And finally… songs of praise

Germany’s equality commissioner has sparked a national controversy by suggesting the word “fatherland” in the German national anthem should be replaced by a gender-neutral term.

The suggestion comes weeks after Canada passed legislation amending the phrase “in all thy sons command” in the Canadian national anthem to the gender-neutral “in all of us command”.

In a leaked memo seen by the tabloid Bild am Sonntag, Kristin Rose-Möhring suggested replacing Vaterland (fatherland) with Heimatland (homeland) and brüderlich (brotherly) with couragiert (courageous).

She wrote: “It wouldn’t really hurt and it would befit the recent establishment of a ministry for building and the homeland.”

However, a spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is “satisfied with the current anthem”, and other high-ranking members of the German government echoed her opposition.

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