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GoetheInstitute

23/03/2007

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 23.03.2007

Writer Monika Maron criticises the German media's behaviour after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and vents her rage at Vladimir Putin: "Just a few days after she was killed, Vladimir Putin said to the German public that Anna Politkovskaya was a radical journalist who was inconsequential in Russia, and her death did more harm to the country than her articles. I asked myself: just what does he think of us, that he allows himself to talk like this in our country, and in our papers? And what have we done wrong that he dares to do it?"


Die Welt 23.03.2007

Thomas Kielinger writes on the abolition of slavery in Britain two hundred years ago, which the country will celebrate on March 25 (although the date merely marks the banning of the slave trade - the law came into effect a year later): "A cloud of amnesia lies over this chapter of the country's history. In multi-ethnic Britain, people don't like to make too much of the fact that England owes its becoming an economic superpower in the 18th century - along with the flourishing of its cities, its stately manors, many banks including the Bank of England and insurance agencies like Lloyds - to the slave trade. The royal house, particularly, was an active shareholder in such businesses, and the Church of England was also not above using slaves in its plantations in Jamaica and on the neighbouring islands."


Other media 23.03.2007

In an interview with dpa author Matthias Hoenig, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas sees only one way out of the EU constitutional crisis: a referendum coinciding with the 2009 European elections. "The governments – which, after all, control the process – have to recognize their own powerlessness and, this one time, 'dare to use democracy.' They have to rise above themselves and face the political parties of which they themselves are composed with the necessity of engaging in an open, Europe-wide election campaign, a struggle for each and every vote in favour of, or in opposition to, an expansion of the European Union."


Frankfurter Rundschau 23.03.2007

The case of the a Frankfurt judge who ruled that wife beating is no grounds for immediate divorce (more here, news story in German here) lends weight to opponents of multiculturalism, writes Peter Michalzik with a sigh. "The Internet website Perlentaucher.de (and its English site signandsight.com - ed) have been featuring a debate on Western reactions to the radical Islam-critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali for several weeks now (more here). This debate shows principally one thing: as absurd as some allegations by critics of Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash may be, Pascal Bruckner and Necla Kelek do manage to hit the sore spot: Islam cannot be treated as one religion among many, a religion with a right to exist under the large umbrella of European tolerance. Multiculturalism and Islam cannot coexist as long as Islam takes the Koran literally, as it does with Verse 4,34, which allows for the beating of women. You can't stand outside the legal system and expect integration at the same time."


Die Tageszeitung 23.03.2007

Jony Eisenberg, the paper's legal commentator, puts the judgement in a more positive light: "The judge did not rule that the woman must continue subjecting herself to beatings. She stipulated a one-year separation, supporting her opinions with the argument that the woman knew who she was marrying and what his cultural background was. In addition, the judge stated, even without an immediate separation the plaintiff is safe from further mistreatment. You can criticise the judge's reasons, but passing them off as unjustifiable or racist is sheer cheek. And it's an appalling shame that politicians and her colleagues don't allow her the right to form her own decisions."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
, 23.03.2007

The NZZ recently reported on the estimated 5,000 unofficial-artists in Berlin that exist in addition to the 5,000 official ones. Dieter Meier, member of the once famous pop group Yello takes this as an opportunity to reflect on his professional status: "An artist is someone who has the intention of creating art. And whatever results from this intention is precisely art. And that's what makes being an artist a dream profession. The product becomes what it is supposed to be by virtue of the fact that it is so intended. This unique chance, that the naked subjective wish carries the success of execution in it, elevates the artist beyond other professionals. One can only imagine what major and minor catastrophes would result if this principle were to be applied to other occupations."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23.03.2007

Thomas Medicus reports of a debate on the bombing of Germany during World War II that's currently going on in Canada and that was provoked by a seemingly benign panel in the Canadian War Museum. "'The mass bombing of Germany resulted in destruction and loss of life,' reads the very straight text. 'The value and morality of the strategic bombing offensive against Germany remains contested. Bomber command's aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although bomber command and the American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only a small reduction in German war production until late in the war.' The fewer than twenty lines unleashed what the Canadian media are calling a 'firestorm' of indignation. Canada is living through its most heated debate on aerial warfare."

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