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08/08/2006

Magazine Roundup

The Walrus Magazine | Outlook India | The Spectator | Gazeta Wyborcza | Die Weltwoche | Przekroj | The Believer | Elet es Irodalom | Tygodnik Powszechny


The Walrus Magazine, 01.08.2006
(Canada)


Under the headline "The Ends of the Earth," Lisa Moore, the Newfoundland-born Canadian writer, describes how "a burst of astonishing literary production" over the last 20 years in the isolated islands of Newfoundland and Tasmania has attracted much attention. "Tasmanian and Newfoundland literature have captured the international imagination, to the extent that they have, partly because they are charting uncharted territory - the specific details of place, voice, cadence, and wit that come from living on islands at the periphery, at the ends of the earth. London, Paris, Rome - these are places that have existed as solid landscapes in our imaginations for centuries. But the imaginary landscapes of Tasmania and Newfoundland are still relatively wild."


Outlook India 14.08.2006
(India)


In an interview with Aditi Bhaduri, notorious director of the separatist Kashmiri women's movement Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Nation) Asiya Andrabi speaks for the first time in the Indian press about her support for the Mujehadeen in the Kashmir conflict and about a looming world-wide caliphat: "I don't believe in Kashmiriyat, I don't believe in nationalism. I believe that there are just two nations—Muslims and non-Muslims. I am a Muslim; I am least bothered whether I will be called a Kashmiri. I'm Andrabi, I'm from the Syed dynasty. I'm not actually Kashmiri, I'm Arab, my ancestors had come from Arabia to Central Asia. I believe in Islamic nationalism." For Andrabi, the next goal, the unification of Kashmir with Pakistan, is only an interim step toward the world-wide unification of all Muslims. "You know there are hundreds and thousands of movements. It's not only Dukhtaran-e-Millat which is working in this field. There are movements working locally, everywhere. But they should be united. Islamic teaching says there should be one ummah ... and we are working on this."

In addition: Shuddhabrata Sengupta uncovers canon on the theme of nationalism in Pankaj Mishra's critical study "Temptations of the West." And the title story by Pramila N. Phatarphekar raises alarm: The world's largest "veggie nation" has a weight problem. Every fourth person in the urban middle class is suffering from obesity.


The Spectator, 05.08.2006
(Great Britain)


The true opponent of Israel is neither Lebanon nor Hizbullah but Iran, emphasizes Melanie Phillips. And then she makes an unexpected turn and points at Russia. "In an Iranian TV interview on 23 July, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that 'England was the founder of this sinister regime' (Israel) and, like America, was 'an accomplice to all its crimes.' This ignores the fact that Britain actually reneged on its promise to found a Jewish national home in mandatory Palestine, sided with the Nazi-supporting Arabs and eventually abstained in the UN vote on establishing Israel. The country that actually swung it for the Jews happened to be the Soviet Union — so the proper target of Ahmadinejad’s grievance should surely be his current patron, Vladimir Putin."


Gazeta Wyborcza, 05.08.2006
(Poland)


Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman explains globalisation! It has erupted over us like industrialization and capitalism. "The phrase 'flowing modernity' best describes the situation. It's about obsessive mutation, 'modernisation', a process without an end in sight. It is running without a goal. We melt down the existing forms but don't let the resulting mass cool down long enough in order to create new forms. The smelting ovens work around the clock, the foundries cannot keep up with them." Even futuristic visions are flowing, Bauman suggests. Yes, "they are privatised. Because individuals are told that they should take care of their own futures. And that does not exactly contribute to a sense of social attachment and solidarity."


For some time, Poles have been discussing the effects of massive migration of workers. Since Poland's entry into the EU, an estimated two million people, most of them young and well-educated, have immigrated to western Europe. Jaroslaw Makowski describes a specific aspect of this phenomenon: the emigration of Catholic priests. "While in the west, even in the heart of Catholic Ireland, where many Poles currently are working, the number of ordinations is constantly on the decrease, here at home about 7,000 priests are ordained annually. Small wonder that they have become an major export!" Some clergy put a name on this advantage: "One gets into contact with other, liberal streams within the Church. Here it is less about rituals than about working with people."


Die Weltwoche, 03.08.2006
(Switzerland)


This issue of Die Weltwoche focuses on testing. Reto U. Schneider presents a brief chronicle of medical self-experiments. "On May 15, 1889 Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard ground up the testicles of a young, powerful dog in his laboratory at the College of France, added some distilled water and injected the resulting liquid in his left armpit. He repeated the injection on the following two days, and when he ran out of the preparation from the dog's testicles he switched to the chopped up testicles of a guinea pig. Brown-Sequard believed that 'the weakness of age is to some extent related to reduced testicular function. By day two of his experiment, Brown-Sequard thought he felt some effects. He could run up stairs quickly again, stay up late at the laboratory table, and work on articles well into the night. Even his urine stream seemed changed by the treatment: 'And the distance from which he could stand back and reach the edge of the pissoir' - a very unusual category of measurement - he determined to have increased by at least one quarter."

The statistician Walter Krämer attempts – with varying degrees of success – to explain in lay terms why his profession should be taken with a pinch of salt. "Of course it cannot be ruled out that nuclear power stations create leukaemia but a cluster of cases in only one power station cannot be taken as evidence. In the USA for example, there are "significant' clusters of leukaemia cases in close proximity to Catholic churches.


Przekroj, 03.08.2006 (Poland)

In the early nineties Poland's Lech Walesa wanted to build a "second Japan." Now Marcin Fabjanski and Milena Rachid Chehab are demanding that Poland take example from Spain. "Within 20 years an antiquated European backwater became a leading country. A vital building block in this process was the "pact of silence" after the Franco dictatorship, which allowed the country to look to the future." With its economic boom Spain has become "a living advertisement for the EU" and a rising global player.

And Lukasz Drewniak and Jacek Sieradzki look back over the past theatre season. "The scene has split into sinister experimentalists on the one side and passionless routine-churners on the other. There is nothing in the middle. Luckily there is the odd humorous production which manages not to fall into the trap of silliness. We have enough teeth-grinding and depression around already, we don't need more in the theatre."


The Believer, 01.08.2006 (USA)

"The hardest thing in the world is to be good and clear when creating anything. It's really easy to be obscure and elliptica,l" says a somewhat befuddled-sounding Steven Soderbergh in an interview with the New York magazine The Believer. He then goes on to outline his cinematic-political preferences: "I'm not interested in well-produced porn with good lighting. That ruins it. Maybe there are people for whom that takes the onus off. I like the amateur stuff. It's fascinating - as much of it as there is around, in our culture at least, it's still so powerful. The portrayal of these acts, the documentation of these acts - people are sort of numb to watching violence, but sexual activity is still as strong as it ever was in terms of generating response... If I were to have a political party - and I think we do need a third political party - porn is such a better way to determine someone's mindset than whether they're Republican or Democrat. We should have a political party, and the things that make people a part of it should be more interesting than 'Are you pro-business, or pro-health care?'"


Elet es Irodalom, 04.08.2006 (Hungary)


The Handke debate is riddled with fatal misunderstandings between intellectuals in Western and Eastern Europe, believes Laszlo Vegel, a Hungarian writer from Novi Sad (now Serbia): "Serbian nationalists and right-wing populists celebrate Handke as an adherent of ethnic homogenisation and the so-called 'Serbian truth'... But their similarities are deceptive. The criticism of the west and the anti-Americanism of someone like Peter Handke is formulated in a completely different cultural context. Anti-Americanism is part of democratic culture in Western Europe; in Eastern Europe it almost exclusively serves the rhetoric of populist movements..."

Secret police informants who are being exposed after decades of silence are trying to deny their involvement or paint it in a good light, reports Agnes Heller. And prominent artists like Istvan Szabo are no exception: "He was young, the pressure was enormous, he made a mistake, but from the beginning of the sixties he was no longer in the service of those men. But he is condemned today because he kept quiet when he should have spoken out, because he advanced ahead of others as a false example, because he basically profited from his shameful deed."


Tygodnik Powszechny, 31.07.2006 (Poland)


"Prime Minister Kaczynski's initial statements sound almost as if Poland wants to turn its back on Europe. His philosophy can be summed up as follows: We get EU money because we deserve it historically, and will will use it in our national interests. Aside from this there should be no expectations regarding Polish participation in European debates," writes Brussels correspondent Marek Orzechowski. And in his opinion, things don't look much better elsewhere. Italy is caught up in its own affairs, the same goes for Spain, not to mention France. "Poland received 50 to 60 percent of all EU funds for the new member states. It would be something if it would just contribute 10 percent of its intellectual potential to the debate about Europe. Taking everything and giving nothing in return is no recipe for effective EU policy."
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