Hubert von Goisern
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INTERVIEW

Miscellaneous: 2016

"We need a new language"

Salzburg24 5th December 2016

Alexander Van der Bellen will be the next Austrian Federal President, having prevailed over Norbert Hofer in the rerun of the presidential election. On Monday the musician and artist Hubert von Goisern, who lives in Salzburg, commented on the outcome of the election.

The APA interviewed Austrian artists and cultural figures on the election result and documented their answers. Hubert Goisern, who had objected during the campaign to the FPÖ playing his music, answered the following three questions.

Faced with the prognoses in the run-up, did you still think that a victory for Alexander Van der Bellen was possible?

Oh yes. Since the evening at the Konzerthaus in May, I , all of us who were there and watching online, believed that he would do it. This feeling stayed - right to the end. 

Was the election result ultimately a vote for Van der Bellen or against Hofer?

FOR Van der Bellen of course - you're always voting FOR something. Austria decided IN FAVOUR of Alexander Van der Bellen.

Is the complaint about a split country in light of the election campaign an alarmist exaggeration, or have divides appeared in Austria that are no longer bridgeable?

It's alarmist - and it can be. However, it's sometimes too much for me. There's so much more good than bad happening in this country. When you read the paper or watch the news too long, you're in danger of forgetting that. And calling the alarm is not enough. We need a new language too. The aggressive rhetoric during the campaign opened up the dungeons of banished, , bad thoughts. Taboos have fallen. The threshold of shame has sunk alarmingly low. There's little distance between talking and doing. The agitation has to stop. The election analysis shows where the divides are.

A suggestion: start with education, with schools. A joint school up to the age of 15 would be an important step against alienation in society. That's been known a long time. When will it finally be put into action? We have to take steps; towards understanding, conciliatory and respectful behaviour towards one another.

P.S.: With regard to mudslinging, that may sometimes have been the case – but the fact is: Alexander Van der Bellen has no dirt on his hands. He was never a mudslinger.