“Symbolic politics”

European Diary, 12.9.2020: The Austrian chancellor posts a video message. This has the undeniable advantage for him that he no longer has to put up with uncomfortable questions from rebellious journalists. Lying is even easier that way.
After all, more refugees cannot come here every year, he says. But in fact they have been getting fewer and fewer for years. In 2019 there were as few asylum applications as hardly ever since 2000.
Once again he reiterates his refusal to accept unaccompanied children or anyone else from the destroyed camp Moria. And in doing so he demonstrates a stubborn version of “morality”. “This inhuman system of 2015, I cannot reconcile with my conscience.” What “system” is he talking about? What conscience?
Instead, he says, “help is given on the spot, so that a decent supply is guaranteed.”
In the meantime, one had the opportunity to do this for years. And Austria has not lifted a finger. Because the conditions in Moria were supposed to serve as a deterrent, and therefore could not be inhumane enough. The demand for more humanitarian commitment on the part of Austria “on the ground” has so far interested Sebastian Kurz only in rhetoric, both as Foreign Minister and even more so as Federal Chancellor. Almost nothing has happened. Now he is calling for a “holistic approach”. What does he mean by this? He rejects “symbolic politics”, by which he obviously means the modest (shameful?) attempts by Germany, France and some other European states (including Switzerland) to free at least a few hundred children from the inferno on Lesbos.
This is the same man who looks dutifully serious at commemoration ceremonies for the victims of the Shoah when the Talmud is quoted: “Whoever saves a human life saves the whole world.”
I don’t know if that is really true either. But every child rescued from the chaos on Lesbos will at least feel that way.
Thousands of refugees are still camping out in the open. But even for Salzburg’s Governor Haslauer, the 13,000 refugees are just a collective arsonist and blackmailer who set fire to his house “so that (his) neighbor(s) will have to take him in”. And who therefore should not be helped.
This sick logic is currently widespread not only in Austria’s government, but above all in social networks. Does it still make sense to argue against it in any way? With such helpless sentences like:
Most of the people there didn’t set fire to anything at all, only a few of them did. And wasn’t it customary in Austria to rescue children from a house, even if one of the inhabitants of the house was perhaps an arsonist? But the people in Moria did not live in a “house” anyhow, but were locked into a camp against their will. And they were “kept” there under conditions that everyone knew would eventually lead to an explosion of despair. In the end, Corona came to the camp and the naked panic broke out.
How will people even talk to each other when such simple truths no longer matter? But that is exactly the point. There is no point in talking to each other here. That’s why there is a video message.