Saturday, December 06, 2014

Can I find an appropriate song?

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre. I think I will not give you a song.

A friend of mine was in Montreal at the time, studying not engineering but law. It being December, she was revising for exams, and had unplugged the phone because she had had a few phone calls during the day that had distracted her from her work. Her parents were home in another province, and although the murders had not happened at her university, they called her to make sure she was okay. No answer, no answer, all night! When she finally put her books away and remembered to plug in the phone, it rang immediately.

I was working at a legal newspaper and my boss was a Montreal anglo man, who was either horrible or actually quite nice but very good at pretending to be horrible. I never could be sure. He came into the office the morning after the shooting and said something like, "Some crazy French-Canadian guy went nuts and shot some people and now everyone's calling it 'violence against women'!" Oh, heavens, he was difficult.

Marker of Change, memorial consisting of 14 coffin-like benches in Vancouver by artist Beth Alber
And now there are ceremonies and vigils and memorials, and we hope things are a bit better. But those two memories will stick with me: the frantic parents and the dismissive jerk.

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