Austria … Julie Andrews, “The Sound of Music.”
That was before. Now, what comes to mind more easily when one thinks of Austria is Josef Fritzl, the Grandfather of Incest.
This devil of a man raped his own daughter for 24 years beginning when she was just 11 years old, kept her prisoner in a windowless cellar for the same duration of years, and sired her six surviving children, according to Austrian authorities.
Fritzl confessed to imprisoning his daughter Elisabeth in the cellar beneath their two-storey house in Amstetten, Austria, and DNA tests showed that indeed the 73-year-old devil had done the unthinkable.
Fritzl also admitted to burning the body of his seventh child when it died soon after birth.
Elisabeth, who is now 42 years old, said her father enticed to go to the cellar of their home in 1984 and drugged and handcuffed her before imprisoning her.
Three of her children, aged 19, 18 and 5, had been locked in the cellar with her since birth and had never seen sunlight. The younger two were boys, the eldest a girl.
Three other children — two girls and one boy — were adopted and brought up by Fritzl and his wife Rosemarie.
The despicable monstrosity of Fritzl (whose body deserves to be broken into several pieces like a stick of pretzel) only surfaced when his 19-year-old daughter who is also his grand-daughter (this is getting to be confusing) became ill and was taken to hospital.
A million questions begged to be answered on how this could have happened. Why? How did he do it? Is he insane? Is he the devil incarnate?
The Austrian police remained clueless as of Tuesday, April 29, just like the millions of people in the world glued to their TV sets following up this extraordinary crime story.
If this was an isolated incident, we could simply dismiss it as an aberration in human civilization. But lately, other similar monstrosities have occurred in various places in the world, including the one involving a polygamist camp in Texas and the father-daughter incestuous couple from Australia who were even proudly proclaiming on television their bizarre relationship.
Is this another sign that our world is on its death throes? Just like the sign of global warming? The global food crisis and famine?
Where’s morality heading to? Where are the spiritual leaders of the world in these trying times?
This photo made available by the Austrian police shows the aisle to a sleeping room in the basement of a house where Elisabeth Fritzl was held imprisoned for 24 years by her own father in the Austrian village of Amstetten. (Reuter)