Eggshells on the menu in Swiss army ritual row
Switzerland's military has pledged to investigate a hazing ritual in Bure in the north west of the country after a rookie soldier alerted the media to his humiliating treatment at the hands of his peers.
The budding grenadier told newspaper Blick he was forced to swallow raw eggs, including the shells, and drink beer out of filthy boots.
A video of the September 20th incident has embarrassed the army.
Swiss army spokesman Daniel Reist told Blick that the incident was “serious” and explained the military has opened an investigation to determine whether the brigade’s commander was aware in the incident or even participated.
The event was witnessed by more than cheering 50 soldiers and some are asking how it could go unnoticed by the higher ranks.
Other induction rituals in Bure included requiring recruits to drink spirits containing 95 percent alcohol, swim in dirty waters full of rotten fish, and serve dinner for the rest of the company while only wearing underwear and camouflage jackets around their waists.
This kind of hazing ritual is forbidden in the armoured division to which the company involved belongs. Humiliating jokes are allowed in other army units, however, as long as they do not pose a risk to the soldier’s health, show disdain for human rights, or are sexist or racist. If these conditions are breached, officials may face penalties of up to ten months in prison and heavy fines.
The incident in Bure has re-opened the debate in Switzerland about whether hazing should face an outright ban in the army.
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