From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Die Welt 19.06.2010

Henryk M. Broder fears that the Israelis are living the good life a little too much when they should really be focussing on keeping their military up to scratch. "Anti-Semitism, whose aim it was to annihilate the Jews, has been replaced by a hatred of the Jews which seeks its own exoneration. This is why its supporters are so committed to the fantasy that the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews, and that the Gaza Strip is the new Warsaw Ghetto. And then they call these hallucinations 'criticism of Israel'. But this so-called criticism of Israel has little to do with the situation in Palestine and everything to do with the needs of Israel's critics, who are groaning under the burden of their own history."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 19.06.2010

For Lothar Müller, the most uncomfortable thing about "Stadt der Engel" (city of angels), the autobiographical novel by former East German writer Christa Wolf, is her position on the Stasi (with whom she collaborated) and the "proletariat dictatorship": "It can hardly be a coincidence that this term crops up in 'Stadt der Engel' when the first-person narrator answers the question about why she got involved 'with them'. The result is a sentence whose harshness stands in breathtaking contrast to the humanism and moral rigour with which the narrator otherwise observes the world: 'Revolutionary action can also be hard for those who are hit by it, the Jacobins were not faint-hearted, nor were the Bolsheviks. We would never have denied that we were living in a dictatorship, a proletariat dictatorship. A transitional period, an incubation period for the new human being, you understand?'"

Other papers 23.06.2010

At a street festival in Hanover, a Jewish folklore group was attacked by "30 children and teenagers of mostly Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian and possibly also Turkish origin", who shouted anti-Semitic slogans and threw stones, reports the Hannoversche Allegemeine Zeitung. "The international cultural festival continued after a break and the police were not notified."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Samuel Herzog reports from the 6th Berlin Biennale where the curator Kathrin Rhomberg has tried to steer people's attentions to the "real reality". One of the highlights for Herzog was a 90-minute film "Episode 3" by Belgian artist Renzo Martens (trailer). It was inspired by Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal from 1729 which suggested "that the poor people of Ireland eat their children to prevent the country from starving due to overpopulation. It was in this spirit that Martens travelled the Democratic Republic of Congo where he tried to convince the people in the poorest areas to enjoy their poverty – or at least to make a profit from it. Among other things, he encourages two village photographers to sell their pictures documenting the misery around them (instead of leaving this lucrative business to western reporters). His efforts fail when Medecins Sans Frontieres refuses to attribute any artistic merit to the pictures by the village photographers."

Der Tagesspiegel

Kai Kupferschmidt and Hartmut Wewetzer talk with the deeply atheistic philosopher Daniel Dennet about the perils of religion. He also has a thing or two to say about the media: "By the way, the world squandered an excellent opportunity with the Mohammed cartoons. I think that every newspaper, every magazine, every news programme should have showed these images immediately. Instead, the radical Muslims seized power. The liberal Muslims, who are in the majority, desperately wanted us to do something but we did nothing and thus effectively pulled the carpet out from under the feet of the best part of the Islamic community."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 24.06.2010

Sonja Margolina reports on major upheavals in the Russian art scene. Artists known for criticising the church and the state have rushed to the side of Ilya Trushevsky, an artist (born 1981) who apparently raped a 17-year old student and is laughing about it - to the approval of much of the Russian online and artistic community. "The war of everyone versus everyone else and Putin's arbitrary regime are two sides of the same coin. The moral support for Trushevsky shows that at least a section of the contemporary Russian art scene finds it sexy to flaunt excess power in society and politics, and is happy to capitalise on doing so."

Frankfurter Rundschau

Arno Widmann was tremendously impressed by the exhibition on Pharaoh Sahure (2490 to 2475) in the Frankfurt Liebighaus. What sculptural sophistication!: "The visitor has to get up really close to see how precisely these craftsmen were working four-and-a-half thousand years ago. Trembling nostrils are chiselled out of the stone. The feathers of headdresses, the finest branches of a tree. You would be hard put to find someone with this level of skill today. But there must have been thousands of them in those days."

Die Tageszeitung 24.06.2010

Cristina Nord celebrates non-European cinema's longest films. Those of Filipino director Lav Diaz, or Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing, whose films run for several hours at a stretch (Diaz's last four films have a total running time of 36 hours), and employ long takes to tell of other temporal horizons and pre-industrial societies: "It was only with the Spanish colonisers,' Diaz says, 'that regulated time was introduced. At six in the morning you had to pray the oracion, work would begin at seven, and so on. But when you look around the Philippines today you see that Filipinos still spend a lot of time hanging around."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 25.06.2010

Historian Dan Diner thinks it might not be such a bad idea if Turkey were to have more influence in the Middle East. "Sunni Turkey has a lot more religio-political proximity to Hamas than does Shiite Iran; as a non-Arab Muslim power in the region, it would be a less like to come under suspicion for acting its own interests than the surrounding Arab states. As a Nato state it would continue to have links to the West and as a prospective member of the European Union, it would be constantly under the beady eyes of Brussels. At the very least, it would not not be condemned from the outset by Yasser Arafat's curse, to drink the waters of Gaza and fail miserably." - let's talk european