Normalcy? Authoritarian resurgence in Europe: Between Assignments

A quiet morning in Budapest, Hungary. Thanks to Maria Orlova, Photographer

by Andrea Brandt

Journal Notes. Authoritarian tremors. From Italy to France, Germany, Hungary and other countries, the right-wing extremism is not temporary, it’s a continuum. The memory of “we will never forget the zeitgeist of intense Nazism and Fascism” feels hollow. Memories fade. The cloth of propaganda is fashionable wear…but…

Is the authoritarian thrust a new normalcy? Meloni, Orban, and others are symptoms of a malignant growth on the foundation of democracy. Resiliency is camouflaged.

A toxic immediacy permeates the landscape. Shaking one’s head at the tactics of disinformation alone is futile. Voices of angst pelt the street like a hard rain. The morning air is troubled. An anger is uncertain of its own anger. Life goes on. People eat, sleep and work. How many turn their heads?  Smiles on lips hide disruptive thoughts. The self is existenziell. Where do we house and find work for the immigrants? Nationalism attracts. But what is the actual state of affairs? Politicians and corporations make choices affecting people. Statistics do not feed an empty stomach. 

There’s the immediacy I personally experienced in the form of an interrogation for merely performing my work. May I ask questions? What questions will be acceptable to the authorities?

The trend is not capricious. This did not happen yesterday. It began years if not decades ago when the lust for power, profit and control of others was fueled. Free market leaves people outside the arena. Never underestimate spectators as they can become a crowd. Crowds are passionate. How will I survive and on what? 

Why does a person fear uncertainty and seek only the grainy noir of black and white?

Perhaps tomorrow I will change my mind on what I have witnessed. I have doubts. The malignancy is global. The answer is not extreme nationalism and authoritarian rule. I have traveled far and wide. The planet and the crowds are under duress.

In the interim…there’s a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps a glass of fruit schnapps is needed.