430 – Safe European Home

Do you see the spikes on this fence? They’re not a warning, they’re meant to hurt. We know how to protect our riches, don’t we?

Austria is currently in a very xenophobic and racist mood. In the ranking of richest nations in Europe we have risen to #4, strongly helped by our economic successes in the former communist states of eastern Europe. Hey, we took your money, so can you keep off our front lawn please?

We have one of the most restrictive laws against immigration, we even can’t allow computer scientists on a conference on computer science. Why? Oh, they were black. From Africa! Eeeek!

No, no, I must be mis-informed. Of course there must have been reasons. Objective reasons, what else? I mean, how hard is it, to find a reason when you make the rules? They’re not stupid, those guys who protect us from the evil influences of black computer voodoo.

Safe European Home” from the Clash’s 1978 album “Give ’em Enough Rope” is the Song of the Day. See it on YouTube.

4 thoughts on “430 – Safe European Home”

  1. In spite of America’s racial history, or maybe because of it, we are preoccupied with our diversity. And it is essential. Unlike European nations where the very concept of nationality starts with race, ours is spectacularly different.

    While we constantly struggle with integration, its an integration of cultures as well as of physical characteristics. The entire concept of America is propelled by an idea of absorption. It is both a strength and a weakness. A source of tension and comfort.

    Just now we are confronting the arrival of a significant Hispanic culture. But the Hispanics share the same western Judeo Christian…. Greco Roman… European roots which has shaped the majority culture. But even the small differences between the Hispanic and dominant American culture are causing tension between both parties. However it’s a tension that we’ve worked through dozens of times and will be overcome again.

    I’m frankly more fascinated by how the largely racially defined cultures of Europe are reacting to the much more distinct cultures that are arriving from Muslim and cultures and even more ancient cultures from Africa. I’m guessing that the cultural tensions will be more resistant there than here where we have a culture born from (imperfect) assimilation.

  2. We have no culture of assimilation any more. We had, because most people in Vienna have roots in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Poland, but that was in times of the old Empire.

    Then there was a wave of immigrants from Hungary after their failed revolution in 1956, and that is mostly the end of the story.

    In recent history many people went through Austria to other countries, for example the US or Israel (particularly the russian Jews), and of course there are the immigrants from former Yugoslavia and Turkey that we ourselves recruited in the 1960s/70s.

    The latter were never really welcome. When having a job was never a given thing any more, Austrians would have liked to see them going back, but the opposite happened. Many of those workers had become citizens, some of their families followed, they had children who were raised as Austrians, and in a more open culture that would have been a story of success. Not so here. The majority simply ignored those things and finally woke up to xenophobia, when the numbers were not to ignore any more.

    On the other hand, the Austrian society being as it is, did not encourage immigrants to assimilate, and so they frequently didn’t, making them stand out even more, fueling fears again, and so it is a self-perpetuing phenomenon. Pretty hard to get out of that viscious circle, especially when nobody seems to want to.

  3. Same over here in Germany.

    Compared to the efforts that are taken in the Scandinavian countries, German ”efforts” in integration are simply laughable. Which leads to ever-growing enklaves of the various foreign cultures in all major cities. And the relationships to and between those isolated enklaves are strained at best.

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