30/06/2005

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, 30.06.2005

"The 'Linkspartei', the new party of the Left, is neither new nor Left". So begins a public condemnation of the new leftist alliance spearheaded by Gregor Gysi (former chairman of the PDS, the successor to the Communist Party of East Germany) and Oskar Lafontaine (former SPD finance minister and rival of Chancellor Schröder) signed by a group of writers, Hans Christoph Buch, Wolf Biermann, Klaus Harpprecht, Uwe Kolbe, Günter Kunert, Gert Loschütz, Monika Maron and Peter Schneider. The authors accuse Gysi and Lafontaine of right-wing populist sentiment, peddling in social fear and xenophobia. "It is telling that the PDS in East Germany did nothing against the rampant xenophobia, but rubbed its hands gleefully behind closed doors -side by side with the neo-Nazis of the NPD (German Nationalist Party). The convergence of Left and far Right ideology is more than just an election manoeuvre. The no of the PDS to the European constitution indicates this just as clearly as Lafontaine's objection to reunification."

Wolf Lepenies talked to Nigerian writer and Nobel Prize for Literature winner Wole Soyinka about world literature, world politics, the European and African Union as well as Tony Blair's initiative to cut Third World debt. Soyinka's nonchalant advice to the excited Europeans: "Don't try to hard to achieve something that is unattainable at the moment."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 30.06.2005

Thirty-six years ago a bomb was laid in the Jewish Community Centre in Berlin. Although it didn't explode, the perpetrators later said it did, referring to the huge stir caused by its discovery the following morning. Two days ago Wolfgang Kraushaar of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research named the hitherto unidentified perpetrators and members of the "Kommune 1": the man who planted the bomb Albert Fichter and the brains behind the operation Dieter Kunzelmann. Kraushaar revealed the information at the presention of his book "The Bomb in the Jewish Community Centre", which will be published shortly. Volker Breidecker was there, and comments that paradoxically the 68er generation's collective suppression of National Socialism has proved more enduring than their revolutionary movement. "Now, 36 years later, the alarm has gone off. An oppressive mood reigned in the seminar room of the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt... Despite the heavy summer air, the details were chilling. Micha Brumlik, director of the institute, said he was 'extremely depressed' by this new chapter in the history of left wing anti-Semitism. Kraushaar not only visited the perpetrators and named the main culprit, he also illuminated what lay behind of the attack: the opening act of German terrorism was motivated by anti-Semitism."


Die Zeit, 30.06.2005

In an interview with Thomas Assheuer und Christof Siemes, writer and businessman Ernst-Wilhelm Händler explains the dire economic situation of the Germany corporation as the lack of a decent assignment. "We are in the midst, and have been for a while, of global competition, and everybody has to do what he's best at. My idea of producing intellectual content is certainly nothing particularly original. We Germans are famous for being 'Dichter und Denker' (poets and thinkers), so why don't we do what we're good at. The Germans were never famous for wanting to earn money. The German affect against money is part of the heritage of Romanticism. Nobody can make a German profitable, his heart is against it."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 30.06.2005

"It could well be that you get more conservative with age" says Brigitte Kronauer, this year's winner of Germany's top literary award, the Georg Büchner Prize, in conversation with Ina Hartwig. "It has to do with having experienced the fragility of the world, the people, the things, and the frailty of ideas. You no longer think of so-called traditions or long histories of either living creatures or things as invulnerable. You no longer see them as something oppressively overpowering that you feel compelled to attack them for that very reason. No, they seem so breakable, passed down from one generation to the next, that you feel you must protect them."


Berliner Zeitung, 30.06.2005

Bora Cosic, a Serbian writer living in Berlin, discusses the proposal of Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka in Brussels that "the poor East" would be prepared to forgo its financial benefits in favour of the richer countries of the West, calling it a "dadaistic chess move" worthy of the theatre of the absurd. "As soon as the poor have even the smallest amount of money at their disposal, they vie with each other to blow every last cent. In the logic of misery there's no reason to save, because everything's going down the drain anyway. You just have to think of the hugely expensive wedding celebrations of the Serbs, Slovaks and Roma. No expense is spared for this unique day of well-being."

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