Peace be upon you

It has taken almost a week to order my thoughts on the atrocity committed in Québec City on January 29, 2017.  Similar to the Polytechnique Montréal Massacre, I began with denial (this can’t be real) and slowly sank into the realization that of course it is real, and more than that, predictable.

©2001 Marion Pennell

©2001 Marion Pennell

Québecers came out by the thousands to mourn the men: Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry,  Azzeddine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, and Aboubaker Thabti.  The majority of people are sympathetic to the victims and their families and find the actions of the killer deplorable, shameful, and literally hate-filled.

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Nègres blancs d’Amérique

I grew up watching two social movements.  As a child I watched the protesters in the USA – everything was happening there!  Protesting Vietnam! Women’s liberation and the ERA!. But the biggest change on the canvas was the Civil Rights movement and this new equality between the races (that takes some explaining to a Canadian kid – how long ago was that Civil War? how long ago was slavery? there really was slavery?).  News photos of segregated fountains and bathrooms, and George Wallace’s Alabama.  Sore losers from a historic war.


At home, Québec was changing in profound ways as well.  It was called the Quiet Revolution (la révolution tranquille), which is why you never heard of it.  The book “Nègres blancs d’Amérique” is written by Pierre Vallières, a FLQ member. “Speak white” is a phrase from that era. Continue reading