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Canada How the way we remember the Montreal Massacre has changed 30 years later

12:20  05 december  2019
12:20  05 december  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Montréal Massacre, 30 years later: My experience as a woman in engineering

  Montréal Massacre, 30 years later: My experience as a woman in engineering Thirty years ago, I was a teenaged girl with a choice to make when a man killed 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montréal. The women were innocent. The killer was angry that these “feminists” were in engineering school and he was not. Before that horrific day, I had been on the fence about what to study in university: science or engineering. After the terrible events in Montréal, I was angry. I decided then and there that I was going to be an engineer. I would prove that women deserve a place in engineering because they are every bit as smart and capable as any man.I’m proud that I did, but I’ve run quite an obstacle course.

The École Polytechnique massacre (French: tuerie de l'École polytechnique), also known as the Montreal massacre , was a mass shooting in Montreal at an engineering school affiliated with the

Our President, Paul Elliott, in the most recent edition of Education Forum, calls out our countries leaders by speaking to the “failure of the federal government to act and develop a national program to raise awareness of the issue or to push back in a meaningful way against something that has become a

a person standing in front of a building: Three women hug each other after laying flowers in front of École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 9, 1989. Three days earlier, a gunman killed 14 women at the school.© Provided by cbc.ca Three women hug each other after laying flowers in front of École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 9, 1989. Three days earlier, a gunman killed 14 women at the school. When Jim Edward thinks of his sister, Anne-Marie, he remembers a vibrant young student with an incredible sense of adventure.

"One of her friends used to say it's easier to describe a whirlwind than it is to describe Anne-Marie," Edward said in a recent interview at Montreal's Place du 6-Décembre-1989, a memorial park dedicated to his younger sister and the other victims of the Montreal Massacre.

"Very spunky, spontaneous, happy, lively, very adventurous," he said. "I miss that part of her."

Events planned to mark sombre 30th anniversary of Polytechnique massacre

  Events planned to mark sombre 30th anniversary of Polytechnique massacre MONTREAL — Several events are planned across the country today to mark the grim 30th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. On the evening of Dec. 6, 1989, a gunman entered Montreal's Ecole polytechnique, killing 14 women in an anti-feminist mass slaying before taking his own life. Later this morning, students and staff at the school's campus will place a wreath of white roses at a commemorative plaque. Also today, a book about the events and the stories behind the 14 victims written by former Le Devoir journalist Josee Boileau will be released.In the evening, the public will gather on Mount Royal at 5:10 p.m.

Thirty years later , Montreal is still processing the tragedy. (Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press). And times have changed . There is the vast #MeToo movement. Montreal has a female mayor 30 years after Polytechnique massacre , new memorial park sign to recognize killings as

We remember this massacre because it sheds light upon the issue of violence against women. His years of abuse and eventual abandonment by his Algerian father, a man totally contemptuous of Then, they are translated. What we have been stuck with in the English speaking world has been bad

Anne-Marie Edward was a 21-year-old chemical engineering student when she was shot and killed along with 13 other women at École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989, an event that left a lingering sense of trauma for many in Quebec.

This year — 30 years after the attack — the city changed the wording on the park's sign to refer to the mass shooting as an "anti-feminist attack" rather than simply a "tragic event." The old sign didn't mention that women were targeted or how many of them were killed.

For Edward, seeing just those few words changed is very significant.

"It's an important step in making sure that we remember why this happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

a woman smiling for the camera: Anne-Marie Edward, a 21-year-old chemical engineering student, was shot to death at École Polytechnique. © Provided by cbc.ca Anne-Marie Edward, a 21-year-old chemical engineering student, was shot to death at École Polytechnique.

Gunman expressed hatred for feminists

When Marc Lépine, 25, walked into a classroom full of students at École Polytechnique that day, he separated the men from the women. He shouted "You're all feminists and I hate feminists!" and started shooting.

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How even sending female reporters to the scene of the massacre had raised concerns surrounding No one told me what not to write, but I just knew, in the way I knew not to seem strident in a The hatred towards women that fuels attacks like the Montreal Massacre is incredibly repulsive, so for

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In less than 20 minutes, he killed 14 women on campus, most of them engineering students, before turning the gun on himself.

The suicide note found on his body laid bare his disdain for women and blamed feminists for ruining his life.

"I remember thinking, 'My God, how naive we had been,'" said journalist Francine Pelletier, a columnist with the newspaper La Presse at the time.

a person that is standing in the snow: Jim Edward, at the Place du 6-Décembre-1989 memorial park in Montreal, where the memory of his sister, Anne-Marie, is honoured.© Provided by cbc.ca Jim Edward, at the Place du 6-Décembre-1989 memorial park in Montreal, where the memory of his sister, Anne-Marie, is honoured.

The gunman's letter included a list of prominent feminists he said he would have killed if he'd had more time. Pelletier was on the list.

"It occurred to me only then, in fact, how uneventful the whole women's movement, the whole second-wave feminism, had been," Pelletier recalled.

"We'd had a really easy time of it and we had mistaken that easy time of it with the fact that everyone was sort of on board," she said. "As far as the possible resentment this could have created, we did not see it."

'We called her Sunshine': Sister of Polytechnique victim reflects on life after Dec. 6, 1989

  'We called her Sunshine': Sister of Polytechnique victim reflects on life after Dec. 6, 1989 On Dec. 6, 1989, Catherine Bergeron was teaching children gymnastics, unaware that a lone gunman had just killed 14 women, including her sister Geneviève. Thirty years later, she reflects on how the events of that night have shaped her life — and altered the very fabric of Quebec society. Quebec's innocence lost© Provided by cbc.ca Catherine Bergeron was 19 years old when a lone gunman killed her older sister, Geneviève, at Université de Montréal's École Polytechnique. Catherine described her sister as a kind, sensitive individual who was always smiling with "her big, blue eyes" and had a way of making everyone feel important.

Lépine had previously been denied admission to the École Polytechnique and had been upset, it The massacre spurred many campaigns to end male violence and there was much international There will be protests, celebrations and tears as the dead are remembered . As the late feminist writer

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Changing views

She said for years after the killings, there was resistance among some in Quebec to see what happened as more than an isolated act of a troubled man, and to come to terms with what was so clear: that women and feminists were targeted.

She said in news articles and editorials, particularly within Quebec, the coverage was more focused on Lépine as a disturbed lone gunman, than on the political aspects of his crime.

"I think there was great resistance to say that, even though we had refashioned this place, we were the most progressive province in Canada, that something as dark and as evil as the Montreal Massacre could happen here," she said.

Francine Pelletier standing in front of a book shelf: Francine Pelletier, a well-known columnist and feminist, and was on the gunman's list of women he wanted to kill.© Provided by cbc.ca Francine Pelletier, a well-known columnist and feminist, and was on the gunman's list of women he wanted to kill.

Over the years, the view of what happened has changed, she said, and the sign at the memorial park is a symbol of that.

"It took a long time for the city just to do that," she said. "So we are going back and rewriting things as it really happened, and unfortunately, it has taken all these years."

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A 19- year -old first- year bioengineering student addresses a group of Grade 11 students to encourage them to pursue her own field of study in 2017 in Montréal . Progress has been made to encourage more women to study STEM since the Montréal Massacre in 1989. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.

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When the city confirmed the sign would be changed, Sue Montgomery, the mayor of the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, said: "We just felt it was important to name it what it was — and that is an anti-feminist attack."

A new generation

In the aftermath of the attack in 1989, journalists scrambled to understand what had happened and the enormity of what it meant, said Julian Sher, who was a producer with CBC News at the time.

"The fact that Marc Lépine had deliberately targeted women and the implications of him being anti-feminist and anti-women took a while for people to absorb," he said.

"Today, with the #MeToo movement and the growth of the feminist movement, it would be much more obvious. But I think it took a while for people to understand what was going on and what it meant for our society."

a close up of a sign: Montreal recently changed the wording on the sign at the memorial park for the victims of the Montreal Massacre. It now refers to the violence as an 'anti-feminist attack.'© Provided by cbc.ca Montreal recently changed the wording on the sign at the memorial park for the victims of the Montreal Massacre. It now refers to the violence as an 'anti-feminist attack.'

A change in discourse has come with time, said Diane Lamoureux, an associate professor at Laval University who has studied feminism and anti-feminism in Quebec.

"The idea that there is some kind of violence against women in our society is more acceptable now," she said. She noticed a turning point during the 20th anniversary commemorations, with a new generation of leaders emerging, with new ideas.

30 Years After Surviving Polytechnique, My Pain Is Starting To Resurface

  30 Years After Surviving Polytechnique, My Pain Is Starting To Resurface This account was relayed to HuffPost Québec by Nathalie Provost in an interview and formatted into a first-person perspective. I remember Dec. 6, 1989 vividly. Because of all the adrenaline and the stress, I could tell you exactly who I spoke to, how the events unfolded, and what happened in the following hours and days. I was terrified of going crazy. In the hospital, where I remained for nine days, I asked to speak to a professional. A young psychiatry student handed me three sheets of paper about post-traumatic stress disorder, clearly photocopied from a textbook. It was the first time I had ever read about it. In 1989, nobody talked about that. No one even knew what it was.

I was seven years old when École Polytechnique Massacre happened. I want to think that the world has Later still, when I was a teenager and irritated by everything my mother did, I found the button Sometimes I joked back, making fun of the way girls dressed, of how many guys they slept with, how

25 years ago today, a gunman entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal , Quebec, in Canada He wrote, "The feminists always have a talent for enraging me. They want to retain the advantages of How even sending female reporters to the scene of the massacre had raised concerns surrounding

"It was another generation of politicians and they started to accept that it had been an anti-feminist attack and that women were clearly the target," she said.

Polytechnique today

At the school today, women make up about 28 per cent of the student body, compared with 17 per cent in 1989. Many of them were not yet born when the Montreal Massacre happened.

But the attack remains an undeniable part of the school's history.

"I think it has woken up not just women but everyone to realize that we should learn from that," said Victoria Houle, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering student. "We have come to our senses and we are acknowledging what really happened."

a little girl holding a toy: In this file photo, a girl holds up a white ribbon during a memorial for the victims of the École Polytechnique shooting. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the attack.© Provided by cbc.ca In this file photo, a girl holds up a white ribbon during a memorial for the victims of the École Polytechnique shooting. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the attack.

For Éloïse Edom, 27, a master's student in applied mathematics from France, there is still a sense of disbelief.

"It's so unbelievable for me to think that someone says, 'OK, I will kill these people. Why? Because they are women.'"

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Éloïse Edom, 27, is a master’s student in applied mathematics from France. © Provided by cbc.ca Éloïse Edom, 27, is a master’s student in applied mathematics from France.

Elizabeth Roulier, 21, who studies industrial engineering, said anti-feminism is still a reality today.

She points, for example, to the deadly Toronto van attack in 2018, and the accused's alleged links to the incel subculture, an online community of men who are angry about their failed attempts at romantic relationships with women and often express that anger with hatred and misogyny.

"We need to talk about what's happening, because some people don't even know it exists," she said.

a woman wearing a black shirt: Elizabeth Roulier, 21, is in her final year of industrial engineering at the school. © Provided by cbc.ca Elizabeth Roulier, 21, is in her final year of industrial engineering at the school.

For Houle, it's important to preserve the memory of the women killed at her school, to try to prevent more violence.

"It's only fair to remember who these people were," she said. "Each of them had an identity."

'Things haven't changed enough.' Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection .
MONTREAL — There were promises to end violence against women and solemn reflection Friday as ceremonies were held to honour the 14 victims of the Dec. 6, 1989, anti-feminist attack at Montreal's Ecole polytechnique. On the 30th anniversary of Canada's worst mass shooting, the House of Commons fell silent as members of Parliament remembered the victims who were targeted because they were women. Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu fought back tears as she listed the names of the 14 murdered women. Gladu said that as the first female engineer elected to the House of Commons, she feels a special bond to the victims."These women were my sisters," she said.

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