TransAct 03

TransAct statement

Dear colleagues,

it is my conviction that we should not go to Mondsee. My arguments are as follows: First, I wish to express my solidarity with colleagues who for very personal and biographical reasons, which I fully understand, decided not to go to Austria. Second, I feel that it is our responsibility as scientists, that we share with all those contributing to human culture to protest and raise our hands. There are certainly numerous countries in this world, in which minorities are discriminated and nationalistic attitudes embodied up to the level of their governments. And it is also true that ISN did have meetings in such countries in the past. Some of the statements of the kind Haider pronounced are part of approved political programs in a number of countries and are put to action with more violence than is presently the case in Austria. This is why some of the political statements currently made by statesmen appear somewhat hypocritical. However, there is one important aspect that makes this particular case different. The same would hold, if a German government would recruit its power from a coalition with a party of Haider's colour. Austria has not been conquered by the Hitler regime but joined it enthusiastically. Austrians contributed actively to the atrocities of the regime but as the former GDR Austria managed to develop a robust scotoma for this part of its history and to decline responsibility. I think that time is overdue for Austria to reconsider its past. The fact that Haider's party is considered acceptable as a coalition partner proves how important it is for Austria to finally reconsider its involvement. For me not going to Mondsee is the formulation of this request. When cancelling, I think we should make this point. We should also be aware that whatever we do now is also partly wrong. Not going is leaving Haider a free field, provokes stubborn reactions from his friends and punishes the majority of Austrians thinking as we do. Going, on the other hand, can be interpreted as tacit agreement.

With best regards,

Wolf Singer

24th of February 2K