Turning off African migrants

sriimg20071128_8474336_2a.jpgSwitzerland is funding a bleak anti-migration television campaign in Africa to discourage would-be migrants from trying to seek their fortunes in Europe. The hard-hitting advert, which has been aired on prime-time television in Cameroon and Nigeria, depicts the life of freshly arrived migrants in Europe as one fraught with problems and dangers. In the film an African migrant phones his father from somewhere in Europe in the pouring rain and assures him that all is well while in reality he is living on the street, being chased by the police and having to beg for a living. “Don’t believe everything you hear. Leaving is not always living,” is the final message of the film. The advert is part of a television, radio and poster campaign by the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration, funded by Switzerland and the European Commission.


Swiss witch could be rehabilitated

witch1.jpgThe last witch to be executed in Europe, Anna Göldi (or Göldin) could be rehabilitated. Members of canton Glarus‘ parliament have voted the measure despite the local government’s opposition to the move after lobbying by Swiss journalist Walter Hauser. Göldi was decapitated in 1782 after being sentenced for poisoning her employer’s child, although the heart of the trial was her alleged involvement in witchcraft. The court is believed to have wanted to avoid the embarrassment of an official witch trial. Arrested in 1782, she had confessed to have acted in the Devil’s name, albeit after undergoing torture. The canton’s government, backed by the Protestant Church, had refused rehabilitation, reasoning that 225 years after the fact it could not take any responsibility for what happened, even if there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Bloschacher debate goes nowhere

blocher.gifSwitzerland’s politicians once again showed their feebleness – or lack of power – in parliament. After many of them called for an urgent debate about Justice Minister Christoph Blocher’s turbulent relationship with the federal prosecutor’s office, the whole business fell flat on its face. Members of Blocher’s rightwing People’s Party lined up to defend their man against accusations he had plotted to get rid of federal prosecutor Valentin Roschacher when he wasn’t allowed to fire him – it’s all a plot your honour to get rid of our boss! These people are either members of the John Birch Society or fans of the Diana conspiracy theory. Their opponents took turns to blast away at the justice minister, saying he had failed to respect the separation between the executive and judicial powers as stated by a parliamentary committee. As for television viewers, all they got after all this was Blocher stating he did no wrong, and President Micheline Calmy-Rey claiming that the other members of government weren’t asking for the justice minister’s head. All in all a good day to show Swiss voters just ahead of this month’s federal elections that members of parliament weren’t all napping…