Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Frothing Allegation

I was blessed with an email yesterday exhorting me to stand up for my country and raise particular hell about our national anthem being sung in Hindi at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.
Oh for Dog’s sake. There’s even a Facebook page if you’d like to read about this frothing allegation.
Not only is not the case, if you read to the end of this Snopes entry you’ll find some similar quack grass about Advance Australia Fair.

O Canada gets translated all the time. So do a bunch of other national anthems. There’s no cause for alarm. Here are a few other languages O Canada has been translated to.
Here’s some history about the anthem.
And it was sung in Cree during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

I’m not sure what it was about this particular email that galled me so much. This sort of nonsense gets passed around the globe all the time and I usually just laugh.
Maybe it’s the scarcely hidden racism covered with a veneer of nationalism.
Perhaps it’s the suggestion that “they” are taking over while we lie back and expose our throats once more.
Or maybe it’s because there was just enough in it, twisted and perverted though it be, to seem plausible for those of us too tired, or too shallow, or too busy to think for ourselves.
Our national anthem will be sung in Canada’s official languages of French and English or maybe we'll have a surprise with another native tongue doing the honours.
If someone wants to sing along in Hindi, or Swahili, Tagalog, Romanche, Esperanto, Klingon or any other language, then they are welcome.


MizFit said...

no words.

except yours back at you which were my initial thoughts as well:

Maybe it’s the scarcely hidden racism covered with a veneer of nationalism.

le sigh.

Leah J. Utas said...

Mizfit, thank you so much. It's good that other thinkers are out there to combat this nonsense. And I have to say it feels good to be agreed with and to know that I've been able to find the right words to nail the ire.

the Bag Lady said...

Mizfit nailed it - it IS the scarcely hidden racism that is so galling!
Methinks that if our immigrants care enough to translate our national anthem so that newcomers can understand it, more power to them. I think a lot of Canadians (and Americans, too) forget that immigrants built this country and that, for the most part, most of their ancestors were once immigrants, too.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, df Bag Lady. Racism is bad enough, but when one is so dishonest as to drape it in the flag, then it makes it even worse.
And you're so right. All the non-First Nations and non-Inuit people here are immigrants.

Hilary said...

"Maybe it’s the scarcely hidden racism covered with a veneer of nationalism."

I think that's exactly it. None of us go back more than just a few generations before we find the immigrant in our families.

Not to mention that the Canadian national anthem was written in French first and translated so that the rest of us could have something with which to honour our country. Why would it be wrong for those Canadians of other languages to do the same? I'm touched that their love for this country inspires them to do so.

We're all Canadians... whether our families immigrated near the turn of the centuries or this one. I just don't understand that false pride veiled in bigotry.

Crabby McSlacker said...

What a bizarre thing for someone to get upset about!

Somehow I thought Canadians were above that sort of petty racism or xenophobia or whatever it is. In the U.S., that sort of nonsense is pretty darn common.

Hilary said...

Make that.."near the turn of the pervious centuries"

Leah J. Utas said...

Hilary, that's right. It's a huge compliment that someone wants to honour his/her new home this way.

Crabby, as the world gets smaller and easier to get around the xenophobia grows. It's just sad.

messymimi said...

I'm over here trying to teach my kids that there is only one race, called human.

It's nice to have contact with others who feel the same, and who can word it so well.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thank you so much, Messymimi. It's gratifying to read that my ranting touches so many.
Your kids are lucky they have you to set them on the right path.

Barbara Martin said...

I agree with you, Leah. It seems such a waste of energy when everyone who lives in Canada has ancestors who came from somewhere else. In this day and age one would think we could all get along.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


Thanks for this post. I agree with you wholeheartedly,and am not surprised to find out that things like this circulate in Canada just as they do in the US.

MY personal pet peeve is New Americans complaining about Newer Americans. as if we should have closed the border when the 1985 (or whatever) group arriv3d.

Some people are weird.


Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Barbara. It seems the smaller the world gets, the smaller-minded some of us get. We fear what is different, and that is so sad.

dfTerrie, oh, thank you. I know what you mean. I am particularly galled by those of us who believe there shouldn't be any immigrants.

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Leah J. Utas said...

Joan, go spam yourself.

Nancy said...

I know - what's the big deal? It seems an honor.

Writing Without Periods! said...

Very wise post, Leah. And here I thought only my countrymen in the good ol' U.S. of A. were the only ones getting caught up in such nonsense!


Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Jenny. We're just like you in so many ways...

Leah J. Utas said...

Thank you, Daryl.

Dianne said...

I think I love you :)

I'm so sick of all the froth
distraction from the real stuff
brought to us by people who don't/won't/can't do the hard work of having real discussion and focusing on real problems

congrats on POTW

Leah J. Utas said...

Thank you, Dianne.

tattytiara said...

I would expect a true patriot to be honored that people want to translate their nation's anthem and make it's message accessible to more people.

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Tattytiara, I think that, too.

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