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December 2003 - Nr. 13

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Letter from the Editor

GS Hospitality Connections

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

It is Christmas again and all this time in December I have been watching people to see how they feel about this most important Christian holiday.

I have heard protests to the fact that references to Christmas are forbidden in our Canadian school system. I have seen how people speak out against the use of "Seasonís Greetings". They insist it should be Merry Christmas and in German venues "Frohe Weihnachten".

Concordia German School Children's ChoirSure, I am all for using the German greeting, but only in a German setting. Yet I will not hold it against a German club restaurant if the placemats hold a neutral English greeting. I guess the protesters do not take into consideration that these things are hard to come by and cost money. Besides, we do have none German people visiting our restaurants and why would we want to offend them? Anything public can therefore be neutral and among each other and on a personal level it does not matter what we say.

Ideally every person living in Canada would know when to say Merry Christmas or use another greeting for all the other ethnic celebrations.

Just this last week I heard on CFMX Radio a commercial using "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah" as a greeting. It also appears in Disneyís "Beauty and the Beast". I really liked that. And thank goodness, Classical Radio 96.3 FM, still presents the "Real Music of Christmas" as a major feature.

I do think that a Christmas tree should be a Christmas tree and not a Seasonal Tree, like Toronto City Hall proclaimed last year, and traditional Christmas music should accompany all activities centered around that theme.

These things still exist, except in those arenas where political correctness is practised like a high wire act. And elsewhere, in institutions where we expect total correctness, we find that political correctness is disregarded in favour of self-gratification, self-glorification and of course self-preservation, as is usual in the old boys clubs of our time.

This, while belonging into another time frame/issue, opens the door for a Christmas wish list, created from collected comments and personal observations and conclusions.

  1. I wish there would be more real Christmas Spirit and less commercialism
  2. I wish there would be more accountable and honest politicians
  3. I wish there were more honest corporations
  4. I wish there would be not so much hatred and envy in the world
  5. I wish there would be no war
  6. I wish people could communicate better and solve their problems
  7. I wish there would be less sex and more love in the world
  8. I wish no one would go hungry
  9. I wish everyone could read and write and learn
  10. I wish people would not fight
  11. I wish there was more understanding between people
  12. I wish there was more trust in the world
  13. I wish people would be more tolerant
  14. I wish people would be more helpful to each other
  15. I wish people would smile more often
  16. I wish people would be more patient
  17. I wish more kids had good manners
  18. I wish there was a cop when you need one
  19. I wish life were not so expensive
  20. I wish the environment were not so polluted
  21. I wish I were healthier

There were many more points made, but they addressed more or less the same subjects in so many different words.

If we look at these statements then it becomes very clear that people are not comfortable with each other, they do not feel safe, they have no confidence that they will be treated fairly, they worry and they are afraid.and have little hope.

But Christmas is exactly about that! Hope! And we have been hoping with this model for over 2000 years, and previously with others. Why then are we in such bad shape? Why is the world in such bad condition? Why are we collectively and as individuals not doing better?

Looking at the list I can see that we look for our solutions always to another source, never to ourselves. Regardless whether we point the finger at kids, cops or corporations, neighbours or politicians, we are not including ourselves into the equation.

Before we look for solutions elsewhere why donít we look first in our own backyard? Why donít we look at our complaint list, at our wish list and find points that we can change ourselves, find things to do and contribute to so change can occur.

That is my Christmas wish: A little less finger pointing and a little more initiative and participation, a little bit more cooperation for the cause of making life better for everyone.

We are really rather good at it. I think it simply takes a new resolve and an effort to be more considerate, a little less greedy, a whole lot more tolerant and inclusive. We have done it before. Usually we do it in really bad times. We suddenly help each other.

Why wait until it is really bad again. Why not now, while it is not really that bad yet, but could get worse quickly if we donít apply ourselves? Letís call it self-improvement and the marvellous thing is that it will work all around!

Such are my Christmas thoughts and wishes for now and the New Year.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal readers, clients and suppliers for their continued support. I would like to thank all our writers and especially the members of our youth forum, some of which have this issue off to enjoy themselves and the short time they have to spend with their families.

And all of us at Echo Germanica wish everyone a Merry Christmas or Frohe Weihnachten!

Until the New Year

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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