Pros and Cons: The Controversy Over Winnetou . Books

Micah Ulritz (left) as Winito and Milo Half as Tom Silver in a scene from “Young President Winito” Photo: dpa

PRO by Christophe Fell

no one is born racist. But we are influenced by the stories we are told that shape our view of the world. A new generation of moviegoers and readers must now be told the history of Winito, Germany’s favorite Apache chief. Invented by Saxon writer Karl May 150 years ago, reincarnated in the 1960s by actor Pierre Brice and parodied by comedian Michael “Bully” Herbig at the turn of the millennium, the various manifestations of the cult figure have always been products of their time. And for many, it is definitely a memory associated with emotions that they do not want to let go of. But times have changed.

Today it is no longer appropriate to repeat the glorification of wild Western romance and belittle the clichés of how Native Americans are treated. More tact is required if you want to address a small audience as well as new readers candidly, such as Ravensburger Verlag with her two children’s books on “The Young Chief Winnetou”.

On an initial note on these books, it was pointed out that the following is fiction rather than a proper representation: the authors have made it easy for themselves and have pushed the responsibility away from themselves. The publisher had to learn that lesson. After “a lot of negative feedback” he stopped delivering titles and removed them from his program. A step in the right direction.

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Contra by Thomas Zimmermann

Now she has captured Winito, our illustrious childhood hero. Ravensburger Verlag has pulled two books about “The Young Chief Winnetou” from its show after critics on social media blasted the “outdated image of indigenous peoples”. In doing so, the publisher shamefully surrenders to a small minority of language guardians who claim to be mostly anonymous, but often loud, unscrupulous and well-organised. They are also, and it must be made clear, opponents of democracy. Because the vast majority of the population reproduce completely differently.

She does not want to dictate what she is allowed to read and think, and resolutely rejects the language of sex with which the publisher humbly apologizes – the writing sounds like real satire. Books, especially novels, are always fiction. Karl May was never in the Wild West, but he was a great narrator. No one seriously wanted to claim that children’s books wanted to depict the everyday life of 19th century Indians. How poor our world becomes when publishers, of all people, leave to themselves what they are allowed to publish.

Censorship does not exist, it is in the Basic Law. On the other hand, self-censorship is becoming more and more common. Because the accident falls in a long series of accidents that show how narrow the corridor of opinion in the country is. It is therefore necessary that the “silent majority” finally raise their voice. For example, we could take our children to the movie, which at least has a “special value” rating. That would be a good start. Especially since our children will thank us. You can no longer read the book.

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