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July, 2006 - Nr. 7


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Betraying Our Children
Herwig Wandschneider
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COC's Complete Ring Cycle
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Darstellung Deutschlands
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International AIDS Conference
Werner Herzog Welcomed
Praise after World Cup
Close - but no cigar
Magic of Soccer
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Easy Border Crossing

Letter from the Editor

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

It is July and Canada is celebrating its 139th anniversary as a nation. We remember our heroes and achievements and list all sorts of things that are uniquely Canadian and at the same time special to the world.

All of us have our own ideas of what a Canadian moment is, and some of us become aware of the fact that we are somewhat "hyphenated", regardless how much we think ourselves as Canadians. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe refers to such a state as "having two souls living in my chest". ("Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach, in meiner Brust")

This year this holds particularly true for many nations, and certainly for people of German origin. They could not be prouder of the fact that the world’s largest sports tournament, the FIFA World Soccer Cup is being held in their home country. This gargantuan sports event is being hailed as the best ever. No doubt it has something to do with the fantastic planning and execution of the games that are being held all over the country in many cities, most of whom had a good soccer stadium long before this event. Munich built one just for the World Cup.

Speaking to people of other origin than German I heard that the tone has changed in the last few years about how they feel and think about Germany, and just now there is a pervasive excitement. Who would have thought that soccer could be contributing to the healing of old wounds?

Perhaps this is not as strange as it sounds. When people find something they have in common then the communication level goes way up and with that the common reality grows, which of course affects the level of affinity one has for anything. An activity like sports, and in this case, soccer, creates a lot of enthusiasm, which can be seen to be infectious. Suddenly there is a trend to dwell on good things, right here, right now, and that is a good foundation to build on for a better future.

For me these games of soccer became a unique Canadian moment, as I can share the excitement with so many people of so many nations of the world. It warms my heart to see and hear the excitement of expatriates from Brazil, Argentina, Ghana, Ukraine, Portugal, England, Spain and all the others. I share their joy and also their disappointment. And yes, I expect the German team to win the world cup!

As I write this there is a game between Germany and Italy pending before we know who goes on to what status. I will PS this report to you after it took place, just before we go to press.

A Canadian Moment

In the meantime I would like to point out another very Canadian moment to you. After much hard work and anticipation Canada now has its own Opera House - opening with Wagner’s entire Ring of the Nibelungen - The Four Season’s Centre for the Performing Arts. Besides the Canadian National Opera the National Ballet of Canada will also be a steady tenant. At the ribbon cutting ceremony I sat front row centre, and believe me, that was a true Canadian Moment to me. The view from the lobby is on our front page. We added in the FIFA flag and the caption: German Imports: Nibelungen and Fussball.

You can read more about that and other Canadian moments in Sybille reports.

In the meantime I await the game between Germany and Italy. Truth be told, some of my Italian friends are also rooting for Germany…

P.S.… And here is the last comment: We did not win the game with Italy. One commentator described the game as a chess game on a knife blade…It certainly was memorable. And even though emotions ran a bit high over the loss of the last round, in the end Germany will not only continue to be a gracious host, but also a gracious looser.

One thing is certain; soccer has a much higher profile here in Canada because of the games in Germany. Not only do we have a national team now, but just today, the 4th of July 2006, it was announced that we will have a national soccer stadium in Toronto. Until then, games will take place in the Rogers Centre.

I hope you had occasion to enjoy your unique Canadian moments!

Happy Birthday Canada!

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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