Guenter Muehlberger on the situation in Austria

A big majority of people in Austria are still against Mr Haider and the freedom party

Dear all,

the political situation in Austria is getting crazy and out of control. Since we are all working together in a "global village" it is my personal need to say some words about Austria, the FPO and the EU:

1. I appreciate the reaction of the EU and the US concerning the participation of the FPO in the next Austrian government. I hope that this reaction is the sign for a European Community which is well aware of human rights and which will not accept radicalism, stupid populism, right wing tendencies, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, and chauvinism. The worst thing with the FPO is not that they are "pure neo-nazis" (indeed there are only a very few ones), but that they are a new movement of an extreme populism. Every third word of Mr Haider is "democracy" but the "democracy" he means is in reality an authoritarian government which has nothing to do with real democracy.

2. I am ashamed about our political representatives, especially from the conservative party. I am sorry that neither our president Mr Klestil, nor the chancellor Mr Klima nor other public persons have found the right words in this unique situation. They also have not found the right words in other - comparable - situations in the last years - and this is also a sign that the sensibility for human rights is still underdeveloped in Austria. (This has a lot to do with the coming-into-being of Austria but is certainly no excuse.)

3. The whole situation leads to a bad polarization in Austria and I am sure that you will hear some very bad words from Austrian politicians and people about your governments and your political representatives in the next days. I would like to apologize for that in advance and draw your attention to the fact that a big majority of people in Austria are still against Mr Haider and the freedom party.

4. What Mr Haider has said last weekend about the Belgian government and Mr Chirac is not acceptable, but it shows in a very clear manner how he became successful in Austria: There is always an ***enemy*** who has to be blamed for everything. This have been so far: the Social democrats, the green party, the artists, the foreigners, the left wing catholics, the unemployed etc. Now it will be the European Community and I fear that he will be able to produce himself as "victim" - and increase his success in the next months and years.

5. I am not very optimistic about the ability of our political representatives to solve this situation in a proper way and I guess that we will have to cope with this bad situation for a longer time.

Thank you very much in advance for your understanding!

Guenter Muehlberger

Guenter Muehlberger, Ph.D.
University of Innsbruck
Department of German Language and Literature
Innrain 52 / A-6020 Innsbruck / Austria
Phone: +43 512 507 4146
Fax: +43 512 507 2899

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