Here is the “X” installment of my abc collection. I choose three words and write something regarding them trying to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss or my life in Switzerland. “X” was a little more difficult and I had to almost cheat, but I think I squeaked through. “X” is for xenophobia, generations X Y and Z and Xmas.
is for xenophobia
What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.
— Albert Einstein
Xenophobia is the fear or extreme dislike of foreigners. It would be easy to go political on this one, but I’m going to try and sidestep that.
The Swiss population is now made up of about 20% immigrants. Some people see this development as a chance for cosmopolitanism others are letting their xenophobia show. The thing is, to remain Swiss, Switzerland must keep their cultural identity. Of course, that might be hard for such a small country, especially with such a large influx of other cultural identities. The discussion has been going on a while and it looks like it will continue.
Refugees in Switzerland
Looking back one can see waves of different cultures that have sought refuge in Switzerland. Italians began to immigrate during the late 19th century and again, after WWII. A third wave was in the 1970s. Then, in 1956 around 14,000 Hungarians immigrated to Switzerland. Ten years later the political liberalization in Czechoslovakia, known as the Prague Spring sent around 11,000 people into Switzerland. In the late 1980s and 1990 there were a lot of refugees from Sri Lanka. Not only did they speak a different language their dark skin made them stand out in a crowd. After the Tamils, came people seeking refuge from the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. As you can tell, depending on what was happening in the world the refugees coming to Switzerland looked and spoke differently. They are still coming and they still look and speak differently.
Is this good or bad? Are we talking cosmopolitanism or xenophobia? As Heraclitus said, “All is flux, nothing stays still. No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Whether change is good or bad depends on the perspective of the beholder. Truth is that change will happen if you fight against it or welcome it.
“What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.” Why did Albert Einstein, who lived in Switzerland and got his Swiss citizenship in 1901, say something like that? I can only guess, but being a scientist he knew how much energy it takes to smash an atom. He also lived during the Second World War, which was all about prejudice. He saw how an atomic bomb was able to end the war but not stop prejudice.
is for generations X, Y and Z
I grew up in a physical world, and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social.
~ Angela Ahrendts
Depending on when you were born your personality and characters are defined by a generation-group. As if there weren’t enough things already defining who you are and what you are like.
The first generation to actually have a name was the “Baby Boomers” and are about 80 million people strong. They were born after the Second World War (1946 – 1964). They are now between 73 and 53 years old. Most had stay-at-home moms as children and turned into them as adults. This generation had it good, it’s also known as the “Me generation”. They are the people who were tuned in, dodged the draft and were hippies in the 70s.
This generation also has the highest divorce rate and second-marriage rate. Their core values are “spend now, worry later”. This is a competitive and optimistic group. Of course, not all baby boomers were hippies, some were born too late for that. When the baby boomers were done being radicals they turned into yuppies. Sound like anyone you know?
The generation after the baby boomers is called Generation X. How sad can that be, being stuck with the tag “X”? They were born between 1965 and 1980 and number a lot less; 50 million. Because their parents had the highest divorce rate, many grew up in patchwork families having to fend for themselves. I believe the epitome of what Generation X is, is seen on the TV series “Friends”.
Although this generation is highly educated and independent, this is the first generation that will probably do worse than their parents financially. Although they were pampered by their parents the group is angry on the whole and doesn’t really know why. This is an outcome oriented group that enjoys work but is also focused on the work/life aspect of living. I guess sitting around in coffee shops trying to put the world back in order makes you like that.
The following generation is the Generation Y or the Millennials. They were born between 1981 and 2000. The influences of this generation is seen in the shootings and terrorist attacks which made their parents shelter them. In spite of that, this group is optimistic, tolerant, confidant and has high morals, they are the most educated generation and are avid consumers.
They earn money so they can spend it, none of this save, save, save for them. This generation was born into technology and is comfortable using it. They are also comfortable sharing every detail of their lives on social media and are no strangers to selfies.
For a quick glance into the future, generation Z, yes they are really called that and they are still in their teens. They are still forming so it’s difficult to put tags on them yet. Still, it looks like this is going to be a smart, caring generation. Let’s hope for the best.
is for Xmas
Xmas is not a season. It is a feeling.
~ Edna Ferber
Xmas? Am I talking Christmas, here? Yes, I am. Did you ever wonder why it is often written as “Xmas”? Is this something new and fancy?
It’s certainly not new. The abbreviation Xmas dates back to the 16th century. Although a lot of people think someone wanted to take “Christ” out of Christmas, that is not the case. The word Xmas is simply combining some Latin with a touch of Greek. The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which in turn, is the first letter of the Greek word “Christ”. The “-mas” part of Christmas is Latin and is derived from the word “Mass”.
So, that’s Xmas; a language mix and unplugged.