?From the great beyond into the present? ? an interview with Jo Lendle

Hanser publisher Jo Lendle talks about gentle adjustments of languages and marketing strategies.... more more

GoetheInstitute

09/10/2006

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.

Monday October 9, 2006

All of the newpapers comment today on the murder on Saturday of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya (news story here), whose pieces in the Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta did much to uncover irregularities in Russian military undertakings in Chechnya.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
09.10.2006

Kerstin Holm notes, "On the day that Anna Politkovskaya died, President Putin, much reviled by journalists, was celebrating his 54th birthday with friends in Petersburg; a Libra like the Chechnyen Premier. It was as though with the bloody act, a vassal was bringing his master the head of his arch enemy as a present."

Reinhard Veser draws attention to Michael Gorbachev who, in the context of Politkovskaya's murder, praises the "positive process" going on in the northern Caucasus. "Gorbachev's statement is of particular importance because in June, he became a major share-holder of the paper Novaya Gazeta, which previously had belonged exclusively to its employees. At the time, several journalists, Anna Politkovskaya among them, expressed the concern that this could be the beginning of the end of the paper, which appears twice a week, and which had been considered the last bastion of free press in Russia. Recently Gorbachov, who used to be a major critic of Putin, has been increasingly supportive of him in public."


Berliner Zeitung 09.10.2006

Katja Tichomirowa portrays Politkovskaya and the local reactions to her murder: "For many Russians, including a good number of her colleagues, Anna Politkovskaya was someone who fouled her own nest. Nationalist circles considered her an enemy of the Russian people. It would be wrong to expect outrage, horror or even sadness at her death from this group of self-proclaimed Russian patriots. But on the other hand, very illuminating comments have come from people like Dmitri Rogosin, the left-nationalist MP from the 'Motherland' party. He called the 'physical elimination of Politkovskaya' a 'blow to Russia's reputation.' But the courageous woman also had supporters at home: around 500 people demonstrated on Sunday against her murder. 'The Kremlin has killed freedom of speech' read one banner."


Die Tageszeitung
09.10.2006

Klaus-Helge Donath comments on the murder on the front page. "With Politkovskaya, the other, the moral Russia has been dealt its death blow. The Kremlin's calculations have paid off. The crimes in North Caucasus have been silenced and suppressed, or equated with stability. Even the West has let itself be lulled. The topic has disappeared from the joint agenda with Russia. In its place, fear reigns in the West – not least the fear that a new, self-assured Moscow could screw tight the energy spigot if its inhuman policies at home and in neighbouring countries are criticised. And the Western business world plays along as well, playing it all down, even though it knows better. It hopes for fat profits from the booming, hungry Russian economy."


Der Standard
09.10.2006

The paper refers to an anonymous report which claims "the police know the identity of the murderer, because he was unmasked and failed to disengage the video cameras over the house door. On Sunday, it was assumed that, given this unprofessionalism, the executioner has probably already been done away with by his bosses."

The paper prints an interview from 2005, in which Politkovskaya talks about her work in Chechnya. "Of course I am not alone. I have informants, who tell me what's going on in situ. And I feel responsible for these people. Sometimes it's fatal to be an informant for me. And I don't say that lightly. I wrote an article about corruption among pro-Moscow bureaucrats in Chechnya. The government immediately launched a suit against me and my paper. A few weeks later, I learned that the man who was supposed to testify for me in court had died. So again: people are really paying with their lives."

Eduard Steiner illustrates the working conditions of journalists in Russia with a joke. "Hitler and Napoleon are watching a military parade on Red Square. Hitler says, 'With those missiles, I would have won the war.' 'And with this press, the world would never have heard about Waterloo,' says the little Frenchman after reading Pravda." And in a portrait of the 48 year old journalist, Steiner writes, "Her genre was investigative journalism and reporting. And she did the truly unthinkable: out of conviction that misery is not just an anonymous general phenomena, but rather something that is caused by particular individuals, she named names. That's the point beyond which danger in Putin's Russia becomes deadly. It's not the criticism itself that is dangerous, what's dangerous is the violation of anonymity."


Der Tagesspiegel 09.10.2006

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin will be meeting with Angela Merkel in Germany. Claudia von Salzen writes there's going to be lots to explain. Good cooperation with Russia is important for Germany but "a dialogue in which all criticism falls prey to self-censorship is worth nothing. The murder of Anna Politkovskaya has to be brought up at the meeting in Dresden – as well as the climate of intimidation in Russia, which made the deed possible in the first place."


In other stories...

Die Welt 09.10.2006

Eckhard Fuhr writes on Günter Grass' appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which ended on Sunday. In a discussion with Giovanni di Lorenzo, the chief editor of Die Zeit, Grass accused Frank Schirrmacher (co-publisher and cultural editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), of "sensationalising his SS 'confession' (more here). But he, Grass, in fact 'confessed' nothing in the interview in the FAZ that set off the journalistic earthquake. Everything is written in his book 'Beim Häuten der Zwiebel' (peeling the onion), which the Republic's literary critics could have read for months. The attempts by di Lorenzo to dissuade Grass from massacring his respected FAZ colleague on sovereign Zeit territory, were for nought. Grass wants to sink in his teeth."


Saturday October 7, 2006

Die Tageszeitung 07.10.2006

Eberhard Seidel is fed up with commentators in the German cultural pages and in the tabloid Bild Zeitung whose anti-Islamic warnings have Germany in a state of alarm. "Islamism in Germany is no feuilletonistic event, no field for cultural debate. It's a concrete set of facts, comprised of organisations, actors, meeting places, publications and networks. All of this can be uncovered through investigative research... Yet the nation's alarm-criers have nothing to show for themselves in terms of exhaustive research. Worse than that, none of them came to the defence of the two Berlin journalists Ali Yildirim and Claudia Dantschke. For over ten years, these two have come up with almost all the key findings on the Islamic scene in Germany. Without their work, there would have been no ban of the radical Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir, or the anti-Semitic hate organ Vakit. And for over ten years, they and their informers have been subjected to knife attacks, gruelling and costly law suits, economic sanctions, intimidation and violent assaults."

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

A clutch of German newspapers launch an appeal against the criminalisation of Wikileaks. Vera Lengsfeld remembers GDR dissident Jürgen Fuchs and how he met death in his cell. All the papers were bowled over Xavier Beauvois' film "Of Gods and Men." The FR enjoys a joke but not a picnic at a staging of Stravinsky's "Rake's Progress" in Berlin. Gustav Seibt provides a lurid description of Napoleonic soap in the SZ. German-Turkish Dogan Akhanli author explains what it feels like to be Josef K.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 4 - Friday 10 December

Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
read more

From the feuilletons

Saturday 27 November - Friday 3 December

Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
read more

From the feuilletons

Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
read more