I took a peek around the newspapers reporting on the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal massacre. The message boards have the usual reminders to not forget, or people simply stating ‘get over it.’ Some commenters accuse people of using the day to bash men. I just take a huge, exasperated sigh. I know I want to say something.
I can’t cast my lot with Jonathan Kay at the National Post with his words about the Amish and forgiveness. I understand his point involved the politicization of the day, but he makes what the Amish did sound too easy. Forgiveness requires a long, hard journey for many people. Yes, the Amish have their faith to sustain them. I don’t want things to harden, to look at the world with a bitter view, but I will not look at this world like it’s a cake walk either.
From September to December 6th of 1989, I really thought women won. I really thought we can be what we want, marry who we want, meet the world on our merits not like the bad old days before feminism. People say Marc Lepine was mentally disturbed, but he separated the Engineering students by gender, told the guys to get out, and started to shoot the women. It boggled my 19 year-old mind just going into a career like engineering can get a women killed. Compared this to my 42 year-old mind skipping boggled to complete all-out anger as a grown man carries out the mission to shoot a 14 year-old girl in Pakistan, for simply wanting to go to school. I know not every man does these deeds. I just want to know where was the guy, or guys, to take them aside and say “You might want to re-think this.” On my end, I know we have a long, long way to go.
True story: I was once asked if I was a feminist. The person who asked basically wonder does this person hate men like feminists usually do. My answer: I believe in equal pay for equal work; I believe in criticism without dragging my gender into it; I believe in stating my opinion without someone calling me ‘fat’ or ‘a slut’; I believe women should not choose between doing work they like and raising children they love;I believe in walking the streets without fear. So yes, I guess that makes me a feminist. Really, people, I just wrote about a man who doesn’t know I exist in yesterday’s post. If a person doesn’t want men painted with the same brush regarding violence, please don’t apply that colour palette to me regarding men and the debate over women’s rights.
Why bother remembering, people lament, why not get over it? Simple: It can happen again, and happens all the time. Once people forget, make history like a foreign concept, things will happen again and again and again. Remembering does not make us weak. Forgetting does. Forgetting events like December 6th makes us cowards. We remember not to self-flagellate, fix blame, or do mea culpas. We remember as a way to look darkness in the eye, to acknowledge its presence, in order to keep going. We can’t remain bitter. We can’t remain idealistic either. We can only try to be brave.
Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student