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01/08/2006

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 Welt, 01.08.2006

Holocaust survivor and writer Marek Halter, promoter of a negotiated peace settlement in the Mideast, explains why he feels so queasy these days: "I am not afraid of the Iranian atom bomb. Not too long ago, a million people were murdered with machetes in Rwanda! In Darfur, hundreds of thousands have been killed or driven off with guns or clubs. But I am afraid of the stated desire of the president of the Iranian Republic to destroy the State of Israel. I am part of a generation that learned painfully what it means when people believe in statements of politicians. Particularity when they say terrible things and the masses appear to follow them. So when Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad, standing in front of all the cameras in the world, tells the Israelis to pack their bags or else be exterminated, then I believe he means it. And I believe him all the more since he has created the possibility to achieve his goal, particularly thanks to his 'Foreign Legion,' Hizbullah, which has taken position on Israel's northern border."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 01.08.2006


Is Israel contravening international law by bombing Lebanon? Lawyer Knut Ipsen, member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, believes Israel "does not sufficiently respect the laws of war. But anyone who points to Israel's violations of international law against Lebanon must also acknowledge that in harbouring Hizbullah, Lebanon is accommodating an organisation that expressly puts itself outside the law of nations. Calling for the destruction of another state together with its population, hostage-takings and blackmail, widespread missile attacks on civilian dwellings: if they were undertaken by a state, all of these would count among the worst violations of international law." As Lebanon does not prevent Hizbullah's attacks against Israel, it must accept that they be interpreted as coming from Lebanon, Ipsen writes.


Spiegel Online, 31.07. 2006

Spiegel Online ran an interview yesterday with Israeli writer Zeruya Shalev, who spoke among other things about the deaths in Kana: "What happened yesterday in Kana is a great tragedy, and I am unbelievably sad and shocked - but again, it happened because the Hizbullah fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from Kana. The Israeli Army did not know that civilians had hidden in the building in Kana. They thought only Hizbullah fighters were there. It is horrible, a horrible mistake. Civilians in Lebanon are clearly victims of Hizbullah, which behaves irresponsibly toward the Lebanese people."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 01.08. 2006


Italy is going very easy on itself, writes Dirk Schümer. The penalties for soccer corruption have already been reduced to what might be called a very humane level, and now an amnesty has been declared that will particularly benefit corrupt politicians: "Italy is now the only western democracy with no true minister of justice, but rather a portfolio for 'grazia e giustizia' (mercy and justice). It anchors the Catholic teachings on forgiveness in high politics. And if the office is currently occupied by someone with the name Clemente (the mild one) it is more than an untoward play on words. Because the former Christian Democrat Clemente Mastella conspicuously pushed for clemency in dealing with the offending clubs in the Italian soccer scandal, in whose tell-tale telephone lists he himself turned up. And now the current amnesty is also high on his agenda."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01.08.2006

Adrienne Braun has visited an exhibition of wooden sculptures by artist Stephan Balkenhol at the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. "What does the lion think when he mounts the lioness? What moves men when they've been torn from their contexts? With Balkenhol, all movement and all hustle and bustle grind to a halt. He keeps the world out, giving expression to moments of pause. The 'Man with a Green Shirt' (1984) stands there as if paralysed, and yet this 127 cm tall Mister Nobody has a presence that's so riveting it's almost eerie. Stephan Balkenhol's figures are both mute and eloquent. They are placed in the world without knowing why. They are withdrawn, and yet ultimately they return the observer's gaze – we are merely looking at ourselves."


Berliner Zeitung, 01.08.2006

In the official competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" (Return) won best screenplay and best actress, which went to the ensemble of six women. The film, about women who take over an abandoned restaurant to ditch a corpse they've hidden in the deep freeze, opens in Germany tomorrow. Anke Westphal reports: "Certainly, Almodovar glorifies the colourful world of finicky women, complicity and pragmatic decisions, the world of swelling breasts, dark eyes and melancholic gazes in which every woman is a unique beauty. But we don't take it amiss. Because this film goes back to Almodovar's beginnings in comedy, and is more accessible than its melodramatic predecessors 'Talk to Her' and 'Bad Education.' The filmmaker has also returned to magic realism, to the female ensemble and to his home in La Mancha."

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