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GoetheInstitute

06/06/2005

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.

Monday 6 June, 2005

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 06.06.2005


"In the final analysis, the 'no' to the European constitution means: not this way. But the 'how, then?' remains a question that can't be answered with a plebiscite. Jürgen Habermas continues to propagate the idea of a "Core Europe" as the best means of accelerating the process of integration in the European Union. "The current provisions for a closer cooperation of at least eight member states are less restrictive than the corresponding rules in the draft constitution." Habermas hopes that the SPD-Green coalition government will find the courage in their despair to implement this. "If Red-Green uses the election campaign to create a more hopeful alternative to the paralysing scenario of further ineffectual policies and economic decline, it could send a signal – and its exit could take on greater meaning. Nothing significant changes in history without symbolic acts, and signs which future generations can look back on to gain support for their own future. The '68 generation were once receptive to romantic ideas."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 06.06.2005


Romanian journalist Mircea Vasilescu believes the "no" of the French and the Dutch has endangered his country's entry into the EU. He protests: "On the one hand, the West demands that we engage in rigorous reforms in the name of European integration. On the other hand, it 'sabotages' this integration because the citizens of some Western countries are dissatisfied with the national policies of their governments."

Journalist and author Hans Christoph Buch draws attention to the deplorable situation in Congo, where 3.8 million people have died since the end of the Mobutu regime. The main cause is the ongoing tension between the Hutus and Tutsis in the East of the country. The international community is again guilty of turning a blind eye. Buch considers Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who the German government holds in high esteem, to be one of those most responsible for the country's plight: "Rwandan President Kagame's claim that there are no longer Hutus and Tutsis but rather Rwandans obscures the gap between words and facts: under the disguise of national reconciliation, his military regime mercilessly decimated the Hutu population inside and outside Rwanda and at the same time destabilised Congo. If this statement seems exaggerated, one should recall the massacre in the refugee camp Kibeho on April 22, 1995, where the Rwandan army killed thousands of Hutu civilians, mainly women and children..."


die tageszeitung, 06.06.2005

Sebastian Frenzel presents the 29 year old performance artist and "moment actualiser" Tino Sehgal, who together with painter Thomas Scheibitz will represent Germany in its pavilion (more) at the upcoming Biennale in Venice. Sehgal has made a name for himself with fleeting actions, of which neither photos nor video recordings remain. "Imagine that you come into the gallery space and see: nothing. The rooms are empty. There are no images, no sculptures. Then suddenly the museum attendant comes up to you, hops up and down, points to everything and exclaims: 'This is good. Tino Sehgal. 2001.'"


Saturday 4 June, 2005


Berliner Zeitung, 04.06.2005


In a long interview, author Ines Geipel and economic journalist Uwe Müller discuss the problem of East Germany from different perspectives. Müller calls the German unification an economic worst case scenario, while Geipel emphasises the importance of cultural life. "Looked at in broad daylight, East Germany is a pure social desert. The bright flash of clear-minded civil consciousness in autumn of '89 has now flagged, weariness is visible everywhere. All the posts are occupied, the structures are inflexible. The game is up, as they say. A debate on the constitution? Communicating the rule of law and democratic values? It would really take courage, not to mention a good deal of wit, to seriously try to change things now."


Die Tageszeitung, 04.06.2005

Jürgen Zimmer, president of the European Network of Genocide Scholars (ENGS), reports pessimistically from Turkey: "Three major Turkish universities hosted a conference at Bosporus University in Istanbul from May 25 – 27, on the topic 'Osmanian Armenians during the Decline of the Empire. Questions of Academic Responsibility and Democracy'. One goal of the event was to allow Turkish academics to voice contrasting views to the official Turkish perspective. But instead of providing impressive evidence of the modernity and openness of the EU candidate, the event was a signal for the suppression of the freedom of opinion." Foreign minister Cemil Cicek exerted massive pressure on the scholars, berating them openly. Merely contending that there was a genocide of Armenians is still a punishable offence in Turkey today.


Frankfurter Rundschau, 04.06.2005

Inspired by recent voting results, which he calls "the trademark of collective incompetence", author Richard Wagner argues that "Western Europe is decadent". "The call for protectionism says something about the investment weariness, the inertia and the decadence of Western Europeans. They want protectionism to take the place of reform. The Western European is the consumer of a 21st century tailored in China. But as a producer – in line with Marx – he sells his wares at the highest price he can. What he seems not to notice is that in so doing he's trying to be on both sides of the class struggle. Europe of the unions should perhaps read a little Marx."

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The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
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Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
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Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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