Swinging for Peace

Switzerland - Togo 2 : 0. We've won! Switzerland has qualified for the World Championships in Soccer and is even winning. Don't worry, I won't bore you with soccer. I am well aware that it hasn't quite caught on in the US. It's about time Switzerland exported a sport to the rest of the world. England has brought soccer, rugby and cricket to the world, Ice Hockey stems from Canada, American Football and Basketball from the US. I could go on. Switzerland didn't even invent skiing, we just provided the snow.

So let me introduce Swinging, a sport yet exclusive to rural Switzerland (we claim that we have non-rural settlements). No, this is not about the mating rituals of a peaceful mountain race. Neither are we famous for excessive use of garden swings. Swinging is a serious sport, cultivated by shepherds. It goes back to the 13th century. Or so it is claimed. Basically, it's an outdoor version of wrestling. Picture Sumo wrestling with more clothes and less weight. The arena consists of a thick layer of sawdust. At the beginning a jury decides who swings with whom. The swingers must wear long dark trousers, a shirt in pale (it's in the rules…) colours and a sort of oversized linen nappy that is fixed over the trousers and around the hips with a leather belt. Each swinger grabs the other's nappy and the wrestling starts. There is a points system for each wrestle that lands the opponent on his back. Points are awarded by the jury. After each fight the winner dusts off the sawdust from the loser's back. Whichever swinger reaches the highest score is the winner of the whole competition. As a prize he's handed a cow or a bull. Now, this might not sound terribly exciting in a super bowl sort of way. But imagine the possibilities if this sport doesn't catch on as a sport as such, but as a measure of peace keeping in the world. Now there is some potential!

Let's assume intelligence suggests that British Prime Minister Blair has used his wife Cherry as a sleeper - he has been bugged and recorded by the CIA saying something like: "My wife, she is such a good sleeper." This could very well lead to a complete breakdown of diplomatic relations between the US and Great Britain. Worse even, since Great Britain owns quite a few oil reserves and weapons of mass destruction, military actions might be considered, bombing London back to Shakespearean times.
And all this could easily be prevented by a swinging fight set up by the UN. Of course it will take the UN several security reports to decide on the opponents in the fight, let alone the jury of the fight. Let's go with the obvious choice for the opponents, "Bonecrusher" Bush versus "I'm no Queen" Blair. The jury consists of members of governments from all over the world, who have to swear an oath on complete discretion about who judges how. Very much like an election for a new pope. The fight is broadcast live from Madison Square Garden world wide via satellite. Oprah Winfrey does a two hour give-away special prior to the fight to get everyone in a good mood. Meanwhile, the swingers get dressed courtesy of Calvin Klein's pale shirt collection. Original linen nappies are provided by the Swinging World Association (SWA). Mr. Blair gets briefed and nappied by his wife. She's the expert when it comes to nappiing. As a lucky charm, Dick Cheney exchanges Bush's Calvins for his hunting pants. After all Cheney has won in them before.

The referee, a Swiss of course (as always, we are neutral in this issue. Never change a winning strategy…), steps onto the sawdust arena. The crowd is worked up. Half the audience brandishes a new car key. Maria Carey, sewn into the American flag, sings the national anthem while swinger Bush is paraded to the sawdust circle. The British anthem is contributed via satellite link to Australia, where the Stones are currently on tour. Mick Jagger's larger than life video performance leaves swinger Blair's parade into the arena somewhat unnoticed.
The crowd turns silent, Blair and Bush grab each other by their swingers' nappies. The fight starts. Both fighters have obviously been preparing. Bush opens with a short swing and Blair answers with a farmer's swing (traditional name). Both swingers hold up well. At one point Bush is sitting on Blair's head, 20 seconds later Blair has Bush in a headlock. The crowd is ecstatic, the referee has lost control. Neutrality is not what a decent fight between the leaders of the free world is about. Bonecrusher is in danger of losing it completely. The swinging rules are a distant memory. Blair can wrestle himself free, before Bonecrusher sees to it that Blair gets to know what it could be like being a Queen. No fighter goes easy on the other. Cheney offers himself as a substitute every time Bonecrusher is under pressure. Both swingers are saved from hospitalisation by the final gong. The judges have decided, this is enough for today. Since there is no clear winner, the judges go into seclusion to decide on the winner. And the crowd gets to watch David Copperfield's newest show, in which he plans to impregnate a woman without ever getting close to her. The distraction is perfect, though to prove that the trick has worked might be tricky.

Two months later the judges have finally come up with a verdict. Their lair, a 5 star hotel with a cuisine even the French jury member would die for, has been surrounded by hundreds of news teams. Finally it's out. The winner is: Tony "I'm no Queen" Blair. Bonecrusher Bush immediately demands a recount that takes another two weeks. Under great strain, i.e. drinking mature Bordeaux and goose-liver paté, the jury recounts, reconsiders and redecides. Bush is the winner. He is handed over an award-winning brown beauty with big, soulful eyes - a cow. Some sawdust is sprinkled on Blair's back, which Bush does not hesitate to dust away. Tradition is a nice thing.
You might argue that the initial problem - Mrs. Blair could be a sleeper - is far from resolved. True, but by now everyone will have forgotten about it. So much time has been spent on the fight and its outcome that the leaders of the free world should mainly be concerned with catching up on current events. There is a good chance that Mrs. Blair will be left snoring at her husband's side and not be deported to Guantanamo. Should there be any remaining doubts, I strongly suggest the use of another Swiss game: Cow Bingo. President Bush could provide the cow. All that's left to be done is to divide a field into small squares like a chessboard. Each square is assigned a political alternative and the cow is released onto the field. The square the cow first shits on, that alternative is chosen. Quite simple and straightforward. And interest groups play no part in it, as long as they don't find a cunning way to bribe a cow.

Now, these are only a few first suggestions. But I assume the UN will want to get in touch with me soon to implement this striking tool for world peace.

© Carol Ernst (August 2006)