Saturday, July 01, 2006

Swiss anti-Americanism



Today I got a free issue of Switzerland's weekly news magazine, Die Weltwoche. On the accompanying card, I had the option of checking the "I enjoy the magazine and would like to subscribe" box.

Given that the cover story was about why the Swiss and Europeans hate America ("Warum wir sie hassen"), I think I'll pass on their offer.

The article notes that Anti-Americanism is a religion to Europeans. Hardly news, yet still distressing. Plenty of famous Europeans (e.g., Picasso, Heinrich Heine, Hermann Hesse) are listed as well known haters of the US.

A paraphrase--from the article--of the Swiss version of "freedom fries":

A customer was in a Bern sports store to buy skis. The most popular models were too expensive, so he asked to see less expensive skis. The salesman took him into another room that had only K2 brand skis--an American manufacturer. Each ski sported a small American flag. The customer declined, saying he didn't want to be associated with America. The story concluded by noting the store had failed to sell one pair of it K2 skis that season.
The rest of the article goes over the history and current causes of anti-Americanism, noting that 57% of Swiss dislike America and Americans.

From personal experience, I can say that dislike of Americans is least among those who have spent time there working. Thankfully, I am surrounded by such people.