All Brothers

Between mid October until the end of November the houses of parliament in Berne are turned into a huge screen. A free sound and light show draws ten thousands of visitors from all over the country to come and enjoy the powerful spectacle.

This years’ topic was „Tutti Fratelli“ (Italian) meaning „All Brothers“. It celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Swiss Red Cross. It was founded in 1866 in Berne by Henry Dunant.

Dunant was actually from Geneva and a devout Christian. In 1852 he founded the YMCA Switzerland with the aim to help neglected young men to study the Bible and to help the poor. He spent much of his free time engaged in prison visits and social work.

In 1859, Dunant as a Swiss businessman was on his way to to meet the  the emperor of France, Napoleon III. He happened to be in Solverino (Italy) where he witnessed a battle between the Italian and the Austrian Army. Once the firing stopped there were thousands of dead and wounded left back. The agony and suffering Dunant witnessed was terrible. Dunant rushed into the village nearby and enlisted the support of volunteers. Mainly women followed his call and came along to help out. When they arrived on the battle scene they kept saying „tutti fratelli“ – all brothers, regardless of nationality and attended to the wounded.

150 years ago Dunant founded the Red Cross in Berne. In 1901 Dunant was the first to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today the organisation (along with the Red Crescent Movement) is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers worldwide.