Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Trinité bantoue

III Today it ’s my distant cousins’ National Day here, but also in Bantuland. God only knows why these two countries that in theory have nothing in common chose the same day for their national holiday. Here, the first of August is the anniversary of an oath sworn by three gentlemen, each of whom represented the very first cantons of deepest Switzerland. They call it the Rütli oath. They signed the pact in the late thirteenth century. Some, often the most elitist, say it ’s more of a myth than an actual historical event. They say it ’s a nice little story for the children. That is, for those children who still want to believe it. Others, on the contrary, puff out their chests and claim it ’s the very foundation of the country’s history, of its power. I’m not the one, poor little Bantu that I am, to play the judge between these two views of their national holiday. When I tell Monga Mîngá the two versions of the Rütli oath story, she doesn’t hide her surprise, the strength of her feelings. Those people are far ahead of us, she tells me over the phone. They were already signing treaties in times long past?, she asks. Then she adds, her voice dripping with irony, in those distant centuries we were still walking around naked in the forest with the animals.


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