… the new magazine for Europe, a collaboration of some twenty contributors and more than a hundred translators from across the continent. A lot of people have been putting a lot of work into this project during these past weeks and months, and I hope that you like the result.
This is not the right place to tell you the whole “MH Story” but I want to share with you what it means to me to be a part of that story: For quite a few years I have been a firm believer in the European Dream, a dream of peace and friendship, of not relinquishing national and regional traditions and cultures while building a European one. Very often, we are told that this dream will never come true, and that the European Union is a mere economic instrument which the member states use whenever it suits them.
We read it in our newspapers, we hear in on the radio and on TV: That Europe is far from being united. That people in the south are lazy and never pay taxes. That all Brits want to leave the Union. That new members like Romania or Croatia are just looking for monetary benefits but have no other interest in the project. That people in the north of Europe don’t like the people in Greece and that the people in Greece don’t like the Germans and that the Germans don’t like anyone.
Now, let me tell you something: right now you’re looking at a website that was created by young people from all over Europe. Voluntarily, in their free time. Not because of an incentive of payment, but because they believe in the idea behind this project.
Let me tell you some more things: The Greek people who contributed stories were some of the most reliable of all. The British translation team is one of the biggest we have, with a dozen people showing anything but a lack of interest in Europe. Not quite as big is the Romanian team, who nevertheless managed to translate almost every single story. I, by the way, am German, and no one has ever expressed any bad feelings about that.
Of course, not everything has gone perfectly smoothly or faultlessly: Many people joined with a lot of enthusiasm, only to tell us two weeks later that unfortunately, they couldn’t participate any more. Some just silently quit and we never heard from them again… There are still languages missing on this website – French, for instance. I don’t know why. Maybe we just haven’t reached the right people yet.
But in spite of quite a number people bailing out, we are now able to present great stories in some twenty languages.
Before I finish, I want to answer one question that I have been asked many, many times: why on earth do you publish in all these languages when everybody can read English nowadays? Language is a big part of who we are, of our heritage, even of the way we think. For me, the many different languages we have represent what is at the core of Europe: they are all different and unique, but at the same time related, belonging to one big family. You know, while writing this, I don’t even know what language you will be reading it in and I think this is a beautiful thought.
We hope you enjoy this “Meeting Halfway”, and that you will come back soon.
Maria-Xenia Hardt & the whole MH team