Un-Swiss: Not Quite Like Clockwork

Tamer Tamar

We live in a time of prejudice. Not only do we judge each other before we meet, we form preconceived ideas about countries before we even set a foot inside their borders. Switzerland is one such country associated with wealth, neutrality, precision, rules and a stoic demeanor. Yet, living as a foreigner in the country reveals peculiar mannerisms and quirks that defy stereotypes. My goal as an insider-outsider in Switzerland is to highlight “exceptions to the rule”. Maybe the Swiss are not so Swiss after all?

Why is this story worthwhile?

Thanks to social media, most vital issues these days are discussed and dissected at a global level. Ideally, these discussions would leave out “identity politics” and rather focus on the content of arguments. Unfortunately, most discussions revolve around people’s origins and the cliches that go with them. Typically, these cliches are attached to ethnicity and nationality. Switzerland is no different than any other country, when it comes to being the target of long-standing stereotypes. By challenging negative and positive stereotypes about nationalities, we can redirect the central point of global discussions to the actual content that matters. It is time to shatter these cliches.