12/10/2005

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 Tageszeitung, 12.10.2005

In view of the events in Ceuta and Mililla (more here), Member of the European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit demands in an interview with Sabine am Orde that African immigration to Europe should be organised and legalised. "The EU should open immigration offices everywhere in Africa where people wanting to migrate to Europe could register. The EU should then review the applicants' qualifications on location, and support enterprises that are already working there. If people have a legal chance of getting to Europe, many of them would try to use it. In that way illegal immigration could be reduced."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12.10.2005


Shortly before the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature is to be announced, 82-year-old Knut Ahnlund has stepped down from the committee as an act of protest. In an article in yesterday's Svenska Dagbladet reprinted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he cites as his reason last year's distinction of Elfriede Jelinek (homepage) for her "work that treads on the spot in a largely incomprehensible way... Denigration, humiliation, desecration and self-disgust, sadism and masochism are the main themes of Elfried Jelinek's work. All other aspects of human life are left out. That's why her work is so poor. It's burdened by the fruits of television and the Internet, saturated with a rotten mix of abhorrence and fascination."

Stephan Märki, general director of the Deutsche Nationaltheater in Weimar, writes to the future Minister of State for Culture - who will be named by the CDU - that "good cultural policy begins with the admission of a certain degree of ignorance" of what culture is. The subsidies should not only be applied to the preservation of existing facilities. "In the question – which will be one of the first to be discussed – whether the Kulturstiftung der Länder (The Cultural Foundation of the Federal States) should be amalgamated with the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (The Federal Cultural Foundation), the following should be considered: Of course, it's a good idea to get rid of duplicated structures. But it must not be in the spirit and with the intention of taking money that the Kulturstiftung des Bundes used to invest in free projects and co-operations with existing cultural institutions and putting it into conventional expenses such as the acquisition of art for state collections."


Spiegel Online, 12.10.2005

Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink has been sentenced to a six month prison sentence on probation for allegedly insulting the Turkish identity. Three years ago at a conference in south Turkey, Dink criticized a line in the Turkish national anthem that speaks of "my heroic race". Green Party Member of the European Parliament Cem Özdemir comments on the trial against a man who, as an Armenian and a member of the Turkish reform movement, is sitting in the crossfires. "Part of the judicial apparatus blatantly promotes a policy opposed to both the EU intentions of the AKP government and the Turkish civil rights movement. By pulling people like Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, before the courts, the judicial apparatus is sending a clear signal to Ankara and Brussels. And it's by no means an accident that these people are being arraigned now. The reactionary elements in the judiciary are consciously playing into the hands of opponents - both Turkish and Europeans - to Turkey's entry into the EU.


die tageszeitung, 12.10.2005


Mia Raben has observed individual efforts in Poland to re-build a Left, which still carries with it negative assocations. "Ther term 'Lewica' is considered an insult. It combines the repressive pre-1989 past with the corrupt networks of the post-communists today. There is enormous fury with all the Apparatchiks who were able, through dubious dealings, to convert their political into financial power after 1989. That's one reason why the most popular party in the country is called 'Law and Justice' and why the Left is on the margins."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 12.10.2005

Last year Helena Waldmann became the first Western theatre director allowed to work in Iran. She explains to Sylvia Staude in an interview that her being from the West didn't mean she was spared Iranian censorship regulations. "We finished staging the play in Germany. So the censors only saw the play a day before the premiere at the Fadjr Festival in Tehran (more info here). In my case there were two of them. They watched the play and then removed several things, for example a dance projected onto the tent wall. Actually it was just a very delicate shadow dance, and of course you can't see skin or anything. We were told it can only be projected as an immobile image. If there's no movement it's okay, we were told. And we had to take out the solo voice of a woman. Female solo singing is forbidden. Then a day later things escalated dramatically. All of a sudden nine more censors were there."


Der Tagesspiegel, 12.10.2005

Germany is badly in need of a national academy of sciences, writes microbiologist Alexander S. Kekule on the opinion page. Yet "it has to be different in every way from previous models. Its most important task would be to bring order to the splintered research landscape and define common objectives with which Germany could raise its profile, for example regarding EU bids. Also necessary is the establishment of general standards, for example for the evaluation of scientific performances. This requires a slim, flexible organisation. But none of the eight (regional) academies in Germany have this kind of organisation. With their total of around 2,400 members, these learned societies are too big, too inflexible, too outdated and, scientifically speaking, riddled with mediocrity."

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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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