for responding, had I understood German, or thought he spoke anything but German perhaps I would have, but maybe not; I was pretty shy and timid at 16-17. I did ask in English something like what did I do, whereupon his whole demeanor changed. The only reason I know exactly what he said is because the "news" made the rounds pretty quickly and someone came to tell my cousins. There are no secrets in small villages.

    Why my relatives stayed all these years is a mystery to me: I used to tell them it must be like having Stockholm Syndrome. They didn't think it was funny. :)

    I don't want to give the impression that I think all Swiss people are like this: my cousin's daughter married a Swiss German and he seems like a nice enough person.

    As to the treatment of Italian immigrants:
    "At first the Swiss government encouraged the arrival of guest workers, assigning them different types of work permits, some forbidding job switching, ranging from the "frontaliere" permit given to Italians living near the Swiss border to the "C" permit granting the same status of a Swiss citizen minus the political rights.[4]

    "In 1970 there were a million immigrants in Switzerland, 54% of whom were Italians.[4] Rising friction with the indigenous majority even led to the creation of an "anti-Italians party" in 1963.[5]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italia...to_Switzerland

    "Schwarzenbach was a member of the Swiss National Council representing the National Action in the legislature between 1967 and 1971. Schwarzenbach's Republican Movement originated as a split of National Action in 1971, and it lasted until its dissolution in 1989.Schwarzenbach is chiefly known for his initiative on Überfremdung ("excess of foreigners") that was put to the vote in June of 1970. The referendum had a record turnout (75%), with 45% of the votes supporting Schwarzenbach's proposal. The proposal, if accepted, would have meant that the Swiss government had to limit foreign workers to Switzerland to 10%, which then would mean the deportation of up to 300,000 foreigners over 4 years. Although not enacted, the referendum did cause the number of available work-permits to be lowered.[3] Xenophobia in Switzerland at the time was chiefly directed against Italian migrant workers, whose number had increased from 300,000 to over 1 million during the economic surge after World War II between 1950 and 1970.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Schwarzenbach

    Sound familiar? I assure you my relatives were both literate and skilled.

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    no, it doesn't sound familiar to me, except yes, these kind of people do exist
    and yes, it makes one wonder why your relatives went and stayed there
    I guess there were not to many options at that time
    but no, I didn't know about the situation in Switzerland between 1950 and 1970
    it makes me think about present legislation for foreign workers in Saudi-Arabia, where I assure you the situation is even far worse today - which is not meant as an excuse
    but I can't imagine this kind of legislation ever existed in post-war Germany
    of course, Germany was not such an interesting place to live in the first years after war

    and yes, I told you my experience was not to be compared with yours, it just demonstrates you can meet this kind of people anywhere
    and I admit, in that atmosphere you describe at that time in Switzerland you had a far bigger chance to meet them

    PS : I just checked, the Republican Movement never got more than 4.3 % of the vote.
    That is very little. But maybe they had a few more sympathisers who still voted for another party.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    no, it doesn't sound familiar to me, except yes, these kind of people do exist
    and yes, it makes one wonder why your relatives went and stayed there
    I guess there were not to many options at that time
    but no, I didn't know about the situation in Switzerland between 1950 and 1970
    it makes me think about present legislation for foreign workers in Saudi-Arabia, where I assure you the situation is even far worse today - which is not meant as an excuse
    but I can't imagine this kind of legislation ever existed in post-war Germany
    of course, Germany was not such an interesting place to live in the first years after war

    and yes, I told you my experience was not to be compared with yours, it just demonstrates you can meet this kind of people anywhere
    and I admit, in that atmosphere you describe at that time in Switzerland you had a far bigger chance to meet them

    PS : I just checked, the Republican Movement never got more than 4.3 % of the vote.
    That is very little. But maybe they had a few more sympathisers who still voted for another party.
    Bicicleur, I'm not quite that old! :) I wasn't there until after 1971, but I guess it was still "in the air". The party wasn't dissolved until 1989, and 45% of Swiss people voted to deport hundreds of thousands of legal, card-carrying immigrants, men, women, and children, and fellow Europeans at that.

    I wish the country and its citizens no ill, but there are a lot of other places to spend my money.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    I don't want to give the impression that I think all Swiss people are like this: my cousin's daughter married a Swiss German and he seems like a nice enough person.
    There are good and bad people in every country.

    As to the treatment of Italian immigrants:
    "At first the Swiss government encouraged the arrival of guest workers, assigning them different types of work permits, some forbidding job switching, ranging from the "frontaliere" permit given to Italians living near the Swiss border to the "C" permit granting the same status of a Swiss citizen minus the political rights.[4]

    "In 1970 there were a million immigrants in Switzerland, 54% of whom were Italians.[4] Rising friction with the indigenous majority even led to the creation of an "anti-Italians party" in 1963.[5]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italia...to_Switzerland

    "Schwarzenbach was a member of the Swiss National Council representing the National Action in the legislature between 1967 and 1971. Schwarzenbach's Republican Movement originated as a split of National Action in 1971, and it lasted until its dissolution in 1989.Schwarzenbach is chiefly known for his initiative on Überfremdung ("excess of foreigners") that was put to the vote in June of 1970. The referendum had a record turnout (75%), with 45% of the votes supporting Schwarzenbach's proposal. The proposal, if accepted, would have meant that the Swiss government had to limit foreign workers to Switzerland to 10%, which then would mean the deportation of up to 300,000 foreigners over 4 years. Although not enacted, the referendum did cause the number of available work-permits to be lowered.[3] Xenophobia in Switzerland at the time was chiefly directed against Italian migrant workers, whose number had increased from 300,000 to over 1 million during the economic surge after World War II between 1950 and 1970.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Schwarzenbach

    Sound familiar? I assure you my relatives were both literate and skilled.
    I admit that I had never heard of this mass Italian migration to Switzerland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Bicicleur, I'm not quite that old! :) I wasn't there until after 1971, but I guess it was still "in the air". The party wasn't dissolved until 1989, and 45% of Swiss people voted to deport hundreds of thousands of legal, card-carrying immigrants, men, women, and children, and fellow Europeans at that.

    I wish the country and its citizens no ill, but there are a lot of other places to spend my money.
    Sorry, Angela, I didn't do any maths

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I admit that I had never heard of this mass Italian migration to Switzerland.
    Angela, what kind of job oportunities where there in Switzerland, at the time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Angela, what kind of job oportunities where there in Switzerland, at the time?
    In the beginning, right after the war, when La Spezia and Aulla were still leveled, they did whatever would keep them alive, I think: farm work, construction work, small businesses, hotels and restaurants. By the time I visited my cousin was doing bookkeeping for a small firm. Her half-Swiss son is now an executive at a big Swiss bank, and stationed in Hong Kong. He visits me when he's in New York on business. The world does change for the better sometimes.

    Southern Italians had it harder from what I was told. I think my family had a somewhat easier time also because one branch of my mother's family came from the Ticino. They could get different kinds of papers or something.

    Anyway, lots of Italians did leave; there's only about 300,000 or so left. This small branch of my mother's family stayed.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/born-in-...tizens/3349834

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I'm sorry, but any character trait which prohibits a person from intervening when another person is being verbally abused, and especially a young person, is a character trait which should be overcome. It's a matter of morality and simple human compassion for me; they were in short supply that day. Nor do I think his behavior would have been justified if I had been an immigrant. The video I posted shows, lmo, how people should behave in such circumstances.

    As for responding, had I understood German, or thought he spoke anything but German perhaps I would have, but maybe not; I was pretty shy and timid at 16-17. I did ask in English something like what did I do, whereupon his whole demeanor changed. The only reason I know exactly what he said is because the "news" made the rounds pretty quickly and someone came to tell my cousins. There are no secrets in small villages.

    Why my relatives stayed all these years is a mystery to me: I used to tell them it must be like having Stockholm Syndrome. They didn't think it was funny. :)

    I don't want to give the impression that I think all Swiss people are like this: my cousin's daughter married a Swiss German and he seems like a nice enough person.

    As to the treatment of Italian immigrants:
    "At first the Swiss government encouraged the arrival of guest workers, assigning them different types of work permits, some forbidding job switching, ranging from the "frontaliere" permit given to Italians living near the Swiss border to the "C" permit granting the same status of a Swiss citizen minus the political rights.[4]

    "In 1970 there were a million immigrants in Switzerland, 54% of whom were Italians.[4] Rising friction with the indigenous majority even led to the creation of an "anti-Italians party" in 1963.[5]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italia...to_Switzerland

    "Schwarzenbach was a member of the Swiss National Council representing the National Action in the legislature between 1967 and 1971. Schwarzenbach's Republican Movement originated as a split of National Action in 1971, and it lasted until its dissolution in 1989.Schwarzenbach is chiefly known for his initiative on Überfremdung ("excess of foreigners") that was put to the vote in June of 1970. The referendum had a record turnout (75%), with 45% of the votes supporting Schwarzenbach's proposal. The proposal, if accepted, would have meant that the Swiss government had to limit foreign workers to Switzerland to 10%, which then would mean the deportation of up to 300,000 foreigners over 4 years. Although not enacted, the referendum did cause the number of available work-permits to be lowered.[3] Xenophobia in Switzerland at the time was chiefly directed against Italian migrant workers, whose number had increased from 300,000 to over 1 million during the economic surge after World War II between 1950 and 1970.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Schwarzenbach

    Sound familiar? I assure you my relatives were both literate and skilled.
    If I ever come across a 300lb weight lifter of "NFL material" verbally abusing anyone in particular, I'll just continue on, minding my own, for the sake of my own safety. I'm a nerdy guy who loves to solve puzzles, enjoys mathematics, and I weigh <150lbs (granted, I'm rather strong for my size...). I don't intervene when I witness verbal abuse in general (that is , verbal abuse from anyone including crippled geriatrics) because I don't want to "start". Physical abuse is a different story....but still...if I go toe to toe with someone who's strength is exceptional (and who out benches Hercules), I'll end up dead...and my death will not prevent the assailant from killing his victim.
    Last edited by davef; 01-05-17 at 06:20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolan View Post
    Muslims may love France but I really don't think they love the French. French lifestyle and culture this the antithesis of how a good Muslim should live. They are sexually liberated, irreligious, drink wine and eat pork sausages. That's why the tensions run so deeply. The hate and intolerance is mutual. The French orange just afraid of Muslim terrorist. They have experienced Muslim youths burning thousands of cars, verbally or physically assaulting them in the street, and threatening to destroy their liberal values by imposing Sharia law in the country. There is no love either way between the two parties.

    Le Pen's mistake was to take an anti-EU stance. If she had been more mainstream for the economy, she could have been elected president. What French people want is someone who will improve the economy and get rid of the Muslims. Le Pen is just not credible for the economy. That's her main weakness.
    I think that the problem with Le Pen is not just her anti-EU stance. The problem is that she and her party are fascists.
    Last edited by LABERIA; 01-05-17 at 07:22.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    In the beginning, right after the war, when La Spezia and Aulla were still leveled, they did whatever would keep them alive, I think: farm work, construction work, small businesses, hotels and restaurants. By the time I visited my cousin was doing bookkeeping for a small firm. Her half-Swiss son is now an executive at a big Swiss bank, and stationed in Hong Kong. He visits me when he's in New York on business. The world does change for the better sometimes.

    Southern Italians had it harder from what I was told. I think my family had a somewhat easier time also because one branch of my mother's family came from the Ticino. They could get different kinds of papers or something.

    Anyway, lots of Italians did leave; there's only about 300,000 or so left. This small branch of my mother's family stayed.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/born-in-...tizens/3349834
    So, they went to Switzerland because of proximity and because it was the wealthiest place in post-war Europe.
    And you are part of a family that left northern Italy after WW II.
    America was the best choice, Angela, no doubt about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    This has become a much "bigger" issue than I anticipated, but it was nothing like that. I was 17 years old and walked into the post office to get stamps for my letters. I didn't know if the man spoke English, but I thought it was more likely he spoke Italian since it's one of the official languages there so I spoke to him, politely, in that. He launched into what seemed like a five minute screaming tirade.

    I was later told that he was ranting that if I was going to live there I'd better learn to speak German. There was also a general tirade about too many Italian immigrants, and something of a sexual nature about which my relatives refused to be explicit. The worst thing was that not one person spoke up to intervene, not even the women. There are individual crazy people everywhere, but if they didn't agree, why stay silent?

    This was apparently not an unusual occurrence, and not the worst of the mistreatment: most people wouldn't rent apartments to them, people would routinely get beaten up, etc. The contrast to my experience in the U. S. couldn't have been more extreme. I understand it's better now, but I'm not the forgive and forget type.

    There is "ethnic" humor in the U.S., or at least there used to be; in these days of "safe spaces" and "triggers" it's disappearing. I never liked it; it's just a marginally more acceptable way of insulting people. It's pretty easy to put a stop to it by just turning the tables. People like to dish it out, but they don't like to take it.

    American reactions:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6x8OgIhprs
    I think all ethnic minorities have their own fair share of terrible experiences. I was once on a bus, there was an Australian just attacking directly at a group of Chinese students on the bus, his style of racism is like the woman you see below shown in this youtube video. I was sitting on the other side of the bus, I was looking down at my phone at that time because I am always checking for messages on the way back home on the bus. All of a sudden I heard what he was doing, I should have recorded the incident with my i-phone, but I did nothing. I was frozen in some way. The man was very dirty looking. He looked like somebody without a job. When he had enough of it, he sat down. Then he exited on the next stop. When he left, the strap on his bag actually hit my lower leg.

    I guess the reason I did not intervene was that I was protecting myself. He is after all a man, and me a tiny woman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf14rpwG9-Y



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