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    Watch Masha Gessen explain the Hannah Arendt Prize controversy in their own words.

    Dan Sheehan

    December 15, 2023, 11:28am

    On Wednesday, German newspaper Die Zeit broke the news that the ceremony to award the prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought to Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen would be postponed (though not cancelled entirely) because one of the award’s main sponsors (the Green party-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation), as well as the city of Bremen, had withdrawn their support over the acclaimed writer’s comparison of besieged Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto in a recent New Yorker essay.

    This decision by the Heinrich Böll Foundation was met with uproar on social media, and broadly condemned by writers and journalists worldwide. Conflicting reports as to which bodies withdrew and for what specific reasons, as well as to what exact form the rescheduled award ceremony would/will take, are, at the time of writing, ongoing. (The Heinrich Böll Foundation, for example, seems to be in the process of walking back its original statement.)

    However, the person with the most accurate and up-to-date knowledge of the situation is, unsurprisingly, Masha Gessen.

    In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! earlier today, Gessen gave a detailed breakdown of the entire controversy:

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