Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jörg Haider ist tod - Gott Sei Dank

Four times over the alcohol limit. Double the speed limit. Always crossing the line, even in Death.

The television newsreader who announced his death ended her report with the message: "Dear Carinthians, I wish you as much strength as you need to get through this," while Haider's right-hand man Stefan Petzner, the new leader of the BZO, said the "sun has fallen from the sky".

"It's not, it's still there," says Carinthian writer Egyd Gstättner, who observed Haider for two decades. He talks in disgust of a "führer cult" surrounding Haider. On Monday morning, like every Carinthian schoolchild, his 10-year-old daughter was told by her religious affairs teacher to fill up a page of her exercise book with a black cross and Haider's name.

One of Haider's last acts was the establishment of what he called a sonderlager - a special camp for old, sick, and criminal asylum seekers, set on an isolated, 1,200-metre-high alpine pasture. He told his voters he planned to "concentrate" Chechens there, enabling the "final goal" of their extradition to be carried out more smoothly. In other countries politicians would be forced to resign over such issues. According to Florian Klenk, deputy editor of news magazine Falter, "In Austria the typical reaction was, "Well, that's just Haider. And actually he's right."