Short ‘n’ Stubby: Montréal memorial edition


CBC devotes an hour of its Sunday radio edition to voices of the Montréal Massacre. Among the interviewees are gun-control activist and engineer Heidi Rathjen, who was a student at the Polytechnique at the time and heard the gunshots from another room; also Brian Vallée, Francine Pelletier, and many more. It’s the second hour of the program; scroll down for the sound link.

CTV’s interview with Monique Lépine, the mother of the killer, is a don’t-miss one. She lost two children to the Massacre; her daughter also committed suicide, seven years later. She herself decided to live, tell her story, reach out to survivors, and stop suffering in silence. Her quest for truth helped her to survive the unimaginable. Her worst memory of her son is that he was “too secret”–a telling fact. Secretiveness means something to hide. She herself has nothing to hide anymore, and her courage is amazing.

So, feminism’s work is done? Not according to the findings of this professor, who finds that women’s enrollment in engineering programs at university is dropping. It’s not that women can’t do the work–many can, do, and love it. They are disproportionately ahead of the males, marks-wise. So what is it? Nobody wants to confront the fact that a terrorist act of 20 years ago has a long shadow, so it’s still being treated as a mystery. Which is for me the worst legacy of the massacre–the constant silencing of its true impact.

So, misogyny isn’t a problem? Read this right through to the end and then tell me it’s not. Every woman who ever voices an unconventional opinion will sooner or later get referred to–inevitably, by a male–using derogatory terms for her own genitalia. It’s happened to me, and it sickens me every time. Of course, it’s meant to. It’s meant to drive home the notion that you, a woman, are dirty, disgusting and disposable. If that’s not woman-hating, I don’t know what is.

So, gun owners are inconvenienced by having to register their weapons? They feel stigmatized and demonized? Boo fucking hoo. The families of gun violence victims have something much bigger to cope with than a mere momentary inconvenience. Wendy Cukier takes on the need to defend gun control. Her arguments hold a lot more water than those of her detractors. That’s because she doesn’t believe in loopholes, duh.

Are there men out there who understand this whole business? Yes, yes, and yes. More like them, please!

Barb Gustafson asks a pertinent question, and fights other people’s stereotype of what a feminist is. So does Angela McIsaac, who asserts that no, we haven’t forgotten the lessons of that day–and yes, she’s still fighting for women’s equality. As we all should be.

Nathalie Provost, a survivor, thought she wasn’t a feminist back then. Now she’s changed her mind–and helping other women change theirs, too.

Judy Rebick dares to call the Massacre by its right name: terrorism.

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