Cultural Differences Are A Treasure

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Dear readers of the interkuturell newsletter,

A few weeks ago, there was an incident within the Swiss football team, a "gaffe" that the media naturally picked up. Stefan Lichtsteiner, who is doing very well on the pitch with Juventus Turin this year, dared to speak of "real Swiss" and "the other Swiss". He was also sorry that another Swiss player, Primin Schwegler, had not been nominated. Here is the full quotation:

"It is extremely important for Switzerland to look after the so-called role models, because we really don't have many of those left anymore. For me, it is not about 'real Swiss' and 'the other Swiss', but instead, that people can still identify with the national team. It is a tricky topic that we have to confront."

These words caused a real storm. Drawing a line between "real Swiss" and "the other Swiss", in a team where Secondos–mainly  Kosovo Albanians–play a major role, really broke a taboo for the question of Swiss identity and also meant running the risk of damaging the harmony within a multi-ethinic team.  

This type of tension within the multicultural Swiss team is not new. But until just a few years ago,  the line was still being drawn between... the French-speakers and the Swiss Germans!

This incident is interesting, because it reflecte the development of Swiss society. This type of tension could also occur in the Christian Church, between French-speaking Swiss and German-speaking Swiss, or between Swiss who can look back at several generations, and the others. I pray that we can form a team within the Christian community, where we show that cultural differences are a treasure that we should be proud of, and not a problem; in which we are conscious that we can gain everything if we play together, serving the same goal, proclaiming His honour, His kingdom and His victory.


Michael Mutzner
General Secretary, Réseau Evangélique
(Evangelical Alliance in the French-speaking cantons of Switzerland)

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