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GoetheInstitute

20/10/2006

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 20.10.2006

British historian Niall Ferguson casually outs himself as a Thatcherite before sharply denouncing the Military Commissions Act, which allows the Americans to treat "illegal enemy combatants" as if they had no rights and endorses torture. Bush should take a leaf out of history books, Ferguson suggests: "Winston Churchill insisted throughout the war that POWs were treated correctly – this was a clever move, if only to ensure that his people stood a better chance of being treated likewise when captured. Even in WWII, there was a high rate of reciprocation: the British treated the German POWs decently and were in turn treated decently by the Germans. The Germans treated the Russian POWs with unutterable brutality and were repaid in kind once the wind changed."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 20.10.2006

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe yesterday ruled against Berlin's claim for more federal funding, saying the capital, which is heavily in debt, was spending more money on culture and education than other German cities, Hamburg for example. Jens Bisky knows that the capital has to save money, but he – like all Berliners – won't stand for the comparison with Hamburg: "Would it be sensible to shut one, better two universities and a couple of theatres in Berlin? The president of the Free University of Berlin, Dieter Lenzen told this paper that he had never suspected that the provincialism of the Karlsruhe judge would be so extreme. Berlin, he said, was a centre of German scholarship, which no one could ever seriously consider destroying or damaging. Over 50 percent of the students here do not come from Berlin. Hundreds of thousands of them want to study in the capital. Using Hamburg as a benchmark, he said, was absurd."


Die Tageszeitung
20.10.2006

On the opinion page, Klaus-Helge Donath comments on the state of Russia after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya (more here): "Modernisation has failed. Putin struck it from the agenda long ago. Instead of following the road of European civilisation, the Kremlin has opted for the beaten path of tradition. Here Russia is an independent civilisation on its own 'special course.' Unlike in the cold, rational West, irrationality also has a firm footing in Russia. Like the 'Russian soul', this concept is a literary fiction, an ideological construct, to which the Orthodox Church continues to give its blessing. Nevertheless its days are numbered. Russia has not only missed its rendezvous with the West, its place is even threatened by China and India. The scholar Sergei Averintsev once put the paradox like this: 'Our hope lies in the insolubility of our questions.' Because insolubility forces Russians to seek out another, higher level, for fear of moral and intellectual demise. The insoluble questions, meanwhile, remain."


Die Welt
20.10.2006

Berthold Seewald reports on a sensational archaeological discovery: in Sechin Bajo in the Casma Valley, 370 kilometres north of the Peruvian capital Lima, German researchers have discovered what is probably the oldest civilisation in South America: "The main pyramid of Sechin Alto, with processional avenues and round, sunken plazas, is dated at 1600 B.C. It alone comprises a surface area of around 250 football fields, an area larger than the historic centre of Berlin. Under this gigantic complex, archaeologists have now unearthed the foundations of the enormous pyramid. Its main axis is at a 45 degree angle to the later structure. Estimated time of construction: 3200 BC."


Frankfurter Rundschau 20.10.2006

In an interview with Christian Thomas, sociologist Sighard Neckel insists on a differentiation between the terms "underclass" and "precariat", around which the "underclass debate" now rages in Germany (more here). For Neckel, there is an undeniable difference between the two. "German society is characterised by a comparatively distinct class divide, seen in everything from revenue distribution and educational opportunities to average age expectancy." But "precariat" is something else, Neckel says. "Precarious existences with limited security, changing employment and low salaries also exist among highly-educated social groups which don't belong to the underclass. Just think of the modern academic proletariat which has to eke out a living with limited contracts, part-time jobs and internships. Poverty in itself is not a defining characteristic of the underclass, which is why the group of currently eleven million poor in Germany is larger than that of the so-called 'underclass'."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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