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07/09/2006

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.

Der Tagesspiegel, 07.09.2006

Without explicitly referring to the case of Seyran Ates (more in our feature "Stepping out of the fire"), Ayaan Hirsi Ali argues for a legal and political improvement in the situation of Muslim women in Europe. "Europe's politicians have not yet recognised the potential hidden in the liberation of the Muslim woman. And that means they're squandering their best chance of integrating Muslims within a generation. Morally, governments are obliged to eradicate violence against women. That would finally make clear to fundamentalists that Europeans take their constitutions seriously. Nowadays most oppressors simply think Western rhetoric about the equality of men and women is cowardly and dishonest, because Western governments tolerate the abuse of millions of Muslim women when they're told it's done in the name of religion."


Die Zeit, 07.09.2006

Matthias Geis and Bernd Ullrich arranged a discussion between conductor Daniel Barenboim and Germany's former foreign minister Joschka Fischer (see our feature "The last rock 'n' roller of German politics) about the possibilities open to Israel after the Lebanon war. Barenboim, head of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for young Israeli and Palestinian musicians, warns Israel against "only playing the American card. In the long term, I don't think that's a safe card for Israel to play, because I don't think the hegemony of the USA will last forever. You have to look around, and see how the world's developing... If we don't strengthen Israel's relationship with Europe, you have to ask who's going to help Israel in 40 or 50 years, when the memory of what happened in the 20th century – the Holocaust and other things – has faded. As far as I know, there isn't a strong Jewish lobby in either Beijing or New Delhi. Who's going to stand up for Israel then?"

Katja Nicodemus has discovered the secret avant-garde of world cinema in Venice. Tsai Ming-Liang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Mahamat Saleh Haroun are united by their "infectious clarity, their silent heroes, their multiple forms of expression that use few words. Their stillness which makes so much audible, from the relentless drone of the sounds of the street in Kuala Lumpur to the hum of insects in the Thai rainforest. Their readiness to take a second and third look at every character. And finally the long, lyrical arches of their camera shots, which stretch the conventions of cinematic syntax."


Five years after 9/11

The Süddeutsche Zeitung has collected voices of Arab writers. Iraqi writer Najem Wali observes for example: "Today Arab terrorism arms itself with reactionary Wahhabist ideology. But there is no point looking to the Arab media for information or the identities of the perpetrators. They might as well have dropped out of the sky! But there's nothing particularly surprising about this: two-thirds of the Arab media is financed by the Saudis. And the rest loses itself in empty revolutionary rallying cries."

"We've spent five years discussing our provisional explanations," writes Marcia Pally in the Frankfurter Rundschau. "And in the process, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that these are short of the mark. Our familiar ways of looking at the world cannot remedy the problem. Neither can the approach taken by the Muslim 'resistance', as it is called in the Arab world. If liberal imperialist USA were to withdraw from the region, if Israel were destroyed, the economic and political problems of the Arab world would not just disappear over night. Five years down the line, we're sitting on our comforting, inadequate fables about ourselves and the world and we're making little headway."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 07.09.2006

Rainer Gansera has spoken with Valeska Grisebach about her film "Longing" (more here), which comes out in Germany today. "At the start I wrote a storyline about what I was looking for. Then I conducted many - maybe 200 - interviews with women and men, about their lives, their situations, their longings, dreams and wishes. I can't just sit down and write all by myself. I love the moment when I go out for the first time and start talking to people, to get an idea about where I'm headed. I discovered that longings find their expression in love stories. Love is that thrilling moment when people come alive. At first I thought the central character would be a woman. Then in a small French village I heard the story of a bricklayer. He was married, and fell in love on while away on a job. His wife found out by accident and left him. In desperation he shot himself in the heart with a shotgun – and survived. In my imagination he was a romantic hero. A taciturn, laconic man who holds a shotgun – which he'd normally use to hunt rabbits – to his heart and pulls the trigger. All of a sudden I had a male lead, which was extremely exciting for me."

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