02/11/2005

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.

Frankfurter Rundschau. 02.11.2005

Following a power struggle within his party that suggests the dawn of a younger, more liberal era, SPD Chairman Franz Müntefering announced on Monday that he will relinquish his position in the new coalition government. Shortly thereafter, Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber, slated for the post of Economics Minister, followed suit and withdrew his candidacy (news-story here). With two kingpins down, the negotiations for the new coalition government have descended into chaos. Christian Schlüter considers the decisions of Müntefering and Stoiber "not tragic, nut funny, just feeble" and sees the development as part of a trend that began under the outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, exemplified in his decision to call premature elections in the first place: "Under Schröder, in the course of a few years, the principles of political behaviour, of what is considered possible, thinkable and acceptable, have shifted. A new political era: anti-institutional, irresponsible."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 02.11.2005

Martin Kömpchen assesses the situation in Kashmir after the earthquake. Tens of thousands of people are destined to die for lack of health care and supplies. Measures to save them are being delayed as India and Pakistan aren't sure if they can trust each other to work together: "While the Indians were quick to offer help, the Pakistanis hesitated, and finally accepted to help on certain conditions. Then they retreated and waited for the official go-ahead. For its part, the Indian side awaited exact plans and rules. In short the whole thing was a hurly-burly with people acting in conflicting ways. The desire to help was met with suspicion, and need competed with military requirements. This phase still hasn't ended. It remains unclear if the great need will bring people together in the long term, or if it will give terrorists in Kashmir and the cities an opportunity to add fuel to hatred and plans for secession."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 02.11.2005

Urs Schoettli tells how tens of thousands of Jews managed to escape the Holocaust in Shanghai. Visas or passports weren't required, and 12,000 refugees came to the city in 1939 alone. "Influential elements in Shanghai's 3,000-strong German community took action against the immigration. The NSDAP had already opened a branch office in Shanghai in 1932, and even the Gestapo operated more or less openly. Regardless of this, a 'Jewish Town' with around 10,000 people established itself in Hongkou district. Although around 70 percent of the refugees were living hand-to-mouth, a lively cultural life soon began to flourish. There were concerts, amateur theatres, and over thirty newspapers and journals appeared in German, Yiddish and Polish between 1939 and 1946."


die tageszeitung, 02.11.2005

Bert Rebhandel looks back on the career of Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was murdered 30 years ago today. "His whole life, Pasolini was on the lookout for a class whose vitality would stand up to modernity's pressure to conform. Because was always working with new actors and discovering new plebby idols, he was continually explaining and discussing, theorising and advertising. His political ideal was last but not least influenced by sexual attractiveness. A decisive factor in choosing his class subjects of the future was whether they were good looking."


Die Welt, 02.11.2005

Kai Luerhs-Kaiser portrays the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi, whose father Neeme Järvi has put out over 350 CDs and counts among the country's leading conductors. Järvi junior also thinks big. "Today Paavo heads three orchestras, and is on the verge of taking over a fourth, the Sinfonie-Orchester des Hessischen Rundfunks. Delusions of grandeur? No, more like slow and steady multiplication. 'Conducting is what I like to do best when I'm not making music,' Järvi gives as his excuse. Numerous CDs reveal in him one of the most innovative, unpredictable talents of his generation." Paavo Järvi now heads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Estonian National Orchestra and the Bremen-based Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie. "Järvi has proved himself to be tireless at tickling sounds from his orchestras. After a day's rehearsal you can't be sure if things will remain as they are, or if they'll take an entirely new direction that evening. The Grammy-winner says he prefers not to act as guest conductor. 'You always work the best with your own orchestras', he quotes George Szell."

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