‘US destabilized Europe’: Austrian record-holding athlete lashes out at ‘idiotic’ refugee policies
Baumgartner, the first human to break the sound barrier without a plane and holder of records for the highest balloon ascent and highest parachute jump, made several posts criticizing Western politicians on his Facebook page.
Baumgartner, who is Austrian by birth, but has been living Switzerland since 2012, lashed out against Vienna’s policies, chiding local politicians for their failures in leading the country.
“A country where you are fined for fishing without a license but where people cross the border without passports is run by idiots,” he wrote. According to the Local, this quote, which was posted by Baumgartner in a separate picture, is not new and has been attributed to Czech Republic President Milos Zeman.
Nonetheless, the athlete went further in a follow-up post criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her “disastrous ‘welcome’ policy,” which he said is not a solution to the refugee crisis, but rather the source of the “problem”.
He elaborated on the issue, saying that police and security forces are “prohibited to talk to the press and express their views on current issues.”
Baumgartner then confronted the “political correctness” perceived in the authorities’ actions, questioning the term itself: “Politics and correctness are as antithetical as Islam and Christianity.”
The people are “righteously angry” with the migration policies as the future Austria “won’t be the same” as a result of the crisis, the athlete argued.
In concluding his two-page long post, Baumgartner suggested giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban, who, he said, has done the “right thing” and “protected” his people. He also questioned whether US President Barack Obama, who was awarded the prize in 2009, really deserved it.
Obama “killed more innocent people with his drones, than any of his predecessors,” the athlete pointed out.
Blaming the US for the refugee crisis in the Middle East that has, in turn, flooded Europe with migrants, Baumgartner added that “America destabilized Europe and there is every reason to think that this was done on purpose.”
The controversial post has caused an uproar online, with both supporters, critics, and outright haters posting comments.
Opponents accuse the athlete of being anti-refugee and “evading” Austrian taxes in Switzerland, while supporters praise him for daring to speak out on the issue with hard truths. The viral post quickly attracted comments from some politicians as well, with the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, saying that “the quote needs nothing added. It hits the nail on the head,” The Local reported.
Meanwhile, Baumgartner tried to stress that he was not against lending a hand to people fleeing wars, but was rather concerned about his native state risking its sovereignty and its people losing their identity and culture:
“It is our moral duty to help the really vulnerable and give them a decent life!! (PLEASE READ 2 times) But the moral compass must not go so far as that we lose our sovereign state and are guided only by feelings. The State has the duty to protect the people and the security in their own land,” he wrote.
“We will have to face the question: How far are we willing to give up our identity and our culture and mix them with a completely different religion and ideology? What will happen to our women’s rights when we’ll have to share this land with a culture in which women do not have rights?” the athlete’s appeal said.