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The Swiss Idyll comes from the jungle

In his famous essay, "The Switzerland between the origin and progress," wrote the literary scholar Peter von Matt, a dream that was deep in the soul of the country. It is the dream of a peaceful life in the original nature. With the reality of life in Switzerland, this fantasy had to do never too much, but as a collective image of the origin, it has, until today, a large effect.

Now there is an Update from the post-colonial research on this topic, on the basis of the "Bruno Manser: the voice of The rain forest" by Niklaus Hilber well illustrate. The Swiss production has cost six millions of francs, and runs from Thursday in the cinemas.

The Basel environmentalist Bruno Manser lived from 1984 to 1990, the forest nomads, the Penan in Borneo, and since 2005 as lost. In Switzerland, he went before, as a sheep shepherd in the grison Alps, to escape from the "too much automation".

Bruno Manser, the "white Penan", with a blowpipe in Borneo. Photo: Filmcoopi

As he mixed later in the jungle pulp of the sago tree, with the blowpipe chased, he experienced by the timber industry, endangered Penan in the jungle of Borneo as a "highly value people", the "disputes about the possession of love are completely unknown". Compared to the big city people have less and less time and looked, in spite of achievements to be unhappy.

For the film was carried out a months-long Casting with over 400 Penan. In Borneo the Team by extensive research and traveled to many palm oil plantations in order to find a piece of rain forest. The Film in a hard-to-romantic Aesthetics, which potentiates the idea of a near-natural ancient people and Manser not andichtet a leader role, he always had.

One scene shows a road blockade in the mid-80s against the lumberjacks. Manser is progressing in the Background the Penan dressed with nothing more than loin-skirts. On photos from the time, many of the residents wear, in reality, trousers and T-Shirts, some groups lived at the time already settled in long houses.

Extracted: road blockade, the Penan in the mid-80s (on the left) and the scene in the Film, which plays at the same time. Photos: Bruno Manser Fund/Thomas Wüthrich

cinema of course. But "Bruno Manser" wants to be a big Adventure movie, which is why the movie tells the Swiss fantasy from the state of nature really thick. It is Mansers fight, but what we mainly see, are our projections from the original country.

In the post-colonial research, it's called a "colonial Imaginary". On this field-younger Swiss historian and historians are working since some years by the Swiss history in the Imperial context, clamping and questions how colonial ideas in everyday life and pop culture continue.

The shepherds of elsewhere

we also updated the national dream of a free life in the mountains. According to the ETH-historian Bernhard C. Schär, exile, Switzerland stelte your identity as an Alpine nation-namely, in that time, as due to the European conquests in South America, Africa and Asia, the image of the "backward" pastoral has been constructed.

The Swiss fantasy of Bergler's life was thus involved in the question of colonialism. For it is only in comparison with the conquered and explored the people and the powerful was self-image: the "Primitive", the peace-loving Swiss dairymen.

"Bruno Manser" to be excessive, the Penan, we are mirrored desires from the state of nature, and there is always a difference between "developed" and "close to nature".

at the University of Bern teaching culture scientist Patricia Purtschert is co-editor of a Collective volume on "post-colonial Switzerland". She says that there is in the civilized world, a longing for the Lost, which is why you had awakened in Switzerland, always ready to exploit a colonised people. "It has been idealized, over productions that were coined by colonial structures and relations of power."

The Swiss René Gardi took place in the colonial Northern Cameroon an "immense freedom": a scene from "African Mirror". Video: PD

really swarming the pictures of the Bernese as a travel writer René Gardi (1909-2000), the declared performances with his photo books and television the Swiss from the 50s African. Director Mischa Hedinger has turned on him, a captivating documentary that starts next week in the cinemas.

"African Mirror" only consists of film footage, photos and comments René Gardis. If Gardi in the 50s mountains and the inhabitants of the Mandara in the North of Cameroon is talking about, one wonders more than once whether one has correctly heard. "Sometimes I wish we Swiss had any colony in the tropics," he says. Wouldn't it be interesting, we could show how we would see these "problems" in life?

Gardi filmed in the French Cameroon dominated naked and sweaty Black work on blast furnaces. He also saw some Parallels with the Swiss mountain learning. In both places the true Democrats lived in a "country without the need for Complex", "inwardly free" people would not have to worry about things like return on investment.

depreciation by Camber

"African Mirror" shows how closely entwined the Swiss original ease-of-use dream, and the colonial way of Thinking actually are. And how strong is the question of affiliation with the ideas of the Uncivilized hangs together. The terse tone, with René Gardi told in the TV show "Gardi" on the Wild leaks, it has turned into a everyday racism, the want to know with innocent curiosity, where someone with darker skin "really".

Gardi was even then on the people, if he tried to understand them. "There is a Swiss Tradition, including René Gardi, which is closely associated with Western notions of Wilderness", says the cultural scientist Patricia Purtschert. It is overheight, the "Wild" and values them at the same time as "Primitive".

reached As Cameroon, the independence, see Gardi, of course, be people of the Western consumer kitsch flooded. So an African with contemporary stuff, not really. "Bruno Manser" told something Similar, there is either naked Penan or civilized Penan, the state has forced-to-bike and a washing machine.

Bruno Manser (Sven Schelker) leads the Penan in the fight against the timber industry: a scene from "Bruno Manser". Video: Ascot Elite

At the favorite Gardi would have drawn a fence around his African Bergler country to "Unnecessary" to stay away. Peter von Matt has described this as the core of the Swiss original, ease-of-dream: self-containment and self-preservation. Gardi even goes so far as a "natural Park for the people," the virtues of rhyming.

Populist seen would be fenced in Switzerland, Yes love, this is an effect of the national imagination, from the Idyll of the forefathers. The post-colonial research shows that this idea never of the history of the European Expansion to solve.

"Bruno Manser" is running in the cinemas. "African Mirror" starts at 14. November. Previews on 13.11. at 18.30 in the cinema Riffraff and on 19.11. at 18.30 with Gesine Krüger, Professor of modern history, University of Zurich, also in the Riffraff in Zurich.

reading list: Switzerland, and the colonialism

Sharply observed the collection of "post-colonial Switzerland: forms and consequences of a colonialism without colonies", published by Francesca Falk, Barbara Lüthi, Patricia Purtschert (Transcript, 2013, 422 p.). This is also the essay by Bernhard C. Schär to the non-European shepherd can be found. Schär has worked with "tropics of love: the Swiss naturalist and Dutch imperialism in Southeast Asia 1900" (Campus 2015, 374 p.) the history of the Basel naturalists Paul and Fritz Sarasin. Latest publications are "Coloniality and gender in the 20th century. Century. A history of the white Switzerland" (Transcript 2019, 370 p.) by Patricia Purtschert, the example of the figures of the housewife and mountaineers colonialism and the gender question brings together. The magazine "opposition" No. 72 is concerned with "post-colonial entanglements of the global Switzerland" (2018, 192 p.). (blu)

Created: 06.11.2019, 22:12 PM

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