From the Feuilletons


The feuilletons battle it out over the French riots...

In an interview in Saturday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, French demographer Emmanuel Todd takes the riots in the French suburbs as proof that immigrants' children have successfully integrated: "With their revolt, the insurgent youth have integrated into the French tradition. And they're treated by the police just like any other revolutionaries. Despite Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy's absurd rhetoric (more), the police and the population haven't lost their nerve. If the events can be brought to an end more or less peacefully, France will wake up and say to itself: this revolt doesn't mean the failure of the French model. On the contrary, it shows that it works. Because that's what we call assimilation in French."

In another interview in Saturday's Die Tageszeitung, French sociologist Michel Pialoux makes an interesting differentiation between the sexes: "Girls from the immigrant milieu are more successful at school and at entering the job market. Unemployment is higher among young men. This feeds the youths' despair, and it also feeds their machismo. Another factor is that street culture is typical male territory."

Saturday's Die Welt publishes an essay in which author Michael Kleeberg compares the country's republican discourse with its apartheid praxis, which is the flip side of an unspoken but deep-rooted elitism: "France, in contrast to the official rhetoric, is an archly conservative country in which the elite recruits almost exclusively from within the elite. In France, men with the academic training of someone like ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl or outgoing chancellor Gerhard Schröder (obscure provincial high school, continuing eduction, mass university, no marriage into higher social spheres) can at best hope to become mayor in a middling provincial town."

Writing in today's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Michael Jeismann sees in the French suburbs not only cause for despair, but also signs of hope, for example in Evry, southwest of Paris. "The European space programme is centred in Evry. And with Genopole, the elite of French scientific research and biotechnology is at home there too. But that's not all. It's also the only place in France where a new cathedral was built in the 20th century. It's right next to the city hall and has over fourteen hundred seats. Pope John Paul II visited it in the 90s. And at the same time, there are more people from Mali living in Evry than anywhere else in the world, and a huge Buddhist temple is being built there as well."

Other stories

Die Tageszeitung, 14.11.2005

A major conflict is currently rocking the German news magazine Der Spiegel, between the magazine's editors and the heirs to Rudolf Augstein, the magazine's founder. Augstein's daughter, Franziska Augstein, has attacked the editors, among them editor-in-chief Stefan Aust, and labelled the publication a "gossip rag". Oliver Gehrs (author of "Der Spiegel Complex") describes how the battle lines are being drawn: "The editors of the magazine's various sections have protested against the criticism in a joint statement. Absurdly, the signatories include many harsh critics of Aust. But anyone who refused to sign the statement would probably be out of a job in less than six months, because as Gabor Steingart, Der Spiegel's office manager in Berlin, likes to say, fear is what makes Der Spiegel tick."

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14.11.2005

After visiting the exhibition "On normality. Art in Serbia 1989-2001" in the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art, Tom Holert testifies to a Serbian art scene which is steadily becoming truly heterogeneous. What unites all the works, however, is that they address nationalism, war, UN sanctions, social disintegration or former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic. "In one of her impressive paintings Biljana Durdevic (born 1973) lays out Father Christmas on the autopsy table. The red coat with its white fur lining is opened at the chest allowing a glimpse at the milky white skin, coloured socks and dirty underwear. The young Belgrade artist has invested little sympathy in her depiction of the corpse. It is a painstaking demystification, accompanied by repugnance and a lust for revenge, of something that has long had the magic taken out of it, painted in a Baroque realist style. And it doesn't take much to see in this painting a reflex reaction to a society in which images of dead bodies belong to media routine in a politics of fear."

Die Welt, 14.11.2005

In the media section, Uwe Schmitt introduces the gangsta rap magazine DonDiva. "Over 150,000 buyers have turned this prison rag into a lifestyle magazine – with tips on hiding goods in plug sockets, tests of mobile money-counting machines for street business and practical getaway car tires which can do 50 miles per hour even when full of bullet holes." - let's talk european