From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Rundschau 10.04.2010

Julia Kospach talked to the writer Ilse Helbich, who was born in 1923 and published her first novel at the age of eighty. The conversation revolves around feeling old: "I would love to just skid down a cliff face! Or swim in the sea again, without worrying about drowning. These things are so overwhelming. Another overwhelming thing is that old age is not idyllic or peaceful. Some hole in my memory always lets things into my head that are incredibly hard and which I never would have dared to think when I was younger.... I just have the feeling that it's irrelevant whether something is terribly tragic or terribly funny. This levelling of things is difficult to understand for younger people. They want old age and the end to be peaceful."

Berliner Zeitung

In Bucharest, Thomas Schmid pays a visit to the former professional footballer Teodor Maries, who went on hunger strike to try to force out the truth about who was responsible for shooting into the crowds during the 1989 revolution, killing hundreds of people: "Teodor Maries has been on hunger strike for 70 days and despite his considerable height of 1,85 metres, he now weighs only 55 kilos and his body temperature has dropped to 35 degrees."

Die Welt

The German reggae star Gentleman (aka Tilman Otto) said it in the taz and he says it again in Die Welt: gay is not okay in Jamaica. "I cannot expect other cultures to be like my own. I do not have to go around handing out condoms in the Vatican City or tearing headscarves off women's heads in Iran. I cannot condemn homophobia in Jamaica. There are things that just do not fit with the Rastaman's religion, and you have to accept that."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Pope bashing has become so fashionable, but the SZ is not for turning. Andreas Zielcke delivers a fierce condemnation of the "attack against faith, religion and Church", by those ghastly atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who, earlier in the week, made public their plans to have the Pope arrested for "crimes against humanity", as soon as he touches British soil this coming September. "The Pope as common criminal or a criminal against humanity? Firstly, he can't be prosecuted in Britain, and secondly, the allegation alone is grotesque."

Frankfurter Rundschau

The German film director Werner Schroeter died this week. His former lover, fellow director and rival, Rosa von Praunheim, bids his farewell with a love letter: "You were one of the greatest outsiders of the German cinema and theatre, a perverse poet, a magician of light and beauty who raised himself so refreshingly above the masses of cinematic realism. Even Fassbinder praised you, and then he went on to steal your Genet project 'Querelle'".

Der Tagesspiegel 14.04.2010

At the start of the Berlin blogger conference Re:Publica, Matthias Spielkamp of Immateriblog asks whether the state should really be shoring up the business models of the entertainment and cultural industries: "There is no such thing as the right to profit. Above all, the state cannot be allowed to place restrictions on human rights just to help a business sector. This is what will be happening if the copyright industries – rather than the creatives – are allowed to push through their demands to have citizens placed under surveillance, their laptops searched at airports for 'illegal' music and their access to the Internet denied due to violations of copyright. This is not some theoretical horror scenario, this is what plenty of exploitation rights holders want from the politicians and it is already in place in countries like France and Britain."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

With the black cloud of mourning still hanging heavy over Poland, the writer Pawel Huelle tries to provide a balanced assessment of the two sides of Lech Kaczynski. "The Poles have not mourned on this scale since the death of John Paul II: the apotheosis of Lech Kaczynski is well under way. He was an outstanding statesman, he loved children, athletes, the poor, intellectuals, all Poles. He was a true father of the nation. Private media stations who never liked him before (TVN for example) are suddenly tripping over themselves to prove that Lech Kaczynski was the greatest Pole of the 20th century. No one today has the courage to say that he also made a significant contribution to the destruction of the legend of Lech Walesa, by accusing the former dock worker and president of being in cahoots with the communist secret services."

Die Zeit 15.04.2010

In an interview with Jörg Lau, the Hungarian writer Peter Nadas talks about why Hungary made such a dramatic swing to the right. And he is annoyed that the west is turning its back in disgust again, before it had even begun to show any real interest in "poor, dull" East Europe. "It's important to acknowledge one's own shortcomings too. Big German and French businesses behave like colonial masters in Hungary. They are the only employers around and trade unions are in short supply. So you shouldn't be surprised at Jobbik's popularity if desperate family men are constantly being laid off only to be rehired under worse conditions."

Die Welt 16.04.2010

"He's screwed it up", writes historian Michael Wolffsohn in a scathing assessment of Benedict XVI's pontificate to date, although he is not talking about sex abuse so much as the relationship with Judaism and Islam: "Benedict XVI is the most intellectual and most theologically important Pope in a long time. But he has put neither this God-given reservoir nor the religious powers of his own making to good use. This German Pope had a unique opportunity, and indeed obligation, to build bridges with the Jews and Muslims alike. Instead we have an interfaith shambles on our hands." - let's talk european