For a while I’ve been debating the pros and cons of so much as touching the topic of politics on Aliciouslog. So far, I never used my blog as a platform to express my personal political opinion. Due to recent events, however, I feel obliged to use whatever little public presence I have to say stop.
It’s been enough.
I am not sure how many of my non-Austrian or non-European readers have been aware of how racism and xenophobia in Austria – and most of Europe – has been growing at an alarming rate lately. Ring-wing parties get stronger with every election. Refugees, persons who risked their lives to get to a safe country illegally – because there was no legal way for them and they, surprisingly for some, want to survive and not die – are looked upon as the enemy, clearly shown how unwelcome they are and forced into the overcrowded detention centre of Traiskirchen where they not only don’t have a bed but some must even sleep outside (where it’s been raining for the best part of the last couple of days).
No one in our government feels responsible for these persons, many of them underage and without any relatives, and the only public opinions one hears about are by the Austrian minister of the Interior to stop all new asylum procedures or a suggestion – by a member of the National Assambly no less – to in the future use military Hercules planes to deport asylum seekers who were denied asylum “because there they can scream however loud they want”.
This came after the crew of an Austrian Airlines aircraft refused to deport a woman to Bulgaria against her will. (all linked articles in German)
In an unrelated tragedy, a man drove his car into the pedestrian area of one of Austria’s largest city, killing three and injuring several more last Saturday. The reaction of the leader of Austria’s most right-wing party was so disgusting it made me physically sick. All he could think of was to suggest that the driver was from a foreign country and raise the question whether he had religious motives (which would point to him being a muslim).
And what happens?
Which politician immediately raised his voice to say “This is appaling, Mr Strache.” ?
Not a single one.
It had to be a soccer player who most clearly took a stand against H.C. Strache’s hateful posting (find a related article here in German).
Later, poor Mr Strache cried that in fact he himself was the victim of yet another vicious attack by the media.
Thankfully, at least a few public persons made clear statements on Facebook to show their aversion and disgust and I also noticed a few bloggers writing similar posts than mine here, for example Mirela of Coral and Mauve and Nunu of Ich kauf nix (both articles are in German) and I am grateful that bloggers with a much wider reach and at least ten if not 100 times more readers than myself are speaking up.
Vice magazine also covered the topic in this article (in German).
All I can do at this point is to urge you to stand up against this.
Speak up! Be appalled and disgusted and make your voice heard. Tell people about it and raise awareness (both ladies I share an office with seemed totally unaware of Strache’s latest “hit” when I mentioned it Monday morning!). Show that you do not disagree and – above all – vote whenever you get the chance to!