Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bah humbug, continued

So many blog posts in my head; so little time. It has been a busy week at work &, with a key date coming up on Tuesday, next week will likely be more of the same. This weekend, I've also been working on a freelance project that I was first contacted about in September (!) & thought would be long over by now. Less than two weeks before I see my family, & I have not bought one Christmas gift or addressed one card. :(

Dh & I did, however, get the tree put up & decorated yesterday, while listening to Christmas music on the stereo -- so all is not completely Scrooge around here.

Which reminds me, we went to see the new version of "A Christmas Carol" last week, in which Jim Carrey plays Scrooge (as well as the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present & Future). I've seen quite a few different versions of the story & this one ranks right up there. (It's done in a semi-animated style, a la "The Polar Express.") Of course, it's such a powerful story in any format, & I will admit to needing Kleenex at several points.

*** *** ***

It's December 6th, which is a significant date in Canada. Today, it's known as Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. That's because, 20 years ago today, Mark Lepine burst into an engineering classroom at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, separated the women from the men, accused them of being "feminists" & opened fire. Fourteen promising young lives were cut short before Lepine turned his gun on himself.

I remember that day -- which eventually became known as "the Montreal Massacre" -- all too well, watching the news reports on TV that night, the growing horror of the realization that the women had been singled out as targets. There have been some excellent articles in the newspapers over the past few days looking back on the event, & on the lessons learned (and, sadly, forgotten). The one that touched me most deeply was featured on the front page of ysterday's Toronto Star. Before the shooting started, Nathalie Provost spoke up. She told him, "We're not feminists."
Provost was one of the lucky four who survived. "At the time, I thought to be a feminist meant you had to be militant," says Provost... She was the young woman who, from her hospital bed a couple days later, urged Canadian girls to not be frightened by the event and to pursue engineering careers. She was also my introduction to feminism in life, not just theory. And to the concept that the personal is political.

"I realized many years later that in my life and actions, of course I was a feminist. I was a woman studying engineering and I held my head up."
I've always been proud to call myself a feminist, and found her words heartwarming. It's a great article. Read the rest of it here.


  1. Yes, our tree was up the day after Thanksgiving but only officially decorated tonight! Life gets busy :)

    As for the horrible massacre 20 years ago ... that is so sad, but so nice that these women and all like them (us!) are remember and honored. I used to consider the term "feminist" to be somewhat negative, but now I'm proud to use the term, albeit loosely.

  2. Sooo scary... 19 years ago I was a female student amongst many more guys, doing physics in Amsterdam. I remember some of them looking at me with the 'what is she doing here, she must be in the wrong room' look.
    Glad I didn't know then... (was 'America' somehow less real when I was 17?. or was it just not speaking the language? no internet?)

  3. I had not heard of the Montreal Massacre. Thank you for sharing - I always feel like remembering victims of such terrible acts gives them power. To know that they weren't forgotten.

  4. You find the best articles - very thought provoking and touching. Thank you for sharing this. (sorry I am so long in getting around to finally commenting!)

    Our tree is up now too, at last.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I was completely ignorant to this.

  6. Thanks for sharing this - I was at McGill studying engineering during the massacre and for the last 20 years I've spent a moment of silence on Dec 6th thinking of them (as well as contributing annually to the engineering memorial fund). This year it completely slipped my mind and I was saddened that I hadn't honoured their memory on the anniversary so it's good that someone else posted about it.