18/04/2006

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.

Tuesday 18 April, 2006

Mild sentence for "honour killing"

On Thursday of last week, Ayhan Sürücü was sentenced to just over nine years for shooting his sister Hatun because her Western lifestyle had purportedly tarnished the family's honour. Ayhan's two brothers were cleared of charges for conspiring in the murder (news story).

Writing in Die Welt, author Zafer Senocak says there is no justification in Islam either for murder or for "honour killings." Yet if the imams remain silent when a woman is killed, he comments, it is because Islam is not entirely innocent either. "This evil results from the fact that women are treated like wards of their husbands. Woe betide the man who fails to keep his wife on the path of good moral conduct. In this conceptual construct women are not independent subjects. They are distinctly subordinated to their husbands – almost a continuation of them. Muslims must finally at least start talking about this antiquated view of women. It's not enough simply to assert that Islam does not legitimate forced marriages or honour killings. The traditional Muslim image of women is incompatible with the equality of the sexes."
See our features "A genocide denied" and "Between the Sex Pistols and the Koran" by Zafer Senocak.

In the taz, Green politician Cem Özdemir comments: "Politicians should resist being influenced by populist reflexes which, in this case, suggest deportation of the entire family. This might be morally 'understandable' but not realistic. It would also give the fatal impression that integration problems can be solved by simply tossing people out. But Turkey is not an Alcatraz for Germany; in fact it has the same problem with so-called honour killings as the German justice system does."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 18.04.2006

Writer Viktor Erofeyev warns forebodingly that Europe is living "mechanically", and falling victim to a mentality of comfort and consumerism. "For security's sake, all of life's risks must be deactivated. The fight against smoking is just the first step. If soccer triggers aggression among fans, then why not castrate the whole sport? Europeans are worried about the aggression they themselves exude. They don't want to admit that it's just as much a part of human nature as the role of the sex object is to the nature of woman. Europe is losing its humane, picturesque quality. Men who are afraid to be sexists become rabbits, ground squirrels." See our feature "Russian dichotomies" by Viktor Erofeyev.


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18.04.2006

Fritz Göttler announces the first Hollywood-Blockbuster on 9/11, "United 93", which will be opening soon in Germany and whose trailer has already driven many people out of cinemas here. "American action films deal with the theme of how one discovers freedom to act in moments of helplessness, in defeat. How it is possible to restore order in the world, to erect a new order. How does this genre schemata conform to what happened on September 11? From the very beginning, the horror at the brutal attack was complemented with an eerie fascination in its aesthetics. In Hollywood, September 11 was seen as a bizarre appropriation – a few amateurs are making movies, but they're doing it with reality. 'Movies provided the model,' Robert Altman commented, 'they copied cinema. We taught them that.' It's hardly surprising that Hollywood wants to 'take this event back.'"


Saturday 15 April, 2006

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15.04.2006

Far from finding Italy chaotic in the wake of the elections, Thomas Hauschild finds it exemplary, in view of the arrest of Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano. "Things could have led to a putsch, or a breakdown of state power. But perhaps Italy has become too old and experienced for that. The political system is split so many ways, and so many political options have been given a go. The second night after the elections, when the needle was pointing hesitantly but distinctly towards Prodi, was a moment of liberation. Since Berlusconi came to power – with almost 70 percent of the Sicilian vote for 'Forza Italia' – the judiciary and security forces were continually under pressure and frustrated in their fight against the Mafia. Now they've struck back."


Die Tageszeitung, 15.04.2006


Author Richard Wagner doesn't understand all the yammering about demographic developments in Germany. "Our society doesn't have a growth problem, it has a problem with employment. More children could mean more unemployed. It seems that some men in Germany expect women to take over responsibility for the children, in other words, resurrect the role of the housewife, but this would be an obstacle to social progress. It would also be an economic setback, we would have to do without the resources and potential of half the population. That such questions are even being raised suggests a crisis in an antiquated conception of men. Maybe we should spend less time worrying about the Islamic man, whose values are so obviously wrong, and take a closer look at the frustrated wanna-be patriarchs in Germany."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.04.2006

Theologian Hans Küng, who was recently speaking with Pope Benedict XVI, is hoping that a thaw will rescue the Catholic church from an impending crisis. "The Pope has the choice between a further retreat into the pre-modern, pre-Reformation constellation (or paradigm) of the Middle Ages and a forward-looking strategy towards the post-modern constellation, in which the world has long since found itself." Of course Küng has his doubts, especially on the subject of ecumenicism. "Whether Ratzinger, who has lived for so long in a Catholic milieu, realises that ever fewer Catholics understand and accept the overbearance of the office which considers the actions of the Protestant and Anglican priests (both male and female) illegitimate, calls an inter-confessional marriage a misdemeanour and active participation in a protestant communion a religious relict."

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