Asylum Seekers, the Catholic Church, and an All-Out Culture War, Part 1
This is the first of three translated articles about the occupation by “asylum seekers” of the Votive Church in Vienna. Previously: Introduction by AMT.
The article below was published on January 4 at Politically Incorrect. Many thanks to JLH for the translation.
Asylum Fraud and the Devastation of Society
by Christian Zeitz
What are the political consequences from the debacle of the occupation of the Votive Church and Sigmund Freud Park? After five weeks of being scared stiff, the security authorities decided in the early morning hours of December 28, 2012 to clear out the “protest camp” of the “homeless asylum seekers” from grassy Sigmund Freud Park in front of the Viennese Votive Church and remove the protestors’ vehicles, tents, benches and possessions.
Several dozen asylum seekers and activists withdrew into the Votive Church where they were cared for by Caritas (Catholic Charities) and Diakonie (Protestant Welfare) and personally watched over by their leaders, the Catholic Michael Landau and the Protestant Michael Chalupka. A wave of indignation at the “inhumane actions” of the police spreads across ecclesiastical and green circles, and generally among all those who favor an elimination of as many as possible of the legal restrictions on foreigners. Their indignation was given voice for the demonstrations in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Munich and “other cities” which are meant to mount a general attack on the asylum administration. Those are the facts, as reconstructed for the public by the mainstream media.
Late in the evening of December 21st, a feeling of unease prompted me to undertake an on-site inspection with a friend. We arrived at 11:00 PM. Directly in front of the church entrance were a small tent, tables, placards, banners, several other things useful for demonstrating. Entering the church: a penetrating odor of urine from the back right corner, bright lighting of the rear section, a circa 140 square meter storage area that resembled a garbage dump — higgledy-piggledy mattresses, blankets, sleeping bags, space heaters, empty plastic cups, small loudspeakers with cables, crumpled bits of paper with scrawls “We are Mary and Joseph,” “David was an asylum seeker or refugee,” “Jesus was also an asylum seeker” — in front of all that, small, unappealing nativity figurines, and way in the back the leftist demagogic buzz phrase “by the people, for the people, deportation?” — in other words, a pigsty, reminiscent of the rubbish left behind by the Saturday flea market in the Naschmarkt. No respect at all for practicing Catholics and their coming Christmas celebrations.
And then, the big surprise. The whole area is deserted. Not one “asylum seeker” in the deceptively stuffed sleeping bags or in the tents, not a soul in the church, just ghostly silence. We go back to the car for a camera to document the absence of those who are shivering cold and in need of help. Back in the church, we are received by four people — two young women and two young men — who have hurried over from the camp opposite, in the Votive Park, and they demand a justification for our nocturnal visit. All four claim to be employees of Caritas, are awkwardly defensive and are not happy to find an unannounced visit. They cannot or will not answer the question of where the desperate refugees are. They “are probably discussing” whether they are ready or not to accept the heated quarters offered for immediate access by Caritas and other groups. The discussion has been going on since noon. A discussion of more than a half hour follows about the sense of this action and their alleged need to serve the poorest in our society. Had we not heard of the old right of asylum in churches, of the obligation to those who were seeking shelter — especially at Christmas — and the many injustices suffered daily by asylum seekers in Austria? The spokesman is a certain Alexander Bodmann, whose business card reveals him to be the secretary general of Caritas Vienna. He repudiated the idea of any absorption by left radical or right radical activists. When asked where there might be right radical activists around here, he was unable to answer.
Our local inspection moved to the protest camp in the park opposite. More than a dozen tents of various sizes, a tractor, a bus with German tags, a chuck wagon, a drinks stand, several campfires. In the middle, a heated group tent where there was a rollicking atmosphere, eating and drinking. A banner — “lesbians welcome”. Nobody in the small, two-person tents. No one seems to be sleeping. On the paths, we encounter several figures who confront us suspiciously — possibly “people with an immigration background.”
How to put these impressions in perspective? Next morning, a friend helps me bring up the page no-racism.net. I strenuously urge anyone interested in the truth to become acquainted with it. On this page, the progression of the five-week occupation of park and church is painstakingly documented, guided by propaganda, action-oriented and ideologically grounded and charged. Especially striking is the recognition that every step of this purposeful provocation was and is planned to the last detail and part of a precise choreography, with nothing left to chance. Even the “refugee march” from Traiskirchen* to Vienna on November 24 was announced days before, in great detail, complete with stations, times of announcements and the goal: establishment of a “spontaneous protest camp” in front of the Votive Church. The storming of the church, the hunger strike, the “big, fat Christmas party” — all arranged and the scene set as if by a general staff.
It will not be possible to prove that Caritas and the presumed asylum seekers were actively involved in the planning of this political performance. Nonetheless, they made shameless use of it for their own special interests. The aid organizations and those directly affected are not made more sympathetic by allowing themselves to be used in a project of proactive destruction of society and therefore victims of anarchistic activists.
The asylum seekers have consistently shown that they are not in need of aid, let alone in an emergency situation. Beyond that, let it be known that the myth of the overcrowded quarters and “inhumane conditions” in Traiskirchen is pure propaganda. Every investigation shows that most male Austrians spent their military service under far less amenable conditions than the refugees their sojourn in Traiskirchen. The protesters are not concerned about better quarters. They have refused all offers of this kind. They are really criticizing the lack of access to the internet and televisions, and demand among other things an increase in their pocket money, free use of public transportation, opportunities for education and training during the process of reviewing asylum requests, tastier and healthier food, up-to-date toiletries, etc. Beyond that, there are political demands for, inter alia:
- unrestricted freedom of movement during the review process, no more quarters far away from the city where it is not possible to participate in civilized life
- recognition of every possible ground for asylum, especially economic need or underdevelopment
- no more “Dublin II Deportations” (the Italian compromise is preferable, where an applicant moves on to a secure third country)
- free access to the employment market during the process
- universal right to remain
- unlimited importation of family members
These demands have been trumpeted on the above-mentioned internet site for a long time — long before of the start of the Votive Church action. Their presumed urgency is bolstered by well-known buzz words that are used to characterize the societies the asylum seekers so passionately wish to join: everyday racism, Fortress Europe, racist persecution, racist laws. And further, “No person is illegal.”
These political demands are backed by Caritas and Diakonie. Landau and Chalupka confirmed this partly expressly and partly by an attitude of benign solidarity. By so doing, these so-called aid organizations have become the wellspring of misery and a genuine socio-political plague. It is neither spectacular nor surprising to anyone that extreme leftists regard the politics of foreigners in general and asylum politics in particular as instruments of social disintegration. But that organizations whose chosen task is the mobilization of voluntary support for those on the margins of society — for the poorest of the poor — are actually prosecuting a culture war is an outrage for everyone whose donations they are spending. Caritas and Diakonie have no mandate for propagation of far-reaching political projects whose realization would mean substantial damage to the interests of the majority population. They are not authorized to enlist their reputations as institutions practicing brotherly love in the service of a bare-knuckled, ideologically motivated culture war. It is dubious for their representatives to use their public platform to push a policy for whose consequences they need take no responsibility.
Unfortunately, the “green” and “do-gooder” habitat they have been knocking around in with their social-romantic fantasies in recent years seems to have become too small. With the protest camp and occupation of the Votive Church, they have without scruple co-opted the entire apparatus of the churches standing behind them. And with that, an immigrant policy which is unrepresentative and illegitimate but has practical potency is raised to the next level. The Cardinal and the entire leadership of the Viennese Church have had to capitulate to the suggestive force of the irresistible argument of the supposed Christmas quest for shelter and therefore give their ecclesiastical blessing to the illicit activities of perpetual, subversive agitation. And with that, Cardinal Schönborn closes out a year of bad decisions against the interests of the majority population: in the summer debate on circumcision, in sponsoring a homosexual parish councilor, in confessing a — meanwhile failed — immersion policy in the EU superstate, in persistent distancing from dedicated protectors of life and warriors against Islamic persecution of Christians. The Church will have to decide quickly what sort of brand it wishes to establish in the coming year: A lobbyist for multiculturally inspired, reddish-purple marginal group politics or a major community oriented to the Gospel with a claim to shaping day-by-day ethics, policy and culture. In the present “cause,” not even the social-romantic attitude was Catholic. The least the Cardinal could have done was to make a personal visit to the Votive Church and issue an enthusiastic invitation — especially to the Muslim occupiers of the church — to a common — naturally Catholic — prayer, which would have related not only to the place of the action but also to the obligatory mission task of Christians.
Speaking of pusillanimity, in this situation the whole panoply of politically responsible decision makers was a picture of petulance and whining. The task of an interior minister who was conscious of her duty would have been to tell the protesters personally, head held high, that their impossible demands will not be met, and then to lead the action to evacuate the occupiers’ camp. The task of a mayor loyal to his oath would have been to actively protect his citizens from this incursion by ordering the occupiers’ removal ASAP. But what actually was done is a shining example of the incompetence of our established political class in all pressing public problems: first the attempt to sit it out; then the concatenation of actions calculated to retain power, including the panicked avoidance of statements or actions that might be seen in the media as “politically incorrect”; and finally the referral for a solution to the bureaucratic or technocratic level. Of course, everyone sees through the cowardly distancing act. No one seriously believes that the Viennese police chief would undertake such a sensitive operation without written guarantees from the Ministry of the Interior, and that the municipal magistrate would risk his “48ers” for the removal of the occupiers’ junk before securing the express approval of the red-faced choleric in the town hall. But the avoidance of publicity by fair-weather politicians who usually have a taste for PR blurs the responsibilities and seems to move the decision makers out of the line of fire. That is especially true for the leftist, populist Greens. After green fundamentalists like Perer Pilz and Alex Korun had declared solidarity with the occupiers’ demands, and after the green vice-mayor, Maria Vassiliakou nonetheless, in support of the town hall coalition, agreed to the removal of the activist theme park, federal spokesperson Eva Glawisching performed verbal acrobatics distancing herself from the “inhuman evacuation action,” in order to regain ground in her target group.
The CYA failure of the entire political elite should occasion a long-overdue basic discussion of the completely rudderless asylum policy and subject it to an all-out reform. The entire political establishment has been pussy-footing around an answer to, or even a mention of, the central question of asylum. All amendments have been hapless patching. At no point, was there even a rudimentary mention of involving the public in a discourse on this subject, which is of the most vital significance for our society. To encourage such a process, this critique is accompanied below by some suggestions:
|1.||All asylum seekers are to be interned until the legal conclusion of the assessment process. It goes without saying that this would be done under humane conditions and with qualified medical support. Contact with the local populace or even employing so-called “integrative measures” for people who cannot yet be said to be integrated is not allowed. In this way, it is possible to obviate years of life in Austria for asylum seekers who are actually or allegedly integrated and have meanwhile built up numerous social contacts.|
|2.||The idea of access to the employment market is impossible — just as a consequence of point 1. Furthermore, it is not socially or politically feasible when someone receiving welfare is competing for a salary with the native population whose economic well-being hangs by a thread.|
|3.||There should be no question of basing an asylum application on economic need or underdevelopment. Should this happen, the number of potential asylum seekers to Austria would be literally unlimited.|
|5.||A complete list should be created of countries where objective judgment of the political system precludes asylum in accordance with point 4b. No asylum procedure may be initiated for persons from such countries.|
|6.||Independent of points 3 and 4, appropriate political decision makers shall be empowered — following social consensus and with consideration of economic capacities, in cases of inescapable crises or humanitarian catastrophes — to bring groups of people to Austria to offer temporary or permanent right of residence. For instance, persecuted Christians from critical areas of the Near East.|
|7.||Irrespective of the relevance of asylum grounds in point 4b or the prerequisites for humanitarian right of residence in point 6, these applicants must be scrutinized for whether they identify with the values and norms of Austrian society. This should apply to Muslims who are not prepared to distance themselves, signed and in writing, from misogynistic and violence-glorifying Koran suras.|
|8.||An asylum vetting procedure should not exceed 6 months.|
|9.||Internationally, Austria should advocate for a basic new order in universal asylum treatment. The goal should be for asylum applications to be accepted only from a country in the same continent as the target country. It is the only possibility of gaining some control over the procedure and preventing massive, economically motivated folk migrations.|
|10.||The suggestions of points 1-8 serve the native population’s interests in preservation of their successful existing culture and society as well as the general interest in a just and objectively complete asylum assessment process. Opposed to this are the unrealistic expectations of applicants, including an established life as swiftly as possible, regardless of whether an application is a righteous one or not. The problem of unlimited time periods for the process — in some cases, applicants are here up to 8 years before a decision is made — can be solved with a generous moratorium for the applicants. With the proviso that points 1-8 are enacted, all asylum seekers who have been here for over 2 years, will be given unlimited right of residence with the possibility of future citizenship. Considering present government incompetence in this area, this would be a cheap solution.
Naturally, these suggestions will be resisted by several NGOs who cast themselves as the sole representatives of the asylum seekers. I believe, however, that they represent the best interests of asylum seekers, as against the misuse and defrauding of the asylum system masquerading as Christian good works and parenthetically contributing to the insecurity and devastation of our society.
And the extortionate methods of Lefties — in part foreign activist protesters — should move us to give some consideration to those who have a right to preserve their own traditions, namely, the majority population of Austria.
Christian Zeitz is the academic director of the Institute for Applied Political Economy and is an evangelical Catholic.
* Small-town location of Austrian collection point for asylum seekers
Next: Cardinal of Vienna Attacks Leftist Lobby Groups.