From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Die Welt 09.01.2010

Have Eastern Europeans actually arrived in the West, die Welt asks, in a series of articles following the anti-Semitic backlash to Imre Kertesz's critique of contemporary Hungary on its pages in November. This week it's Poland's turn. The author Stefan Chwin finds the question insulting. After all, the Poles have "always considered themselves European". The real question is "when this country will at last receive recognition in Western societies. When these societies are prepared to say, loud and clear: 'You are one of us', also in the sense of shared values. 'You' are like 'us' and can count on us, even in the most difficult situations. But many Poles today believe that very little of their love for Europe is reciprocated."

Die Welt 11.01.2010

Die Welt prints the "Green Manifesto", which was written by five Iranian intellectuals living in exile. One of them, philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush explains in an interview, what motivated him to write it. "It will better define, articulate and clarify the aims and intentions of today's opposition. This is what we need at this stage. For many years now I have been saying that the revolution had no theory. It was a revolution against the Shah – a negative rather than positive theory. I was insistent that the new movement should have a theory. The people should know what they want, not only what they don't want. That is why we are trying – in our modest way – to create a theory for this movement."

Frankfurter Rundschau 12.01.2010

The author Peter Schneider demands more transparency in matters of airport security, clearer and less contradictory information (such as the different routines for shoe checks in Europe and the US). "Clear information would put an end to the well-established practice of treating air travellers like minors, using a constant state of extreme threat to deprive us of our right to question issues related to our own security and obliging us to simply follow orders. Security services now enjoy a false, and nigh on absolute authority – and have adopted a tone of voice to match. Flying citizens, for whose protection the security measures are there in the first place, should have at least some say in how many of our rights we are prepared to sacrifice for our security."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 12.01.2010

Under Berlusconi, Italian fascism has become socially-acceptable again, writes historian Aram Mattioli, whose book on the subject is about to be published by Schöningh. "In contrast to other Western European countries, revisionist ideas in Italy are not only voiced by arch-conservatives and right-wing extremists, but also by middle-class dignitaries. Since 1994, leading politicians who emphasise the positive aspects of the Mussolini dictatorship, streets named after "heroes" of the regime or the 'good fascists', who flicker as film heroes across the nation's TVs, have been as much part of everyday life in the Second Republic as the legislative initiatives that try to equate Mussolini's last-ditch stand and the collaborators of Sala with the fighters of the Resistenza."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 13.01.2010

Eleonore Büning was in Rome for the premiere of Hans Werner Henze's new opera "Immolazione" ("The Sacrifice"), which is based on Franz Werfel's 1919 poem. She found it hard to gauge whether the piece was intended to provoke laughter or tears. But it was sensationally beautiful, singing dog included. "Since Kater Murr, we have known that cats write novels, but never in the history of music has a dog sung in a pious tenor. The sinister story is conveyed with unbelievable lightness, and floats by on fairytale feet, however rich and painterly the orchestral underpinnings – it is solace and promise in one. The musical composition is complex, but in keeping with all of Henze's late work, it remains unwaveringly transparent, the words clear as a bell."

Die Welt 14.01.2010

Berlin's Museum for Islamic Art has decided to shift from an art-historical to a cultural-historical approach, reports Gabriela Walde. She interviews the museum director, Stefan Weber, who explains that unlike the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Berlin will be exhibiting its paintings of Mohammed. "In past centuries, Mohammed was often depicted by Muslim miniature painters – although his face is always veiled. We have miniatures like this in our collection. We should not start censoring the past."

Die Tageszeitung 14.01.2010

Ekkehard Knörer recommends the DVD box "Abecedaire", 453 minutes of Gilles Deleuze answering questions on philosophical issues (all 8 hrs can also be watched for free at Google video). At W for Wittgenstein, for example, you learn that Deleuze utterly detested this philosopher and his followers who, he considered to be the "embodiment of everything that is wrong" with the field. "'Abecedaire is not about the inevitability of the alphabet, but about enjoying the random things it throws up... One of the quirkiest being Deleuze's attitude to food, which he has no time for. With the exception of the edible trinity: brain, tongue, marrow. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Here, as in plenty of other occasions, it is extremely difficult to to tell whether Deleuze is being deadly serious or roguishly ironic."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Günter Seufert has harsh words for the Cultural Capital Istanbul, and its promise to "serve as a showcase of living together" in the spirit of the Ottoman tradition. "The focus on the culture of minorities has not given these groups any real say. And the 85-year-old practice of simply ignoring their culture, or at least not mentioning it, has never once been discussed or attracted criticism. None of the events included in the Cultural Capital programme has addressed this cultural marginalisation or discussed culture as an instrument of an authoritarian state."

Der Tagesspiegel

Apocalypse hit Haiti long before the earthquake, says author Hans Christoph Buch, who has been writing about the island for many years. In an interview with Philipp Lichterbeck, he explains why an earthquake will have a more catastrophic impact on Haiti than elsewhere. "Haiti has been broken for a long time. Its forests have been felled for charcoal. The once green countryside is nothing but barren mountains today. There is no rain, and when it does rain, the fertile earth is washed into the sea. The coral reefs which protect the coastline are dying. The roads are unusable and there is no functioning network for electricity or water." - let's talk european