Editor’s Notes

What the world needs now …

Dionne Warwick

Photo: Wikipedia
SINGING FOR PEACE: The hit song “What the Word Needs Now is Love” was released in 1965, with music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David. It was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon and then by Dionne Warwick (above) the following year and again in 1996. In 2020, Warwick was awarded the Eisenhower Peace Prize by Sister Cities International (SCI) and she continues to work as a voice for their grassroots organization dedicated to global cooperation and peace. SCI has 14 sister city relationships with Norway. Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall is president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, which is recognized for its musical exchanges.

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love …” The refrain from the hit song rang true back in the 1960s when it first became popular, and what could be truer today? 

Last issue, we published a story about sweet Norwegian brown cheese making its debut at the United Nations—and we hope it will help sweeten things up—but what really seems to be lacking in our world is love. We find ourselves surrounded by conflicts here at home and abroad, living in a time of uncertainty with the pandemic. If we have learned anything, it is that we need each other more than ever.

With St. Valentine’s Day approaching, romance and love are on the minds of many, so we thought that was an appropriate theme for this issue. Valentine’s Day does not have the same strong tradition in Norway as in the Anglo-American world, but it is gaining in popularity. And why not? It’s a day when we should tell others we care about them, take time for our loved ones, and circumstances permitting, celebrate a bit of romance. It is a day of creativity, when we send flowers, cards, and gifts, write and recite poetry, play beautiful music, or put together a special meal to enjoy together. It is hard to say anything negative about any of this. 

But what is love? It is one of the emotions that elevates us a human family. By definition, it is a feeling of deep affection, often very intense, even overwhelming. In the world of philosophy, we speak of eros, or erotic, passionate love, philia, the love of friends and equals, storge, the love of parents for their children, and agape, love of humankind. They are all somehow equally important, and if you have been fortunate to experience them all in your life, you are a lucky person. But one thing is for sure: we can all show love and kindness to our fellow human beings. This is actually critical to the survival of our planet, and the moment is now. 

Kindness counts

Every act of kindness counts; every kind word counts. Sometimes, we are too quick to see the glass half empty and pass judgment on others without showing them the empathy they deserve. Here, I want to share what we experienced with a recent “goof” here at The Norwegian American. This month, we made a mistake when sending our renewal notices, and some of you received duplicate reminders. We got so many kind and encouraging notes from so many of you that you had sent in your checks but wanted to make sure you would still be getting the paper. This also happened when we followed up with people with telephone calls and emails. Of course, we were very sorry to have made the error, and we thank you for being so kind, patient, and understanding.

The pandemic has been a time of loneliness for many, and sometimes as I’m sitting at my desk, I wonder how our newspaper can somehow reach out to you and fill a gap. I know all of my team feels the same way, or they would not work so hard. With our limited resources, it would be too easy to say, “Oh, this is good enough,” but that is not what we do. We want to make a difference; we want to fill your lives with love in our own way.

So, on this Valentine’s Day—and every day—I want to encourage you to think of how you can make someone else’s day just a little brighter. It could mean a quick phone call, as King Harald suggested in his New Year’s message, a friendly email, or inviting a neighbor for a cup of coffee and a Valentine’s Day treat (we have an excellent recipe of Valentine’s cookies in this this issue, by the way). It could be giving your spouse or child a kiss or a hug. It could mean donating to your favorite charity. It could even mean picking up a newspaper to find out what is going on in the world around you to try to understand the global challenges we all face—and share. There are so many ways to show your love, both big and small—and you will make a difference.

At that, with a big virtual hug, I wish you all a Valentine’s Day filled with love.

Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 4, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.