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02/08/2005

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 02.08.2005

Jens Bisky is unable to find an honest prescription for the new federal states (former East Germany) in the current election manifestos. "All the fuss over new Linkspartei (the leftist alliance spearheaded by Gregor Gysi, former chairman of the PDS, and Oskar Lafontaine, SPD finance minister and rival of Chancellor Schröder) allows people to hurl the old clichees at the new reality once again. In other words, to spin the familiar tale about 'inner unity' or to picture the East full of bitter old men shaking their fists, and to wrack one's brains over whether or not Angela Merkel will be able to mollify them. But the problems lie elsewhere. The East is still the largest building site of the Republic, two thirds of Germany's growth problems stem from the burdens of reunification. If the Solidarity Pact, continues to be implemented as it has been until now, these burdens will continue to grow. If the policies behind Aufbau Ost (the restructuring plan for East Germany) continue to emphasise state and equality, East German society will fall further into a parallel world."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 02.08.2005

Campaigning for the upcoming fall elections has begun. The capital is suddenly plastered with candidate's posters and a green modular box called the Wählbar (vote bar/votable) has sprouted up on Oranienburgerstrasse in the trendy and tourist centre of east Berlin. Andreas Platthaus is not impressed by the Green party's attempt to be clever. "This culturally protected area is made up of artificial grass and potted plants – exactly what the formerly ecological, now good times party, imagines to be environmental. It's not an info box but an intro box: campaigning for cocktailers." And on top of that, Platthaus finds nothing new on offer at the bar – a disappointment from a party so adept at reform. Among his suggestions: Bloody Merkel, Joschkapirinha and Gerhard Colada.


Die Tageszeitung, 02.08.2005

Zafer Senocak bemoans the shattered state of German-Turkish relations, which are becoming increasingly stigmatised. "For days a debate has under way about intelligence quotients in Turkish immigrant children, which, according to the statistics, are lower that those of German children. The connection between intelligence, problems in school, and ethnic background is suddenly being perceived as a plausible, simple explanation for phenomena which in reality are complex and contradictory. In fact, statistics have become a must for anyone who wants to take part in the debate on German-Turkish relations. It looks as if emotional coldness, fear and perceived racial differences are now being underpinned by hard facts. Turks beat their wives more often than Germans and their children do worse in school."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 02.08.2005


While travelling through Bohemia and its villages, through Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) and Marienbad (Marianska Lazne), Andreas Breitenstein notes a relaxing in German-Czech relations and a "reflection on the historic legacy of Bohemia beyond the old national grudges... That nobody in Bohemia wanted to accept the homeless German culture over the decades is a disaster for the region. Intentional destruction was one thing, systematic neglect the other – although the communist verdict affected old German castles as much as it did Czech cloisters. It is only now with the end of the Cold War and the perspective of Europe that a new orientation of remembrance is taking place. What is already advanced in Poland is now beginning slowly, laboriously: the maintenance of the culture that was 'defeated' in 1945, the memory of the 'other' without which the 'self' cannot be remembered."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 02.08.2005

Daniel Kothenschulte takes up the thesis of film-maker and CNN terror expert Adam Curtis who considers that Al Qaeda is an invention of the western secret service and neo-Cons. Kothenschulte was quite convinced by Curtis' three- hour BBC documentary which posited that Al Qaeda functions as a projection of the enemy from the times of the Cold War: "Curtis shows wonderful fantastical sketches which, according to the US Ministry of Defence, were supposed to illustrate a possible high tech Al Qaeda fort in the mountains of the Afghan Tora Bora. All that was found there later were a few caves." Now it only remains to be seen how the neo-Cons brought down the World Trade Center.

Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich raves about Günter Krämer's production of Mozart's early opera "Mitridate", conducted by Mark Minkowski at the Salzburg festival. "A bitterly necessary compensation for the 'Magic Flute' attempt which under Mozart-mad festival director Peter Ruzicka misfired embarrassingly (and to no great surprise)." Among the many aspects of the performance which thrilled Jungheinrich were the "fantastic" singers. "A constellation of artists that will be hard to forget. A vocal ensemble that makes a the sort of impression in the course of three hours normally reserved for a group of indelible characters in a novel."

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