Thursday, December 06, 2007

december 6, 1989: why i am a feminist

Eighteen years ago today, a gunman walked into the engineering school of the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, separated out the women and opened fire after declaring his hatred of "feminists."

I remember exactly where I was at the moment I found out, how I felt as the details emerged. I also remember the outrage and pain I felt in the aftermath, when mainstream Canada refused to accept that these women were killed because they were women, aspiring to work in a male dominated field.

No one disputes that fact now.

They call it the Montreal Massacre and the killer has achieved the kind of recognition posthumously that he sought in life.

I will not re-print his name here.

I will, however, name each of the young women who died that day. Twelve of them were engineering students, one an administrator and one a nursing student. They would all be my age (or very close to it right now). When I think of all I have lived since December 6, 1989, I am reminded that these women and those who loved them were robbed of a very great deal.

Geneviève Bergeron.

Hélène Colgan.

Nathalie Croteau.

Barbara Daigneault.

Anne-Marie Edward.

Maude Haviernick.

Maryse Laganière.

Maryse Leclair.

Anne-Marie Lemay.

Sonia Pelletier.

Michèle Richard.

Annie St-Arneault.

Annie Turcotte.

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

What a beautiful tribute to those young women and good for you for not naming their killer.

Anonymous said...

How sad.. Thanks for sharing!

deb said...

thanks for posting this, Laurie. I can still remember how I felt hearing the news after walking back onto campus that night...I remember the conversations that followed - the anger, the fear, and the frustration with people who didn't get it. I couldn't view the world in the same way anymore. That event helped form the filter I now use everyday.

Anonymous said...

How many mixed up people living in such a wonderful world....

Anonymous said...

An interesting story I hadn't heard. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Amazing story.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Laurie!!!

xox me

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never even heard of this event. Thank you so much.

Oh, and incidentally, that not naming the bad guy thing? Totally Jewish. Really, it's a tradition. One prays that the names of people who have behaved evilly will be stricken from the Book of Life. It's the only revenge, that the worst among us simply not be remembered as ever having existed.

Because of what -- and whom -- they cost us, and because of the complexity of each individual and every individual s/he touches, it takes a very long time in human terms for that forgetfulness to set in, hence the comforting concept of a big Book of Life that God keeps in eternal time. Or so I speculate.

Sherry said...

That was such a sad and tragic day. One we will never forget.

Anonymous said...

Hey Laurie,
Thanks for posting this on your blog. I can't believe that i forgot about this important date....don't recall hearing about any events this year, although probably just didn't hear about them. This something important that we can't forget about. Thank you.

bella said...

Thank-you for honoring these women and their lives.