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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kafka, Shakale und Araber

Franz Kafka
(source: fleursdumal.nl)
no copyright infringement intended

In the world we live in, Europeans and Arabs (and generally any given human being) are afraid of Jackals (and generally of any given wild beast, be it a Dingo, a Grizzly, a Panther - well, maybe not the Pink Panther). In the world imagined by Kafka (Schakale und Araber - Jackals and Arabs) things are slightly different: it is the Jackals who are very afraid of Arabs (actually a delicate mix of scare and hate: seemingly at the origin is a conflict on resources), while Arabs do not take it personally, and are rather amused about the whole situation. As for Europeans, they are perceived by Jackals as possible Messiahs, expected to come and kill all Arabs once and for all, while they, the Europeans, do not understand very well what's going on.

Schakale und Araber was published firstly in 1917 (by Martin Buber, in Der Jude magazine). Here is the text:

And here is an English translation, made by Ian C. Jonston:

In 2011 Jean-Marie Straub made a ten minute movie based on Kafka's story. It is a perfect example of the cinematic approach of Straub: cold, detached, austere, like presenting a scientific truth. All wrapped in some Brechtian ironic distance.


(Straub - Huillet Films)

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