After reading on /r/gravelcycling on Reddit from a fellow French cyclist that his government is not allowing him to ride anymore, I became curious about what is going on in my home country. The government of Austria recently enacted new measures to fight the second wave of the current corona virus as well. Starting from Tuesday 3.11.2020 citizens are not allowed to go outside after 20:00; except for a few specific (but with regards to law enforcement unspecific) reasons. This is insane. I am not crying about the fact that there should be some measures to try to minimize the impact of the virus, but restricting the basic human rights like that reminds me more of the stories I heard about the Nazi regime during the 2nd World War or of other totalitarian regimes on the other side of the spectrum—same thing different color.
measures to address emotions rather than facts
So what is going on? I looked at the numbers in Austria and while they are going up, the media is publishing disproportionately scary stories. Everyone around me is frightened and tells me how many new cases there are. I personally believe that at this point where containment is out of the question this number does not matter much. The important figures are the hospitalizations and the deaths. While every death is tragic and I hope that they would converge to zero, I also acknowledge that the measures for the entire population needs to be proportionate to the actual crisis. Looking directly at the numbers and not through the fear mongering prism called media, I can’t help but think that we have gone insane. There are other measures that could be more effective, without sacrificing our freedom.
Enforcing curfew after 20:00 and punishing people exercising their human right to move about reminds me of dystopian totalitarian settings and not of the so-called “free and democratic” Austria. It is somewhat ironic when I think about it. When I told my friends that I will be moving to Japan they had to remind me of the fact that I will move to a country with less freedom. They asked me “Are you sure that you want to move to a part of the world where are you less free?”—oh how wrong they have been. All it takes is a little manipulative propaganda and people in Austria seem to happily throw away the freedom our ancestors fought so hard to achieve. To quote my youth love senator Padmé Amidala from Star Wars, “So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.”. She could not have been more right.
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