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GoetheInstitute

17/08/2007

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 Welt 17.08.2007

"In my entire career as a professional critic, I've never experienced such a harrowing performance" reports Ulrich Weinzierl from the Salzburg Festival on the production "Lager" (Camp) by the Rotterdam group Hotel Modern. The performance relates a day in Auschwitz as a puppet show. "The inmates and camp personnel are eight centimetres high. Their movements - orchestrated by three puppeteers - are as simple as they are ingenious. Tiny hand cameras project the events onto a screen, which shows the puppets as big as people. Suddenly their schematic, stiff mimicry transforms into individual suffering and pain. What you could never show with actors is allowed here: the view into the gas chambers, the heaps of corpses and the inside of the ovens. Thanks to the puppets, it remains free of voyeurism."


Frankfurter Rundschau
17.08.2007

Ina Hartwig has met Ann Cotten, the new wunderkind of poetry in German. Cotton was born in Iowa, grew up in Vienna and is now living in Berlin. "In cooperation with like-minded people, Ann Cotten operates the website www.forum-der-13.de. An early bird, the poet published a manifesto dated August 13, 6:14 a.m., which reads: 'Literature is not for entertainment'. Cotten participates in various readings at the legendary Kaffee Burger and other venues, and photos documenting her activities can be found on the above-mentioned website. Do those events really not provide at least a pinch of entertainment? The milieu, in any case, sticks together. Its organisation is superb, and its members are having the time of their lives." Hartwig, incidentally, highly recommends Cotten's "Fremdwörterbuchsonette" (sonnets from the dictionary of foreign words).


Süddeutsche Zeitung
17.08.2007

No wonder so few imams are trained in Germany, writes Sonja Zekri, telling the story of Benjamin Idriz from Penzberg in Bavaria. "Idriz, son of a Turkish father and an Albanian mother, was born in Macedonia, studied in Syria and was not even twenty when he took up his post as Imam in Penzberg, south-east of Lake Starnberg. His congregation included Bosnians, Macedonians, Turks and Arabs, and within a short time he had won a reputation as determined if somewhat exotic moderniser... Idriz was considered an ideal representative of an open, 'European' Islam. 'We reach Paradise from Europe, not from Mecca,' he once said. But then he presented his plan to found a 'Centre for Islam in Europe' in Munich, on the model of the successful and impressive Jewish Centre on Munich's St.-Jakobs-Platz. The 8,000 square-metre centre was to hold an Islamic academy, offer a broad curricula for women, youths and the elderly (inheritance law, self-defence for girls) and a training centre for imams. Since then, Idriz has been going through hell."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 17.08.2007

In this week's edition of Die Zeit (see "In Today's Feuilletons" of yesterday), the well-known publicist Fritz J. Raddatz admitted to having kept silent about much that he knew in the GDR, and having gone along with much that he shouldn't have. Hubert Spiegel comments on his "self-accusation," comparing it with Gunter Grass' recent admission that he had been in the Waffen SS (more here). "When Grass acknowledged having been a member of the SS, Raddatz came out passionately in his defence. 'Grass renders his account with the probing, red-hot iron called memory', Raddatz wrote empathetically in his review of Grass' 'Peeling the Onion,' quoting one of the book's key sentences: 'I let myself be misled.' Now Raddatz ends his own account with an even stronger formulation: 'I wasn't abused, I abused myself.' Grass painted himself as a dumb, ignorant youth, Raddatz presents himself as the prototype of the exalted opportunist and fellow-traveller, ennobled to the status of latent dissident through his intellectualism and the odd protest."


Der Freitag 17.08.2007

Ursula Dunckern sends a rather sombre report from India about religious hatred, Islamic Mafia and Bollywood. The background is the trial concerning bomb attacks in Bombay in 1993 in which Muslims under Mafia boss Dawood Ibrahim reacted to even worse (and never punished) massacres of Muslims by Hindus. One of the condemned is a popular Bollywood actor: "As was to be expected, the conviction of actor Sanjay Dutt to six years' imprisonment was regretted as a national catastrophe by millions of fans across India... A few days before the attack, the allegedly naive actor allowed a Mafiosi to store a couple of AK 56 machine guns in his flat. Dutt later even bought one. The cinema-hungry Indian public didn't waste a second forgiving its darling his little mistake, and was little bothered by his frequenting gangsters and racketeers."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 17.08.2007

Arian Fariborz introduces the somewhat ambivalently named Iranian news channel Press TV. Launched a month ago, the English-language channel is to provide a counterweight to the BBC and CNN. "About 400 employees and 26 correspondents from Washington to Gaza City have to live up to the prophetic claim 'to announce the truth to the world' and 'to serve as a platform for all freedom-seekers and Muslims'. It is only one of the many contradictions of the Islamic Republic that only foreigners are to benefit from this dubious platform for those seeking freedom. In Iran itself, in contrast, the 'prophet's message' remains unheard as the reception of satellite television is still strictly forbidden. State interventions such as the introduction of jammers to prevent the reception of channels like the BBC and CNN have even increased in the last months along with raids on the owners of satellite dishes."


Die Tageszeitung 17.08.2007

J. Kraatz Magri comments on the unbroken popularity in Italy of national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, who seems to epitomise the country's desire for a strong man. "Scoring an unbeatable 46 percent, Garibaldi is the number one in the VIP charts in Italian history, followed by Mussolini with 15 percent. Among the politicians still alive today, only Berlusconi made it into the top eight. Along with Garibaldi and Mussolini, he, too, is convinced he must save the nation, and he conducts himself as a glamorous anti-politician and freedom hero (today's term is neoliberalism) who deduces his legitimacy from his privileged relation to the people."

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