Günter Grass and Herta Müller have a lot in common. Not only do the two German writers share the same profession, theyve also both won Nobel Prizes. But that doesnt 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.
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