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GoetheInstitute

24/02/2006

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, 24.02.2006

Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka reflects on cultural dialogue from an African standpoint. "A dialogue between civilisations cannot – with respect to most developing countries and especially the African continent – be undertaken from the same starting point as that of other dialogue partners. In Africa, we must apply all our attention to winning back that which has been lost. The uncritical acceptance of the development criteria of European nations on the African continent has led to great losses. As a result, the mere term dialogue of civilisations is an unequal exercise; the rest, the subject of the dialogue, is often little more than a truncated estimation of existing civilisations."


Die Welt, 24.02.2006

Following in the tracks of Dan Brown's bestseller "Da Vinci Code," Klaus Fritz travels to Rennes-le-Chateau , the former home of a counfoundingly rich parish priest. His wealth did not stem from from his knowledge of the grail, but quite another source. "The money of the village priest came, in part, in tiny payments sent by mail to his house. Abbe Sauniere sold requiem masses. For non-Catholics, this must sound like a kind of precursor to Ebay. And indeed, Sauniere put ads in international papers, all the way to Germany and got money back. His customers were unable to prove whether he actually held the masses for the dearly departed. Three a day were allowed, but the priest sold thousands of masse
s."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 24.02.2006


Felix Philipp Ingold takes a worried look at the new Russian patriotism now being professed by the most varied political factions in the country. The new spirit is a "reactionary movement seeking to reinstate the collapsed empire with the status it once had as an imperial power and – against the growing dynamic of globalisation – to forge ahead on a special Russian path. This, they claim, is the only one suitable to lead the population, pauperised by democratisation and the market economy, to a 'bright future'. Neo-Stalinists, neo-fascists, neo-Slavophiles, national Bolsheviks, 'new heathens', and young Orthodox all show a remarkable consensus here. They are all committed to a 'new patriotism', one that is increasingly making itself felt in publishing and journalism, culture and philosophy as 'the new Russian idea'."


Die Tageszeitung, 24.02.2006

Viennese philosopher Isolde Charim analyses the "totalitarian game" of Islamic terror. In view of the war of cultures being forced upon the West, Charim says she no longer believes dialogue is possible. "Because dialogue presupposes liberalism not only in the dialogue partner, but also as the background against which such a dialogue can take place at all. But with its religious identity, Islamism has put itself on different terrain from the outset: it has made religion not only what is at stake in the conflict, but also the medium of the conflict. As a result, the West finds itself not only in an undesired friend-enemy constellation. It is also forced to defend its order like an article of faith. In short, Islamism is forcing the 'West' into the irrationality of a conflict of beliefs."

On the media page, Gabriele Lesser describes the brutal struggle between the Springer and Agora newspaper groups in Poland. "Many media observers speculate that a Polish version of Springer's Die Welt could hit the market in Poland as early as April. Around 200 journalists, graphic artists, photographers and technicians have been working for some months now on the group's newest paper. Since the German Bundeskartelamt (Federal Cartel Office) rejected Springer's takeover bid for the ProSiebenSat.1 television group (more here), Springer has announced it would shift its focus abroad."


Berliner Zeitung, 24.02.2006

Yoko Ono is currently in Berlin for the exhibition "Heal Yoko Ono," which opened yesterday. In an interview with Sebastian Preuss, she sends a message of freedom towards Denmark. "I don't want to criticise the caricaturists, because they were certainly not aware of the pain they would cause other people. But I think it was wrong to publish those drawings. An apology is necessary. The most important thing is to show understanding for other opinions and ways of life."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24.02.2006

In an interview, Necla Kelek accuses her critics (more here) of wearing blinkers. "We forget that many Muslim immigrants live in a collective whose worldview is Islam. What we lovingly call the large family lives according to its own rules, there is no individual freedom, no yes or no to the headscarf, to the imported bride or groom. Those who leave this collective are committing treason. Not many dare to do that, and neither the schools nor the employment or social offices are suggesting that this will change. I've asked Muslim youth in my interviews, do you have German friends? No, is the most common answer, they have no pride, no honour. I've given up hope that this might change as modernity spreads. We can see the development, since the 1990s at the latest. I conducted many interviews two years later. The positions were only more entrenched."

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