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 July 2009 - Nr. 7
The edior: Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

Dear Reader

In our June issue we already heralded Canada’s Birthday knowing that the actual event would precede our July Issue. But here we are wishing Canada again all the best for the next 142 years. What we did not know is that so many festivities in Toronto would fall flat because of a full blown strike by city workers. If you do not live on TO you might have heard that we have a very smelly problem. The garbage is piling up in designated areas of neighbourhoods and attracting uninvited guests. I even think our neighbourhood raccoons smelled the garbage dump which is at least 2-3 kilometres away. I have not seen them in over a week. Sitting on my porch when the wind hails from the south brings a sour smell up to our region on the first major escarpment. The way this problem is handled, or rather not handled, has its own smell of political wrangling and does not endear the workers to a public, which feels that bargaining power is used like blackmail. Sympathy is hard to come by when festivities in our all too short summer are being cancelled. One wonders though how the selection process under the circumstances is, because while some events are cancelled, others are not. A closer look would probably produce some interesting facts.

Thank heavens there were enough other interesting occurrences in the world to divert our attention from what is lying so close to our front door. The demise Farah Faucet and Michael Jackson, 2 icons of North American culture, who defined the lifetime of a generation with their entertainment art, keeps us riveted still to the TV screen.

Celebrating Michael Jackson in Frankfurt, Germany  [photo: Alexander Oolo]Personally I had never much paid attention to the phenomenon that was/is Michael Jackson. As most folks know, I prefer classical music and only keep a peripheral eye on POP culture and its expressions. It was only now that I made an effort to watch lengthy videos of Michael in action. I was astounded at the wealth of creativity and skill he brought to his art. And while I was not an active fan during his life time, and only knew little about him as made known by a sensationalizing media, I am glad to see that the emphasis is now mainly on the creative part of his life.

I have always been aware that some of the media in the world makes a living building someone up to stardom and then delights in tearing them down. It is most aptly called chaos merchandizing. After having seen the Michael Jackson Memorial in LA I am convinced that this tour de force of creativity received not only the rightful admiration of so many on the entire planet, but also undue attention and unfair treatment because of his celebrity and simply because of his unorthodox lifestyle and personality. In all the years I have known of him I had never heard of his many humanitarian activities, but I was always made aware of his supposed shortcomings.

If we consider how creative and successful Michael Jackson was despite so much adversity, we have to stand in awe and admiration of his courage and determination. Any honour bestowed on him, even now and belated, will be well deserved and only a small token of recognition for his humanitarian efforts.

If anyone ever build bridges between nations and people and generations, it certainly was Michael Jackson.

Our own Alexander Oolo, who left us to find happiness in Germany some years back, expresses this phenomenon of Michael Jackson in a very personal tribute for Echo Germanica. We welcome him back as our man in Frankfurt, bringing a German perspective to us on this and other subjects in the future.

You will find this issue and probably the next one too, a bit on the slim side, the reason being my desire to enjoy more of our short Canadian summer, the beautiful nature all-around us in our countryside, like our fantastic beaches. We want to visit our favourite haunts, lay back and day dream, and I want to perhaps write a few more chapters on a book that started out with "Once upon a time there was a little girl…".

I think summers are for day dreaming under a blue sky with the wind gently caressing warm skin. Summers are for reading while lying in the sandy dunes of Lake Erie. Summers are for watching gulls flying high in the sky or following a sail on the horizon.

Summers are also great for getting together for outdoor picnics and folks fests, such as the Carabram celebrations, in which The Hansa House in Brampton is participating. I have the honor and pleasure to MC the daily proceedings and introduce Oktoberfest culture to the Canadian multitudes in July. That should be fun indeed!

I hope to see you there!

Until next time!

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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