Here I am, living in Austria, married to an Austrian, my children are Austrian and I am proud to hear the news that the Austrian Chancellor, Werner Fayman has played a major role in relieving the humanitarian catastrophe taking place in central Europe at this time.
Thirty-five years ago, I told my father, that I was getting engaged to an Austrian man, whom I had never met, who was chosen for me by a man I considered to be an instrument of God. It sparked a discussion of our values and our life course and why I ended up being born in Australia. (I am actually Australian, not Austrian, but now living in Austria, hence “Austrialian” :-).)
My father told me, in 1980, that when he fled Czechoslovakia, to escape communism at the end of World War Two, he said good-bye to his mother in Prague, knowing that he would escape across the border illegally and could possibly never see her again. It was the only time I ever remember seeing tears in my father’s eyes.
I too had tears in my eyes in December 1989 when I visited my father’s sister in Prague, with my ten month old child who was born in Austria, and we watched the inauguration of Vaclav Havel as the first democratically elected President of Czechoslovakia.
Today, I cannot hold back the tears as I see the flood of people, who, like my parents sixty-five years ago, left what was once their home to make a new beginning in an unknown land.