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June 2003 - Nr. 6


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GS Hospitality Connections


The Editor
Casual Convergance
Elizabeth Kuehn
KW and Beyond
Over The Fence
Triebwerk Theater Performance
50 Years Alpine Club
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehŲrt?
Book Review
Was ist Deutschland?
New Bells Consecrated
Deutscher Filmpreis
Rostock Olympics
3rd in Immigration
Good bye, Lenin!
Photographs US
Polish EU Vote

Letter from the Editor

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

Broken heartsSpring always puts me into a conciliatory mood. Just when I was enjoying the rebirth of nature and ready to forget anything that might even remotely be disagreeable and throw myself into the exciting new youth program, our community experienced another little "Sturm im Wasserglas", "Storm in the water glass", as the saying goes after the title of a German movie.

Colour arrangementOur community has a variety of publications that cater to its various needs. Except yours truly all of them publish predominantly in German, and their content is more or less the same, with a few exceptions. All of them call themselves a newspaper, which is a bit of a misnomer because the mostly monthly or even weekly papers do not carry news at all. They cannot carry news because of the nature of news. If it is a day or a week old, it is no longer news. We reflect that already in our name by using the word Echo.

Signs of spring everywhereAs with the German radio show market the various publications compete for the necessary dollars to be able to publish and they go to mostly the same sources. Over the years certain constellations have crystallized, loyalties have been forged and provided stiff competition, which at times reminded in some instances of dirty pool playing. But everyone survived, even though the price wars pretty much ruined the market, largely due to particular, not businesslike sales techniques, personal preference or bias, and on occasion even outright nastiness. Just business as usual, the Canadian way.

The latest incident to rock our community has a bit more than just a few eyebrows raised. It is actually rattling the ice cubes in the glass!

A new publication, calling itself the Neue Presse, is trying to make waves in the community.

It starts with the name, which most find confusing, rather than setting it apart from the "old" Deutsche Presse, with whose personnel the Neue Presse was gotten off the ground.

And then there are those statements of introduction, like the claim of being the first authoritative German-language newspaper in Canada.

I trust you know what that means. But for those who do have any doubts, I quote Casselís German-English/English German Dictionary.

Authoritative: adj.

Authoritaet habend, massgebend, massgeblich; bevollmaechtigt; gebieterisch, herrisch.

Sounds just like the image we Germans like to be associated with. We must actually enjoy being called that, especially when it is in an accusative tone. Otherwise we would have nothing to talk about. While most of us are trying to build bridges, there are always those that, in their arrogance and ignorance, try to tear them down.

This also and especially negates well over 100 years of German Canadian publishing traditions and is insulting to the still existing publications like the Kanada Kurier, which is over 100 years old.

People we spoke to find it strange that there is support for this attitude at this time in this market place. To them we say: All is fair in love and war, and in newer times, also in business. Go ahead, take the plunge, sell your soul to the highest bidder, the loudest pretender to the throne. Throw away your loyalties and believes, your values and your old friends. Join up with the folks that know it better, the NEW old boys club. Thatís the way the cookie crumbles in this country.

To those that think they know it better, we say: Be reminded of the responsibilities of leadership. It does put you under the looking glass! Do not forget: Everyone who wants to be a leader is sitting in a glasshouse. Throwing stones could not be good for health or image. Mistakes are easily detected and noted by all.

Letís face it; practically none of the local ethnic papers have real authorities of journalism working in their ranks. Most of us came to publishing more or less by accident or because we wanted to contribute something useful. To my knowledge, none of the established papers in our community opened their business to destroy or replace an existing one; and we certainly did not do it to get rich. Echo Germanica was started originally as a hobby to fill a gap, the gap of local cultural representation as a bridge building vehicle between generations and people of other backgrounds; and we are still doing it, with an eye to the future. We really are an established alternative. No one does what we do.

But back to the issues. For some of us it is a labour of love, a love of life and for people. And some of us have actually won honours for our work, even from the Federal Government, including Echo Germanica.

Real leadership unites and does not work to be the only one. The concept of exclusion has historically been disastrous.

And another thing: In Europe this set-up could never have happened this way!

Only in Canada, aye?

Yours truly

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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