Grass attacks austerity forced on Greece
German Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass has followed his Israel-critical poem from last month with one tearing into European policy on Greece.
His latest poem, “Europe’s Shame”, published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, talks of the chaos in Greece and the suffering there, yet warns that Europe would be soulless if Greece were to leave as it had dreamed up the European idea.
He describes Greece as a country condemned to poverty, and as a “country without rights, whose belt is pulled tighter and tighter by the powers with rights.”
His previous poem, “What must be said”, drew some praise, but also provoked a storm of criticism and led to the Israeli government banning him from visiting the country.
It remains to be seen whether this second poem will spark a similarly heated debate. It was carried in all of Germany’s major newspapers Saturday.
“In total one should not take Günter Grass so seriously any more,” said Gunther Krichbaum, a conservative MP who chairs the German parliamentary committee on Europe. He told the Deutschlandfunk radio station Grass’ criticism was not pertinent to the actual situation.