A few trivial thoughts about totalitarian state

OhnePhoto was made during one of manifestations in center of Vienna. The man with the dog has inscription at his shirt: “Nothing moves forward without Haider”

According to my private statistics Jörg Haider is the most frequent Google search term after words sex and nudity that direct visitors to my website. When you live in the western country and bring reminiscences about totalitarian society in broad audience you easily gain understanding and support.

Act of critical evaluation suggests unspoken comparison of what was before and what is now. It can sound like compliment in address of western democracy. Everybody would easily imagine that Galina’s soviet life was only abuse and suppression, that she was persecuted as minor progressive thinker, failed to find justice in her righteous struggle and moved to the West, where she found eventually her happy land.
However, not all is that simple Especially if one stops operating with outlines created by media.

Superfluous profit-orientated ideas of this origin invade our consciousness and make us believe they are our highly unique opinions on subject.
I never was a soviet dissident.

During the years proceeding collapse of Soviet Union I could not issue my own concept of what was precisely wrong with our society and why western world looked better.
But from my early years I often felt suppression of individual expression in its numerous forms.

Individuality did not count much. Highest virtue was to be as all.

Austrians can easily imagine such atmosphere if they look through documentaries depicting parades of fascist solders. One could see thousands of ordinary people with expression of adoration at their faces who greeted Hitler.

Much softer forms of totalitarianism managed to exist in Soviet republics longer time.

Totalitarian state had military extensions. The army consisting of individuals would not go far. Unification was rather powerful mean of creating military supremacy.

When troop of solders steps at the bridge, the officer gives command “At ease!”, as march in unison creates enormous ruinous force.
I assume that leveling of individuality in certain social group is connected with idea of segregation and superiority of one mentality over other. If you belong, you always separate “us” and “them”.
During my youth this division sounded like: “we, soviets” and “they, the sharks of imperialism”.
In context of current life stream social division and unification of thinking can manifest themselves through many innocent things.

Belonging to certain political party or organization automatically creates opposition to others, is not it. One quickly gains viewpoint of group and identifies himself with it.

Communists and national-socialists. Moslems and Jews. Women and men. Rich and poor. Immigrants and natives. Cosmopolitans and non-cosmopolitans.

When I complain feeling lonely nowadays, my Austrian acquaintances advice me to seek company of Russians.
But since certain time language, nationality and social background don’t define choice of my interactions with people.

Why Russians, but not Trinidad or Eskimos of Alaska? Many of our visible belongings are rather illusory.
To start with I was born in the Islamic country, and one can decide I belong there too.
Wandering with my camera in Austria, I see that Vienna is literally invaded by Moslem immigrants.

They exist within their own communities and clans, which look like replicas of places they came from. I thought Susanne Winter from Graz demonstrated
lack of carefulness making her critical comments. One must take in account reality of Islamic world.

Once I stared at the cut-off head of Chechnya terrorist woman at the peak of underground station in Moscow, where it was thrown after suicidal bomb attack.
Today I see a lot of pretty girls in headscarfs around, with whom it is never possible to make eye contact. Koran still regulates many details of their life. There it is said woman must look downward and submit all Allah would send.

Islam literally means submission.
It was hard for me to submit, when I could not be happy with Islamic postulates of woman value nullification.

I could not submit to communist unification either. But if you dare to be unique, you must deal with consequences.

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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