Sunday, December 06, 2009

December 6: 20 years after...

...there's a eponymous men's rights website, no link here, conferring sainthood on Marc Lépine.

There's a gaggle of xenophobic yokels who call him Gamil Gharbi these days, as though to score some kind of point. The Montreal Massacre as a narrative about Islam? Perhaps for those whose politics are little more than a slobber of prejudice.

But there will be those who argue that the women's movement, too, has long hitched its political wagon to this rotten star. Some certainly made claims of that kind at the time.
They insisted that it was "opportunistic" for a movement dedicated to advocating for the rights of women to speak out about the Montreal femicide. I continue to find this very odd. What on earth was the women's movement supposed to do about this horrific condensation of social misogyny? Be silent?

If a man had entered that polytechnic twenty years ago and ordered all the Gentiles to leave, and proceeded to murder fourteen Jews, would anyone seriously criticize the Canadian Jewish Congress for speaking out about anti-Semitism?

Mark Steyn continues to beat the drum for his "real" narrative: not sexism in society, heavens no, but the alleged wimpiness of the Canadian males who, ordered to leave by the killer, did so. Real men, one imagines, would have caught the bullets in their teeth. But who can say with certainty during those pivotal few seconds that they, unlike the men present, would have recognized what was about to happen, and taken down the gunman by force of numbers? Superhero keyboardship is cheap. Pray that you never find yourselves playing an unwilling role in a realworld splatter-flick.

Too many such deflections, excuses and strawmen are still being defensively raised. Not all males are crazed violent killers. Lépine had a Muslim father, so it wasn't Us, God forbid, it was today's fashionable minaret-building Other. Lepine was a lunatic.

he latter point is true, of course, but it's not the whole truth. The murderously insane, like it or not, are part of society, not atoms. What is it that gave shape and substance to the rage of Marc Lépine? What were the images of "feminists" that gave him focus and purpose?

In a society with no gender-based discrimination and violence, Lépine could not have committed his femicidal acts.
Misogyny is part of the very fabric of the society we live in despite--and because of--the great strides that women have made in the past few decades.

But misogyny isn't an essence, it's a practice.
By making ourselves aware of it, by confronting it, all of us, men and women, make alternatives possible. We men are not being asked to feel guilty for an act of horror that most of us couldn't commit. We are being asked to do something about the society in which we live, to help make it better, safer and saner for everyone.

We won't do that by trying to explain the massacre away, to distance ourselves from it, to react in denial:

I was in Vancouver 3 years ago. Outside the central train station there is a park, & in the park is a rotunda of larger-than-average stone plinths. At the base of each is an inscription of one of the names of the women 'murdered at Ecole Polytechnique' etc etc. When I saw it I wanted to vomit in disgust.

Such social Marxism is destroying the West, slowly but surely.

Such a perfect pot-pourri of political illiteracy and unrepentant misogyny would be difficult to invent. And there's plenty more where that came from.

Has anything really changed since the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment held a mess dinner to honour Marc Lépine?
* I would like to believe so. I would like to think that these annual memorials and the respectful newspaper editorials and the gentle men who wear white ribbons are making a difference.

But the fact that so many still appear to have trouble with woman-hatred--trying to wish it away, reduce its significance, confine its existence to a "lone madman," blame it on a nonexistent Muslim bringing-up, or even, on the fringes, excuse it, tells me that we have much, much further to go. Violence against women continues to flourish, including mass murder. Still think Marc Lépine was alone?

Because people have pointed out so many times that his name is a household word, while few remember the names of his victims, here are the young women that he murdered in their prime of life:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), École Polytechnique
budget clerk
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

Rest in peace. And may we continue to learn the lessons.

"Soldier Confirms Airborne Held Massacre Party," Ottawa Citizen, November 9, 1995, A3.

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