By Martin Fürst
For the first time in my life, I feel the need to get politically active. Don’t get me wrong, I always vote, but this time I feel the need to go onto the streets and express my voice.
But what the heck am I talking about?
You might not have heard about the latest developments in Austria. International news coverage on Austria is always rare and will be. But there is a reason why the international press should focus more on Austria. If things don’t change something very bad will happen. We Austrians still have a problem with history. Very often we see us as a victim and not as part of the problem.
A politician, from our most right-wing party, is in one of the highest positions you can be in Austria, recently announced a new refugee statement:
Mr Kickl said he wanted “service centres and infrastructure that would allow the authorities to concentrate asylum seekers in one place”.
This is not shocking and new, but his words are.
The right-wing party seems to have a new strategy now they are in parliament. Provoke first, then revise. The same tactic used by Trump. But these statements from the party have a way more insidious motivation. With such statements, he normalises the right-wing ideology. As soon as the opposition reacts, they change their words again and can defend their position. This tactic might be common, but nobody in parliament played with it in such an unresponsible way. The language of Nazism cannot be allowed to creep into people’s lives
There is NO excuse to use the words concentrate and refugees in one sentence.
In September, when I moved to London, Austria was still fine. Then the election happened and things changed. I read some articles, but mainly about “allowing cars to cross the street on the right light” or something similarly stupid. But on the whole, I kind of ignored the developments.
For the first time in my life, I don’t know what I should be more ashamed of. Not being interested in politics enough, or the recent development in my home country. Austria is the only western European country with a far-right party in government. It’s hard to express my feelings here, but this might be the only way I can have my voice be heard.
I really hope my country wakes up very soon. Otherwise, I’m afraid a certain event might repeat itself. We have to be alert, this time we won’t be able to play the role of a victim. Austria voted for this and now we have to deal with this situation, but downplaying words is not the right way. Words are the most powerful weapon, we have in a democracy.
It’s not my intention to downgrade my home country, believe me. But this isn’t the Austria I know.