Author Topic: December 6: National Day of Remembrance  (Read 4250 times)


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December 6: National Day of Remembrance
« on: December 06, 2006, 07:35:44 AM »
As Debra has done over these last weeks, I wrote this morning out of anger, rather than observing this memorial in awed silence, although there is a time for that response too.

I am furious at the Harper government for reopening the debate on equal marriage, and for reopening it on this day. So midway through my memorial notice, I wrote this:

This year, Canada's New Government™ will mark this day by reopening the debate on equal marriage, a cynical exercise of the Harperites in pandering to their so-con base while thumbing their noses at all other Canadian citizens, since the government know that the motion will fail.

That unutterably tone-deaf move on this day has deeper significance, I think.

To the Harper government and their most passionate supporters, democracy is a referendum, a way of reasserting norms and triumphing over those who don't or can't or won't fit those norms. We might call those misfits "special interests" -- well, I won't, but they do.

No matter that the norms many people long so desperately to believe in are illusions or even delusions in the real lives of the vast majority of citizens. And no matter that democracy is much more than just voting, depends on the careful building and eternally vigilant defence of a set of basic, irreducible structures and principles embodied in every bill of rights and declaration and charter born of our best meditations on human history.

Today, as objects of the disrespect of Stephen Harper's government, of that government's disrespect for the equality of all human beings, uppity women stand in solidarity with gays and lesbians, who once again find that a lot of boring men in boring suits believe they have the right to pick and pontificate over the basic humanity of certain other "special" human beings.

Forgive me for quoting myself, but in the last few days, some of us here have been subjected to smart-mouthed young men who consider themselves "progressive" but who also talk about feminists as "special interests" or even as "reactionary," so I couldn't resist the lecture.


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December 6: National Day of Remembrance
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2006, 08:00:47 AM »
:clap:  :clap:  :clap:
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart


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December 6: National Day of Remembrance
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2006, 03:53:05 PM »
I've seen this in a few different places today.  

Read.  Weep.

by Anna Humphrey

For Genevieve Bergeron, 21
Because you bled one week of every month.
Because you wanted to build bridges and towers.
Because you weren't at home dusting the den.
Because, for no reason.
Because "The gunman suffered a brutal upbringing"
Because the world has gone mad, gone sad.
Because you were there.

For Helene Colgan, 23
At 5:30, the paper says,
on Dec. 6
he began to roam the halls
hunting humans
with two ammunition belts
criss crossed on his chest;
a semi-automatic,
and a knife
and his eyes - cold
and his hand - steady
And in the paper they quote,
"It was just like Rambo."
But what would you say, Helene,
if you could say?
Probably just
that it wasn't fair;
that Rambo
only shot
the bad guys;
that your gunman
was shorter,
much scrawnier,
and no kind of hero.

For Nathalie Croteau, 23
When he spat:
like a dirty taste
from his mouth
you were the only one who said 'no'
You said, "We aren't.
Not the kind who protest
in the streets."
Probably your last words
Probably not quite true
Not the kind who protest in the streets
But in the classroom.
The kind who would challenge,
the kind who would speak up;
try to save thirteen women
and herself
when everyone else
had lost their words.
Brave Nathalie
in coffin #8.

For Barbara Daigneault, 22
Later, they talked about the men
and the guilt
He was smaller than me,
I could have jumped him.
Could have
Should have
Would have
Could have been the hero
Should have hit, kicked,
slugged him hard,
sprayed a fire extinguisher
in his eyes.
Would have, if only
I'd thought of it in time.
Could have bashed his teeth out
Should have thrown him through
the wall.

For Anne-Marie Edward, 21
21 is very young
only 17 + 4.
21 should be camping in the Gatineau
Backpacking, hitchhiking,
meeting the man of her dreams
21 drinks cold coffee and works
late into the morning, on drafts
of a paper
she really should have started
last month.
21 drives with her music
turned up loud
and worries where
she's going
with this life of hers
and whether or not
she can pay off
the phone bill
21 thinks often of a house
in a quiet neighbourhood
and a wedding dress
with a nice head piece
or veil
not too fancy,
and not too soon,
but not so very far off either.

For Maud Haviernick, 31
(Quotes taken from the Ottawa Citizen)
"The man who killed 14 women on Wednesday had trouble relating to women and
couldn't keep a
steady relationship."
"No way,"
you might say.
"Well, then... it's okay.
Was he beaten as a child?
In high school, was he wild?
Was he reckless? Was he tough?
Did he just need more love?
Or was he bullied? Did they taunt him?
Did they pants him?
Did they punch him?
Did his mother make him bad?
Was she absent? Was his dad?
And how is it no one saw it?
no one caught it?
no one thought it?"
"He had difficulties in expressing his need to love and be loved. He was a
very troubled individual, who suffered a brutal upbringing."
"No way,"
you might say,
"well then...
it's okay."

For Maryse Leclair, 23
It didn't seem any different
when his alarm went off
at 6:30
like every morning
just like it does
every morning
And when your father
read the newspaper,
put on his uniform-
when he secured his gun
in the leather holster,
how was he to know
he would walk
through his daughter's blood
towards her killer
lying shot through the head
in a third floor classroom?
All in a days work.
All in a days work.
All in a days work.
Not today.

For Anne-Marie Lemay, 27
You were just an Everywoman.
Nothing personal, Anne-Marie.
You were Everywoman
who turned her back,
Everywoman who wouldn't let him
buy her a drink,
take her home,
take her in his arms.
Everywoman on the street
wearing a business suit
and heels
Each one he thought
was laughing at him.
If he'd known you were one woman
One woman who liked
to ride her bicycle in the spring,
who sometimes woke up
late at night
with cravings for sea food,
who wore red
Converse running shoes,
who liked to bake
and sometimes
liked to hike...
But it was nothing personal,

For Sonia Pelletier, 28
Your body was found underneath a cafeteria table,
trying to hide
just like you used to duck behind the sofa,
conceal yourself in the closet
with your feet in a pair of boots
and a jacket wrapped tight around you
Ready or not
here I come
like you used to hide your tooth brush
so when eight thirty came
and you wanted to stay up
you could waste time
then ask for a glass of water,
another kiss goodnight,
one last hug.
Exactly like they told you to do
in event of an earthquake.
"Sit in a doorway,"
they said,
"or under a table.
While the floor shakes
and the drywall cracks
around you
you should be safe there."

For Michelle Richard, 21
Sort of like grade school picks
for baseball,
or a dance
with the boys on one side
and the girls
on the other.
And for awhile you thought
it was a joke,
some trickster;
some friend of someone's
making an ass of himself
because it was the last
day before Christmas exams
and time
for some fun.

For Annie St-Arneault, 23
On Thursday night
they brought in
the maintenance crew
to paint over the bullet
repair the walls and
scrub away the
blood and bits.
And Friday morning,
were you to walk through,
you'd never guess.
You'd never even guess.

For Annie Turcotte, 21
Probably not how you imagined
your funeral
On an icy day with
3000 plus in attendance
And 14 hearses
gliding past
with white numbers on their sides
and all in a row
1 and 2, 3, 4
And a sunken-cheeked woman on the street corner
holding her daughter's hand
5, 6,
7, 8
and the daughter not understanding
9, 10, 11,
saying to her mother,
'Why are you crying,
if you didn't even know them?'

For Barbara Marie Klueznick, 35
A three page letter,
dated, 'Wednesday'
signed, 'Marc'
meant to explain
meant to make it
make sense
and we could call him crazy,
and try to forgive
and we could call him 'full of hate,'
hate him right back
and we could fall to the ground
and cry ourselves to dehydration
and we could start
a candlelight vigil
and we could be afraid
and we could learn self defence
and practice
kicking a man in a marshmallow suit
and yelling the word 'no'
We could, and we will
but it will never
bring you back

For Maryse Laganiere, 35
and the flags flew
at half mast
and the city
and the country
and the men
were afraid
for their lovers
and the streets
were a little quieter
while your family
and your sisters
looked everywhere
for why's.

brebis noire

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December 6: National Day of Remembrance
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2006, 07:51:03 PM »
At my kids' school today, the kids were given a bookmark from the local women's centre, with a white ribbon and a little message.

"Ensemble contre la violence:

La violence est malheureusement trop présente dans notre quotidien.

Elle est souvent sournoise.

Elle engendre la peur et l'insécurité.

Nous devons refuser de vivre la violence.

Porter le ruban blanc aujourd'hui, le 6 décembre, c'est un engagement pour demain.

Une société sans violence, nous y croyons."


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December 6: National Day of Remembrance
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2006, 08:06:28 PM »
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart


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