googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Move over Swiss gnomes: Now it's Zottel and Mimu and black paint

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Move over Swiss gnomes: Now it's Zottel and Mimu and black paint

SVP election poster
Switzerland, that little country with young women running up and down steep hillsides singing songs to the hillside gods, with cheeses that – unlike socks – are proud of holes, with gnomes in underground bank vaults feverishly counting and recounting the trillions of tax-fleeing treasure put to rest there free from outside scrutiny, is changing.

For the next decade or two many in the world will put aside these images in their minds when they think of that little country, and instead think of two kidnapped goats, one named Zottel and the other Mimu, tethered to a stake, and painted black as a message:
Zottel posing

Zottel, the SVP's official mascot, has come to symbolize the party's anti-immigrant stance, and provided an endearing visual for a grossly xenophobic party platform. The SVP adopted the snow-white billie in 2007, after plastering the country with eye-catching posters that depicted a white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag.

Outraged by the party's ultra-nationalism, members of a group called Anti Fascist Action stole Zottel and his sidekick Mimu on Oct. 15—a move intended to dent the SVP's morale ahead of federal elections on Oct. 23. SVP officials recovered the animals earlier this week. "The dwarf goats were tied to a tree and painted in black," the SVP said in a statement. "[The party] condemns the cowardly act by extremist delinquents."

Now SVP's leadership are interpreting the rescue as an omen of victory in this weekend's election—yet another indicator of what appears a foregone conclusion.
Tammi-Q with his groovy music longhorn

I prefer the other images of this little landlocked country. Of course, I would add at least one long horn blowing yodeller to the mix!

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