Hi – 10 years before the massacre, I was an engineering student at UBC – still in the days of porn films during engineering events, Lady Godiva rides, the red rag newspaper, etc. I dropped out – women were treated mostly as a joke, not just at the university but in the workplace. At the time, I didn’t have the political savvy or street smarts to handle it. So, when I saw these women – so many of them who, 10 years after me, were courageous enough to be doing what I should have done – breaking down walls, rocking the boat – and then having their efforts snuffed out just like that, I was also shaken to the core. In the meantime, I’ve raised 2 sons who respect women. And every year on December 6th, I have some silence where I think of them in the context of all the women who have been subjected to gendered violence.
I appreciate that this web site is open to other views and discussion. What I am about to say does not in any way reduce the horror and sadness of the massacre. However, I feel this incident is now being used, by some, to identify a systemic issue of violence against women. I don’t feel that’s true. Marc Lepine was a one-time looney. There has never been an incident like this before, and there has not been one for 20 years. In fact, I think the 20 year anniversary should be a celebration that this type of thing is not recurring, and that we actually live in a very tolerant society.
You may be interested that there are more incidents of male-on-male violence than male-on-female. It seems to me odd, that so many rally around the “violence to women” issue, when the bigger concern should be “violence to men”. I could get more on-side with that issue; at least it has statistics on its side.
There’s another dimension to the Marc Lepine story that is under-reported. His birth name is Gamil Gharbi, and his father was a wife-abusing Muslim. No doubt he picked up some of his anti-women feelings from his father and faith. The Muslim faith is well-documented in its abuse of women’s rights – forced marraige, genital circumcision, honour killings, etc. Muslim abuse of women is the issue that should be tackled, as a result of the Montreal Massacre.
Thanks for listening…
This one is from the December 6th/CKUT (Hersay)/NCRA/CBC deep archives: A December 6th Political Sound Memorial. I co-produced this sound piece in 1993 with Minelle D’Souza and Marisa Antonaya (sound engineer: Sarah Toy) for Hersay on CKUT and the NCRA Remembering December 6th compilation which played at community radio stations across the country (it also got some CBC radio play). I just digitized it off an old cassette tape, & even though the sounds has gotten pretty distorted and muddied with time, & even though some of it very much carries the marks of the early ’90s (sometimes embarrassingly so), think it’s worth a re-listen & can’t help but return to it today, twenty years later… (10 minutes long)…
Another version of the video I posted on December 3rd. I think I prefer this one, though it is a bit busier. The photos don’t have the same impact, but I always gravitate toward triptychs.
Public domain film footage includes the black and white film Home Electrical Appliances (1944) by Encyclopedia Britannica Films and The Making of a Shooter (1946) produced by The Jam Handy Organization and presented by Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute.
There are 520 known cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada: a group that makes up less then 2% of the population. If compared to the rest of the population their deaths and disappearance rate would be equivalent to over 18,000 Canadian women and girls missing or murdered in the past 30 years. (source: Native Women’s Association of Canada).
Watch Christine Welsh’s Finding Dawn.
Hear Nathalie Provost and Monique Lépine in Part 3 of As It Happens, from Friday December 4th 2009.
je suis une féministe/i am a feminist
i remember first learning about the montréal massacre in grade 9 geography class.
the desks pushed behind us, we sat in a circle and had an intimate talk.
december the sixth,
the tenth anniversary.
the energy in classroom vibrated on a solemn wavelength.
the series of events were explained.
the images burned into my brain.
showers of bullets rained down on people at school.
those people were almost entirely women.
they pleaded ‘im not a feminist’
forced to deny their truth,
obliged to give their lives.
i would have done the same,
And that pissed me off.
there i was.
a young woman in a school.
could this happen to me?
could violence manipulate me into someone i’ve never met?
had it already?
from that day, i saw the world through a different lens.
mr. coram was one of my first male feminist role models.
he taught me to stand up, fight back and remember.
i learned that some men may want to hurt me, rape me, kill me.
i learned that there were other men who cried out against this violence, with passion like mine.
i learned to look beyond gender to the people behind the masks.
i learned that violence was the problem,
guns and knives were the culprits,
not genitals and hair length.
here i am now.
a person in school.
a person in a woman’s body.
ten years have past since that geography class.
sometimes i think back and ask myself, did that class really happen?
was i so lucky to have a strong feminist presence in my public school?
to be taught by a man that men’s violence against women is deplorable?
to have the privilege of going to school and returning home alive and in one piece everyday?
for this i am grateful.
but 14 women had to die for me to learn this lesson.
their deaths necessitated education and change.
the thing about change though,
its slow, hard and bloody.
it’s a damn scary, up-hill battle.
but it is also ever-present, undeniable and unavoidable.
i was but three when your lives were sacrificed creating a change in mine.
i am now the age many of you were when your lives ended.
we never met in this physical world,
i’ll never know what you would say to me today if we met on the street.
but in some plane of existence, i know each one of you.
your wisdom makes me stronger.
these words are dedicated to
my friend Geneviève Bergeron.
my sister Hélène Colgan.
my aunt Nathalie Croteau.
my cousin Barbara Daigneault.
my mother Barbara Maria Klucznik.
my daughter Maryse Leclair.
my grandmother Annie St.-Arneault.
my teacher Maud Haviernick.
my companion Michèle Richard.
my classmate Maryse Laganière.
my lover Anne-Marie Edward.
my ally Anne-Marie Lemay.
my advocate Sonia Pelletier.
my alter ego Annie Turcotte.
stand up, speak out and stay strong.
violence is killing us.
gender, colour, age, ability, language.
these differences make us human.
My contribution to Memento Mori.
Text/edit by Maureen Bradley.
All content is Creative Commons and was sourced on the Internet.
Score/Soundscape: two track by Tony Higgins (Junior85): In Sleepy Electricity and Your Sleepy Electricity.
Photos: Jon Fravel, flickr.com/photos/jfravel/
D Sharon Pruitt, flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/
Eve Herman, flickr.com/photos/sparkleflash/
No rights reserved. Please attribute.
Memento Mori: Polytechnique is a multi-authored new media cyber-memorial group creation existing within the Creative Commons.
You are invited to upload a two-minute video, audio file or photograph responding to the question “How do you remember the Montreal Massacre?” This open-ended question allows you to recount what you remember, or if you remember, and invites you to share innovative ways of remembering. We invite testimonials, stories, images, songs, spoken word, films, animations, mash-ups of pre-existing media. Record a film on your cell phone, webcam or HDCAM—any and all formats encouraged.