From the Feuilletons


Berliner Zeitung, 12.05.2006

Belarussian writer Artur Klinau tells how Alexander Lukashenko manages to keep Belarus under his spell. "Belarussian society is split between those who live in fear and those seeking to free themselves from fear. Between those pursuing an illusion and those yearning to return to reality. You can't say this split in Belarussian society has only come about recently. It's existed since the moment Lukashenko came to power. Moreover, the split was the very reason why Lukashenko could become president in the first place, because his votes came from that part of Belarus that was still entirely under the spell of the Soviet Empire, from those who wanted to return to the land of happiness."

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12.05.2006

Franziska Augstein presents the report of the commission of experts on the GDR, which has not yet been published but was already roundly attacked by the historian Hubertus Knabe earlier this week in Die Welt. (See Monday's "In Today's Feuilletons") She actually finds its suggestions quite constructive, for example the proposal for a museum for "Rule, Society and Resistance" beyond the Stasi jails, the Wall in Berlin's Mitte and museums that alredy exist. "A memorial landscape that wanted to show millions of former GDR citizens that they had spent 40 years in ante-chambers of solitary confinement and torture cells would not draw many visitors. Hohenschönhausen is not the only site that's trying to do that. That's why the commission's complaints are actually well founded: 'The tense interaction of the rulers and the ruled, between acceptance and dependence, enthusiasm and contempt, dissatisfied loyalty and scraps of happiness' has not yet been adequately captured in GDR commemoration."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12.05.2006

Rainer Stamm, director of the Paula Mordersohn-Becker Museum in Bremen, looks back on a revolutionary nude in the history of art, more exactly: the first female nude self-portrait, painted by Paula Mordersohn-Becker exactly one hundred years ago, "She gazes out of her self-portrait with a blend of cheek and inquisitiveness. The format of the canvas – one metre high, for her rare – shows she's not going to content herself with a study. Instead of showing a location, the background shines in a lemony yellow punctuated by dabs of green. Her hands surround her lower stomach. Often this position indicates pregnancy, but here instead they point metaphorically to the twin creative powers of the woman artist. She alone is in a position to give birth and to create art."

Die Welt, 12.05.2006

Gernard Gnauck summarises the reaction of Polish intellectuals to the newly formed national conservative government. Jokes about Kaczynski are spreading rampantly. "Today the ridicule doesn't just manifest itself in the form of jokes but also in photo-montages which are circulating on the internet or even in advertisements. Large black posters adorn Warsaw's streets with the warning: 'The IV Republic is coming.' Underneath there's the call: 'Doctors! Stay in Germany!' or 'Plumbers! Stay in France!' or 'Soldiers! Come back from Iraq!'"

Frankfurter Rundschau, 12.05.2006

Frank Hoffmann's staging of "The Taming of the Shrew" at the Ruhrfestspiele as a live comic strip was enough to entertain Stefan Keim for the first half. "Every once in a while, the performance turns totally surreal, a widow with a mop doggy shuffles across the stage, sometimes the scene freezes for a photograph. When Petruchio (well played by Siemen Rühaak) conquers the shrew, the scene slides into the slow motion showdown of a gangster film. Unlike his completely awful 'Minna von Barnhelm' last year, Hoffmann has a workable concept this time." - let's talk european