Since 2005 the Morgenland Festival (Orient Festival) has been devoted to musical but also other cultural work from the Near East, whether cinema, photography or literature. This year’s programme from 5 May to 24 June, with the participation of artists from countries including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan and Russia, shifted the focus to Central Asia.

On the evening before the Poetry Project reading, the shamanistic sounds of Raushan Orozbaeva and Ulzhan Baibussynova from Kazakhstan were heard, and on 20 June seven young poets took the stage themselves. The Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, between paintings by the Jewish artist and prints by Andy Spyra from Afghanistan, a photographer of conflict, provided impressive surroundings for the moving poetry; this was complemented by the unmistakable architecture of Daniel Libeskind, clearly related to the deportation of Nussbaum to Auschwitz. 

In the museum hall, where every seat was taken, texts were read about the horrors of forcible expulsion, about being alone, and also about strength and love in the face of all adversity. The poems were read in Farsi, Arabic and German; translations into German were read expressively by the actor Oliver Meskendahl. At the close there were some minutes of standing ovations, signalling recognition and respect for the courage of the young authors.

Many thanks to Theresa Mattusch and to the festival director Michael Dreyer for the extremely attentive all-round care that characterised the event.

Poets: Rojin Namer, Robina Karimi, Mahdi Hashemi, Mahdi Rezaei, Yasser Niksada, Shahzamir Hataki, Michael Krasnov

Artistic direction: Michael Dreyer, Theresa Mattusch, Morgenland Festival Osnabrück

Image: © Rottkay