The ghosts are leaving the shadows

Wednesday 29 March, 2006

Former GDR dissident and poet Wolf Biermann is pleasantly disappointed that a young aristocratic Wessi like Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck can breathe such convincing life into the Stasi phantoms of his past. The film "The Life of Others" might just be the start of Germany's properly in-depth confrontation with its second dictatorship. Winner of the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Film
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Placebos for the exotic

Thursday 30 March, 2006

Grit your teeth and head out for a night of guerilla clubbing in wind-chilled Berlin. But expect low-key rather than excess, ping-pong not stage diving. By Phuong Duong
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100 ways to become German

Tuesday 28 March, 2006

Citizenship tests are now all the rage in Europe. Britain and the Netherlands have made tests mandatory, and Germany is thinking of following suit. But opponents claim the proposed questions unfairly target Muslims and could not be answered by many Germans. Are you fit to become German? Find out with the 100 questions proposed by the German state of Hesse.
Send us your answers to: editor@signandsight.com. Thekla Dannenberg, editor and clever-clogs in German politics and history, will review your applications and notify you of her decision.
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 28 March, 2006

Juan Villoro praises the greatest soccer player of all times in Lettre International. Amos Oz explains in L'Express why you can only separate, and not reconcile Israelis and Palestinians. In Die Weltwoche, Joe Zawinul draws parallels with the Vienese dialect and walking the bass line. Michael Ignatieff outlines in Prospect why there's no alternative to banning torture and coercive interrogation. In L'Espresso, Amelie Nothomb tells how television has been the undoing of our system of values. Paolo Flores d'Arcais explains in Literaturen why only chickens call Berlusconi a fascist. And Hamid Dabashi, who teaches at Columbia, pinpoints Al Ahram what's wrong with the West.
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Towards a United States of Europe

Monday 27 March, 2006

Europe must pluck up the courage to introduce reforms. It needs its own armed forces and foreign minister, a directly-elected president and an independent financial basis. These should be decided on by a referendum binding only in states where a majority had voted in favour. We present excerpts from a speech in which Jürgen Habermas calls on Europe to act - and sketches a critique of the Internet.
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"Sit, Wagner!"

Thursday 23 March, 2006

Spike Lee's most recent film "Inside Man" is a thriller set in a post 9/11 New York. In an interview with the intrepid Katja Nicodemus, Lee talks about American cluelessness, his waning rage and the beloved dachshund of his youth, "Schnitzel".
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Canfora's scandalous history of democracy

Wednesday 22 March, 2006

Adam Krzeminski is outraged by Luciano Canfora's highly selective "Democracy in Europe" which puts Stalinism on a pedestal. He congratulates a German publishing house for refusing to print it and believes European scholarship has shamefully neglected Polish history.
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 21 March, 2006

Secularists aren't interested in social justice. That's why Islamists are so successful, writes Al Ahram. Feridun Zaimoglu tells Spiegel Online why more Muslims are turning European. Outlook India says Indian Muslims should not be pushed aside. Gazeta Wyborcza lauds Janusz Anderman's new novel about opposition in communist Poland. Seamus Heaney stands up in defence of W.B. Yeats. Die Weltwoche unpicks Finkielkraut's complexities and The New York Times eavesdrops on a high-speed debate.
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Europe - my neurosis

Tuesday 21 March, 2006

Ukranian author Yuri Andrukhovych was recipient of this year's Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding. Andrukhovych's acceptance speech, in which he expresses deep gratitude for the distinction and deeper sorrow that European understanding remains an unattained goal, caused a minor furore.
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Black virgins

Monday 20 March, 2006

In an arresting new play, five young Muslim women lift the veil on a taboo: sex. Director Neco Celik talks to Michaela Schlagenwerth about his own conflict with Islam and why he chose this explosive material for his first play.
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Bach on the bus

Thursday 16 March, 2006

Viola player Volker Hagedorn has toured with Bach far off the beaten track, a world away from the spoiled European metropolises. He describes the joys of Johann Sebastian, the relaxed travel companion and the joy he brings to the musically-under nourished.
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Taking the immigrant test

Wednesday 15 March, 2006

As Germany toys with the idea of introducing tests to screen prospective immigrants, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht cautions not to confuse rules with culture and asks: what is the norm, anyway?
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 14 March, 2006

The New Yorker observes a slinky alien: Hedi Slimane of Dior Homme. Muslims make no differentiation between knowledge and belief, fears Tahar Ben Jelloun in Le Monde diplomatique. Muslims in Denmark could face the fate of the Tutsis, warns Al Ahram. In L'Express, the Israeli poet Haim Gouri looks back on the Six Day War. Poland is the EU's anguished aunt, writes Bronislav Geremek in the Gazeta Wybrocza. Foglio describes the erotic pleasures to be won by voting for the wrong party. Le Point raises a toast to Berlin and Foreign Policy prophesies the fall of China.
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Gangs of Neukölln

Monday 13 March, 2006

Detlev Buck's latest film "Tough Enough" is set in Berlin's notoriously hard-edged Neukölln district. In an interview with Daniela Sannwald, the director talks about urban ghettos, language barriers and the mafia.
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Tallinn's art rumour

Thursday 8 March, 2006

With the new KUMU - meaning rumour - Estonia has acquired the first major showcase for its art treasures. The museum complex designed by Finnish architect Pekka Juhani Vapaavuori houses temporary exhibitions and 300 years of national artworks. By Holger Klemm (Photo: Kaido Haagen)
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The end of the Silvio show?

Wednesday March 8, 2006

Italy is gearing up for parliamentary elections on April 9. Opposition figures from author Umberto Eco to satirist Sabina Guzzanti and filmmaker Nanni Moretti are vying to put an end to telecracy à la Silvio Berlusconi. But can they stop the country's rampant amalgamation of politics and TV? By Gabriella Vitiello
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 7 March, 2006

Five years after the debate in Poland on Jedwabne, the Gazeta Wyborcza concludes that only those who committed the crime feel safe. The New York Review of Books presents the most cunning poker player in the world. DU celebrates Bach. In Polityka, Andrzej Wajda would like to see more films on Poland today. The Nouvel Obs congratulates the Nouveaux Philosophes on their 30th birthday. In Die Weltwoche, Kurt Vonnegut points to the shortcoming shared by all presidents.
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Separating truth and belief

Monday 6 March, 2006

A clash of cultures? No, of mindsets. Philosopher Andre Glucksmann on truth and belief, and why the Danish Muhammad cartoons and cartoons about the Holocaust are two different things.
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