From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Rundschau 29.11.2008

The writers Tariq Ali and Suketu Mehta write about the attacks in Mumbai. Ali is sceptical about the immediate finger-pointing in Pakistan's direction. "What politician would say that a generation of young radicalised Muslims are growing up disenchanted with India's political system. Because it would mean having to admit that the system is in a very poor state of health." Mehta sums it up in a nutshell: "India's 150 million Muslims are poorer and more poorly educated than other Indians. The poverty rate among the urban Muslim population is 38 percent higher than in any other segment of the population, including the lower castes."

Die Welt 29.11.2008

In an essay in the literature section, historian Arno Lustiger has only the harshest of words for anti-Zionism and other forms of anti-Semitism and he warns about Arab anti-Semitism in particular, which gained acceptance at the UN conference on racism in Durban 2001. "Zionism was condemned as the contemporary form of Nazism and apartheid. The next conference is due to take place next April in Geneva and there will be an escalation of the scandal in Durban, where anti-racism degenerated into an ideology for totalitarian movements to use in their own interests... A number of states such as the USA, Canada and Israel will not be participating in the betrayal of human values - freedom of expression and religion among them - that is scheduled for Geneva. What will Germany's stance be? (Read Pascal Bruckner's call to "Boycott Durban 2")

Süddeutsche Zeitung 29.11.2008

When asked to imagine the world as a concert, composer Konrad Boehmer says he "hears a bourgeois salon concert. Biedermeier. Flowery wallpaper – Biedermeier," he tells Alexander Gorkow in an interview. And bankers and New Music composers are jointly to blame. "I am interested in the analogy between Avant-garde and capitalism. ... This analogy is all part of this great concert: a childish belief in pseudo-scientific nonsense, with mathematical underpinnings. Bankers and composers no longer understand themselves what they are peddling. Neo-Biedermeier is the answer. This neo-Prussian strutting in Berlin, the village opera with the Stadtschloss – this absurd palace will be the monument to our neo-Biedermeier." (The GDR Palace of the Republic in Berlin which was built on the site of the old Prussian Stadtschloss has now been completely torn down. It was announced on November 28 that the architect Franco Stella had won the competition to rebuild the facade of the old city palace with a modern interior. More here)

Die Tageszeitung 01.12.2008

Katrin Bettina Müller was at the premier of Jossi Wieler and Elfriede Jelinek's play "Rechnitz" in the Munich Kammerspielen. It is about the massacre of 180 Jews by guests at a party held by the Thyssen heiress Countess Margit Batthyany in 1945. (More here). "The chocolate gateaux. The guests sink their fingers into the cream with their bare hands, which moments before had plucked the best bits off the pizza, picked the meat off the roasted chicken and peeled eggs. Their slow motion gestures bespeak brutality and arrogance. The women stick their chocolatey fingers into their mouths and run them up their naked legs to their crotches, before wiping them clean on the shirts of their male companions. It is a celebration of obscenity and provocation. But the most obscene thing about it is that all the while they are talking about murder and people starving, but not in a tone of horror that refrains from judgement, but without any sense of wrongdoing whatsoever. It's like talking shop about the rules of hunting..."

Frankfurter Rundschau

In conversation with Arno Widmann, political scientist Herfried Münkler talks about the geo-political state of the world. "If I am not mistaken about Russia's situation, then the country seems to be incapable of converting its oil money into a widespread economic-technological take off. What we are seeing is closer to the classic Third World syndrome: obscene wealth and excess on the one hand and poverty and misery in much of the rest of the country. Added to this is the situation in East Siberia. The Europeans who were sent there by the Czars or the Gulag regime are leaving. And they are being replaced by a dynamic Chinese populations. East Siberia is becoming Chinese. Russia is certainly still an important playerl but it's not in the same league as the USA, the EU or China.

Die Tageszeitung 05.12.2008

Who says the taz can't do glamour? Dorothea Hahn talks to Jane Birkin about her new album and the conversation starts like this:
"taz: Frau Birkin, you have been radiating freshness and innocence for more than four decades. How do you maintain your youthful aura?
Jane Birkin: I don't think I look either fresh or innocent. More like an aging teenager. I never had the courage to have a face lift. My pride stopped me. But smiling is important.
taz: Smiling is your secret?
Birkin: It has the same effect as a face lift. A vague smile into the future. And only minimal make up. At 15 or 16 young girls look lovely with lots of makeup and lipstick. But I keep it to a strict minimum."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

"vk" reports on a conference in Berlin's Aspen Institute about bloggers in Iran: "The internet activists are calling for more support from abroad. But only on the condition that it is non-governmental, because otherwise the authorities could denounce them as spies. The Iranian activists are looking for help in training people to produce reliable news and content, in the techniques of internet usage and in thwarting the attempts of the establishment to curb them." - let's talk european