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German Nobel Winner Herta Müller: Günter Grass 'Has No Moral Credibility'

Günter Grass has been criticized by many inside and outside Germany for his recent criticism of Israel. Now Herta Müller, a fellow German winner of the Nobel prize for literature, used the release of her new book in Brazil to slam Grass's moral s

Herta Müller in 2009 in Frankfurt (Don'tWorrry)
Herta Müller in 2009 in Frankfurt (Don'tWorrry)


*NEWSBITES

Günter Grass and Herta Müller have a lot in common. Not only do the two German writers share the same profession, they've also both won Nobel Prizes. But that doesn't mean they have to agree on everything.

When it comes to the Israel-Iran standoff, for example, Grass has it dead wrong, Müller explained in a recent interview with Folha de S. Paulo. Grass, 84, made headlines early last month with a controversial poem in which he accuses Israel of plotting to destroy Iran. According to Müller, her literary compatriot has it all backwards.

"Günter Grass distorts reality. Iran is threatening Israel with annihilation, not the other way around," said the Romanian-born novelist. "In my opinion, he lost his moral credibility long ago, because over the course of decades he hid his affiliation with the Nazi SS."

Torture, persecution, fear and betrayal are key elements in the life and work of Müller. Winner of a Noble Prize in 2009, she returns to issues related to her past in Always the Same Snow and Always the Same Uncle, which has recently been published in Brazil. The book is a compendium of essays, lectures, and articles written by the author.

During the interview, Müller also criticized China for condemning activists such as Noble winner Liu Xiaobo to prison. Their actions, she explained, are reminiscent of dictatorial governments in the last century. Müller is concerned too with how politics have evolved in new democracies, including in her birth country, Romania.

"Old regime employees are still in power in the new order. They are business men and politicians and, instead of repression, now corruption is ruling," she said.

Müller blames such conditions on a willful ignorance of the past. "Unlike what happens in Germany, in Romania nobody wants to read old archives, to know who cheated or spied. This led to a new start, with politicians free of charges."

Read more from Folha de S.Paolo in Portuguese

Photo – Dontworry

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

How A Drone Strike Inside Iran Exposes The Regime's Vulnerability — On All Fronts

It is still not clear what was the exact target of an attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory in central Iran. But it comes as Tehran authorities appear increasingly vulnerable to both its foreign and domestic enemies, with more attacks increasingly likely.

Screenshot of one of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

One of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

Screenshot
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — It's the kind of incident that momentarily reveals the shadow wars that are part of the Middle East. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory complex north of Isfahan in central Iran.

But the explosion was so strong that it set off a small earthquake. Iranian authorities have played down the damage, as we might expect, and claim to have shot down the drones.

Nevertheless, three armed drones reaching the center of Iran, buzzing right up to weapons factories, is anything but ordinary in light of recent events. Iran is at the crossroads of several crises: from the war in Ukraine where it's been supplying drones to Russia to its nuclear development arriving at the moment of truth; from regional wars of influence to the anti-government uprising of Iranian youth.

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That leaves us spoiled for choice when it comes to possible interpretations of this act of war against Iran, which likely is a precursor to plenty of others to follow.

Iranian authorities, in their comments, blame the United States and Israel for the aggression. These are the two usual suspects for Tehran, and it is not surprising that they are at the top of the list.

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