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GoetheInstitute

12/04/2006

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.

Die Zeit, 12.04.2006

"It's hard to believe that Die Zeit is offering the lead article to me, the son of a metalworker and a cleaning lady from Bolu in Anatolia," writes the author Ferdiun Zaimoglu on the front page. Zaimoglu then lists what he believes must be done in "his Germany" to induce Turks to wave the German flag. "Once they've aligned themselves with freedom and the law, Muslims have a well-justified claim: that their faith be visible. They've stuck it out in the backyards for long enough. Jobs, regulations, German and free religion – those must be the pillars of a new German society. The action plan looks like this: first a high-level emotional appeal, from the interior minister, or better from the chancellor. If necessary the speech must have Turkish subtitles. Cooperation with the biggest Turkish newspaper, Hürriyet. The educational offensive must reach Turkish households, Turkish parents. More money – of course - so children can be taught German even as preschoolers."
See our feature "From Turkish boy to German writer" by Feridun Zaimoglu.


Die Tageszeitung, 12.04.2006

"Let us thank God for these powerful means." Jürgen Bätz quotes Pope John Paul II, who died one year ago, in his article on the revolution in media politics that took place during the 27 year papacy. John Paul II began by "instrumentalising the media for the very particular purpose of his office: the worldwide propaganda of the gospel... His successor has to carry on this media path nolens volens, even if it's not in his nature to do so. John Paul II knew that he had no other choice in the communication era. In order to spread his holy message and to maintain the power and influence of the Vatican as a 'global player' in international politics, he had to use the media. This is how the symbiotic relationship was established, in which he always allowed himself to be photographed, and thus made the media the knights of his crusade."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12.04.2006


Matthias Rohe
, professor of comparative law in Erlangen, wants to make a distinction between arranged and forced marriages and criticises – obviously with reference to author Necla Kelek – "generalisations which stylise Islam as a polar opposite to western thought and force Muslims to constantly defend themselves as peace-loving people, despite their religion. This creates a unique alliance between Muslim and Christian fundamentalists, enriched by radicals from the left and right, feminists and other extremists, journalistic crisis-profiteers, who are the focus of much media attention these days."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12.04.2006


The days of "apolitical, self-absorbed and irrelevant" fiction are over, writes author Jana Hensel, referring to authors that have followed a trend established by Judith Hermann. "In the last months, young authors like Kirsten Fuchs , Claudia Klischat, Marion Poschmann, Clemens Meyer and Jens Petersen have brought out novels set in the social reality of the German underclass. They were all written in the era of the red green coalition and tell more of employment offices, 'Ich AGs' (self emplyoment schemes), unemployment, welfare and Hartz IV than of a new bourgeois lifestyle that some commentators claim to see developing in contemporary culture." When, we wonder, did the "underclass" regain terminological acceptance?


Die Welt, 12.04.2006

Eckhard Führ is not surprised that Kurt Beck, another politician from Rhineland-Palatinate (like Helmut Kohl) has made it to the top of federal politics. Beck has taken over the leadership of the Social Democratic Party after Matthias Platzeck stepped down for health reasons on Monday (news story). Beck's rise "stands for the fact that not everything that speaks of continuity can be crushed by the wheel of social and political change. The Palatinate, and in a wider sense the leftist Rhine – three of the most recent SPD leaders (Rudolf Scharping, Oscar Lafontaine and Kurt Beck) come from there – is a permanent fixture in German politics. There must be a certain degree of Bonn in the Berlin Republic."


Essen beats Görlitz as European Capital of Culture for 2010

The city of Essen, in the heart of Germany's Ruhr Area, has been chosen as European Cultural Capital by a jury acting on behalf of the European Commission. Pecs in Hungary was selected as the second Cultural Capital among the new EU member states. And Istanbul has been named Cultural Capital from a European country that is not a member of the EU.

Writing in the Frankfurter Rundschau, Christian Thomas compares the merits of Essen and the twin contenders Görlitz in Germany and neighbouring Polish Zgorzelec across the Neisse River, which formed a single city until 1945. "Essen's hopes were based on its structural transformation over the last 30 years, whose blemishes still mark the city's landscape in dire grey tones. Görlitz versus Essen: the promise of beauty versus the promise of infrastructure – an image against a concept. But the race was also one of a double city against a region, a civic commune of yore against a former proletarian melting pot, a colourful and homogeneously revitalised history against a coal mining prehistory that often took place underground. And finally, a tidy microcosm with Gothic ribbed vault buildings against a conurbation where industrial monuments no longer stand like bizarre rusted silhouettes, but have become cultural beacons."

In Die Welt, Dankwart Guratzsch looks for reasons why Essen pulled the long straw. "Essen's trumps were its sensational efforts to revamp its image, its structures and its position in society. The city is the hub of the largest urban centre in Europe with a good five million inhabitants, a huge nameless urban colossus. Many of its centres don't really have a core. The area has a tough will for life and a slowly fermenting development, but no overarching development concept. Rather than just counting on its own profile, Essen went into the competition with the image of an 'urban association.' It focused on the 'cultural heritage' of heavy industry, which after 150 years is now in deep-rooted upheaval. The city is determined to bring about structural transformation in which mines become design centres and steelworks become rock climbing landscapes."

Andreas Rossmann sums up in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "Essen didn't win alone. It won – as prescribed by the regulations – as 'standard bearer' for the entire Ruhr Area, and stood for a vital conurbation made up of eleven cities and four districts with 53 communities. With a population of 5.3 million, the Ruhr Area is one and a half times as big as Berlin. With five opera houses (Berlin has three), five universities (Berlin three), three Bundesliga soccer clubs (and the Ruhr Area's Schalke is higher ranked than Berlin's Herta), it would be the largest city in Germany if only, yes, if only it had a concept of itself."




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