Girls are strong: 6 December 1989: In Memory

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They need to be, too, given too many truths about the world we still live in. No one is strong enough to resist a semi-automatic rifle, though, and today we remember again the fourteen beautiful young women murdered in Montreal that awful day in 1989. Above all we remember: they died because they were women. Their killer may have been driven by any number of devils to do what he did, but his devils told him that killing women would somehow justify his own martyrdom, so that's what he did.

From my friend Miss Vicky, I copy and number out the names of the dead again:

Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.

A week ago, in anticipation of this sad anniversary, April Reign wrote a powerful reflection on the way we remember Our Glorious Dead. Predictably, one of the usual suspects has befouled this day of tribute and meditation, and I am very tempted to bite back at anyone brutal and vulgar enough to set one kind of memorial and grief against any other. But I won't say more than that, not today.

I would like to repeat the lovely lines from Edna St Vincent Millay that April Reign closed with last week:

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Photo courtesy Mind the Gap

H/t mattt with three tees at bastard.logic

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My letter to the National Post:

Dear Editor,

Your writer, B. Kay's, The Last White Ribbon, demonstrates the writer's very poor analysis of the issue of violence against women. No doubt you will receive angry letters from women all over the globe. And this is rightly so.

It is apparent that Ms Kay has not done her homework. Has she, in fact, engaged in any reading on the issue at all? She, and your editors may want to expand your knowledge by reading the attached, World Health Organization's website on gender and domestic violence (I encourage you to try a few links, too) and a piece by Lee Lakeman, The Truth As We Know It. These pieces give just a taste of what life is really like for women when one takes an honest and critical view of the perpetration of violence against women around the world.

I'd love to hear what the author has to say after reflecting on those two pieces. An apology would be nice. A retraction would be ideal. I won't hold my breath.


*** Please write your own letters regarding this attack on women, by a woman. They need not be long, they just need to be sent.

Sometimes I honestly think that some people must be born with the "zero-sum" gene. Just guessing, but wouldn't be surprised to learn that the same people who reflect and get angry on Dec. 6th annually also have empathy for the victims of Air India.
In case Barbara Kay cares, the parting remark at the Dec. 6th event I attended was "Let's NOT have to do this again next year"...didn't detect a whiff of "growth industry" opportunity among the organizers.
Unfortunately, since last year's events, 40 more women have been KILLED in Ontario by men, most often as the ultimate act of control. When the violence stops, the commemoration will stop.

I don't usually write letters to the editor, but I couldn't resist after reading that steaming bile that was actually located in the News (!!!) section. Oh, and k'in, I hope you don't mind if I adapted the last line in your comment above.

" Dear Editor,

This is in regard to Barbara Kay's The Last White Ribbon, published December 5, 2007. I am sure I am not the first to write in regard to this spewing of opinion which for some reason was located in the 'News' section - I am also certain I will not be the last.

What, exactly, has the writer so convinced that to start a new memorial for others who have passed away due to violence, requires that we cancel other, long-standing memorials? Does she think there are not enough days in the year, or that Canadians do not have enough room in their heads to acknowledge that more than one group of people might be suffering? I, for one, can walk and chew gum at the same time.

And in no way does the acknowledgment that women are more likely to be the victims of violence than men, imply that all men are evil. Ms. Kay's writing, unfortunately, does make that implication. Maybe instead of burying her head in the sand, or keeping herself busy complaining that there aren't more memorials when she could be working to establish same instead of just whining about it, Ms. Kay should actually attend a memorial on December 6th.

She won't do that, though. She might actually see - gasp! - men there, decrying violence against women.

The commemoration will stop when the violence stops.


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