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21/02/2007

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.

Berliner Zeitung 21.02.2007

Despite all the splendour and pomp surrounding the large exhibition "Tibet – Monasteries Open Their Treasure Chambers," which opens today in Berlin's Museum of Asian Art, Nikolaus Bernau is still a tad put off: "Because our notion of Tibet is seeped in the cliche of lamas meditating in red robes and yellow hats, the historical context in the exhibition is particularly lacking. Just like at the Villa Hügel in Essen where the exhibition showed last autumn, in Berlin the decision was taken to end the history of Tibet with the dethroning of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940. So you can admire the richness of the art, but you don't learn how it came about, nor how the statues, garments, books and mandala images were used and continue to be used. And we learn absolutely nothing about how many of these artworks were saved by a hair from destruction during the Cultural Revolution."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 21.02.2007

Paul Andreas has had a tour of the National Art Center Tokyo, designed by star architect Kisho Kurokawa. With seven huge display rooms totalling 14,000 square metres, it is Japan's largest museum space. "Kurokawa's own cultural and philosophical convictions are packed into the compact, classic-modern looking block of fair-faced concrete. Contrasting with this are the dynamic curves of the glass entrance hall, whose soft sculptural waves reflect the lush natural surroundings of the neighbouring Aoyama cemetery park.... At night the glass facade lights up the trendy Roppongi district like a huge lamp. And in the day it welcomes visitors with a vast marquee roof stretching over a glass entranceway. Its cone penetrates the dynamic draped glass facade like a knife. Western rationality and Eastern mimesis blend here, in line with the architect's basic ideas." (see our feature on Kurokawa here)


Süddeutsche Zeitung 21.02.2007

Willi Winkler reports on a lecture given by Jan Philipp Reemtsma, head of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, who sees Dostoevsky's book "The Demons" as prefiguring Germany's Red Army Faction: "Czarist Russia," according to Reemtsma's argument, "bred the same types of revolutionaries, the same sympathetic milieus as the democratic Federal Republic of Germany – including the special area of West Berlin - would do a hundred years later."


Frankfurter Rundschau
21.02.2007

Peter Michalzik feels that the ongoing discussion about nurseries in Germany (more here) demonstrates that the conservative elements of the CDU have no family concept. "In reality, conservative conservativism has no notion of the family. At best, it has a family feeling. And this is a chimera, a false image that has nothing to do with human realities, with contemporary forms of recognition and attention, with care, nearness or even love in the year 2007."


Die Tageszeitung, 21.02.2007

Daniel Bax comments on the debate between "progressive" Jews who are critical of Israel, such as the historian Tony Judt, and pro-Israeli Jews who consider their comments and attitudes "anti-Semitic." 130 Jewish intellectuals in England have now united to form "Independent Jewish Voices." "One of the paradoxes of such an undertaking is that one's own 'Jewishness', which most signatories would certainly not consider an important element of their self-charactersiation, has to be eliminated. But it's the only way of countering the claim to exclusive representation by organised professional Jewry and its public standard bearers. These have gotten off track with neo-conservative alliances."


Die Welt
21.02.2007

Historian Rolf-Dieter Müller chairs the commission that has estimated the number of victims of the "fire-storm" in Dresden at 25 000. In an interview, he explains why he views other figures – many of which put the number much higher – sceptically. "We take the speculation that there may have been hundreds of thousands of victims very seriously. (...) There is, of course, no proof for this thesis, rather unbelievable falsifications of documents and claims by individual witnesses which turned out to be false. Nobody actually saw or counted hundreds of thousands of dead."

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