That's 2 minutes for looking so badSun Nov 15, 2009 Miss Vicky
or rather, for not looking at all.
There is so much wrong with this story, Miss Vicky is not quite sure where to begin...
So we'll just start with the observation that this is the second place housing vulnerable women to be destroyed by fire this week.
The first was the Cornerstone shelter on Maclaren - a fire that killed a longtime resident. Then this rooming house fire last night - apparently started by a molotov cocktail (!) Clearly this is going to put some pressure on emergency housing services for women (as if it wasn't pressured enough
Ian Capstick over at Mediastyle.ca has compiled a good list of Ottawa organizations who support women in crisis who need shelter, clothing or food. Miss Vicky would add Centretown and Somerset West Community Health Centres as they often step forward when there's a crisis in the catchment area. Also the Salvation Army often mobilizes when there's a fire. Please do what you can to help out!
Now, on to the vitriol. Let's pull out some key items from the Citizen article. While "two waiters named Rashid and Nour, from the nearby Aroma Meze Restaurant, ran into the burning building to get women out", patrons and staff at Beckta, the other neighbouring restaurant, ignored a bathrobe-wearing, barefoot resident who ran in yelling that they should get out. Says an unnamed woman who was at a private party at Beckta with some of the Ottawa Senators "'We thought it was a street person imagining a fire...We thought it was a street person being a bit silly."
Nice example of the blindness of privilege, eh? Let's just say the Sens lost more than a shootout yesterday. And that image of folks snapping pics of the hockey players while 20 women huddle in a bus watching what meagre shelter they had burn... it's a perfect illustration of the challenges that vulnerable women face on a daily basis. Whether they're fleeing domestic violence, struggling with addiction or mental health issues, homeless, poor, new to Canada, they have to deal with a myriad of obstacles - stereotypes, ignorance, sexism, racism and any number of indignities, not the least of which are the averted gazes of some of our community's most well-off.
Miss Vicky is looking forward to the kick-butt fundraiser for women's housing that Beckta and the Sens had better organize after this fiasco.
UPDATE: so by the time Miss Vicky was able to blog, the Citizen story was updated to add a bit more info about the fire and a statement by Daniel Alfredsson and removed the rather damaging statements by the unnamed Beckta diner. Kind of takes the sting out of the vitriol, doesn't it? Unfortunately I don't have the original story so you can better understand where I was coming from.... I'd still like to see them take some action, though!
UPDATED UPDATE: Here's the original story, reprinted elsewhere. Thanks, Jenn!
UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE: New version up on the Citizen's site this morning, with some of the unnamed diner's quotations back in. Thanks to all who sent me screenshots from caches, links, etc.