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Reflections on December 6

Tue Dec 6, 2005 Miss Vicky 

December 6 always sneaks up on me. Approaching holidays, social obligations, busy-ness at work - and this year, kitchen renovations - take up a lot of my focus and attention this time of year. Then - it never fails - on the day I'm reminded of the massive surge of grief and loss I felt when I heard of the murder of 14 women at l'École polytechnique.

I was getting my hair cut on Grafton Street in Dublin, where I was doing my Master's. My hairdresser told me she'd heard some news about Canada that morning (a rare occurrence, let me tell you). So we listened to the hourly news on the radio together. I have rarely felt so isolated and powerless. Since this was before the days of google and I could never get the Radio Canada International when I needed it, I was craving information and solace and community and it just sucked being alone there.

All these emotions - not to mention the anger I feel at the attitudes that lie beneath horrific acts of violence against women - come flooding back to me when the anniversary rolls around.

It's interesting that a decade and a half after this event, people still gather annually to remember. And it's unfortunate (what a profoundly inadequate word) that this one horrific act has become such a powerful symbol for violence against women when so many more women and girls are beaten, raped and murdered every year by strangers and by those who profess to love them. Not to mention our too-many forgotten aboriginal sisters, and other victims who are ignored or simply slip away unnoticed.

I'm not going to go on at length about the facts. We've been through this already. pamused wrote an entry today and included some lyrics that struck a nerve with me.

Why do women mark December 6? Because we are all too aware that we could have been any one of those 14 young women. And we still could be, someday.

here's the song:

'this memory -- the wyrd sisters

early that morning, cup of coffee in her hand,
kissed her mother on the cheek, said I'm more busy than I planned.
i'll be coming home a bit late - could you keep the supper warm?
oh, it's just another busy day.

early that morning, getting ready by the door,
kissed her lover on the cheek, said I'll be coming back for more.
oh how i love you, we've got so much to live for baby
and i'll be coming home real soon.

and it could have been me, just as easily,
could have been my sister left there to bleed,
oh it could've been my father or my brother done the deed.
oh no, don't let me lose this memory.

later on that evening, i turned on my tv,
listened as they're talking about the news of a
shooting spree.
fourteen young women shot dead in montreal...
oh, it's a killing of us all.

and it could have been me, just as easily,
could have been my mother left there to bleed,
oh it could have been my father or my brother done the deed.
oh no, don't let us lose this memory

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