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January 2016 - Nr. 1
Happy New Year from Echo Germanica
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief


Dear Reader

Another year has passed, and what a year it was! My personal impression of it was not too favorable as far the world was concerned. The terrorists had by far a voice that was too loud. Their deplorable actions caused too much fear. The displacement of people by the many hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, is causing many a humanitarian crisis that the world is ill equipped to handle with ease. Here in Canada we do what we can to put a band aid on the wounds the world is experiencing. We cannot help everyone, but we can help some people. 25 thousand people will come here from the middle east before spring starts. That does not seem to be a lot for such a big country as ours, especially not if Germany is talking 200 thousand. But Germany, even though it is a small country as far as square kilometers are concerned, it has many more millions of people and can produce more resources than we can, having a huge landmass and a lot fewer people.

Sybille with Maria & Joe Stritzl and brother (c.):
"Happy New Year"

It is a dire situation where we are wrong if we do and wrong if we don’t, or so it seems. No matter where these misplaced people, these refugees go, they will have to learn the language in order to prevent ghetto formations, which can happen so easily when another culture is interspersed into a country with totally different traditions in all its expressions, not just language, but religion, day to day activities like cooking, raising children, social structure in regards to woman and so on.

Canada is a traditional immigration country. Germany is not used to be overrun by foreigners to the same degree. Learning the language of the new country is therefore of utmost importance, or else there will be no integration to any degree. By the same token the host country cannot allow its own values and customs be undermined by suggestions or demands of giving up customs of old, as not to offend the newcomers. Such was the case in some places in Germany and it should not be allowed.

Our new government under Justin Trudeau is compassionate and helpful in these regards and provides the infrastructure to integrate the refugees that have been screened and found to be interested in becoming part of the Canadian fabric. We are at least trying to live up to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is a bit different if Mr. Trump succeeds in the USA. What is happening there is scaring me. This is no longer typical politics, this is a power struggle that caters to reason on one side and the lowest common denominator on the other side in order to win. And we all know how that can end up.

Speaking of Justin Trudeau, he is the one bright spot that emerged this year with a young and vibrant cabinet that promises positive change for this country, after the dark days of Harperism. Note that the word “ism” has been declared the word of the year, even though it is not even a complete word but just a syllable. So forgive me the pun.

I am hoping that all is well that ends well, and I am hoping that it will, end well that is.

Let us all have a happy, healthy and successful NEW YEAR!

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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