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May 2003 - Nr. 5
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister2000


Dear Reader

There is much to rejoice about. Spring has finally arrived in Ontario just in time past Easter. The bunny came around still wearing a snowsuit, it was so cold. But now the forsythia is in bloom, tulips are preparing to open, and daffodils are already waning in very sunny, protected spots. The grass is really green and growing, buds are opening everywhere and tall trees show off their fresh new tresses.

Signs of spring: forsythia in bloom & laundry on the lineLaundry is gracing the clotheslines again, promising natural fresh scents for the bed linens. In the animal world too a cycle of renewal has began: racoons are pregnant, birds are courting and nesting, squirrels rush around, and the cats sit on the fence, sunning. People are much happier, walking with smiles on their faces where only a few weeks ago big frowns were visible between pulled up shoulders.

Everything smells new and fresh and promising. Bright futures seem once again possible.

First leavesBut these futures will have to be created by us, or else they develop by themselves, and uncontrolled might not hold what we had in mind. Many ideas are spawned every day, but few of those plans come to fruition if there is not an intuitive and strong person at the helm to lead the activities to success. All too easily do the players march to various different tunes unless someone holds the baton, regulates the traffic, the speed and the direction, making everyone else think that it was all their idea anyway, and theirs alone.

We have such a person right in our midst, looking and inviting young people like herself to find new directions and discover different avenues to pursue our cultural heritage. Elisabeth Kuehn is inviting the young and very young at heart to a meeting in the middle of May. Please read her column and come, bring a friend, don’t be shy, explore the possibilities.

Our new direction is followed up by the second of Rachel Seilern’s column. She expresses some really old-fashioned sentiments in a new and passionate way. She belongs to the Forget-me-Not Family, which is just now celebrating 10 years of learning and growing together and pleasing thousands of people while doing what all of them love best.

The S.T.V. Weiss-Blau Bayern Dance Group from the Hansa Club is celebrating next month its 20th anniversary. These young people and their offspring have stolen our hearts with traditional dance and music all theses years.

There is youth out there and it needs to be supported. We are willing and able to do it; we have always done it. That is why we have published mainly in English. We have supported the Forget-Me-Nots and every other organisation in the business of celebrating their heritage their way. Unfortunately there are still those out there that think only the German language celebrates the German culture, which is not true. German culture exists and is practised in many languages. When we tell our stories in German we tell only each other. And while there is merit in that, we are falling short of telling our stories to others, namely those that need to hear them. They mostly do not speak or read German, or they do not do it well enough. Ergo: To carry our culture outside of our community, to have others gain more understanding of us we need to represent ourselves in the language that is predominantly spoken here in this country. Of course, we also have to work to preserve the language, but I do not think that there is a danger of it dying out. German is still a vastly popular language all over the world.

We just started our 14th year of publishing Echo Germanica and over the years there have been a few changes. Along the way we changed the format and content a bit, the writers varied, the emphasis changed somewhat. A paper has to do that to stay fresh and interesting and to meet the needs of the community, which has changed drastically. We have always put emphasis on arts and culture, and we shall continue to do so. We look wherever we can. The music world is especially rich in German cultural expressions. We want to tell your stories, in English, and we want to share what is best about us with you and others. Whatever we do we do with an eye to the future, a future we have to create actively together.

This is a vast responsibility and help is very expectable to us. There is so much material out there, we could publish every week a very thick publication if… yes, if… if we had the funds to finance it with. Unfortunately arts and culture are the "Stiefkinder" of general interest as far as finances are concerned. Hardcore business is the order of the day and the glorification of moneymaking methods. As a publisher I wish I could find the balance between the need to pull in vast amounts of cash that I then could disperse as the artist I am, namely in the glorification of other artists and art of any form. So if you know of someone who has similar ambitions and a lot (or a little) of money to donate, well, do not hesitate, let me know. Until then Echo Germanica will remain the compact little paper you have come to know and love. The paper that celebrates life by glorifying our heritage through the activities of artistic and cultural activities where ever we find them, with a special interest for younger people and the creation of continuation and the future.

Watch out for new columns like "Over the fence", practical advice on just about anything that makes life easier, or "The way we were, the way we are", stories of the past that are worth passing on and sharing. If you have other ideas we would like to hear it. But please, please, please, do not ask me to print your horoscopes…Instead let’s create the future together!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister





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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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