Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Remembering the Legacy of the Montreal Massacre

I had just finished my last post, about Donald Trump's plans to all but eliminate gun controls in the United States.

When I suddenly remembered that tonight fourteen beams of light will rise into the sky from the summit of Mount Royal, so all Montrealers can see them.

And remember what happened on a snowy day in that city twenty-seven years ago today.

When a man who hated women went on a bloody rampage at the École Polytechnique.

And that when it was over all these women were dead.

And so many other lives were shattered.

But as we remember all those victims of gun violence, I hope Canadians also remember their legacy. 

As we mourn the 14 deaths in 1989, as well as the too many women and girls murdered or abused since then, we need to continue to work for women’s equality, for policies that lead to equity among women, and to an end to structural and individual violence against women and girls. 

Canada is still not a safe country for all women who live here, with more than 50 per cent likely to experience violence sometime in their lives, usually before they are 25. For some women, those most marginalized, these risks are even greater.

How they inspired so many to fight for an end to violence against women.

And that at a time when the air reeks of misogyny, and a sexual predator is president of the United States, and is preparing to roll back women's rights, that battle has never seemed more urgent or more important.

Remember their precious legacy.

Never forget them...


Anonymous said...

It's vital that we as Canadians keep the memory of these women alive. I didn't know them; I was only four years old when this occurred, but I ultimately went into the same field of study that they did: engineering. When I entered the University of Toronto Materials Engineering program, any one of these women could have been a professor of mine. But no... we were robbed of their brilliance because a sad, pathetic individual (who I will not give the dignity of naming) blamed *them* for his inner turmoil.

I'm not under any delusions that we will somehow cure the world of misogyny, but I've made it a focus of mine to challenge it whenever it rears its ugly head, and there's plenty to go around in the wake of Trump's hideous campaign and victory. But there's plenty of it in the vaunted STEM fields, and these 14 women paid with their lives. A check on a callous sexist comment here or there might be the thing that keeps another person from starting down this dark path. Tragedies like this require multiple ingredients: culture, personal upheaval and access to guns. The latter can be addressed legislatively, as can some aspects of the second, but that first requires introspection and it's the hardest to change.

I think we all owe it to these women to take a moment of introspection and see if there's any aspect of the culture we can impact. You do proverbial Lord's work, Simon... keep up the good fight. :)

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe it has been 27 years. The beams of light are a beautiful beacon of remembrance and hope that this needless tragedy never happens again.

Simon said...

hi anon....yes it is vital to keep the memory of those women alive. And as I said in my post the legacy of all those women, snd their male supporters, who became strong feminists because of what happened. As I also said in my post, the stench of misogyny is stinking out North America again, so now more than ever. You know, that video I posted attracted some of the most revolting misogynistic comments I have ever received. So much that I decided to close down the comment section of my YouTube channel. Can you believe is nothing sacred? But every year I remember them, and the struggle continues...

Simon said...

hi JD...yes, those beams of light are beautiful. I lived near Mount Royal for years, it's a very special place for me. And I would have given anything to be there last night...

e.a.f. said...

It doesn't seem like 27 years. Its seems like it happened not so long ago. Women are still being murdered in this country. What happened on that day 27 years ago will be with us always.

Quebec will never forget and has taken a strong position on a long gun registry.

This day will be remembered for as long as any one from that time period is alive. It was a great tragedy. My our thoughts be with the families and friends of the women who died.