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Is LIFE WORTH LIVING if I have to follow blatant injustice?

October 9, 2010

The criminal Swiss immigrants, so the Swiss People’s Party claims is plain ol’ injustice, well in my crude mind at least.

Just look at the image, for all you non- francophones (it reads “For more security”). The Swiss immigrant’s situation is very similar to MLK’s, and I just want to know whether the minority which is segregated as criminals, should continue living in Switzerland following these unjust accusations or do something radical that would propagate change. MLK states that

Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.

The situation in Switzerland is an issue of segregation as it tries to blame its foreign population for the criminal problems in the country, which degrades human personality – so it is unjust. But my question is simply whether they should fight for their justice or give the general acceptance. Of course, they should fight for justice is an answer we will all give, but when you ask an immigrant who has not been granted citizenship even though he has lived in the country for many years or even worse, you are denied of citizenship at your birthplace of the mere fact that your parents were immigrants, he/she who has no other choice or place for living would resort to accepting these injustices as MLK put it in his scenario as a segregated person being in a “phase of obnoxious negative peace” and MLK would certainly encourage people to fight for their justice

phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro (immigrant) passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

But does human personality have that courage? I do not know. I am an immigrant, I have been treated wonderfully in the United States so far but if I had to live in Switzerland, I do not know whether I would have the “balls” to resort to civil disobedience. We know great people like MLK are rightfully not

not afraid of the word “tension”

but I would certainly ask you the question that MLK wonderfully poses

“Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?”

My heart certainly does believe these immigrants should start a non-violent campaign just as MLK did because the scarier thought is that the Swiss People’s party claims that they have received a positive response to this poster, which certainly brings me to the thought that Switzerland’s citizens are resorting to the state of obnoxious negative peace.

On a counter view, in situations like these we always tend to favor the minorities – but I want to think about the Swiss party’s point of view as well. They certainly do have a problem of Dirty hands, one – they have to control crime and their stats point out that immigrants are the culprits and at the same time – they knew that it was morally and racially corrupt thought but their perspective might just be we have to do it, what Waltzer points out as a “moral dilemma” where choice has negative consequences.

In the article, the party member bashed the UN saying they should “not interfere in internal Swiss politics” and it provided as nice segue into Hobbesian view of the Swiss People’s party being the sovereign and in this situation, there is a controversy. How is controversy decided? When there is

“no judge to decide the controversy; it returns therefore to the sword again; every man recovereth the right of protecting himself by his own strength” (Levithan, Chapter 18, 176)

This does not mean, we go killing each other but more of an MLK style – the sovereign has disrupted state of peace, bringing back to the state of war, where civil disobedience BECOMES JUSTIFIED. So what should these people do? I say, follow MLK’s 4 step process

collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

A NON-VIOLENT CAMPAIGN is certainly my answer. And it is not worth living in blatant injustice.

5 Comments
  1. zsalexa permalink
    October 9, 2010 8:56 PM

    First off, a very well written post.

    I must say this is a precarious situation. On one hand, if a non-citizen does commit a crime, how is the government to react? The simple answer is that you treat everyone the same subject to the law. A citizen and a non-citizen should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. But, that brings up the issue of citizenship, there has to be an inherent difference. One IS a citizen, and one IS not. There is a distinction because the government has made it so, equality becomes almost impossible when you categorize people.

    The argument for deportation is simple: if deportation is the penalty, it de-incentives crime to a much higher degree. Is that right? No. Unless the crime is so high that it poses a societal risk, immigrants should not be deported. However, if it is extreme, or becomes a pattern, what incentive does a country have to keep an immigrant? If they have the option of deportation against imprisonment, why wouldn’t they deport someone.

    The ad is racist, or in the least prejudicial, but the idea isn’t necessarily so. As long as it’s applied within reason. Large crimes should be punished to the full extent of the law, but not the point of prejudice. Where that line gets drawn is the issue at hand. Division is not the answer.

  2. Andrew Babat permalink
    October 9, 2010 9:01 PM

    This is the same issue MLK dealt with. I believe fighting the issue is definitely the answer. MLK stated that the oppressor will not give up up his freedom to the oppressed voluntarily. If the Swiss immigrants sit back and allow these injustices to continue, they will never receive equal treatment. It is important they take non-violent direct action to force change. MLK stated this is the most effective way to fight injustices.

  3. Neil Rabinowicz permalink
    October 10, 2010 6:49 PM

    In 2002 my family and I moved to New Jersey from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The city we moved to didn’t have many immigrants, so we were nervous that we wouldn’t be welcome and would face discrimination. However, people were very nice and we felt at home right away.

    While I had a good experience transitioning cultures, discrimination like the one seen in Switzerland can be seen every day. There are many arguments against immigration, but I think the only valid ones are the ones that deal with illegal immigrants. Anyone who comes into the country illegally should, in theory, be deported. However, there shouldn’t be any discrimination against them.

    The case in Switzerland sounds like they are using the immigrants as scapegoats for their problems, when in reality, if the government tried to incorporate them and make the best out of the situation, such as how the US uses immigrants to take up jobs that no one else wants. By discriminating against them and blaming them for their problems, they are unconsciously setting up the immigrants to become a real problem in the long run.

    Switzerland needs to realize that there is no perfect society, and unless they decide not to allow any immigrants into the country, there will always be people who will want to live there. All prosperous nations attract people with hopes of having more prosperous lives. The only solution to their problem is cooperation and logical thinking, since discrimination and division are not the answer.

  4. seangordon permalink
    October 10, 2010 11:24 PM

    Nice post. You say that you did not know if you would have the “balls” to resort to civil disobedience. I too believe that in instances like this, fighting the issue is important. However, the common problem that can be seen all throughout history is that people do not have the guts so to speak to actually fight against oppression. These problems take so long to fix because even though there are always people willing to fight back, the majority is I believe, too scared to do so. Men like MLK don’t come around every day (or even every decade for that matter) and even though his plan of civil disobedience clearly worked and could certainly work again, MLK had unbelievable momentum and a massive following. This arguably had a great deal to do with his unmatched orating skills and his bravery to be the front runner of the Civil Rights movement (which did tragically, lead to his death). What I’m trying to get at is that its very easy for us to say that the “right” thing to do is take direct action of sorts, however, it is a totally different monster to act on these words. Call me a coward but I question if I’d be able/willing to go to jail over an issue that has been ongoing for so long. And call me a coward again, but I wonder if this seems like a problem that is definitely NOT going to be fixed in the near future, then maybe the people are better off not trying to fight, but rather just move to somewhere else? Because while according to Hobbes, civil disobedience may be justified, he also says that self preservation is inherent to all men. This may take precedence over anything else.

  5. mattwax permalink
    October 13, 2010 11:47 AM

    I certainly agree with you in that a non-violent campaign remains the most efficient means of making a point in this specific situation. As you also pointed out, the average person finds it difficult to absorb a blow and then not retaliate. Fighting back simply conforms to the path of least resistance; if the immigrants were to violently march the streets in protest of the poster- how would they be changing their image as reckless crooks? It may take a few courageous people to galvanize the movement, much like MLK and his followers, but the problem must be addressed sociologically. You cannot simply look to change the mind of each individual who may so easily agree with the slanderous campaign posters. Such xenophobia may be rational in the sense that, statistically, many of the criminals are immigrants, but to best solve this issue the government cannot simply subjugate all foreigners. They must look to see why their nation places immigrants in a position where they feel the need to engage in criminal activities. What makes them more likely to rob and steal than a Swede whose family resided in the country for centuries? The poster seems to portray the immigrants as inherently criminal. They fail to consider the basic equality that exists in all humans, not in their opportunity but moreover in their genetic makeup. As genetic equals, are foreigners worse people than Swedish citizens? Of course not, so something is wrong with the system in which the people live; a system that steers immigrants to turn to a life of crime. Sociologist Robert Merton once stated that the greater the gap between the rich and the poor, the greater the gap between the distribution of wealth and power, the “more likely deviance is to occur.”
    Now I know next to nothing about Sweden, other than IKEA and Hans Blix, but I feel as if I can say there must be a systematic problem that allows for such an injustice to thrive in an otherwise well off nation. I do not have the means or the aptitude to propose a solution; I am merely saying that a different approach to first understanding, then fixing the problem might be very useful.

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