Anticolonialist smugglers, BER and book wars

A two-minute read

Dear Reader,

Enjoy the extra hour of sleep while you can, today might have been the last time Germany turned back the clock for wintertime… Here’s a look back at some news items you might have missed last week, as well as a glimpse ahead.

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Jörg & Axel

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Last week...

Nein! to lockdowns! sais Peter Altmaier © Patrick Büttgen
  • The L-word is back! Frank Ulrich Montgomery, head of the World Medical Association, told die Rheinische Post that if new daily corona-cases pass 20,000 Germany will need another lockdown."It would then no longer be possible for health authorities to trace and interrupt the chains of infection,” said the radiologist. But as the total death toll surpassed 10,000, and with newly registered cases hitting 14,714 on Saturday, Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, disagreed. "We will not need a blanket lockdown like the one we had the first time. Going shopping does not drive new infections”he told die Welt.

  • One of Germany’s most celebrated authors, Monika Maron, was axed by her publisher, the Fischer Verlag. A GDR dissident who fled to the West shortly before the wall came down, the 80-year old writer has been at loggerheads with her publisher over her criticism of Islam and multiculturalism. When she published a set of essays with a right-wing publisher, Fischer Verlag saw red. “This is a fatal intimidation and a signal to all authors not to go astray and violate the moral purity law! How will literature and art flourish in such a polarized climate?” thundered Thea Dorn, moderator of das Literarische Quartett (Germany’s most popular literature TV-show) and one of many from the cultural establishment to defend Maron. 

  • Brandenburg’s constitutional court overturned the Paritätsgesetz, a law supported by the SPD, Linke and Greens that forces all parties to have an equal number of men and women on electoral lists for the state parliament. Similar laws are being discussed in many German states as a remedy for the dismal state of gender equality in German politics, which we’ve previously reported on. Just like Thuringia’s constitutional court, which threw out a Paritätsgestz in June, the Brandenburg judges believe that the law is undemocratic.

  • Germany does not deport to Syria. But after a Syrian refugee was arrested for murdering a tourist in Dresden earlier this month, interior minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) wants that to change. “I strongly believe that we should check whether it is possible to deport to Syria, at least to the safe areas,” he told the press. The Dresden perpetrator was a radical Islamist who had just been released from prison when he killed a 55 year old with a kitchen knife. 

  • Our three minutes of fun for you today is this video shot by three artists calling themselves the Bad Beuys of the Frankfurter Hauptschule. They pinched a sculpture by Joseph Beuys from a museum in Münster and smuggled it to Tanzania, where they handed it to a local museum. The artists say the act was payback for colonialism. The Münster museum has described itself as “dismayed.” ArtNet has the details.

Next week…

  • On Wednesday the anti-Islam far-right movement Pegida will mark its sixth birthday with a corona-restrictions defying march through its city of origin, Dresden. The first weekly demonstration of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident in 2014 drew only a handful of protesters but increased to 25,000 and spawned offshoots across Germany at the height of the refugee crisis. The corona-demonstrations during the summer have been likened to the Pegida rallies of old.

  • The verdict in the Bergischgladbach child abuse case is expected on Thursday. A police raid on the home of a suspect in October 2019 uncovered a paedophile crime-network of unprecedented size. The suspect was the central figure in a ring of 1,800 offenders and had himself for years abused his 3-year old daughter.

  • “The best piece on the BER airport disaster I’ve ever read,” one reader wrote to us in praise of Jörg’s reporting on Berlin’s new airport, which is finally set to open next Saturday. So if you haven’t already, make sure to read it :-) 

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Who we are:

Jörg Luyken: Journalist based in Berlin since 2014. His work has been published by German and English outlets including der Spiegel, die Welt, the Daily Telegraph and the Times. Formerly in the Middle East.

Axel Bard Bringéus: Started his career as a journalist for the leading Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and has spent the last decade in senior roles at Spotify and as a venture capital investor. In Berlin since 2011.