Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Sunday, 23 December 2012
St Bernard’s Law

Arriving in my hotel in Geneva recently without having had my lunch, I decided to order something from room service, but soon thought better of it: a croque-monsieur cost £30.

I went in search of something cheaper but it was not easy to find. Eventually I found a café and the Tribune, the local newspaper, was on the table. Its headline concerned the distribution to the poor of surplus food from school and hospital canteens.

A charitable organisation was collecting the lamb stew with couscous and beans that was not eaten by children at their school lunch and handing it out in the evening to those most in need. Could it be, then, that there were the hungry even in Geneva where (as the newspaper informed me) building workers averaged £50,000 a year?

I was astonished as I walked down the Rue de Lausanne. I was accosted by a Russian looking for work and a Frenchman with disks in his earlobes asking for his fare back home. Switzerland signed up to the Schengen agreement and now has no right to control who comes into the country. A Genevan by adoption told me that there has since been an explosion of crime, at least by local standards.

One story in the Tribune intrigued me: a local law is to be passed to allow guide dogs into restaurants and cafés. The story was slightly confusing because the head of the association of the blind was reported as saying that no blind person he had spoken to had ever been refused permission to take his dog into a restaurant or café. But the article also claimed that the law was to be changed to prevent dogs having to be left tied up outside restaurants and cafés, from where they were sometimes stolen. And guide dogs cost between £15,000 and £30,000 each.

Who would have thought that such a thing could happen in Switzerland (if, indeed, it ever had happened and was not a purely hypothetical crime dreamed up by the legislators or by the newspaper reporter)? A guide dog might cost £15 or £30,000 to train, but could not possibly be worth such a sum to a thief. The very thought that there are people willing to deprive the blind of their dogs is enough to make you tremble for humanity.

But are there such people even in Geneva, city of humanitarianism on an industrial scale? I don’t suppose I shall ever know.

First published in Salisbury Review.

Posted on 12/23/2012 6:08 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
23 Dec 2012
Le Tse Fung

Check out our Monday night specials at 301, route de Lausanne, Geneva.

Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31