From the Feuilletons


Süddeutsche Zeitung 04.05.2007

Will Winkler reports on the start of Nobel Prizewinner Orhan Pamuk's German tour in Hamburg. "A language in which the word for 'agency' (müdürlügü) is hardly less poetical than that for nightingale (bülbül), is a treasury for a poet. Masterfully and at breakneck speed, the poet Pamuk reads a monstrous sentence comprising (moderator Hubert Spiegel counted) 155 lines, interrupted only once by applause from the roughly 20 percent of the audience who understood Turkish. Then Michael Krüger read the same passage in German with his striking voice, and the Turkish singsong proved to be an endless string of poetical scenes which for Pamuk all make up his home town of Istanbul, the city of his childhood in the fifties, the city where he grew up, the city of the 'sick man on the Bosporus' as the waning Ottoman Empire was known to Europe at the end of the 19th century. Pamuk heaps these images together like Walter Benjamin's ragpicker on the morning of the revolution."

Die Welt 04.05.2007

Leading up to the French elections on Sunday, Andre Glucksmann goes to bat again for Nicolas Sarkozy. Five years under Segolene Royal would be a waste of time! "It's being said that Sarkozy would divide where Royal would integrate. The slugger and the Madonna! It's completely uncontested that we're dealing with two very different approaches to politics here. Which of the two is more democratic? Sarkozy, who has no fear of conflict, who hates to bore his voters with 'on the one hand and on the other...' Or the approach of Royal who promises consensus at any price and thus promotes political stagnation. For 30 years, France has been suffering from the phraseology of the political establishment, which has not wanted to demand too much of anyone." (more features by Glucksmann here)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 04.05.2007

Volker S. Stahr presents the two best-known Islamic TV preachers Yusuf al-Karadawi and Amr Khaled. Both were born in Egypt, but neither is allowed to preach there. That doesn't stop them from reaching millions of Muslims around the world each week. Younger Muslims tend to prefer Khaled. "He became known through broadcasts with young people, when he said that Islam and disco go perfectly well together as long as the young women wear headscarves and the young men respect them... Youths like the fact that Khaled wears normal street clothes instead of the 'jelaba', and that he speaks the Upper-Egyptian slang of popular Arab films and not Standard Arabic. Another thing they like is that he doesn't prohibit one thing after the next, but speaks of an 'Islamic Way of Life' combining traditional values and modern amusement... His sermons reach millions via satellite, and it's not uncommon for girls to start wearing the veil after seeing them."

Die Welt 04.05.2007

Berthold Seewald looks at the historic background to the current conflict between Estonia and Russia: "Supported by its literary language, which is close to Finnish, the Estonian national movement began articulating the idea of its own state. What resulted was a struggle with untold victims: against the Czarist troops in the Russian Revolution of 1905, as well as against German volunteer corps and Bolshevik associations in 1919. Political murders, deportations and expropriations were common occurrences under both Nazi and Soviet rule. In 1934, eight percent of the Estonian population was Russian, today it's one third. You could call the confrontation course of many Estonians with their Russian citizens and neighbours unwise. But its understandable."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 04.05.2007

Teachers are protesting in Iran. Writer Amir Hassan Cheheltan portrays the complicity of the country's education system under Ahmadinejad "In the last year, at least 300 university students were subject to disciplinary measures, fifty seven student magazines were prohibited and seventeen Master's students were kicked out of the university. The most recent demonstration by teachers, who have been protesting their miserable pay and teaching conditions in the last few weeks and gathering in the thousands in front of the parliament in Tehran, ended with a police intervention and the arrest of a significant number of teachers."

Spiegel Online

Alex Gibney's documentary film "Taxi to the Dark Side" about an Afghan taxi driver who was tortured to death in Guantanamo makes Claus-Christian Malzahn think of the "inflamed plea of a furious crown prosecutor. (...) The grouches in Europe who have been singing the dumb song of American fascism shouldn't get too excited about Gibney's film. They have done practically nothing to help with the investigation of American failures in Irak. The exposures have been provided by the liberal media of the East coast: in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly and Vanity Fair." - let's talk european