Thursday, December 29, 2005

this land is whose land?

As those of you who live in Canada know, the city of Toronto has been plagued in the last year by an increasing amount of gang and gun violence, which culminated in what many are terming the truly horrific: the murder of a 15 year old girl on Boxing Day.

This event presents a particularly interesting juncture for my province and even my country. Jane Creba is not, as I mentioned above, the first person to die from apparent gang violence in Toronto. A two-year old was caught in the crossfire earlier this year; gunfire erupted inside a church at a funeral. Though these crimes were reported on (and have resulted in the election issue of gun control for Paul Martin's Liberals), nothing seems to have had the impact of young, pretty Jane Creba.

There is one reason for that: She is white. The other victims, and indeed, the criminals, are not.

The issues of race and class are often hidden issues in Canada. This country prides itself on this ridiculous notion of the 'cultural mosaic' in which everyone lives their own lives and own cultures in a way which creates beautiful harmony in the whole. This is one of the worst lies that we tell ourselves, because it allows us--the dominant white, British culture in which I include myself--to avoid seeing how race and class polarize our country. The very forces of prejudice that we continually congratulate ourselves for being above are so ingrained in our lives that we don't see them.

Much like what happened in Kashechewan earlier this year, race and class find themselves at the fore of my thoughts today. I am sorry for the Creba families loss. I am sorrier for the society that has brought the young men thought to be the shooters to this point. To say that it is society's fault is an over simplification--but can we deny what choices society gave these men? Can we deny our own role in this: at best, that we ignored what happened before; at worst, that all we did was talk, and not act for change?

For the first time in my life, I am saddened to be a Canadian. Because this is my fault.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

and so happy Christmas

Happy anything else if you are celebrating that, too.

I realize posts around these parts have been scant as of late. I don't really know what to say about that, except that the last few weeks of placement and school where exceptionally full; I am still not sure how I managed to get everything done. My dad's father passed away, as well. He was 86, and had a pretty good run of it, I think, but it is still a difficult thing for all involved.

Christmas was an epic adventure this year, between balancing my mother's bizarre 11-3 shift at the hospital, running down to Toronto for dinner, and then making our way back home in some nasty driving conditions. All in all, a pretty fun day, though. I got the sewing machine I have been coveting these last few months, and a new winter jacket. (And snow pants!)

I also got the source book for the A Game of Thrones RPG. It's behemoth. I can't wait to DM a campaign.

With any luck, I will be able to return within these next few days and make some sort of year end wrap-up post about books, music, movies, and memories.

I hope that you and yours are well, Readers. Be happy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What remembrance really means.

Today is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. On the 6th of December, in 1989, Marc Lepine entered the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, separated the men from the women, and began to kill the 'feminists' that he hated so much before turning the gun on himself
Please note that if I am committing suicide today ... it is not for economic reasons ... but for political reasons. For I have decided to send Ad Patres [Latin: "to the fathers"] the feminists who have ruined my life. ... The feminists always have a talent for enraging me. They want to retain the advantages of being women ... while trying to grab those of men. ... They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can.

Attached to the letter was a list of 19 prominent Québec women in non-traditional occupations, including the province's first woman firefighter and police captain. Beneath the list Lépine wrote: "[These women] nearly died today. The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive." It was, instead, dozens of ordinary women at the École Polytechnique who would bear the brunt of his fury.
(from's Case Study

This is one of the most important events in Canadian history. It is tempting to dismiss Lepine as a madman, but we should take care not to do so, because that absolves him of any personal responsibility for this. These crimes were deliberate, planned--not random acts of violence.

The CBC has impressive archives in general, but their video and radio footage of the Massacre is particularly affecting. When this happened, it was something that Canada was unprepared for it. No one wants to deal with sexism in the way that the Massacre forces us to, and that's very apparent in the footage.