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GoetheInstitute

26/04/2005

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.

die tageszeitung, 26.04.2005

Joschka Fischer, the Green German foreign minister, has recently come under attack in the "visa affair" in which thousands of Ukrainians allegedly received German visas without basic checks being carried out by consular officials. Last night he was questioned by a panel commission on his involvement. A first in Germany, the entire exchange was broadcast on television. The race for the most original report on Fischer's appearance was won by the taz, headlining "Joschka the Hypocritical". An analysis by Lukas Wallraff comes below the headline quoting the foreign minister: "Write: Fischer is guilty". Another passage quotes a slip by Fischer, a former student revolutionary, on the preparation of the Volmer edict which eased visa requirements: "A squat (Hausbesetzung) – excuse me, a conference (Hausbesprechung) was scheduled." His answer to the question how long his statement would last: "I didn't read this all to my wife beforehand. I suggest I go on until I'm done."

Daniel Bax speaks with Pandit G. of the British band Asian Dub Foundation. The band, seen by many as the mouthpiece of second generation immigrants in Britain, is currently touring Germany. Asked about the band's martial sound which seems to go against their political message, Pandit G. answers: "To a certain extent it was always that way with our music. Right from the start we used dance music, which is always seen as unpolitical, non-conscious music. But we tried to combine it with political consciousness." Commenting on the band's beats, which some find aggressive, he responds: "I don't find them aggressive. You could call them 'uplifting'. When some people hear dub music they say: it's so dismal, so heavy, and it's always about smoking pot. I don't smoke, and I listen to a lot of dub music." About the band's political message, Pandit G. says: "We were never fans of al-Qaida. I think Bin Laden's a millionaire bastard who uses people the same way Tony Bush and George Blair do. Those are the ringleaders. And I'm against ringleaders, who use fear to manipulate people."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 26.04.2005


On 13 July 2002, 16-year-old Marinus Schöberl was tortured and killed by 3 teenage boys in the idyllic village of Potzlow in the Uckermark region of Brandenburg. Since then, documentary filmmaker Andres Veiel has visited the village 40 times to talk to the inhabitants about the murder. He and Gesine Schmidt have fused all this material into a play, "The Kick" which premiered in Berlin yesterday. Alex Rühle found the text which Veiel compiled excellent. "These are the words of people imprisoned by their inability to talk. They are in solitary cells. The sentences tumble down the sides of the walls like heavy stones down steps. And the longer he lets the villagers of Potzlow speak, the more the case becomes a story of universal brutality, the inability to trust anybody, or even to talk." Rühle was less impressed by the performance itself in which two actors, Markus Lerch und Susanne-Marie Wrage, wearing all black and bovver boots took on the 21 different roles. "When Lerch mimes the mother of the dead boy, he sits there politely, his hands folded, looking out into the audience like a friendly inhabitant of Lindenstraße (a popular German soap) and then speaks the terrible words from the end of the trial: 'I'm always scared of going to bed, because I hear Marinus' voice calling to me for help and I can't do anything. It kills me.' In Lerch's mouth this sounds like he's burnt the apple pie." Rühle concludes that the piece will gain in interest when it tours Brandenburg. The Mayoress of Potzlow, has also asked Veiel to perform it in the village.

The judgement will be handed down tomorrow in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The head of the Russian oil company Yukos has been charged with fraud and tax evasion. With a fortune of 15 billion dollars, Khodorkovsky was formerly the richest man in Russia. In an interview, sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya describes the situation in the courtroom: "The courtroom in the Meshanski area of Moscow has only 27 seats for visitors. It is a terrible place: you can smell the toilets nearby, Khodorkovsky sits in a cage, the defence lawyers and the audience sit on wood benches. Only the prosecutors have padded chairs... The defence lawyers can show Khodorkovsky the pieces of evidence, but he is not allowed to touch them. Guards with machine guns stand in front of his cage. The defence lawyers' telephones are tapped, their computer data erased, documents stolen. They say they too could be arraigned at any time. Two of them have placed their families in safety." For Kryshtanovskaya, this is "a Stalinist kind of justice: it is not the court that announces the judgement, but the prosecution – or whoever is backing them."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26.04.2005

Political commentator and Berlin resident Zafer Senocak fears that Turkey is falling victim to a fresh wave of nationalism. And it is spilling out into Germany. "Turkish nationalism is by now a German phenomenon. As a result of its past, Germany has distanced itself more than any other country in the world from aggressive forms of nationalism. So how are we to deal with Turkish nationalism within Germany? Are we equipped to face a group of people who are being misused by their country of origin as a nationalistic reconnaissance patrol? For days now, the Turkish media in Germany has been carrying out a campaign, inculcating its fellow countrymen with the one truly Turkish-nationalist position on the Armenian genocide, and defaming critical voices."

Thomas Wagner can hardly believe it: Austria is staging its first Piet Mondrian retrospective. But he finds the exhibition in Vienna's Albertina too clean-shaven. Wagner knows Mondrian was a more complex character. This "was revealed by his friend Carl Holty, who wanted to know from the painter why he, like Odysseus' Penelope, each morning took such pains to destroy everything he had created the night before. 'I don't want pictures' was Mondrian's reply. 'I want nothing else than to seek out, and discover.'"

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