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From the Feuilletons


02/02/2007

In Today's Feuilletons

Die Welt 02.02.2007

Author Zafer Senocak senses something of a North Korean spirit passing through Turkey, in which "intellectuals and unconventional thinkers" are being silenced and "there's no sign of freedom of expression. (...) What's significant in this regression is not only the ineptness of the government in Ankara, but the indifference of a large portion of the population. A crude nationalism is easier to mobilise than a mass movement for democracy and freedom of expression. There's no question that Europe's unclear position with respect to Turkey plays a role in the current crisis in Turkish society. The debate over whether the country belongs to Europe has weakened the government's will to reform and is blocking democratic forces. But only Turkey can help itself in this case. The country itself must finally realise that the current situation is detrimental to Turkey's future." (see other features by Zafer Senocak here)

Ulrich Baron is hoping that, given the expected climate warming of 2 to 4.5 degrees, people will learn to think in the longer term. "The climate is our common fate. It writes history before great men do. Without the warming of the 'Roman Optimum,' Hannibal would hardly have been able to get his elephants over the Alps. Without the cold 'Pessimum' of the Migration Period, people would not have migrated. Without the more recent warming in the year 800, the Vikings would not have settled in Greenland where the harbingers of the 'little ice age' from 1500 to 1850 did them in."


Frankfurter Rundschau 02.02.2007

Google intends in future to display book titles from its book database with search results, writes Daniel Bohus. The service is comprehensive. "Using Google Books, the world's biggest search engine can provide a much more all-encompassing result than its competitors. And in addition, it links to publishing houses' online shops and virtual bookshops like Amazon and Weltbild. But the individual search results are also linked to a further product, 'Google Maps.' When you enter a location here, the search machine presents bookshops, including their addresses, telephone numbers and often store hours."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 02.02.2007

Independence
is once more a going concern in Scotland, where the nationalists have good chances in elections slated for May, reports Georges Waser. "What economic consequences would an end to the marriage of convenience with England have for Scotland? Until now nationalists have argued that if an island like Malta – with fewer inhabitants than the city of Edinburgh – can be independent, there's no reason to prolong Scottish dependence on England. But now a report published by the British government in 2005 that had been kept secret for thirty years is adding even more grist to their mill. It concludes that an independent Scotland – with title to 90 percent of North Sea oil and gas reserves – would be one of the richest countries in Europe."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 02.02.2007

Julia Spinola looks back on the life and career of British composer Brian Ferneyhough, winner of this year's Siemens Music Prize (info in German). "In the dense structural jungle of Ferneyhough's compositions one may recognise the experience of the true autodidact; that there is nothing self-evident about art, and that everything must be developed from the ground up. But even stronger than his desire to save sounds by using complex techniques is the impression of a spirit volatilised in a thousand directions. There's also a trace of anarchism in all this, the folly of virtuosity. Ferneyhough pushed this to the extreme in 'Shadowtime', the only opera he's written to date, about the life and thought of German philosopher Walter Benjamin."


Die Tageszeitung
, 01.02.2007

In an interview published yesterday, Ayaan Hirsi Ali addresses the question of whether there can be something like a reformed European Islam. "Only when people who see themselves as Muslims are willing to finally accept the Koran as a book that was written by people and is not as the word of God. And when they accept that the Prophet Mohammed is not a model for everything in the 21st century: he can definitely not be the model for women and the individual in general." Islamicism, she believes, must be fought at all costs. Those who truly want to be free "have to be willing to die in the defence of their this freedom and its institutions." See our collection of articles "The multicultural issue" for the debate raging around Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
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