From the Feuilletons


Correction to "In Today's Feuilletons" of January 6: In the story taken from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Steven Spielberg's film "Munich", we mistakenly called the authors, Yossi Melman and Steven Hartov, "former Mossad agents". Melman and Hartov are distinguished writers who have never served in the Mossad. We apologise for this error, which has been corrected.

Die Zeit, 19.01.2006

In an interview with Katja Nicodemus and Thomas Assheuer an outraged Michael Haneke (filmography) talks about his one and only flop – a comedy –, his new film "Cache" and France's bad conscience. "I found out through a TV documentary about the massacre of Algerians at the hands of the Paris police force on 17 October 1961. Not a word had been written about this in 40 years although the French press is relatively liberal. Then I did some more research and it left me completely bewildered. I didn't want to make a film about the Algerian war and the Algerian problem but more about a cover up of the facts. I mean, 200 people were killed and their bodies thrown into the Seine where they floated for weeks and no one even mentions it – in 40 years!"

Mely Kiyak sees the questions put to Muslims seeking German citizenship in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg (English news story here, questions in German here) as evidence that Germans are still a long way from having an unproblematic relationship with foreign residents. "Why don't Germans dare to ask the questions that really matter? 'Why do you want to become a German citizen?', 'Do you identify with the Basic Law?' and 'Do you belong to a religious community, and if so, which?' Full stop. But in the guidelines these questions are as ridiculously disguised as a camouflaged hunter in a pedestrian zone. Most foreigners seeking German citizenship grew up here. They went through the German school system, and if you don't dare to ask questions that reflect that, then at least you should be honest enough to translate the questions into 'You beat woman?'"

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 19.01.2006

The Iranian president has repeatedly cast doubts about the Holocaust in recent weeks, and these are are partly shared in the Arab world, writes Jordanian literature critic Fakhri Saleh. "But there are other Arab historians who are very up to date on Western Holocaust research. The most well-known among them is the Egyptian literary scholar and historian Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri, who worked for the UN for years." In his encyclopaedic work "Zionism, Nazism and the End of History", al-Missiri "seeks to represent modern Jewish history as a part of Western history. He sees the potential for targeted, mass annihilation of people as specific to Western civilisation. On the basis of this questionable idea with its Spengler-like aura of the 'decline of the West' he prefers to talk of the 'extermination of the European Jews by the National Socialists'. For him the expressions 'Shoah' and 'Holocaust' have Jewish-religious connotations which separate the event from its specific historical and civilisational context."

Die Tageszeitung, 19.01.2006

"Nobody understood us authors like he did", writes Jochen Schmidt about Sigmund Freud in the series "writers I'd like to be". "Because he based his reflections on self-analysis, Freud had difficulties explaining women. But his fantasy helped him here too, for example with the female Oedipus complex. The girl is disappointed in the mother, because she sees her as being responsible for her having no penis. So she fantasises that her father makes her pregnant, and the child she imagines she'll have replaces the missing penis. So much becomes clear now when you think back on disputes with your ex-girlfriend. Even the fact that things were never really so great in bed has a simple explanation: an overly passive upbringing. Because school-yard fights are a way of learning a controlled use of aggression, and help you to have a fulfilled sex life. Boys who didn't get into fights as kids will never be good lovers!"

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19.01.2006

Werner Bloch was in Aleppo in Syria where he watched the satirical theatre piece "Sorry, America" by Hammam Hout which is not only critical of the Americans. "Syria views itself as the next victim of America's Middle East politics, and the full-blown anti-Americanism fits the general mood. But his arrows are also aimed homewards. Hout is astonishingly critical of the situation in Syria, the corruption, the single party system, the media. 'Why is the national mobile phone company Syriatel robbing us?', he calls from the stage. 'Why are we paying such exorbitant rates – and we know full well where our money's going' – straight into the pockets of some member of the president's family. The dirty system of nepotism which the play focuses on is at the root of day-to-day economic life and Syria comes over not only as a victim of American superpower fantasies, but as a thoroughly rotten system."

Frankfurter Rundschau, 19.01.2006

Isabelle Graw, who in 1990 founded the art magazine "Texte zur Kunst", explains the workings of the art market in this spectacular phase of capitalism. "In recent times, we have seen public museums reflecting market value. To a certain extent the museum has become a display window for this defining power. For the contemporary collection at MoMA works were bought by painters – from Elisabeth Peyton to Peter Doig – which fetch particularly high prices on the secondary market. The purchasing decisions are made by trustees who have invested in the secondary market and who can upgrade their purchases by showcasing them in a museum. In Germany too, there were a number of cases at the Frankfurt MMK where the museum was used to boost the value of privately owned works on loan." - let's talk european