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But Khatib says — rightly, I fear — that the early Palestinian desire for such a solution has long ago been abandoned in the face of Israeli violence. So what, I ask, did the Palestinians do wrong in all these years? They should have stayed [in and ]. Our fathers and grandfathers should have stayed, even if they felt themselves in danger, they should have stayed on their land even if they died. I should have kept you with me and stayed with you there.
What a bitter conclusion. Many Palestinians did stay. Anyway, I would have thought I was only going away for a few days…. One expressed his sorrow for the former Palestinian owner and asked me to pass on his feelings to him, which I did. Another, an old Jewish man originally from a city in southern Poland, a Holocaust survivor who had been driven from his home by the Nazis, his mother murdered in Auschwitz, drew me a map of where he and his parents once lived.
Here the individual provinces, aside from Hungary, lacked any political memory of their own greatness, or it had been erased by the sponge of time, or at least blurred and obscured. In the period when the principle of nationalities was developing, however, national forces rose up in the various provinces, and to counteract them was all the more difficult as on the rim of the monarchy national states began to form whose populations, racially equivalent or related to the Austrian national splinters, were now able to exert a greater power of attraction than, conversely, remained possible for the German-Austrian Even Vienna could not forever endure this struggle.
With the development of Budapest into a big city, she had for the first time a rival whose task was no longer to hold the entire monarchy together, but rather to strengthen a part of it.
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In a short time Prague was to follow her example, then Lemberg, Laibach, etc. With the rise of these former provincial cities to national capitals of individual provinces, centers formed for more or less independent cultural life in these provinces. And only then did the politico-national instincts obtain their spiritual foundation and depth. The time inevitably approached when these dynamic forces of the individual peoples would grow sponger than the force of common interests, and that would be the end of Austria. It goes without saying that the administration as well as the political direction must be conducted with strict uniformity.
To me it was infinitely instructive to ascertain why this did not occur,. He who was guilty of this omission was alone to blame for the collapse of the Empire. Old Austria more than any other state depended on the greatness of her leaders. The foundation was lacking for a national state, which in its national basis always possesses the power of survival, regardless how deficient the leadership as such may be.
A homogeneous national state can, by virtue of the natural inertia of its inhabitants, and the resulting power of resistance, sometimes withstand astonishingly long periods of the worst administration or leadership without inwardly disintegrating.
At such times it often seems as though there were no more life in such a body, as though it were dead and done for, but one fine day the supposed corpse suddenly rises and gives the rest of humanity astonishing indications of its unquenchable vital force. It is different, however, with an empire not consisting of similar peoples, which is held together not by common blood but by a common fist. In this case the weakness of leadership will not cause a hibernation of the state, but an awakening of all the individual instincts which are present in the blood, but cannot develop in times when there is a dominant will.
Only by a common education extending over centuries, by common tradition, common interests, etc.
Hence the younger such state formations are, the more they depend on the greatness of leadership, and if they are the work of outstanding soldiers and spiritual heroes, they often crumble immediately after the death of the great solitary founder. But even after centuries these dangers cannot be regarded as overcome; they only lie dormant, often suddenly to awaken as soon as the weakness of the common leadership and the force of education and all the sublime traditions can no longer overcome the impetus of the vital urge of the individual tribes. Not to have understood this is perhaps the tragic guilt of the House of Habsburg.
For only a single one of them did Fate once again raise high the torch over the future of his country, then it was extinguished forever. Joseph II, Roman Emperor of the German nation, saw with fear and trepidation how his House, forced to the outermost corner of the Empire, would one day inevitably vanish in the maelstrom of a Babylon of nations unless at the eleventh hour the omissions of his forefathers were made good. With super-human power this 'friend of man' braced himself against the negligence of his ancestors and endeavored to retrieve in one decade what centuries had failed to do.
If he had been granted only forty years for his work, and if after him even two generations had continued his work as he began it, the miracle would probably have been achieved. But when, after scarcely ten years on the thrones worn in body and soul, he died, his work sank with him into the grave, to awaken no more and sleep forever in the Capuchin crypt.
His successors were equal to the task neither in mind nor in will. When the first revolutionary lightnings of a new era flashed through Europe, Austria, too, slowly began to catch fire, little by little. But when the fire at length broke out, the flame was fanned less by social or general political causes than by dynamic forces of national origin.
The revolution of may have been a class struggle everywhere, but in Austria it was the beginning of a new racial war. By forgetting or not recognizing this origin and putting themselves in the service of the revolutionary uprising, the Germans sealed their own fate. They helped to arouse the spirit of 'Western democracy,' which in a short time removed the foundations of their own existence.
With the formation of a parliamentary representative body without the previous establishment and crystallization of a common state language, the cornerstone had been laid for the end of German domination of the monarchy. From this moment on the state itself was lost. All that followed was merely the historic liquidation of an empire. To follow this process of dissolution was as heartrending as it was instructive.
This execution of an historical sentence was carried out in detail in thousands and thousands of forms. The fact that a large part of the people moved blindly through the manifestations of decay showed only that the gods had willed Austria's destruction.
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The English two-chamber system was solemnly resurrected in the Abgeordnetenhaus and the Herrenhaus. Except that the houses' themselves were somewhat different. When Barry raised his parliament buildings from the waters of the Thames, he thrust into the history of the British Empire and from it took the decorations for the twelve hundred niches, consoles, and pillars of his magnificent edifice.
This was where the first difficulty came in for Vienna. For when Hansen, the Danish builder, had completed the last pinnacle on the marble building of the new parliament, there was nothing he could use as decoration except borrowings from antiquity.
Roman and Greek statesmen and philosophers now embellish this opera house of Western democracy, and in symbolic irony the quadrigae fly from one another in all four directions above the two houses, in this way giving the best external expression of the activities that went on inside the building. The 'nationalities' had vetoed the glorification of Austrian history in this work as an insult and provocation, just as in the Reich itself it was only beneath the thunder of World War battles that they dared to dedicate Wallot's Reichstag Building to the German people by an inscription.
When, not yet twenty years old, I set foot for the first time in the magnificent building on the Franzensring to attend a session of the House of Deputies as a spectator and listener, I was seized with the most conflicting sentiments. I had always hated parliament, but not as an institution in itself.https://charabacknadee.ml
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On the contrary, as a freedom-loving man I could not even conceive of any other possibility of government, for the idea of any sort of dictatorship would, in view of my attitude toward the House of Habsburg, have seemed to me a crime against freedom and all reason. What contributed no little to this was that as a young man, in consequence of my extensive newspaper reading, I had, without myself realizing it, been inoculated with a certain admiration for the British Parliament, of which I was not easily able to rid myself. The dignity with which the Lower House there fulfilled its tasks as was so touchingly described in our press impressed me immensely.
Could a people have any more exalted form of self-government? But for this very reason I was an enemy of the Austrian parliament. I considered its whole mode of conduct unworthy of the great example. To this the following was now added: The fate of the Germans in the Austrian state was dependent on their position in the Reichsrat. Up to the introduction of universal and secret suffrage, the Germans had had a majority, though an insignificant one, in parliament. Even this condition was precarious, for the Social Democrats, with their unreliable attitude in national questions, always turned against German interests in critical matters affecting the Germans - in order not to alienate the members of the various foreign nationalities.
Even in those days the Social Democracy could not be regarded as a German party. And with the introduction of universal suffrage the German superiority ceased even in a purely numerical sense. There was no longer any obstacle in the path of the further de-Germanization of the state. For this reason my instinct of national self-preservation caused me even in those days to have little love for a representative body in which the Germans were always misrepresented rather than represented.
Yet these were deficiencies which, like so many others, were attributable, not to the thing in itself, but to the Austrian state. I still believed that if a German majority were restored in the representative bodies, there would no longer be any reason for a principled opposition to them, that is, as long as the old state continued to exist at all.
These were my inner sentiments when for the first time I set foot in these halls as hallowed as they were disputed. For me, to be sure, they were hallowed only by the lofty beauty of the magnificent building. A Hellenic miracle on German soil! How soon was I to grow indignant when I saw the lamentable comedy that unfolded beneath my eyes!
Present were a few hundred of these popular representatives who had to take a position on a question of most vital economic importance. The very first day was enough to stimulate me to thought for weeks on end. The intellectual content of what these men said was on a really depressing level, in so far as you could understand their babbling at all; for several of the gentlemen did not speak German, but their native Slavic languages or rather dialects.
I now had occasion to hear with my own ears what previously I had known only from reading the newspapers. A wild gesticulating mass screaming all at once in every different key, presided over by a good-natured old uncle who was striving in the sweat of his brow to revive the dignity of the House by violently ringing his bell and alternating gentle reproofs with grave admonitions. I couldn't help laughing.
A few weeks later I was in the House again. The picture was changed beyond recognition. The hall was absolutely empty. Down below everybody was asleep. A few deputies were in their places, yawning at one another; one was 'speaking. The first misgivings arose in me. From now on, whenever time offered me the slightest opportunity, I went back and, with silence and attention, viewed whatever picture presented itself, listened to the speeches in so far as they were intelligible, studied the more or less intelligent faces of the elect of the peoples of this woe-begone state-and little by little formed my own ideas.
A year of this tranquil observation sufficed totally to change or eliminate my former view of the nature of this institution. My innermost position was no longer against the misshapen form which this idea assumed in Austria; no, by now I could no longer accept the parliament as such.