Thursday, November 08, 2007

Backwards Forwards, Episode 1

I was passed this forward today:

Bruce Allan is on the 2010 Olympic Committee and new Canadians want him fired for his recent comments.

It's time we all get behind Bruce Allen, and scrap this Political Correctness crap.  His comments were anything but racist, but there are far too many overly sensitive 'New Canadians' that are trying to change everything we hold dear.

Subject: Our National Anthem

Don't know what your opinions are, but I certainly agree. ---

I am sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi - enough is enough. No where or at no other time in our nation's history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration. It was written in English, adapted into co-founding French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written.

The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close.

I am not sorry if this offends anyone, this is MY COUNTRY - IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP ---- please pass this along.

I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and LONG LIVE CANADA!

PART OF THE PROBLEM. Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone-----YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !!!!

Will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice??????

Think about it!


It is Time for CANADA to Speak up. If you agree -- pass

This along; if you don't agree -- delete it!

Um...yeah. *hits DEL*

My response to the sender (who solicited my input, I swear!):

I don’t agree, not because I think that we should translate the anthem but because the writer is so angry, and draws that xenophobic us/them line that is at the heart of racism, even while claiming not to be racist. What was the context of the translation? That matters. If the point was, say, to have a Mandarin version so that at the 2008 Olympics that majority of spectators could hear the message of the Canadian anthem, and not just melodic gibberish, then I would support that. Is the anthem some type of sacred relic that cannot be altered without depreciating our common values? Or is it an expression of those value, whose message is only partly contained in its medium?

I also find it suspicious that the forward does not give any details about the events that brought this on. The “good ol’ Canadian boy” is cast as the common-sense hero, and the capricious “New Canadians” as the whiny villains who don’t know how good they’ve got. The writers says “It was written in English, adapted into co-founding French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written.” This is not the case, precisely. It was written in French in 1880 for a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebration---a fairly nationalist holiday in Quebec. The current English lyrics were not solidified until 1908, and it did not become our anthem until 1980. The original French lyrics, by the way, are these:

O Canada! Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.

Not exactly the same, are they?

An what about translating the lyrics in Aboriginal languages, as has been done? Is that more problematic? Less so?

The forward asks more questions that it answers.

-- Sarah

PS: I guess I’m “part of the problem.”

I've actually noticed a few more sketchy things since, namely the repetitive insistence that new Canadians are "trying to change everything." It may be a fair criticism that some immigrant individuals or communities make no effort to integrate, but the idea that they're trying to change us is sort of preposterous. Which brings my to one of my favorite xkdc comics:



Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this response to the so-called patriotic rant. I just received this email too and almost flipped my lid! Yuo've given me some good fodder for replying to the person who sent it to me!

Vancouver, BC

Sarah L Boyd said...

Happy to help :D