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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 22 November, 2011

MicroMega 21.11.2011 (Italy)

Berlusconism is not over yet, opines Paolo Flores d'Arcais, one of the most prominent and persistent Berlusconi critics among Italian intellectuals, in an extensive MicroMega dossier on the Italian change of government For a long time Berlusconi's power had not been based on the fact that he was the head of government. "His 'core power base' lies in his monopolisitc grip (increasingly  Orwellian) on television, in the web of the laws tailored to suit him and which ensure his impunity (although he would have been found guilty ten times over in a court of law), and in the snare of criminal, derivative and manipulative systems of power (secret service departments, corrupt dignitaries, corporate management with close ties to the government and huge interests in the oil and defence sectors, mafioso milieus, and despots from foreign countries...), through which he established his political and personal power and created a virtual parallel state."

Magyar Narancs 10.11.2011 (Hungary)

In his writings and lectures Randolph L. Braham, an American Holocaust researcher with Jewish-Hungarian roots (his parents and relatives were murdered in Auschwitz), repeatedly alerts Hungarians about their failure to confront the Holocaust. In an interview with Pal Daniel Renyi, Braham explains why: "Like other poor Central European countries, Hungary never assumed responsibility for what happened to its Jewish communities in 1944. Instead, the attempt is made to lay the responsibility on the German Nazis and the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party of the Szalasi period [October 1944 to end of the war]. This does not change the fact that the deportation and annihilation of the [440,000] Hungarian Jews took place between between March and July 1944, when the country was still ruled by Reichs-administrator Miklos Horthy and the Sztojay government... If they don't gain an understanding into what happened in this country between 1918 and 1945, and particularly between March and July 1944, the generation that is now coming of age will be unable to form a free, democratic country. A democratic society cannot be founded on lies." According to Braham, the new Hungarian constitution encourages turning a blind eye to the subject: "According to its preamble, Hungary was robbed of its autonomy between March 1944 [the invasion of the German Wehrmacht] and 1990.
21.11.2011 (France)

Jacques Attali, the influential former advisor to Mitterrand, sends a warning to Angela Merkel in Either she must agree to the purchase of defaulted European bonds by the European Central Bank and the issuance of European bonds...or she will end up holding the smoking gun of Europe's suicide. In doing so, he rids us Germans of our most cherished illusions. Demystification No. 1: "German is not head of the class of the Union, who winds up having to pay for the sins of all the others. Its public debt is close to 82 percent of its gross domestic product, practically as bad as France. Ten of its banks, all owned by the government, which provide twenty percent of the credit outside of the financial markets, are currently in very poor condition. Germany's energy consumption will increasingly rely on Russian gas, which today represents 37 percent of its imports. Its demographics are so catastrophic, that Germany will already have less inhabitants than France in 2060, and 44 percent of the Germans are over 65 in comparison to 35 percent of the French, which will make it particularly difficult for Germany to repay its debts." Ouch!

Elet es Irodalom (Hungary) 18.11.2011

The government is stepping up its efforts to redefine Hungarian history, criticises media expert Peter György. For example, the "People's Stadium" built in 1953 is to be torn down, in order to purge any memories of football under socialism: "Removing the People's Stadium from the urban infrastructure not only erases the period of socialism. It takes away a space that could make the notion of home into a palpable, everyday and also historically reflective experience...In this manner it destroys the sense of home that all people who are forced to live in times of risk, fear, and globalisation dearly need."

Frankfurter Rundschau  21.11.2011 (Germany)

In the Frankfurter Rundschau columnist Mely Kijak believes, yes, racism in Germany does have a wider base than just the NPD and the "Brown Army Faction" of Zwickau. In a study by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation a third of people surveyed believed that Germany had too many foreigners. A similar Europe-wide study came to similar results. Why has has there been so little coverage from the side of the murder victims and their families? "A high-ranking politician has yet to turn to the families of the victims in humility and shame, begging their forgiveness. Nor have any journalists apologised for their prejudiced and descriminatory news coverage on the situation of the immigrant population over the years."

Al Ahram Weekly 17.11.2011 (Egypt) 

In a conciliatory gesture, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood tends to be compared - also in the West - with the Turkish Justice and Development Party. Azmi Ashour has his doubts. Erdogan's party operates in a secular society of the past 90 years. There is no such thing in Egypt, just the opposite: "The duality between [Mubarak's] regime and the Muslim Brotherhood worked to reproduce the type of individuals who believe solely in their own views and who can entertain no opposing opinions. Indeed, this exclusionist culture has long been the chief flaw in the mentality of the Muslim Brotherhood elite, which not only identified the ruling regime as their enemy but also everyone else who did not stand squarely on their side." 
Also: Nehad Selaiha recalls the Syrian dramatist Saadallah Wannoos in conjunction with a student theatre production.

Highlights from the Anglophone Press

Prospect investigates the parasitical relationship between computer games and film and reprints Carys Davies' short story "The Redemption of Galen Pike", which has just won the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize. The Atlantic investigates why Pakistan is the "ally from hell" and explores the secrets to Oprah Winfrey's success. (See also last week's fascinating photography series on 1970s America in crisis.) The New York Review of Books lauds the Metropolitan Museum's new exhibition of Islamic art and faces some painful realities in business journalist Michael Lewis' new book "Boomerang". The Columbia Journalism Review chronicles a newspaper that "did everything right" but still failed to master the new media turn. In Guernica, Israeli journalist Amira Hass tries to explain the consequences of the Occupation to her fellow citizens. And Capital New York profiles the internal conflicts complicating the Huffington Post-AOL deal. - let's talk european