From the Feuilletons


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 04.11.2005

The Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989. Today, writes Franziska Augstein, "people in high places" are all too keen to dismiss the GDR as a "footnote" in German history. The process of rewriting history, it seems, is already well under way. "The East Germans were all opposed to Communism. If you subscribe to this today you can call yourself a good German. But if you point out that the majority of GDR citizens fitted in with their state you're branded an old stick-in-the-mud. The line to toe says that because (almost) all GDR citizens fought against the state, (almost) all of them were part of the revolution at the end. That the majority of demonstrators and civil rights campaigners who played an active role in opening the Wall were certainly not doing it to gain access to the West and the market economy is suppressed today."

Die Tageszeitung, 04.11.2005

The Georg Büchner Prize, awarded to eminent authors and poets writing in German who have made an outstanding contribution to contemporary German culture, will be given to author Brigitte Kronauer tomorrow. Maja Rettig visited her in at her home in Teufelsbrück, near Hamburg, and learned why Inuit children spin around as fast as they can and then collapse into the snow: "Order is one thing, dizziness another. Whether you spin around very fast or get good and drunk from time to time, as Kronauer says, 'you need both to make it through the day. That's a very handy survival principle, and it can help prevent insanity and ossification."

Berliner Zeitung, 04.11.2005

Knut Elstermann talked to Ali Samadi Ahadi and Oliver Stoltz, whose documentary "Lost Children" examines the attempts of a number of child soldiers to return to normality after escaping the ranks of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. When asked why the film provided very little background on the war, Ali Samadi Ahadi replied: "Because this political background plays no role for the children. In the moment children are maltreated and abused, when they are forced to kill and their childhood is stolen from them – then the ideals and aims behind this war are completely irrelevant. It's just inhuman! We very consciously chose to focus on these children and their microcosm. We wanted to meet these children eye to eye and show what a difficult situation they are in."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 04.11.2005

Knut Henkel reports on the sensational archaeological dig at Caral, the oldest city in the Americas. Among other finds, the Peruvian archaeologists have turned up the world's oldest Quipu. "For laypeople, the Quipu, a bunch of cotton strands of varying lengths tied into many knots, looks like a dirty brown hunk of wool. But the knots are neatly tied words, and comprise one of the oldest scripts in the world. They have yet to be deciphered, and until April of this year no one would have guessed that the knot language could be so old. Test results show the Quipu dates back 5,000 years. It provides further evidence that Caral is the oldest advanced civilisation on the continent."

Aldo Keel tells how the Norwegians wanted to erect a monument to their beloved king, His Majesty Harald V, and were dealt a statue by sculptor Knut Steen. "The king is dressed in uniform, high up on a gigantic plinth, his over-dimensional right arm held up in a dubious gesture. Faceless bodies amassed at his feet represent the Norwegian people. On the radio, art historian Tommy Sörbö called the work a 'cross between Donald Duck's Uncle Scrooge and Kim Il Sung'."

Frankfurter Rundschau, 04.11.2005

Jean Clair spent ten years preparing the exhibition on melancholy in the Grand Palais in Paris, reports Martina Meister who is deeply impressed by this "melancholy masterpiece". "The exhibition's more than 250 works show the many faces of melancholy. Among them the grimaces and harrowing beauties by Goya and Piranesi or the series of portraits by Arcimboldo, Hans Baldung (paintings) and Dürer, the forefathers of melancholic painters. Every face looks different, but at the end they all seem the same. The approach might have changed in the course of 2,000 years, the interpretation too, but iconography has stayed true to the feeling. A sad person carries the weight of the world inside his head." - let's talk european