Dictatorships in Eastern Europe is no more, but the desire for paternalism reasserts itself

Until 1989, all of Eastern Europe has been xenophobic. Then in dictatorships flourished disdain for outsiders. Now the freedom gained after the fall of the Wall, under threat, racism shows its ugly self.

One winter my mom passed three miles through the snow to a nearby village to buy Fox fur collar on a coat. The fur collar was supposed to be a gift to me for Christmas from my mom.

It was a whole Fox skin, she was a stunning redhead and smooth as silk. She was head and ears, dry muzzle, and paws are black dry pads with porcelain-white claws and a furry tail, as if she just screws him. Fox continued to live — not in the forest, and in its preserved beauty.

The hunter also had red hair — like a Fox. I thought it was unpleasant. Maybe that’s why I asked him if he shot her. He said that foxes do not shoot. The foxes put themselves in the traps.

Fox had to go on the collar of the coat. I went to school, and I didn’t want to wear around the neck a whole Fox with the head and paws, wearing older ladies, I needed only a small piece of fur on the collar.

But the Fox was too beautiful to cut her to pieces. So it accompanied me year after year, and wherever I lived, she was allowed to lie on the floor as a pet.

One day, passing by, I stumbled on the skin, and the tail fell off. He was cut off. Few weeks had been cut off the pad on the right hind foot, then — on the left. A few months forepaws.

The secret police

The secret police came and went when it was convenient. They left behind signs that were convenient to them. On the door nothing to be seen. I had to know what happened to me could happen the same thing with a Fox, in my own apartment.

At the time I worked in a factory and transferred the maintenance instructions for the machines that imported from Germany.

The office also periodically appeared Securitate officer. He wanted to recruit me as a spy. At first with flattery. And when I refused, he began to throw flower vases, wall and threaten. His last words were:

“You’ll regret it. We’ll throw in the water.”

But first, I threw out from the factory. And I became an enemy of the people and unemployed. During the subsequent interrogation, I was called a “parasitic element”. It sounded like a harmful insect.

The same secret service that made sure to get me fired, accusing me that I was fired, and drew my attention to the fact that this threatened prison sentence. So was at work. And in the army. All had to be at the service of the state since morning.

When people came into work at half past six in the morning in the factory yard marches sounded, they rushed straight to the sky. People were going, whether they wanted to or not. Everyone took his place. Workers at the conveyor, we office, at his Desk.

And then they went to shower, washed hair. And brewed coffee, and varnished nails. Between times I carried out some work, and there not far off was lunchtime and the marches from the speaker.

The entire state was built on fear

Our presence was far more important than our contribution. The first working day before retirement people for their obedience receive a monthly salary. Produced something or not, no role playing. Our principle for the factory was: don’t do today what you did yesterday, because tomorrow it may be that this is unnecessary.

When I told my mom the story about the Fox, the skins already had all four legs.

My mom asked: “What do they want from you?”

I said “Fear”.

And it was the right answer. A short word was enough explanation. Because the entire state was built on fear. Were the rulers, living by fear, and people fear. Every dictatorship consists of those who produce fear, and others — those who have to consume.

Those who produce fear, and those who consume it. I always thought that fear is a bad weapon for those who make the fear, and the daily bread of those who consume it. So it was in Eastern Europe then, until 1989.

When mom saw the severed legs of a Fox, she was scared too. Scared of what might happen to me, what might happen to her. She said

“Someday you’ll be in the grave. I’m not for the birth”.

And she sobbed, rolled her eyes and said,

“Others say, “Yes, well,” and earn money. And you’re whole family down at the monastery”.

Her fear doubled. Fear for my well-being and fear for me. And this double fear I’ve seen across the country.


Since then I have not had a permanent job, and I didn’t know what I to live. I was not at all. Sometimes I briefly replaced the teachers in a particular school.

When I was walking down the street, heard loud talking in the staff room. But when I open the door and appear in the staff room, there was quiet as in Church. Glancing at me briefly, they were whispering.

The more “colleagues” around me, it was clear that I was one. When the school day the school came to an end, I walked to the bus stop like everyone else. But nobody wanted to be seen on the street in my company. Some teachers specifically slowing down and was left far behind. And others were gained speed and was far ahead. They did it, not saying a word.

Loneliness was no better than threats from the state and intelligence agencies. The other teachers were avoiding me. They fear me double insulated. They were afraid of the state, and they were afraid of me. I was a danger.

In school I was only a temp, so I thought it was strange. At the end of the school year a few students from different classes wanted to give me coffee. In the country the coffee was not. On the black market, a kilogram of coffee beans was worth more than the monthly salary. I apologized and refused coffee.

There were rumors, and some of the teachers demanded me to answer: why do I consider myself better than others? They were counting on that coffee, and I took it and ruined their small business: for your coffee fix bad grades for good.

When the individual was a dirty word

In such cases I understood that there was not only those who spread fear, and those who had it to eat. So-called colleagues in the school and those with whom I used to work at the factory — and indeed most people in the country were consumers of fear.

But just as they learned to manage their own fear, they learned to use the fear of others. They were selfish, they didn’t care, and they are either unconsciously or shamelessly recovered as much as possible from the usual poverty.

Most have convinced myself that they’re just trying to make all of its course that they have nothing to do with politics. But was this fear really free from politics? I don’t think. They took care to think in such a way that matters to him did not arise. And if they thought politically, the issues would appear. Their way of dealing with fear can be called obedience in advance.

Only when a person is pursued, it is believed by the individual because the individual was a dirty word. Could even be fired if you “don’t fit in the team.”

Individuals should not be even in clothes. All stores hung a terrible monotonous clothing. Two, three models in the season, dusty grey, baggy and stiff. Made of disgusting materials, they even look hurt, and they smelled a little bit of chemistry. On the street you saw the same outfit hundreds of times, because the other stores do not have.

When I bought new clothes, then I seemed to see myself on the street dozens of times. And it seemed to me that our monotonous clothing as if she herself produces, and that it is better than we, knows how pathetic we look.

Socialist fashion was uniform. The same was shabby and the furniture, and buildings and parks and streets. In all areas of life, the dictatorship sought to displace beauty. The beauty of the willful, eccentric and diverse.

The government destroyed any variety. But most people didn’t want to evident. Their management of the fear in need of protection. I even have the impression that it was necessary to thank. Even the very presence on Earth was seen as a gift from the state.

Once, when the secret police went into a rage during interrogation, he shouted: “What do you think you are?”

I said, “I am human, like You.”

To this he replied: “That’s what you think. And who are you, that we decide”.

The disappearance of euphoria

In the first years after the dictatorship, people in Eastern Europe knew that the freedom specific. What was now important to every single person that I had to think and to speak without fear that the borders finally opened, the opportunity to leave.

The people rejoiced that repaired streets, shop Windows Shine with that finally begin to appreciate the achievements of the individual. But this euphoria is no more. And individual success slowly begins to surround and individual risk.

This compound acts razlagalsa, again, I want something to lean on. Again there is a need for protection. It is a relapse, which nobody expected. Neither Western Europe, nor Eastern Europeans.

The dictatorship left behind a collection of dependencies. New freedom is only slightly covered them but they did not disappear. Dictatorship is no more, but it manifests itself in some forgotten social relations nervous, and it makes the Eastern European countries, with their young democracies labile.

This is evidenced by public opinion polls. In Saxony, 62% of the population, for example, are eager to have a “strong party,” which would embody “the entire national community”. Do you believe it is an echo of the times of the Socialist unity party? Isn’t it about familiar “comfortable dictatorship”?

But this “comfortable dictatorship” has harmed so many human lives. Fear, felt by most, ignored them. Many risked their lives trying to escape. But it chose not to speak.

The largest community in Eastern Europe in former times there was a double fear. And today this hostility to foreigners. And again Saxony as examples There is 58% think the Federal Republic is in danger, it can capture aliens.

Hatred towards foreigners is also a manifestation of the fact that the double fear returned. Socialism was the slogan:

“Proletarians of all countries, unite!”

This was on the first page of any newspaper, it hung over the heads of the workers in the factories throughout the country.

And it was an unbearable hypocrisy. After all, no one had to travel abroad, no one had anything to do with coming to visit foreigners.

The Black sea was a special hotel and special beaches, where Romanians entrance was ordered. Arabic and Greek students who paid for their studies in hard currency, and which, therefore, was an important source of income for the state, lived in isolated houses or hotels, and they, too, were taboo for the Romanian citizens.

“We decide who you are”

After I got fired from the factory, the secret police at every interrogation I was accused of prostitution. It fits perfectly into the accusations against such a “parasitic element”, I, in and of itself constituted sufficient grounds for my detention. But in order to enjoy their invention even more, the one who led the interrogations, seasoned it and even a touch of racism.

It is with some degree of satisfaction to say that among my “clients” were eight Arab students who have paid me tights and cosmetics. When I said I do not know a single Arab student, he replied:

“If you want, you’ll know 20. Wait, the process will be interesting.”

He particularly emphasized the fact that they were Arabs, that is, in his opinion, the most disgusting thing a woman can imagine. Although arrest is quite would suffice Romanians.

In the GDR Vietnamese workers imported by the state in the country, lived equally in isolation. The Stasi were forbidden all communication with them. Control went so far that Vietnamese women were subjected to forced sterilization, forced abortion, pregnant women were expelled from the country.

Russian occupation troops could behave as they please, but their representatives were not to come into contact with the local population. And Vice versa.

Xenophobia arose under the dictatorship

All of Eastern Europe has suffered for decades xenophobia. And today we are dealing with the xenophobia of those times. It was then, under the dictatorship, there was a disdain for foreigners. It was organized by the regime and accepted by the population, on the basis of his own beliefs.

Just as he avoided the enemies of the state, such as myself, so as not to incur problems, were shunned and foreigners, in order not to incur problems.

As Arab students, and Vietnamese workers were imported to the country as a manifestation of “friendship between peoples”, but treated them as enemies of the state. And the one who had contacts with foreigners, was quickly declared a spy or a traitor. Here again he felt the fear and makes people cautious.

The easiest way was to despise foreigners on their own initiative, in accordance with their own beliefs, attributing them to illness or to demonize them as half-savage subhumans.

Even then, this sense of superiority was nothing but racism. For those who have produced fear, it was a cynical political agenda. To scared consumers fear it was the unconscious continuation of the official programme.

“Democracy under the leadership of the leader”

Today, the situation in Eastern Europe, mostly the same. This is most clearly manifested in Hungary, which has become a “democracy leader” Viktor Orban.

Orban also tells about the refugees, as aliens, from whom we should stay away, because they destroy Hungarian society with their alien traditions and customs. By means of laws and political smear campaigns Orban refuses to accept 1.3 thousand Syrian refugees who had to flee from a terrible war, taking with them only their own lives.

Their “alien customs” the Syrians are threatening the national culture of ten million Hungarians. However, Orban sells a perpetual residence permit for 360 thousand euros per person. Foreigners can send a request to receive them. No one checks what these people where they got the condition.

In other words, instead of refugees Orban has attracted wealthy families and questionable personality. He supposedly has attracted in Hungary, thus, 18 thousand new citizens. For Orban foreigners — as under communism — part of economic planning.

And he’s not stingy. Applicants can take their families with them, even parents. New Hungarians, which are not explicitly threaten local, come from China, Russia and Yemen.

Since 1989 Eastern Europe, made its own refugees

After the Soviet invasion in 1956 from Hungary and fled more than 200 thousand people. Only in Austria settled 70 thousand of them. Despite this historical experience of flight and exile, the population supports xenophobia Orban.

Under communism in Eastern Europe put refugees. How many — so no one still not counted. And nobody remembers. Even those who were killed during the escape, or someone was bitten by a border dog, or who drowned in the Danube. This is a blind spot in the understanding of Eastern Europe itself. And probably the main reason for the contempt felt icy hearts.

All right populist currents in Eastern and Western Europe inventing demonic scripts that create fear. And they collect this fear. Today they are producing fear. In Germany the “Alternative for Germany” — a new party producers fear.

Their leader, which, incidentally, was socialized in the GDR, wants to revive an old Nazi, the word “ethnic” and warns against “the new lumpen proletariat of the Afro-Arab world.” And ADG is the most support where almost no foreigners.

Orban said that the election needs to win only once, but in full. Thinks and Kaczynski in Poland. With racist claims he fanned the fire of hostility towards foreigners. He warns about the dangerous diseases that Syrian refugees entered into the country. And he’s trying to turn a Catholic country into a “democracy under the leadership of the leader.”

Freedom — as the great Polish film Director Andrzej Wajda is what many people want and others not. Those who have the fear ingrained in the skin, it was not needed then, and today they support new producers fear.

Putin is a big producer of fear

The largest producer of fear in our day was formerly a small producer of fear. Under Putin, Russia is smelted in a huge workshop of fakes. From this workshop are sent out fake messages all over the world and being a notorious smear campaign. The goal is simple. A democratic Europe must be broken. Populists imitate Putin. And he to them.

Marxism Putin refused. Now all embellished by religion. Every day he eliminates people and often God-fearing lights candles in Moscow. He has a Confessor, and next to it we often see Patriarch Kirill.

This cardinal believes human rights are “heretical idolatry”. Authentic Christianity means for him, “a voluntary self-torture”. And he admires Lenin, who wanted to turn people in the “wheels and cogs” of the state machine. He says: “whoever fears God and obeys him, shall not vote in elections, but humbly accept your destiny.”

I don’t want to live as a slave. And I don’t want to live without choice. After 1989, I even dream could not imagine that freedom can once again be called into question. And that manufacturers fear will appear again.

Yes, freedom is something that someone needs, and someone not. And there are still those who are afraid and those who are not afraid. You should not consider freedom for granted. Otherwise it may have to take but to steal.

Hertha Muller

Was born in 1953.

Grew up in Romania under the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu as the representative of the German minority.

Refused to cooperate with the secret police Securitate, and therefore fell into the category of enemies of the state.

Debuted as a writer in 1982 with the book “Lowlands”.

In 1987 she left Romania and moved to Berlin, where he lives to this day.

In 2009, awarded the Nobel prize.