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November 2001 - Nr. 11
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister2000

Dear Reader

What does a paper do in the face of a politically difficult time that does not want to contribute to the broad publication of terrorizing news?

Like the rest of the world, and probably even more so, we are bombarded with the minute details of actions resulting directly from the fall-out of the events that took place on September 11 in the United Sates. We sift through dozens of reports several times a day. We are aware of the unrest and unsettling effect these events cause on a daily basis. Understandably, it makes people feel very unsafe, keeps them from doing what they would normally do, immobilizes them and even causes some to run to where they think they are safer. We heard of someone moving back to Berlin in Germany because of these events. We also hear of people buying unusual supplies of all sorts of things they ordinarily would not be interested in, and we hear of the merchants of chaos, that will get rich because of the fear the media instils again and again in people.

Golden Autumn gloryAnd eventually I too feel a little uneasy and go to places where a lot of people are, a mall for instance; and I have a look around, or go to a movie as a pleasant diversion, admire paintings in an art gallery, or just take a walk in the park. There the dogs are being walked like always, the litter flutters by, as always, at the corner during lunch hour the kids queue up to get into the store to get their sugar fix, as always, and on Fridays the big bully in his screaming orange sports car still comes around the neighbourhood to pick up his dry-cleaning, but he does not have his music entertaining the entire neighbourhood anymore, only a quarter of it!

And what did I realize? Nothing really changed from before except one thing: the bully stopped being quite such a big bully! He is just a bit more considerate than he ever was before I pointed out to him, that he needs to respect the rights of others if he insists on having rights himself. I also realized that life does go on quite normally and especially when people take their finger out of the electric socket and do not continuously listen to the bad news of every day and every hour. Engaging in the normal things of daily life and even looking for something especially pleasant is the right thing to do. Cancellations of events have taken place because people did not want to go anywhere? What did they win? Nothing, not even peace of mind! Instead they listened only to more bad news about things they cannot do anything about because it is happening "over there".

Well, we have just the ticket for these frightened folks. Have a look at some of the events that are coming up in our community alone: Everyone of our clubs in all the towns is having a Christmas market with all the so familiar trimmings. Kitchener (Dec. 6-9 ) and Toronto (November30-Dec.16 ) are doing it in especially grand style in front of their respective city halls.

The Lorelei Club in Oshawa has its Xmas Fair Nov. 28, the Danube Swabian Club in Scarborough one week earlier, from November 17 through the 19th. The Germania Club in Hamilton opens the doors for a Christmas Fair on November 11, the German Club in Pembroke on Nov. 23 and 24, Newmarket Nov. 9 and 10, the Hansa Club in Brampton has its Christmas Fair Nov. 23-25, and the Heidelberg Club in St. Catherine’s on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

There are probably more such lovely events that set the mood for the celebration of peace and hope, which we call Christmas.

Usually there are all sorts of concerts performed in our churches. This year we have not heard anything yet, unfortunately. Perhaps that will change. I did hear though that something might be going on in the month of December at the Woodhouse Pub, something seasonally adjusted you might say. We will definitely let you know.

But before we can even think of Christmas we must get a few other things out of the way. These events are of an entirely different nature. On November10, the German School will once again host a St. Martin Parade. Last year the German Consulate General participated and held a wonderful get-together with a huge fire in the back of the consulate after many young families and their children had walked the surrounding neighbourhood with their lit lanterns. This year people are asked to assemble at 391 Brunswick Ave, in the heart of Toronto’s Annex, just before 7:30pm. Afterwards there will again be goodies sponsored by Brandt and Dimpfelmeyer. Should it rain, please call 416-922-6413 to find out when the event will take place instead.

The other noteworthy event is the "Volkstrauertag", this year to be held on November18 at 14:30 at the Woodland Cemetery in Kitchener. The program is as usual, except we cannot tell you yet which German official will attend the memorial service.

We will attend both events and report on them in the next issue. In the meantime we are looking forward to meeting with our readers at the many wonderful occasions designed to uplift even dampened spirits. For those that like music there are concerts to chose from, like one called "For the Love of a Tenor" with Mark DuBois, who was recently appointed Artistic Director of Opera York. The National Ballet is celebrating a 50th anniversary and has an incredible program this season. Hopefully the Toronto Symphony will still be around and play for us after agreements have been worked out to save the Symphony.

Canada has probably more artists per capita than any other nation. This is very lucky for us because they can provide the much needed lift our spirit desires and deserves, especially in difficult times. So splurge on it, take advantage of what the arts and our wonderful customs have to offer to heal us and keep us happy.

We are looking forward to meeting our readers at the many events that will lead up to the day of hope and peace, the day we call Christmas.

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


Our front-page celebrates the golden autumn we are having. And while we prefer to celebrate St. Martin we do not forget Halloween, which is almost upon us as I write this. Our cat Motto (in the photo) reminded me of all the past superstitions about cats in connection with this event.


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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.
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Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, editor, editor-in-chief of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

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