Fabian Molina, leader of the Swiss Young Socialists party (JUSO) said that party members should instead fly a white flag for peace on August 1st to protest against the worldwide rise of nationalism, reported newspaper Blick on Wednesday.
“It’s a very dangerous development,” Molina told the paper.
“Nationalism is responsible for the rise in military action in the world.”
The remarks from Molina, who will spend Friday attending a pacifist march to commemorate the start of the First World War a century ago, have kicked up a storm.
“I have been surprised by the extent of the hate and violence expressed in certain emails,” he said on Thursday in a further interview with Blick.
As well as death threats, outraged readers told Molina he no longer has the right to live in Switzerland.
Defending his position, Molina said: “Is it a provocation, a hundred years after the mobilization of German, French and Swiss troops for the First World War, to talk about nationalism today? I don’t think so.”
The young politician expressed his concern over Switzerland’s isolationist tendencies and increasingly xenophobic laws over the last few decades.
“This evolution worries me,” he told Blick.
“Switzerland has an inferiority complex that it compensates for through self-glorification and withdrawal.”
“It’s very dangerous. If every country withdrew and no longer talked, that opens the door to conflict, as demonstrated by the First World War.”
Molina declined to say if he thought people would follow his suggestion to display a white flag for peace on August 1st.
“But I am happy to have launched a debate,” he said.
“Often August 1st just serves to express Switzerland’s superiority over other countries and supposed enemies. That shouldn’t be the point of the national festival. If instead we talk about the future of our country and its role in the world then I will proudly display the Swiss flag,” he added.