Monday, May 23, 2016

Against His Own Flag

Meet the new anti-leader of Austria:
Alexander Van der Bellen – who appears to have defeated the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer by around just 30,000 of nearly five million votes – has a track record of opposing the nation state as a concept, and his own as a reality.

In 2007, while he was leader of the Austrian Greens, the party published a picture of a dog with the Austrian flag in its mouth. The poster read: “Take your flag for your gag”, followed by the declaration that anyone who loves the country “must be sh*t”.

The flag “joke” was a play on a campaign urging dog owners to place their dog’s excrement in bags and trash cans. The Austrian greens replaced the bag with a flag of Austria in the image (right).

And while, of course, efforts were made to distance Van der Bellen from this 2007 Green Party initiative, the issue re-emerged on the run up to this weekend’s final round of presidential election voting. Far be it from a “gag” or one-off incident, critics say, this attitude against borders and nations runs deep through the Austrian Green Party which is now in charge of the presidency of the country.
Or, as things might stand now, their former country...

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