I #rememberjan29. I read the news when I woke up the next morning, and was in a state of shock the whole day, through the vigils and demos and leafleting in the snow as we gathered with candles in plastic cups.
I remember the hot white candle wax leaking onto my skin where I had taken off my mitten as I shared the flame to light another person’s candle, our cold hands hard against the sharp heat of the candle in the freezing cold.
I remember that it was a cold snap and during the rare heavy snowstorm week in Vancouver last year so the leaflets made my hands and wet legs freeze and the hot wax dripping felt even more sharp against the cold wet.
I remember wondering how friends who were Muslim felt, just being quietly available – sending little notes – ‘just checking in,’ ‘how’re you,’ thought about how vulnerable humans could be, and felt the fear of the gap of danger faced by humans across the lines of systemic and individual racism. How that gap divides humans into those who face it and those who don’t. Fundamental empathy gap. I remember wondering whether I really knew how that felt to be on the other side. Both wanting to know it to be fully human together, and fearing the danger that came with it.
We’ve been asked to think about how it has changed things to this day. I’ve had PTSD flashes of the inside of religious spaces ever since. Visual flashes. I’ve been afraid of being in places of worship and have had compensatory thoughts that feel like they try to distance me from the event or make it feel less possible or like ‘it couldn’t happen here’ – but I am /from/ Quebec so those no longer work – we can’t bury our heads in the sand about this. the usual ‘oh that’s an american thing’ didn’t work. Islamophobia is very real
and is woven throughout this society. So I go into not-being-the-current-targeted-group but my body knows that that’s divide and conquer and doesn’t in the end keep anyone safe. We have to stand with one another if we want others to stand with us.
I noticed when the Dec 6 Ecole Polytechnique / Montreal Massacre anniversary happened that there was all this formal official government memorialization and there has been almost none for this and I know what that means. As a Jew I know what that means when a state does not memorialize the racist murders of some of its citizens.
I remember feeling so angry and helpless and then finding some strength in numbers and in looking out for one another and in the calls and texts and emails ppl were sending one another, to know that this wasn’t going to be a day everyone acted like nothing had happened. I need that kind of strength, I need to believe in us.
Where were you? Do you remember hearing the news of the Quebec City shooting? Share your memory or thoughts and help memorialize this horrific event so we keep it always in our memories with the hashtag:
post your memories at https://rememberjan29.com/