From the Feuilletons


The prize for and trial against Orhan Pamuk

Die Zeit
has published an article by Salman Rushdie, insisting that the EU intervene to prevent the trial of Orhan Pamuk, who has been charged in Turkey with "blatantly belittling Turkishness" (here Rushdie's piece in English). Pamuk is to receive the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade awarded by the German Book Trade Association on Sunday.

In an interview with Iris Alanyali in Die Welt, Pamuk talks about his love of Istanbul, his literary role models and Turkey's difficult relationship to its intellectuals: "A modern intellectual is someone who's acquired the knowledge, arts and technology of the West. To reach Turkish readers, on the other hand, you need solid knowledge of their traditions, and must be familiar with local sensibilities. For 100 years there's been a literary tradition here that makes fun of 'the intellectual' as someone who copies the West but who lacks all spirit, pride and understanding, and who looks down on the simple people. All great Turkish writers were once criticised for being too Western – and then adopted in the canon. One of the many reasons I love Dostoevsky so much is because, in his youth, he looked down on Russian culture, and later changed into a conservative. His love-hate for the West is very Turkish!"

In a lead editorial in the FAZ, Jei (an abbreviation) quotes a Turkish paper that recently suggested Orhan Pamuk, who caused controversy in his country by openly referring to the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, "made his comments on Turkish history primarily because he had his eye on the Nobel Prize. Now that it's been given to someone else, he's retreating from his statements and wants to be honoured as a strictly literary figure." After Pamuk, who has been indicted in Turkey, qualified his position on the Turkish genocide of Armenians in an interview with CNN recently, Jei aligned himself with the position of the Turkish paper. Or at least he's quite suspicious of Pamuk's "sudden enlightenement".

See our feature "The Turkish trauma", an interview with Orhan Pamuk.

Berliner Zeitung, 20.10.2005

The East German DEFA studios filmmaker Konrad Wolf would have turned 80 today. Anke Westphal speaks with his brother, Markus Wolf, former head of the foreign intelligence bureau of the Stasi, or East German Ministry for State Security, about socialist art and the advantages of good contacts. "One example is after Wolf Biermann was stripped of his citizenship in 1976. At that time, Stasi cars were parked outside the house of writer Christa Wolf and her husband Gerhard. They had both signed a petition against Biermann's being denaturalised. Konrad called me up and said: 'Are they (at the Ministry for State Security) totally nuts?' Like at other times, I called up my colleagues in the ministry. Not everyone at the Stasi was completely obsessed with spying on people, and they then put a stop to that kind of stuff."

Die Tageszeitung, 20.10.2005

"The German newspaper market is too concentrated. We should welcome foreign investors," says media studies expert Horst Röper in a conversation with Steffan Grimberg about the planned sale of the Berliner Zeitung to British investors (more here). "They are simply new players, and the media power would just be distributed onto more shoulders. That would be a good thing. Anyway, German media can't afford to pursue isolationist policies. German publishing houses earn massively abroad. I can't say anything about these particular investors and their plans. Too little is known. But generally it should be said that not all funds and risk-capital investors behave according to the rules of the locust (reference here). With the nonfiction section of the Springer Publishing House, the relationship with foreign investors for scientific publications functions very well."

Frankfurter Rundschau, 20.10.2005

Daniel Kothenschulte has high praise for photographer David LaChapelle's documentary film "Rize", on a new dance phenomenon in Los Angeles, calling it "a testimonial to the birth of an art form". "At first, the aesthete LaChapelle amply shares with us his amazement at the beauty of the 'krumping' and 'clowning'. A text at the beginning informs viewers that nothing in the film has been artificially sped up. The disclaimer was necessary, given the tempo of this dance that is almost too fast even for a video frequency of 25 frames per second. But while he doesn't speed anything up, LaChapelle does allow himself a grandiose finale which uses a high-speed camera to slow down a dancer's body that quivers with the speed of a machine gun. There is a hint of Leni Riefenstahl in these images." - let's talk european