Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Quebec Shooting and the Hatred that Kills

For a Montrealer like me, who lives and plays happily in both solitudes, and is always trying to bring Quebecers and Canadians together, it was the ultimate nightmare.

An old Anglo, in a balaclava .... and a bathrobe ... screaming "The English are rising up!!! There's going to be fucking payback !!!"

After killing a poor stage hand, throwing a molotov cocktail at the back entrance, and trying to shoot-up the PQ victory party.

For no sane reason.  

And what makes it even worse for me is that even though the gunman is apparently mentally ill, I can't help feeling that the escalating level of anti-Quebec sentiment in this country played a part in this tragedy. I wrote about it the night before the shooting.

And some of the comments I received, and sick stuff like this only confirms those fears...

For let's face it eh? This violent genocidal hatred is out of control, and it will tear our country apart more surely than the separatists ever will.

So I'm not prepared to dismiss what other factors may have driven the Metropolis gunman to violence, as easily as John Ibbitson does here.

Does the increasingly heated political rhetoric of our times – the personal attacks, the wild distortions, the disintegration of civility that marks the modern dialectic – prompt angry people to act who otherwise might not? Does the anonymous vitriol that spews across the web help dissolve the inhibitions that might otherwise deter them? Do our increasingly polarized and unrestrained media play their part?

In the days ahead, some people are going to make such claims, but they will never be able to marshal convincing evidence, because such things are beyond accurate measurement. In our hearts, or our guts, we may fear it could be so. But we can’t know.

For I really think the MSM should ask itself whether it's helping to feed that anti-Quebec beast, by constantly demonizing the PQ, or sowing panic about the dire consequences of a distant and almost certainly doomed referendum.  Or portraying Quebecers as racists or xenophobes. Or allowing its comment sections to overflow with anti-Quebec garbage.

When they should be helping to better explain its reality, as Jonathan Kay does here.

Much as we Anglos like to denounce “pur laine” Québécois nativism, we should put our complaints and fears in context. The real burning issue among the vast majority of separatists is about language policy, which is amenable to rational debate; as opposed to questions about bloodline, which aren’t. 

Which is to say: There is no real ethnic dimension to the French-Anglo conflict. If everyone named Kay or Smith or Webster agreed to speak French in public, and educate their children in French, not even the shrillest French nationalist would object to their inclusion in the independent Quebec nirvana they seek to build. In truly tribalized societies, by contrast, the object of nativists and xenophobes is always the expulsion or brutalization of minorities — never their “conversion.”

For fear and ignorance are a deadly combination...

And the hatred they produce can poison us ALL.

Just not if I can help it eh?

Not in my Québec. Not in my Montréal.

No matter where you stand politically, you have to agree that this isn’t what Quebec is about. We just want people to be able to get together and at least agree on that.”

And not in my Canada. Screw the ignorant bigots of this country who are leading us to a very dark place. And playing into the hands of the Con Regime.

At a time when it should be obvious that Quebecers are far more interested in defeating that regime, than they are in leaving Canada.

Yup. French and English together. Forever.

Fini la haine. No more HATE...

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  1. Anonymous9:05 AM

    This tactic; "divide and conquer"; works far too well to abandon it now. The m.s.m. exacerbates these types of instances so as to play on and to the lowest common denominator in the milling masses, be it Anglo or French background or white supremacist or black gangsta or zionist paranoid, etc. When we are so uselessly caught up delusioning (new word) about this crap, the guys really running the show can manipulate our lives and circumstances any way they choose because we're too busy playing in the minutiae mundi trough with all the other little terrified idiots and we won't notice how "they" have and are eroding our whole sociological system right out from under us for their own ends.
    Ontario for the 51st state! "Shall issue" local laws for concealed weapons carry just like in the rest of 'murka, dammit! Higher bonuses and dividends and lower minimum wages and the hell with socialized medicine! Make 'em pay for the right to die in Canada without ANY type of medical assistance or insurance because they can't afford the insanely high premiums just like they do in the rest of the united states! (I threw that last bit in so people won't think that I'm against that piece of shit harper!)
    The evil is winning, Simon. I hate it. I can't help of thinking of that clip from The Newsroom where the guy tells the young lady she is part of the "worst. generation. ever." If the younger people here don't wake up and get off their asses to do something to save their own country, there soon won't be anything left to save. The old bastards in Canada have already given up, for the most part, and have gone over to the dark side so counting on them isn't likely to produce any viable help and right now, before it's too late, we need all the help we can get so as not to turn into a 'murka lite here like harper wants. Have a cheerful day!

    1. hi anonymous...well thanks for wishing me a cheerful day. Because after reading your excellent comment I wasn't sure whether to lie on the floor, or apply for asylum in Sweden. ;)
      But seriously I know how you feel. This is a desperate time, and for some reason the right-wingers still manage to fool so many people. But evil will not win. And believe it or not a lot of young people in this country are beginning to wake up. In Quebec they threw themselves into the political process, and were instrumental in defeating Charest. Yes more need to get involved, but it's better than it was before. And also in Quebec I was so encouraged to see young and old working together so well. It was a real joy. So I'm not giving up, those ghastly cruel Cons have got to go, and there's still a lot of fight in all of us... :)

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Of course the RCMP are too busy searching for perceived hate speach in the dissent surrounding their LEADER (the source of sunshine out his A$$), but seamingly don't have the resources to deal with "REAL" hate speach.

    BemusedLurker (and don't forget that CHAREST was the last honourable Tory. He actually stepped down to protect his integrity when he broke cabinet rules. Anyone else even come close to him?)

    1. hi anonymous...since I wrote this post I have read many other violent comments and tweets aimed at Marois. It's scary stuff. I can be pretty hard on my political enemies, but no matter how much I despise them, I could never wish them harm. It's a very bad trend, and although I'm loathe to see the RCMP get involved with the internet, I really think they need to make an example out of a few of the violent ones, to try to nip this in the bud before it leads to tragedy...

  3. I always find it interesting, if a bit depressing, that these wildly out-of-control shooters are not only insane, but seem to always support a fundamentalist Right Wing view of things...and I put the blame for this un-heard-of action in my country squarely at the feet of two sources, Harpo and the Right Wing Media..
    Harper has taken us to a place where we never needed to go, that is the rightwing whackjob politics of the US, and with them come the requisite looney tunes who want to shoot and destroy everything they've been programmed to think is wrong...and the media exacerbates this by fear-mongering, name calling etc.
    No doubt the bullet that killed Denis Blanchette was ultimately meant for Marois; how much more Yankeeland can you get? When democracy is a factor only if your side wins, then democracy no longer exists in anyone's reality...
    Simon, I think I can say that despite all the media rhetoric and the cruelty of the Con-job, the majority of us do not in any way hate Quebecers or the citizens of that Province, but, rather, that we are sometimes confused by a political reality and culture we don't always understand...truly, admiration for our most progressive and culturally expansive Province is strong in me and many others...vive Quebec and long live Canada, together.

    1. hi Wendi...I have no doubt that he was planning to try to kill Marois, and if his assault rifle hadn't jammed goodness knows what horror he might have inflicted upon us. And you're right, it was Harper and his gang who brought this Republican-style brand of aggressive politics to Canada.
      You're also right when you say that most Canadians don't hate Quebec. I recognize that sometimes the province can be a little irritating, and although I criticize the English a lot, I also criticize the French for not understanding the rest of Canada better. So I get it from both sides. ;)
      But the way I see it, we're going to have to live side by side, unless the Quebec can magically relocate to the French Riviera, in which case I'm definitely going with it. So we should try harder to understand each other, and celebrating each other from time to time wouldn't be a bad idea either. For all our differences, we still have so much in common...

  4. Anonymous1:46 PM

    The citizens of Quebec were not happy. I think they are desperate for their lives to change. They said exactly that, by their votes. Harper is a big bone of contention with Quebec and the people. Their votes are their reaction to him.

    No matter how we look at it, Canada is a terrible mess. Canadians who oppose the Enbridge pipeline, Oliver and Harper have called eco terrorists. There will be RCMP setting up, ant-terrorist squads. Canadians fighting for their Freedom of Speech, are pornographers. Harper said, the NDP didn't want to fight the Nazi's. Harper said, Ignatieff wasn't a true Canadian. His father was a Russian immigrant. Harper is so ignorant, he doesn't even was the immigrant family's that built this country. Those family's sent their sons to war too.

    There are angry Canadians, all across this country. Harper is responsible, for most of that anger. I won't be surprised, if there are many more outbursts of violence. I expect our country will eventually become like, Egypt, Libya and Syria. Harper is the deceiver.

    1. hi anonymous...I hope you're wrong about the violence part. We must do everything we can to avoid that. But you're right about the angry part. Because Stephen Harper is fundamentally an angry person, and extremely vindictive, he has taken our politics in a very bad direction. I sometimes worry that by attacking them, as they attack us, I could become like them. So I try to measure my words as much as possible, by taking deep breaths or slapping myself in the face. ;)
      The important thing is to keep cool, prepare for the next election, and always spread the message. Those Cons are unfit to govern a country like Canada, and they gotta go....

  5. e.a.f.12:13 AM

    Harper maybe a deceiver but we will not become Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. The differance between those countries & Canada is, in 4 yrs & counting we will be able to vote Harper out of office & start to bring Canada back to what it once was.

    Divide & conquer is always a good strategy but only if the citizens are dumb enough to buy into it & I don't believe the majority of Canadians will. People who voted for Harper can now be heard saying, I didn't vote for that or I didn't vote for this. Harper has almost managed to outrage a majority of voters & I do expect him to be gone come the next election. If the Conservatives were really smart & wanted to stay in office, they would dump Harper.

    1. hi e.a.f...I share your optimism. from the very moment Harper came to office he has used wedge issues to pit one group of Canadians against the other. But I think most people now see the result of all that division, and they will not play his game any longer. At least that's what I hope, because it's a Con game and it can only lead to division and disaster...

  6. Anonymous7:07 AM

    The abject lesson here is never to push people to far, well at least those who have firearms anyway.

  7. Anonymous11:54 AM

    Simon I truly believe the plastic in peoples bodies along with the agricultural fertilizer and pesticides, insecticides and now GMO's and the hormones and antibiotics in the meat and eggs and dairy...

    Radiation, man made...

    I could go on and on but mostly it falls on deaf ears who are too busy planning to buy their new toys, airplanes, boats, RV's, snowmobiles, etc...

    I remember a term I heard when I was young, the term 'Plastic People' it has literally come true and is certainly not good for the brain and the thinking process. I've read that most people have approximately a pound of plastic inside.

  8. Francine10:43 PM

    Yes, Harper is the problem. Can't be the soft headed population of Quebec, which freeloads off the rest of Canada that's the problem...nooooo. They are the basition of civilization. It's all Harpers fault. Everything is Harpers fault.

    What a load of crap. You leftists are the most intolerant people there are. You just can't see it perched up there on your high horse.

  9. Anonymous6:36 AM

    To show how far off you are let us dissect your felonious assertions Francine and they fit.

    Yes, Francine is the problem. Can't be the hard headed population of Mongolia, which freeloads off the rest of the world that's the problem...nooooo. They are the transition of civilization. It's all your fault. Everything is your fault.

    What a load of bitumen diluted to sell to the Red Chinese Communists. You Dilbit believers are the most intolerant people there are. You just can't see it perched up there on your small donkey.

    You do need to view EZ's video here.

    EZ and you are freinds right? Long live Mao EZ wants...

  10. Anonymous5:59 AM

    The hatred that kills? Quebec brings it on and does it to itself. People from the rest of Canada don't go to Quebec and start shooting the place up. All Quebec's mass, so many more than anywhere else, have been born, bred and raised in that sick culture. Quebecers, like yourself, should take a long look in the at mirror and ask why it is always us? But you won't, your ethnic hubris prevents it and thus you have blame all other Canadians for your problems.

  11. Thank you so much for this article.

    I was very shaken up by this event as well, but hoping that it is a catalyst for a positive change.

    On the same day you posted this article, I started my page. I welcome you so visit it and see where it has gotten in a year, we need people like you. People that believe that francophones and anglophones, once not divided, can defeat the system.