Dec 6th Action

December 6, 2016 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Words matter.

“Women on one side, men on the other.”

“He told us [the men] to leave, and we did.” (p. 171)

From the book: The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh; translated by Marlene Wildeman. Charlottetown, PEI: gynergy books, 1991.

Do you know the new inclusive words for the Canadian anthem?

Why is it wrong if I need the words of my national anthem to include me through its language?

I am not a son. I am a daughter. I am not a man but I am a person. I am part of us.

Language matters.

Words matter.

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My Previous words of remembrance.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

 

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How Long?

December 6, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Lifetimes have passed since.

The length of a generation.

It’s been a life time – babies who were born that year are now young women as they were. They were women who never got to fulfill their destiny.

A Mother’s Grief.

A mother who will never hug her daughter’s daughter to her breast.

[We stand] crying before the coffins of strangers,
offering roses and tiger lilies to young women [we will] never know.

“O Lord, how long?” O Lord, how long?” cry those standing at a prayer vigil on another December day.

Family Bear

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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Expendable

December 6, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I own a red shirt. I’ve worn it once. A red shirt. What’s the significance? Maybe you have to be a geek to get it. A certain sort of Star Trek geek in fact.

It has one word written on it.

That word is Expendable.

I wore the T-shirt, for the one and only time, on my last day of work in May. Sorta of an inside joke but I was the only one (geek) who got the joke.

I kept having to explain.

I kept trying to explain.

It got harder and harder to see the funny in it.

I work in a field that is 95% women.

You see, this also happened in May…UCSB May 2014 .

And again .

Yes, all women face these concerns and fears all the time.

And after a day of proclaiming myself as expendable, I didn’t like the joke anymore.

Nobody should be expendable.

YWCA Rose logo

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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Dec 6th Remembrance

December 6, 2013 at 6:00 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

To the child alive and well

caught in her thoughts

obliquely

on this Monday with things to do

she heads toward the lot

where Sunday she’ll be laid to rest

… … …

To Tuesday’s student

massacred Wednesday

buried Thursday

… … …

To the young woman of the morning

who will be mowed down

at five in the evening

her place is marked already

under snow that flies up

behind her muted step

… … …

To the schoolgirl of late morning

quietly writing

who will die a violent death

that afternoon

reciting

her adulterated history lesson

… … …

You are in danger

in your classroom

as the setting sun glints

off your cheek

… … …

(parts of: The Ideal Site For The Crime by Louky Bersianik)

In the book: The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh; translated by Marlene Wildeman. Charlottetown, PEI: gynergy books, 1991.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

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Je me Souviens

December 2, 2012 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

This time of year, as the environment around me starts to get all bright & sparkly, I ruminate too much on death.

As I write this it is December 1st, World AIDS Day – a day set aside for education and awareness. I came of age when this epidemic was still a mystery. A recent read, set in 1987, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, took me right back there.

Thursday is December 6th, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Twenty-three years ago on Wednesday, December 6, 1989, 14 women were killed because they were women.

The YWCA’s Rose campaign has ideas for advocacy and commemoration.

23 years is – what – a quarter of a lifetime. These 14 young women would now be in their forties and fifties. What did we lose? What would they have contributed to society?

What did they not get to do? They never got to decide whether or not to have children. They’ll never feel the aches and pains of an aging heart or body.

Yellow Rose-Fall 2012

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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Sometimes It Hurts

December 4, 2011 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , )

In order to talk to the dead
you have to choose words
that they recognize as easily
as their hands
recognized the fur of their dogs in the dark.

Words clear and calm
as water of the torrent tamed in the wineglass
or chairs the mother puts in order
after the guests have left.
Words that night shelters
as marshes do their ghostly fires

In order to talk to the dead
you have to know how to wait:
they are fearful
like the first steps of a child.

But if we are patient
one day they will answer us
with a poplar leaf trapped in a broken mirror,
with a flame that suddenly revives in the fireplace,
with a dark return of birds
before the glance of a girl
who waits motionless on the threshold.

‘In Order to Talk with the Dead’
by Jorge Teillier

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance.

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Moments

December 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm (Life) (, , , , , , )

Whistler: “Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.”

Becoming, Part One

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season two; Episode 21

 

Women’s Lives Count.

14 actions you can take to help end violence against women.

My previous words of remembrance.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

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Polytechnique (the movie)

December 6, 2009 at 10:35 am (Movie Commentary) (, , )

Last year’s post, Remembering, gave you my personal point of view about this day: Dec 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

This year, I wonder is twenty years long enough to mark history? To go from emotion to analysis. Where is the dividing line between present/past/history? How many years/generations does it take?

In 1989 14 women students were murdered by a male at the Montreal University École Polytechnique just because they were women studying in unconventional fields; they were studying to be engineers.

Director Denis Villeneuve tells this story in a minimalist manner in his movie Polytechnique.

I avoided this movie. I wasn’t sure if this was how I wanted to spend a few hours of my life; remembering horror. It’s only been twenty years; it’s too recent. It’s not history yet.

I was worried that the movie would be either exploitative or inept, or one of those movies that tries to explain the “psychology” behind insane rampages, that aims for sympathy for the assassin. And assassin he was.

In fact, Polytechnique is a sparse work.

The film is in black and white, making things more depressing, interspersed along with shots of snow. This is winter in Canada. There is a cabin fever vibe.

The brutal & raw movie parallels what to me is the worst of winter; the aloneness, the cold, the snow.

The movie starts off showing the truth of student life; you line up for the photocopier and the laundry, search for cards and quarters. You have intense discussion about ideas, both academic and real, as you struggle to educate yourself into a new life that seems full of possibilities.

The movie has no gratuitous violence, no gratuitous emotion, no excesses of any kind. Unsentimental, and completely moving. It stops your breath. The tears are constantly at the back of your eyes as you struggle not to cry, not to obscure your vision. You want to see and at the same time want to look away.

This isn’t some sensationalist gory ode to a mass murderer, but rather a memorial to the victims of that day, both the dead and the survivors.

The filmmakers have not exploited the tragedy, but showed it respectfully, and dedicated it to those who lost their lives that day.

As if I could ever forget. This is my 9/11. My OMG what the hell was that moment. Did the radio really just say 14 women dead? Why? WHY!

Polytechnique was released on February 6, 2009 in Quebec and on March 20, 2009 in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. I’m glad it was released well before today, the 20th year since it happened. (I can’t write anniversary. anniversaries are happy events).

Here are some additional facts about the movie and my comments on such (in brackets)!

  • The name of the perpetrator is never once mentioned in the film. (I saw him listed somewhere as assassin and this seems to make the most sense to me.)
  • The film was shot in black and white in order to avoid the presence of blood on screen. (I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have watched it in colour; I would have walked out and missed a compelling, educational experience).
  • Filmed simultaneously in English and French. (Bravo, for including all of us and I’m sorry more people out west here aren’t aware of the movie. I only found out about it because I live close to one of the only independent theatres in Saskatchewan.)
  • The movie was screened for the family members of the victims before being released commercially. The film was released with their blessing. (Thank you to the families and the filmmakers for their courage.)

This McGill University paper article tells us not only names of the deceased but makes these names real to me with facts about their lives and dreams. Facts that before now never registered within me. Are these women more real to me now because I have a visual to sit alongside my emotional reaction to that day?

If you want to explore the movie further go to IMDB or the Official site which is also sparse.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

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Remembering

December 6, 2008 at 7:53 pm (Memoir) (, , , )

Today is the day I decided to go back to school. It was nineteen years ago, about this time of day (6:00 pm on a Wednesday). I came home from my job as a child-care provider and turned on the news.

The lead story was, of course, the l’Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal. For those of you who don’t remember – this was the shooting of fourteen women who were targeted because they were women. The gunman choose to shoot and kill women for the audacity of getting into a school he could not. This infuriated me.

I had been thinking about going back to school and it was this that galvanized my being. That anyone had the audacity to kill women just because they were trying to get educated saddened me. It ate at my soul.

Wednesday, December 6, 1989. This is the day that I decided to go back to school; to go to university; to get a BA and eventually, a MLIS. This is the day that educated me.

poster

Merci.  Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

gigi (not necessarily)

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