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17/04/2007

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.

Der Tagesspiegel 17.04.2007

In view of the political paralysis in Ukraine, the writer Andrey Kurkov states that even the pro-Russian party of Viktor Yanukovych is no longer interested in pursuing pro-Russian policies: "In recent times no one's been looking to Russia any more. As for the East-Ukrainian oligarchs who finance Yanukovych's 'Party of Regions,' the last thing they want is a rapprochement between the two countries. Russia is strong and rich, and has long been licking its lips at the prospect of getting control over Ukraine's gas pipelines, plants and metallurgy. If Ukraine were to be opened up to the Russian economy, nothing at all would remain of the country, not even the Ukrainian oligarchs. Even ex-president Leonid Kuchma understood that. During the privatisation that followed the communist era, he turned the Ukrainian economy over to the oligarchs who stood close to him for practically nothing, althought he could have put it into Russian hands for a bundle."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
17.04.2007

The young Polish author Dorota Maslowska (see our feature "The sweet taste of underground" for more) is fed up with her country's entire political climate, where "obscure figures are pushing their way into the limelight, and where the public discussion is becoming progressively absurd. The wife of the deputy prime minister is calling for 'life imprisonment' for anyone who has an abortion, and calls herself the queen of hearts. Member of Parliament Miroslaw Orzechowski is calling for a law preventing homosexuals from working as teachers. And a fanatic priest is putting fear into the hearts of the elderly with hellish scenarios and a vision of the fatherland torn apart by bloodthirsty liberals. He wants to be the one who decides whether a woman bears her child, even if both have to die in the process. Meanwhile everyone wears their credentials on their lapels as if they were registered mail from God almighty, even though they've written them themselves."


Frankfurter Rundschau 17.04.2007

Sonja Margolina sees the Kremlin's brutal response to the opposition's protests as a sign of the power elite's fear of change following Putin's departure. "For the Kremlin bosses and their politicos, the people are 'vegetables' that are fed stories in the media about Western spies and 'extremist' members of the opposition. They think the people will believe the fairy-tale of the evil foreigners again and again. At the same time, the fear of an ungovernable people which seeks to ruin the elite's dolce vita is expressed in the form of 'preventative violence'. When a martial policeman is asked why it's necessary to beat up a demonstrator who is just standing around doing nothing, he says, 'but he could do something.'"


Süddeutsche Zeitung
17.04.2007

Dutch writer Margriet de Moor believes that liberal life in Europe could lead to a reform in Islam. She believes, for instance, that the sexualisation of advertising and the media contributes to women's emancipation. "How sex-obsessed is a culture that tells woman she is, in principle, a walking, sitting or lying lap? How over-aroused is a society that expects that a man is liable to leap on any woman who happens to be walking by unless a powerful symbol, a divine clothing regulation, prohibits him form doing so? Our obsession may look different from theirs but they're not unequal. I think it's quite logical to expect that Islamic women will be the first to feel at home in our European prosperity and all the principles that belong to it."


Die Welt 17.04.2007

Ulli Kulke portrays Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, who would very much like to bring the bust of Nefertiti - held in Berlin's Altes Museum - back home to Egypt: "Now he's starting to make threats. The famous bust the the pharao's wife should come home for at least three months, he says. If not, he will 'never again organise archaeological exhibitions in Germany,' as he said recently to the Egyptian parliament. And now he's told a recent congress of Arab antiquities authorities that he's ready to stop all cooperation with foreign institutions engaging in joint archaeological work with Israel." Kulke comments: "It's to be assumed that Hawass was primarily addressing a domestic audience. People in Cairo say he's got his eyes on the presidency - and that the future of the country belongs to this extremely popular man."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 17.04.2007

Kerstin Stremmel has taken a look at Gregor Schneider's "White Torture" in Düsseldorf's K21. The piece, a response to Guantanomo, is Schneider's second major project after the Kaaba cube in Hamburg. Stremmel finds is superficial. "Someone is constantly coming to help explain how it goes, and that one might get a bit cold in a coldroom and the darkness and quiet of the soundproof room irritate – such existential experiences hardly disturb the vernissage chitchat."

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