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GoetheInstitute

21/06/2007

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.

Die Tageszeitung 21.06.2007

"A new tone cannot be ignored in all the hate-filled rhetoric" against Salman Rushdie, writes Bernhard Imhasly. "Not only is Rushdie being attacked, so is the United Kingdom. The British Queen, this 'old goat' (in the words of the Iranian newspaper Jamhri Islami) gets just as much abuse as her new vassal. In Lahore, protesters shouted on Tuesday evening 'Death to the UK! Death to Rushdie!' Photos of the Queen went up in flames. A Pakistani provincial parliament demanded the government break off diplomatic ties, and the deputy president of the parliament in Tehran accused the UK of living 'in a dream world' if it believes it is 'still the superpower of the 19th century.' Old anti-colonial reflexes? Then what do the Hitler portraits that are appearing on the streets of Pakistani cities mean?"

Author Navid Kermani says about the protests: "When someone yells 'You're not important, and I'm not at all excited!' it demonstrates just the opposite, of course. At best one should answer the deputy president of the Iranian parliament: Fine, if the Queen and the knighthood for Rushdie are so unimportant, why all the excitement?" (here features by Kermani)


Die Welt
21.06.2007

"I'm offended," writes the Canadian journalist and activist Irshad Manji, with respect to the threats against Salman Rushdie. "I'm offended because on Sunday, at least 35 Muslims were torn apart by other Muslims in a bomb attack in Kabul and 80 Muslims in Baghdad met a similar fate and Pakistan didn't issue any public statement of mourning for its fellow Muslims. I'm offended because in this murderous bloodbath, a secular professor by the name of Salman Rushdie is more important than the fates of all these Muslims. I'm also offended that so many other Muslims are not offended and are demonstrating against this self-named messenger of God. One day, we'll be surprised when Islam is overtaken by fundamentalists and we're still toying with the possibility of getting involved to defend our religion against them."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 21.06.2007

Indian author Kiran Nagarkar, himself a target of religious fanatics, explains in an interview on the statements of the Pakistani Minister of Religion that the knighthood for Salman Rushdie could be used to justify suicide attacks: "You can't take this terrible man seriously enough. We're all going to be amazed how the mullahs use this new Rushdie scandal to their advantage." (here a feature by Nagarkar)


Berliner Zeitung
21.06.2007

"The new death threats against Rushdie are appalling, no question," writes Harald Jähner. But he finds it strange that the British government is so surprised. "The knighthood may be prestigious in Great Britain but it's hardly more than one prize among several... The imams have little understanding for the more light-hearted approach to tradition. The knighthood sounds to them like what it was once conceived as – a war-like ceremonial that stands for fidelity, obedience and willingness to fight. Being knighted once involved being stabbed - an attempt to make the experience unforgettable. It was supposed to represent the last attack that went unanswered. Knighthood created warriors, in God's service as well. Strange that the memory of this is more persistent in Pakistan than in the country of the former colonial lords."



Die Zeit
21.06.2007

Evelyn Finger notes with concern that the far right is doing professional youth work among young "national democrats" and thus making its way into the cultural mainstream. "Good Nazis say Weltnetz (world net) instead of Internet. They present themselves at information stands on Saxony Anhalt Day. They donate cakes to children's parties and balls to sports clubs. They organise after-school help groups and holiday baby-sitting or they drive to the 'flood front' in middle Germany to tote sacks. It's rare – the office for the protection of the constitution estimates a couple of hundred times a year – that they go too far. Then they abuse a homeless person at the train station in Quedlinburg, whose blood spews 2 metres."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
21.06.2007

Sohrab Mahdavy, co-founder of the Internet magazine TehranAvenue.com explains what one learns in Iran from the West. "We have to stick to the Pantheon of the art establishment if we want to know what real art is. With open arms and great gusto, we welcome the Western curator who tells us what we should do. Only then do we discover the value of our praxis. This praxis must be exotic, filled with hidden charms that we ourselves have first to discover. Exoticism is our old gift to the world, the misery of our moderity."

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