From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Rundschau 04.12.2010

Hong Kong
continues to enjoy considerable freedoms by Chinese standards. The China Free Press publisher Bao Pu is making the most of these by publishing the memoirs of former, often high-ranking politicians that often paint a picture of recent history that radically departs from official versions. Bernhard Bartsch profiles the publisher: "There is no shortage of retired cadres who are prepared to violate Bejing's rule of silence in the interests of the truth. 'The party is certainly not some homogeneous apparatus in which all the parts keep quiet to the same extent,' Bao says. 'I get sent twenty times more offers than I can print.' Many of the manuscripts are sent to him secretly, and he then publishes the ones that shake Bejing's historical constructs the most. 'The party has its own version of every event and just has to hope that living survivors die before they can contest them,' adds the publisher. 'We are just trying to prevent the government from having its way."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Peter Glaser shakes his head in despair over Germany's Internet pessimists, among them the FAZ editor and publisher Frank Schirrmacher. "With his polemic pamphlet 'Payback' (more at the Edge) our FAZ prophet has delivered the script for an intellectual B-movie, in which brain-eating machine systems, linked to the Internet, are taking over our consciousness and powers of concentration... There are many ways to describe a walk in the woods. You can feel overwhelmed by the millions of leaves and pine needles and demand a return to humanistic woods-perception technology. Or you can take a walk in the woods and come home refreshed."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 06.12.2010

An exhibition of child nudes by die Brücke artists in Hanover's Sprengel museum was not to Christian Saehrendt's liking. Even if he had to admit that it was not in the least voyeuristic, he writes sourly: "The 'Brücke' artists, and above all Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, have become untouchable icons of German art historiography, thanks to their fight for artistic freedom, against Wilhelmian ossification, and their persecution by the Nazis. It's high time they were removed from the pedestal, although not everyone would agree. Dealers and collectors, for example, are allergic to any form of criticism which might damage the 'Brücke' or 'Kirchner' brand. Kirchner's verbal nationalism or anti-Jewish tirades, for example, would not wash well with the highly sought-after international customers."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 07.12.2010

At the Beethoven Symphony cycle performed by the Viennese philharmonic orchestra under Christian Thielemann in Berlin, Jan Brachman was not only overwhelmed by interpretive triumphs, as successful as the cycle was in its entirety. In the final movement of the Fifth and Sixth, there were a few problems: "These turbulent, radiant movements are of course designed to produce a triumphant effect and should be allowed to unfold as such. But for this to happen, you need a stable tempo which allows the harmonic accents to come to the fore. Thielemann, however, is constantly readjusting the speed, particularly in the Fifth: spurring on – reining in – spurring on! The effects get lost in all this toing and froing. Some of the audience in the packed auditorium sprang from their seats shouting 'Bravo!', while the rest – half-amused, half distressed - lowered their heads in a silent devastation."

Perlentaucher 08.12.2010

Perlentaucher's Anja Seeliger firmly sides with Wikileaks. "Initially I thought, ok, the finger is being pointed at the American bogeyman yet again, but in the meantime it has become clear that the leaked diplomatic cables have made the whole world a more transparent place. All of a suddenly there is some room for negotiation in the intractable Middle East problem now that, in what feels like the first time in a hundred years, not Israel but Iran is the focus of attention. Sweden suddenly looks a lot less liberal and more like a US lap dog, the role usually reserved for the British. In Turkey, Necla Kelek informed me, Wikileaks has prompted discussions no one would have dreamed were possible. In Germany and France the governments are having to explain themselves. Almost every country has been shamed by these cables. And this is a good thing! If for every finger pointed, one is pointed right back, people will have to come up with entirely new ways of talking. But there's some tidying up at home to be done first." And after Paypal and Amazon buckled under pressure from the US government Seeliger tells people to cancel their Amazon, PayPal, Visa Mastercard or Post Finance accounts. "Or write them a mail: I am writing to protest against your treatment of Wikileaks. If you don't reverse your decision, I'll start shopping locally again and pay in cash."

Der Freitag 09.12.2010

German Wikileaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg is also on Assange's side, although he does criticise Wikileaks' new publication policies: The diplomatic cables, he says "are not being published bit by bit for everyone to access. Instead Wikileaks handed over the data to a limited number of newspapers exclusively in advance. This now gives them a competitive edge over the other media – who, of course, are trying to access the complete databank through any means possible. This creates a market where data is traded for cash."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 10.12.2010

In a furious text, Colombian writer Hector Abad explains why Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, who always goes at everything full throttle, is so important in both literary and political terms. And why the European Left should stop projecting their Utopias onto Latin America. "As far as Europe is concerned, the followers of these leftists are liberals; for Latin America, they are utopian Bolsheviks. Things that are unacceptable in the old world (authoritarian exercise of power, radical nationalism, shutting down radio and TV programmes, banning newspapers, single party rule) is considered okay for poor countries. This is exactly why the old European Left cannot forgive Vargas Llosa, who has strongly criticised and continues to criticise the governments of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro for their total claim to power, and defends political, religious or economic freedom. Because he behaves like a liberal in the USA, Europeans like to describe him, in an incomprehensible logical somersault , as an opportunist, turncoat or reactionary." - let's talk european