The suicide of “Doctor Lisa-Maria”, harassed by antivax, awakens Austria – Liberation

Many cities in the country organized rallies after the death of the doctor, who were very focused on vaccination against Covid-19. His death has revived debates about online hate.

The bells ring for long minutes, then the crowd watches in silence in the forecourt of Saint-Etienne Cathedral. This is how more than 3,000 Viennese decided to honor the memory, Monday night, of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, she who, precisely, refused to be silent. Several hundred other people gathered at the same time in the cities of Graz, Linz, Wels and Steyr.

Austria has been in turmoil since the news: Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a general practitioner in the town of Seewalchen, on the shores of the idyllic Attersee lake, in Upper Austria, ended her life overnight from Thursday to Friday, at her workplace. . He is 36 years old.

The Austrian public has known her face with a smart headband since the Covid-19 pandemic. On Twitter, “Doctor Lisa-Maria” reports, since the beginning of 2020, her experiences in contact with the sick and comments competently on the health policy of her country. He is often invited to television shows. He criticized demonstrations by opponents of vaccinations and masks, which have been widespread in Austria for the past two years. He became a pet peeve of antivax, being viciously harassed, both online and at work. After making public death threats against him, the doctor decided in June to close his practice, without stopping his involvement in the media.

“Protection of Women”

“When I found out he was dead, I thought they had finally killed him”, testified to René, before the court. This student, who knew Dr. Kellermayr via the Internet, considered Monday’s rallies as actions of “unity”. “Lack of unity is our biggest problem today,” he said. In addition, a small group of doctors and nurses from neighboring Lower Austria. They were touched by the plight of medical staff in dealing with Covid. Further, feminists have a clue: “Protecting women, on the internet and in real life”, while a gang of youths stare at their feet. Here they are “so as not to leave the monopoly of antivax demonstrations”.

Everyone agrees that the suicide of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr can be seen as a symptom of a society of suffering, without any acknowledgment of the precise evil. “We have not isolated a cause of Lisa’s death, as is often the case in these cases,” determined the organizer of the commemoration, the Viennese activist Daniel Landau, who met the young general practitioner this summer.

Some politicians, left and right, showed up. Many others reacted publicly to the news of the suicide, including the President of the Republic: former Green Alexander Van der Bellen laid a wreath of flowers on Monday in front of the empty Seewalchen cabinet, a “act in favor of social cohesion and against hatred”.

Neo-Nazis are believed to be behind the threats

The tributes however largely dried up after the weekend, with controversy taking over. The atmosphere in Austria is heavy, like a Bob Dylan song Who Killed Davey Moore? Who is responsible for the death of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr? Everyone blames each other. The far right, while neo-Nazis are suspected of being behind the death threats? The police, who allegedly failed in their investigation and advised the victim to keep it simple “Don’t talk too much about him” ? The psychiatrist he had, according to the media, confessed his despair just a few days before acting? The media that helped make this antivax punching bag? Social networks? The doctors room?

The drama has put online hatred back at the center of debates. The daily The Pattern thus reported the last interview with Lisa-Maria Kellermayr the day before her death and quoted her: “What happens to me can happen to any citizen.”The special application BanHate shows that 2,817 cases of online attacks were reported to it in Austria last year. A figure of 66% compared to the pre-pandemic period.

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