Germany

Frightening Similarities Between Pegida And Radical Islam

For many in these very different extremist camps, it all begins with a "lying media."

Frightening Similarities Between Pegida And Radical Islam
Ulrich Clauss

-OpEd-

BERLIN — At the beginning, many people in journalistic circles reacted with dismissive grins, if at all, to the handful of so-called "Monday demonstrators' who gathered in some German cities. It was the beginning of 2014, and Putin had just annexed Crimea.

Left-wing and right-wing conspiracy theories fused to form a self-appointed, propaganda-loving "freedom movement" that was pro-Kremlin and branded every other opinion a "press of lies." Of significance too were constant references to the "mainstream media."

But when journalists were murdered in Paris earlier this month, the grinning stopped. The path from word to deed can be frightfully short. The origin of the expression, "press of lies," illustrates that in exemplary fashion. A "press of lies" — particularly in the expression's full form, a "Jewish-Marxist press of lies" — was used by Nazi Germany"s Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to defame the critical press.

And just as the route from word to deed was short back then, the line between, on one side, propaganda that attacks a pluralistic culture of opinion and, on the other, acts of violence against its infrastructure and authors is frighteningly thin.

It's now not just a few dozen Vladimir Putin apologists spouting the "press of lies" slogan but also thousands of people in Dresden and elsewhere. From the Putin apology grew a flat rejection of the federal government and parliamentarism.

It's not necessary to consider the Islamophobic Pegida movement and the flourishing contempt of media and politics in its wake massive in order to fear the phobia of pluralism that it engenders.

Great harm will come from failing to see this movement for what it is. The world exists only through our perception of it, and that perception is mainly transmitted via the media. It therefore follows that the media is the target of populists and ideological fanatics who have broken away from the reality of a pluralistic media landscape.

Insofar as that goes, the ideologues within Pegida who are hostile to pluralism look very much like their most critical opponents. Radical Islamists also espouse terms like a "press of lies."

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Society

How The Top Collector Of Chinese Art Evades Censors In New Hong Kong Museum

Swiss businessman Uli Sigg is the most important collector of Chinese contemporary art. In 2012, he gave away most of his collection to the M+ in Hong Kong. Now the museum has opened as the Communist Party is cracking down hard on freedom of expression. So how do you run a museum in the face of widespread censorship from Beijing?

''Rouge 1992'' by Li Shan at the M+ museum

Maximilian Kalkhof

The first test has been passed, Uli Sigg thinks. So far, everything has gone well. His new exhibition has opened, visitors like to come, and — this is the most important thing for the Swiss businessman — everything is on display. He has not had to take an exhibit off the list of works.

The M+ in Hong Kong is a new museum that wants to compete with the established ones. It wants to surpass the MoMa in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Sigg, a rather down-to-earth man, says: “There is no better museum in the whole world.” That is very much self-praise, since Sigg’s own collection is central to the museum.

The only problem is: great art is often political; it questions the rulers. Since the Chinese Communist Party has been cracking down on critics and freedom in Hong Kong, the metropolis is a bad place for politics and art. So how did the collection get there?

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