The German Academy for Language and Poetry has condemned the attack by a ballet director on an art critic with dog feces as "blatant crossing of borders". The attack on the physical and psychological integrity of the critic is also an attack on the right to freedom of expression under Article 5 of the Basic Law and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, according to a statement by the Academy Executive Committee in Darmstadt on Monday.
The guarantee of being able to express criticism freely is a necessary prerequisite for a democratic constitutional state. Violence should never be the starting point of a debate, it destroys education and the exchange of opinions. The presidium also criticized the attack with dog excrement and its subsequent explanation, which seeks understanding, "an expression of a fatal leveling down".
The possible injury that could trigger a biting criticism must be strictly distinguished from the injury caused by a physical attack. Because any confusion between a metaphorical and actual use of a weapon has “devastating consequences” for social coexistence.
The ballet director of the Hanover State Opera, Marco Goecke, who has since been fired, stood in the way of critic Wiebke Hüster, who works for the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (FAZ), on February 18 in the foyer of the opera house and smeared her face with dog excrement. Goecke later apologized, but the journalist dismissed his statement as an attempt at justification. The police are investigating because of intentional bodily harm and insult.
More than 180 writers, critics and translators belong to the German Academy for Language and Poetry, as well as linguists and literary scholars, but also lawyers and scientists whose work is characterized by a special interest in language. The academy is particularly well-known for the annual awarding of the Büchner Prize, the most important literary award in the German-speaking world.