by Upstate NY
Wed May 31st, 2006 at 09:45:30 AM EST
I don't know how many of you are following the "new" Peter Handke brush-up, but an American blogger has framed it pretty well here:
Handke received the Heine Prize and has had it revoked for his views on Serbia. Perhaps the title of Handke's book was too provocative ("Justice for Serbia"), as well as his other provocations (appearance at Milosevic's gravesite) but the subtitle was actually much more descriptive of the book's content: A Journey to the River. The river in question is Drina, and Handke simply went to the river and interviewed Serbs and Bosnian Muslims who lived on either side. That, and he blasted the Western media for its distorted coverage of events. Perhaps that's what has made him so unpopular?
Regardless, there is a question of free speech here. It is perhaps proper that Handke's views are contested openly, but I find it a bit dishonest to tag the name Milosevic alongside his AND to have his prize taken away. Not that I put much stock in prizes, but if you award someone a prize for art, you shouldn't take it away for purely political reasons. This makes a mockery of politics and art.