WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“Adding insult to injury.”
NOVEMBER 23, 2008 – Ed. Note: The following excerpts are taken from an article published this past Friday in the English language on-line edition of the Turkish “Hurriyet Daily News.”
By Semih Idiz
Klaus Emmerich, a “veteran commentator” for Austrian state broadcaster, ORF, [seen here on the left] in reference to Barack Obama’s victory said a few days ago he “would not want the western world to be directed by a black man.” When invited to retract the comment the man described by Spiegel Online as “the Wolf Blitzer of Austria” stood defiantly by what he said stating, “blacks are not as politically civilized.”
Adding insult to injury he went on to conclude that Obama’s election was as misplaced as a Turk becoming the next chancellor of Austria. It is easy to dismiss these despicable remarks as belonging to someone who has a screw loose in the brain. Given the state of political developments in Austria and elsewhere in Europe, however, they have to be taken seriously and commented on.
Emmerich could not have gained the status of veteran commentator if he was not somehow representative of the society he lives in. Given the far-right has made significant gains in that country and employing the methodology of a famous and in this case “truly civilized” Austrian, namely Sigmund Freud, it is clear Emmerich’s remarks express an atavistic fear embedded in the national subconscious.
It is pretty clear that until views such as Emmerich’s are relegated to the rubbish heap of history and attract the correct public and political response, questions will remain about Austria, for all its veneer of “civility” and somewhat inflated self-image. This of course applies to quite a few countries in Europe today. As [the historian] Mazower says, “History can be cruel. Generations of Europeans grew up with the goal of ethnic homogeneity as one nation after the other across the continent tried to purify themselves.”
For this they had to go through World War II. Today however they are faced, no doubt as some kind of divine retribution for colonial sins, with a host of new minorities which in their perverse minds are “worse than the Jews.”
It is a mystery how Emmerich, and those that think like him in Austria and elsewhere in Europe could even dare to suggest, given Europe’s dark and bloody history, that “blacks are not as politically civilized” as them.
Unless, that is, they believe one of the most “uncivilized” political monsters the world has ever known was not actually of European stock, but a “crypto-black man,” or a “hidden-Turk” from some strange latter-day “Moriscos” or “Marranos” stock.
It is intriguing how they can even think “blacks are not as politically civilized” when the world can clearly see that politicians in Austria today who claim the Nazis were not so bad after all are still able to garner public support. Given this discrepancy it is clear Emmerich and his ilk have to explain what it is exactly they mean when they say “politically civilized.”
The above excerpts can be read in their entirety at: http://arama.hurriyet.com.tr/arsivnews.aspx?id=10408255
(Photo credit: Unknown)
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1. Klaus Emmerich is NOT an employee of Austrian Television. The man is 80 years old and has been retired from ORF for over a decade. He is not on any payroll of ORF.
2. He is NOT the station’s “top political commentator for US-affairs”. With all due respect – by 2008, that torch has passed. Even if “Der Spiegel” may say so – it is plain wrong. The man has not been on the air for years. There are new kids on the block – I am one of them.
3. How do you fire a man that has been in retirement for more than a decade, you smart guys?
4. He is a retiree – and we are civilized enough to NOT revoke his pension just because he has – undoubtedly – turned senile. Turning senile does not yet constitute a reason to cut off your pension payments in Austria. And I hope it stays that way.
And – here is one for you:
5. Klaus Emmerich quite obviously is a racist, as he himself has admitted live on air. A racist, 80 year old man – but NOT an employee of ORF, and more importantly: No, the senile old man is NOT Austria’s Wolf Blitzer.
-Hanno Settele, Austrian Television ORF, Washington DC.
(Source: Foreign Dispatches)