UNITED NATIONS. SWISS ARGUMENT IN AN AUSTRIAN FESTIVAL

 

15 APRIL 2011

SWISS ARGUMENT IN AN AUSTRIAN FESTIVAL

The Salzburg Music Festival has become a landmark of artistic showmanship, particularly in a country that adores music and a town that produced immortal composers.

This year, however, there is a funny problem on the way to Salzburg. Initially the program starting 27 July that contains native sons Johann Strauss and Gustav Mahler noted an opening speech by Swiss political personality Jean Ziegler, a former member of Parliament from Geneva and a regular on the circuit of U.N. rapporteurs on human rights and related questions.

Suddenly, it was announced that Ziegler's speech was cancelled because of supposed relations with Qaddafi's regime in Libya.

The irrepressible "Genevois" responded angrily that although he had met Qaddafi, he had repeatedly stated that the man was "completely crazy." Instead, he thought the cancellation was due to pressure by certain Swiss corporate sponsors like Nestle, Union des Banque Suisse, and Credit Suisse. There had been an ongoing battle (in the courteous yet curt Swiss way) since our former colleague, decades ago, wrote a book claiming that his country was being actually run by these corporations. Apparently, it's payback time.

Perhaps they need the current President of the U.N. General Assembly, a Swiss diplomat, to mediate.