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Soldiers from elsewhere

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

Let’s look at these acts from afar - say we were Swiss, peacefully observing the green meadows facing us, eating piles of chocolate and mounds of cheese.

Say we saw armed soldiers on the news in some unknown desert state, forcing many lines of men to strip and kneel on the brink of a ditch. The soldiers in the picture look relaxed, enjoying some sort of break, some of them even turning their backs on the photographer and the lines of naked men.

Say we saw a video of another soldier, of the same country, standing in a shop and smashing the colorful objects on the shelves one by one. Not angrily, certainly not in combat act. He acts with relaxed joy, waiting intentionally between one object thrown violently to the floor and the next smashed toy.

Say we watched, we Swiss, the soldiers of that country climbing on the rubble of a neighborhood which their own forces bombed, erasing whatever life was left in it. Say we watch them on that heap of destruction erecting a huge Hanukah-candelabra, that symbolic object of that people from that tiny country. Here they are, lighting a torch, hoisting their blue-and-white flag, surrounded only by destruction. And they sing and cheer.

Now let’s get back to our meadow.

And to those cheeses and chocolate, the chirping of birds, absent from that site of total ruin.

Now that we are back in our Heidi hut, back to our satiated, lazy normality, what do we think (men and women) of that country and the customs of its soldiers?

Let’s think hard. Force our minds, fogged over by the live routine of live humans. Is there nothing in those images and videos we watched that echoes scenes we have already seen in our European past, right here across the border?

Is it possible that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that annihilated people now carry out a humiliating and hating play-out of the same type, that same school of executioners?

Impossible, we think. It’s impossible for the humiliated to rise and humiliate others. To get up and bomb and destroy and ruin and take revenge without an operational order, or at least an operational purpose. Has that young spirit been so corrupted because it was born to occupy? Have all morality and compassion and humane values been erased? No, the Swiss mind cannot possibly grasp this.

So let us feed our traditional pipe, take a good inhale, relax in our easy chair in front of the meadow and cows, listen to their bells and mutter: No, this is all most likely fake news. Those soldiers belong to the most moral military in the world. They are the offspring of the salt of the earth. Someone has faked something, stuck on images that belong to another place, another people, a totally different country. No?

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