Friday, December 11, 2009

Escalade de Geneve -- It Begins Tonight

According to the official website the first march is tonight. It's the "Hommage aux Victimes" so it's more like a commemoration. As I have nothing better to do (thesis? well... XD) I'll go and see what it's all about. I can still go Christmas shopping if I don't like it that much (or feel too cold :D).

I have to stress the point that I love festivals no matter what the occasion is. And I simply adore the Swiss attitude to such things and life in general. I really do, I guess my posts can only confirm it. But I can't help my Hungarian sarcasm from surfacing here.

The basis of all the fun is actually a battle that took place during the night of December 11-12, in 1602. It was a long long time ago and as we all know the fighting style of the time didn't really lead to losses we're sadly used to today. Although I do understand (and am of the opinion) that one life lost is one too many and I can see the importance of this very battle, I still feel that there's something ironic about this festival.

As Switzerland was lucky(/smart/lazy/mean -- opinions vary) enough not to participate in the wars that shook much of the world to its core during the course of the last 100 years (well as a matter of fact we can go way back before that), this event is really something to remember and celebrate. Coming from Hungary, I'm used to much sadder commemorations, much longer lists of the dead. I don't mean to say that's any better =). I hate sadness as much as I hate war. (I hate hatred for that matter so I can't really get out of the paradigms...) But still, something about this "huge battle" here feels... too much ado for nothing.

On the other hand, if one takes a step back and puts facts and figures aside, it's easy to see the importance of this event. It's not really about a bunch of men in shining armor and women pouring their supper over the enemy's head. It's about freedom. And that's a totally different issue.

Everything we (wrongly or not) associate with Switzerland today has been built on this freedom. It wouldn't have meant much for Geneva to be lost that night, there were such skirmishes all around the border at the time. It would have been gained back. But what that night symbolizes is the constant struggle of the Swiss against various forces that have been trying to shred their exceptional freedom. I say they're right to defend it and celebrate its victory.

And on an even greater scale, this celebration of freedom can also mean something particularly personal to everyone. I'm not Swiss. Not yet =D But I do find my own struggles parallel to theirs. And I guess we all can in a way. Every day offers something to threaten our freedom and integrity. But we fight on. So although the whole issue might seem superficial and ridiculous at first sight -- think out of the... cauldron!

Celebrate (your) freedom!

OK, I'm off now. I have lots of things to do. And then I'll go and... escalate! =D

Nice weekend, guys! ;)

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