09/09/2005

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 09.09.2005

In a surprising move, Sayyid al-Qimni, liberal lecturer on the sociology of religion at Cairo University, has publicly distanced himself from his previous writings in which he treats Islam as a historical phenomenon, and therefore open to different interpretations, reports Fakhri Saleh. The reason: an email death threat from Islamic fundamentalists. Qimni's colleagues are showing concern. "Ahmad Abdul Muti Hijazi, one of the most famous Egyptian poets, wrote in the daily paper Al Ahram that illegal terrorist formations now presume to divide humanity into 'believers' and 'non-believers', and then decide what can or cannot be said or written. For Hijazi, al-Qimni's retreat is a sad farce, a cynical manifesto expressing the state of the Arab world at the beginning of the 21st century."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 09.09.2005


Russian Journalist Julia Jusik reports on the Russian member of parliament Aleksandr Torschin, who is responsible for clarifying the many unanswered questions associated with the Beslan massacre and whose inquiry is falling increasingly on deaf ears. "If one puts all the puzzle pieces of the Beslan tragedy together, a terrifying picture emerges. It looks as though Beslan was planned to be a deliberate failure, to have a high number of victims. It looks as though the horrible chaos that the security forces and soldiers created after storming the school was necessary in order to ensure that the attackers got away (we've had this already in Russian history - think of Budennovsk or Kislyar) and that the Russian soldiers got an anonymous order to shoot at the school with flame throwers and tanks."

Sandra Kegel summarises the results of a study conducted by Meike Dinklage with the title "The Reproduction Strike" which suggests that men are largely responsible for Germany's low birth rate. "More often than outright refusers, Meike Dinklage encounters "maybe later" men, for whom childlessness has slowly established itself. They don't harbour increasing pessimism about the future of the world, as was the case in the 1980s when environmental degradation was cited as a reason not to have children, nor about the results of globalisation, as was the case in the 1990s. These men simply put off fatherhood, procrastinate with the thought and are not really sure they want children."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 09.09.2005

Isabel Mundry has received much praise for her opera "Ein Atemzug – die Odyssee" (a gasp of breath – the Odyssey), which had its world premiere at the Deutsche Oper two nights ago. Reinhard J. Brembeck agrees. "Whether the subject is the cows of Helios, the lotus eaters – those antique junkies of the sweet cult of forgetfulness – whether she deals with Aolus, the god of wind, or cannibals like the Laestrygones or Cyclops – Mundry never stoops to shallow reflection of the story line. Rather, she has written a multitude of short orchestral meditations that evoke a calm and yet infinitely diverse sound cosmos. Certainly, at first glance her approach seems highly intellectual." But not if you look deeper, Brembeck writes. "Because the music is anything but overbearing, and takes a wide berth around the fanciful, hysterical or provocative. Mundry's score is a self-contained counterpart to Homer's text in which archaic elements blend with the everyday, the supernatural and the rigorously aristocratic."
See "In Today's Feuilletons" of Wednesday 7 September for an interview with the composer.

Once more – after Babylon, Troy, Sodom and Gomorrah – a city is being blamed for its own downfall, writes Petra Steinberger about New Orleans. "In this way, a city built by people becomes an independent entity that takes on the features of whoever people choose to blame: a city of street hawkers and marketeers, a city of sinners, of blacks, of criminals, of the lazy and the laisser-faire. Middle-class moralists, purist ecologists and critics of capitalism are falling over themselves to denounce their respective culprits. A peculiar type of hatred is being levelled at what is called civilisation, in its debauched, depraved, corrupt form, the opposite of everything orderly, clear and structured. A type of civilisation, that is, which is best personified by the city.


Frankfurter Rundschau, 09.09.2005

Condoleeza Rice presents herself as a perky "runner", Madeleine Albright as a stately lady and Angela Merkel as a "reliable housekeeper". Hannelore Schlaffer makes fun of the poor taste of female politicians in Germany, and explains the specifically German phenomenon as a necessary response to society's expectations. "German women politicians, who have to fool half a nation that they have realised the dream of emancipation, hardly represent the ideals of emancipated women at all – and for that very reason, they are emancipated. They have understood that they have to adjust their looks to male appearances, that they have to relinquish all feminine signals, all fashionable play. They do the same work as men and, because how one looks represents what one is, they have to look like men."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

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Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

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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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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

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