[ 28. Sep 2006 // letzte änderung: 03. Oct 2006 ]

Karin Gastinger: Ositadimma?

The Igbo of Nigeria when sometimes we get a male child would, depending on the context of his arrival and the surrounding circumstances, give him the name: Ositadimma, called Osita for short.


The withdrawal of Hon. Karin Gastinger from The Alliance for Austria's Future (BZOe), which she joined following its split in 2005 from her original, extreme right party, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) reminded me of the meaning of Osita: If the times begin only today to be good, the beginning is early enough? I had also been reminded of the meaning of Osita when Heide Schmidt, a card-carrying member of the FPOe suddenly received her own revelation and left the FPOe. It was exactly on 4 February 1993 that she became a born-again, professed to be a liberal and actually christened the new political party she had founded: Liberal Forum. We all know how it ended. Although Gastinger's own revelation was, supposedly, prompted by the extreme demand by the BZOe chief, Peter Westenthaler, that 300,000 foreigners be deported from Austria - that's what she said started her thinking of leaving the party - she is not founding a new political party as she leaves. She may not even remain in politics after Austria's forthcoming general election.

Of course, there are speculations about her motives for leaving the BZOe now - only six days to the election. For, how could she have abided Joerg Haider and the FPOe until the party split? How could she have abided Peter Westenthaler and the BZOe until only yesterday? Was it in the (now frustrated) hope of changing things for the better - since one can only change things in a system from within? Was her move a clever strategy based on the hunch that the BZOe might not make it into the next parliament? And then there is her curious timing, which can easily be read as courageous. And we have seen her display courage before. On 19 August 2004, a 37 year old Nigerian, Mr. Edwin Ndupu, died at the Stein penitentiary where he was serving time for a drug offense. Mr. Ndupu, an Igbo incidentally, died after prison security guards had mercilessly beaten the life out of him. He was quickly buried despite request by the Nigerian government not to bury Mr. Ndupu's remains until an independent autopsy was conducted. Subsequently, the Hon. Minister, Karin Gastinger, awarded a monetary prize in the amount of 2 000 (two thousand) Euros to each of the eleven prison security guards who had participated in the deadly assault on Mr. Ndupu. To be nauseated nearly two years later by the mere idea of expelling 300,000 foreigners, which idea pales in comparison with that courageous kindness of hers - kindness with flowers, bread and gold - is remarkable. Perhaps one needs one kind of morality to be a minister nd another kind altogether to be a party member.

Whatever Ms. Gastinger's real motives for leaving the BZOe, the more important thing is that she has shown to have the capacity and will to grow. In human affairs, these are more important. One only hopes that she continues to grow. And what does it matter if Ms. Gastinger needed to carry a child in her own womb for nine months, go through the pains of labour and deliver it, become a mother (and wife), to understand the utter madness and unreasonableness of being unkind to other women's children? Indeed, if the times begin only today to look good, the beginning is early enough.

Article by Chibo ONYEJI