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Susan Sontag got German book trade's Peace Prize

 
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2003 07:35 am
This Sunday noon, Susan Sontag received the German book trade's Peace Price at the Frankfurt book fair.

Sontag, whose works have been translated into more than 30 languages, is a lover of European literature, especially German classics and philosophy.

She is popular in Germany, where she has lived periodically. She also spent three years in Sarajevo during the Serbian siege of the Bosnian city in the early 1990s and has campaigned on behalf of jailed and persecuted authors.

The prize jury recognized Sontag for standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her work to bridge the gap between the United States and Europe.

"Through her work, which has never lost sight of the European heritage, she has become the most prominent intellectual ambassador between the two continents," and has also stood up for the rights of victims of war, the prize jury's citation said.

Sontag said while she does not use her books to advance her political views, she does take advantage of her position as a writer to question and explore policies she considers wrong.

"I'm not only a writer. I'm first of all a person with a moral conscience," Sontag said.

"I will never support a decision which seems to me absurd."

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, Sontag criticized U.S. officials and news media commentators for their simplistic depiction of those events.

Last year's prize went to Nigerian-born writer Chinua Achebe. Past winners also include Nobel Peace Prize laureates Octavio Paz and Hermann Hesse and former Czech president Vaclav Havel.

Yestrday, Sontag said Bush's policy breaks with the U.S. tradition of consulting with allies on global matters, instead of acting alone. She was referring to the Bush administration decision to invade Iraq without UN backing.

"It's really the end of the republic and the beginning of the empire," she said, comparing the United States to ancient Rome.

Sontag also had harsh words for California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying his election shows traditional politics are disappearing.
(source: different papers and © 2003 Associated Press.)

In her speech today in Frankfurt's Paul's cathedrale, she critisiced (similar in yesterday's interviews ) again especially Bush's foreign policy. This was partly due to the on-party-system in the USA, Sontag said, the Democrtas only being a offshoot of the Republican Party.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2003 01:29 pm
With a swipe at U.S. President Bush and his "imperial program," the American novelist, playwright and critic accepted the prestigious peace prize from the German booksellers' association on Sunday.

more here: "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the honor of free thought."
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