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GoetheInstitute

21/06/2005

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.

Die Welt, 21.06.2005

Former French culture minister Jack Lang recommends in an interview that his colleagues show somewhat less arrogance. In his view they should try to learn from other countries. England too? "Yes, why not, even if I don't approve of all British policies – above all during the Iraq War. But honestly you have to recognise that Blair has improved the public service and created almost a million new jobs in just a few years. And it's very courageous of him to declare himself a European in a country where for historical and geographic reasons Europe is not high in public favour. I think that certain French politicians could show a bit more modesty." But Lang is also sad "that the vast majority failed to show the slightest sympathy for countries of the Third World, or other EU members. Our campaign was an exercise in navel-gazing. We spoke only about ourselves, as if we were living on Venus."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 21.06.2005

A sheer fraud is what author Navid Kermani calls the results of the first round in the Iranian elections last Friday, when the ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran Mahmood Ahmadinejad came in second after Ali Akbar Rafsanjani. "On Saturday afternoon Mehdi Karrubi, one of the most senior politicians in the Islamic Republic, publicly expressed for the first time what more and more Iranians are thinking: that they have been defrauded, and in a big way. In a press conference, Karrubi accused the Guardian Council, the military and the voluntary Basiji militia of manipulating the elections in favour of Ahmadinejad. Karrubi was not more specific, but simply announced that he could present proof in the form of videos and taped conversations. Nevertheless it was clear to every observer in Teheran what he meant. Many Iranians had seen how on the previous evening voters were driven in buses from polling station to polling station, going in to vote in closed groups." Click here for Kermani's feature "I can't live without Europe" on signandsight.


Der Tagesspiegel, 21.06.2005

In this month's Literaturen magazine, Austrian writer Peter Handke expounds over twenty pages why Slobodan Milosevic will not receive justice at the UN War Crimes Tribunal in Den Haag, and also why he, Handke, will not stand in court as Milosevic's witness. "The text is at once self-justification and foamy-mouthed invective against the world. This is a dual strategy: avoiding examination and wanting to determine it at the same time. Posing as poet and acting as journalist" is Gregor Dotzauer's damning commentary. For him, Handke has secured his position "once and for all in the military-poetic complex'". See our Magazine Roundup for an excerpt of Handke's text from Literaturen.)


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 21.06.2005

In Spain the conservatives are waking up from the shock-induced coma which they lapsed into after their fall from grace in the wake of the Madrid train bombing. Three times in a row they have gone onto the streets, protected from the hostile elements by their Hermes scarves, to defy the politics of the current government, writes Paul Ingendaay. "After a good year of resentment and petrification, all those who seemed so firmly established in Aznar's Spain are rubbing their eyes and looking at the world anew. Do they want to wait until they are in power again? Or are they prepared to make themselves felt outside the political arena as is traditional with opposition parties? Faced with the uninviting alternative of being overrun by a development in society that they reject, the conservative activists are painting banners, sending emails and tying their shoelaces."


Berliner Zeitung, 21.06.2005

Arno Widmann writes on the one hundredth birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre: "Sartre was no intellectual. He was one of the most influential philosophers of the mid-20th century, one of the most widely read novelists and a hugely successful playwright. When he commented on the war in Indochina, torture in Algeria or camps in the Soviet Union, he did so as someone who had gained public esteem, respect, even love and hatred, in other domains than simply the opinion pages. He was an energetic proponent of intellectual engagement, but he never confused engagement with the cause itself. Today's intellectual, by contrast, is someone who has no body of work, just opinions."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21.06.2005

Christopher Schmidt takes a walk through Stuttgart, which has been completely taken over by the Theater der Welt international theatre festival. "The protagonists of 'Of All the People in All the World', which is exhibited in a huge train hangar, are 6.4 billion grains of rice. The performers from Stan's Cafe in Birmingham represent statistical data with mountains of rice. The effect is astonishing. The rice dunes get bigger and bigger, demonstrating the growth of the world's population in all its force. And they show the simultaneous shortage of work. The rice shows how many homeless there are, and how few people a firm like Nokia employs. It shows the large number of Palestinian refugees and the small Israeli population. As many people eat at MacDonalds every day as live in Poland. The rice shows how the few rule over the many, who has power and who remains nameless – all this in a rare, impressive way."

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