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

17:10  06 december  2019
17:10  06 december  2019 Source:   huffingtonpost.ca

'We have to send a strong message': Montreal leads call for tighter gun laws before Polytechnique anniversary

  'We have to send a strong message': Montreal leads call for tighter gun laws before Polytechnique anniversary As Montreal prepares to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, pressure is growing on the Trudeau government to follow through on its campaign commitment for tighter gun control — and go further in cracking down on handguns. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante issued an impassioned plea ahead of Friday's events marking the Dec. 6, 1989, shooting, which claimed the lives of 14 women."I want us to stand strong and talk loud about Canada as a safe place, Quebec as a safe place, Montreal as a safe place," Plante told reporters Tuesday.

I’m glad that after 30 years , Montreal officially recognized that what happened in Polytechnique was an anti-feminist attack. I just felt like I was going through doors that had been opened by the previous generation of women. When I applied to Polytechnique , only 15 per cent of students were female.

MONTREAL — Thirty years after the worst mass shooting in Canadian history, official acknowledgment has come that what happened on Dec. 30 Years After Surviving Polytechnique , My Pain Is Starting To Resurface . Ban Military-Style Guns Now, Polytechnique Survivors Group

a woman smiling for the camera: Engineer Nathalie Provost.© Provided by HuffPost Canada Engineer Nathalie Provost.

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. If you needed psychological care, that was something you kept hidden. It was a much bigger taboo than it is today.

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.

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During the shooting, I suffered injuries to my thighs and my left foot. A bullet also went through my eyebrow and brushed against my cranium. It was enough to fracture my skull, but not enough to kill me. I call it my miracle.

For a while now, I’ve been experiencing something new. My injuries are resurfacing. The pain is back. When I try to balance on my left foot during certain yoga poses, my foot hurts. As I grow older, my wounds will ache more and more. I never expected that.

The repercussions of a tragedy like the one I went through are multi-faceted. Back then, my survival instinct prevented me from taking stock of the full extent of what I went through.

Today, three of my four children are between 19 and 24 years old. They could be attending Polytechnique. I was 23 when the attack took place.

'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.

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Today, it’s the mother in me that hurts. The great sadness I feel when I think of the loss of my fellow students is now a mother’s pain.

a young man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Nathalie Provost as a student, before the attack took place.© Provided by HuffPost Canada Nathalie Provost as a student, before the attack took place.

Feminism as a way of life

I’m glad that after 30 years, Montreal officially recognized that what happened in Polytechnique was an anti-feminist attack. Unlike some other mass shooters, Marc Lépine made his motive crystal clear. He told me. He told us. He wrote it.

He did it because women bothered him. And if women bothered him, it’s because we are a society made of strong women. That’s why I don’t think remembering has to be all bad.

I used to think that you needed to be an activist before you could call yourself a feminist. At 23, I didn’t feel like I had fought for anything. I just felt like I was going through doors that had been opened by the previous generation of women. When I applied to Polytechnique, only 15 per cent of students were female. But I didn’t feel like anything was stopping me from studying engineering.

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Feminism is a way of life. I had to understand that it has nothing to do with activism. That took a long time. Women’s rights are still a lot more fragile than men’s. I came to understand that later, when I entered the workforce and experienced the harsh realities of work-life balance.

a man holding a guitar: Nathalie Provost speaking to news outlets after the massacre.© Provided by HuffPost Canada Nathalie Provost speaking to news outlets after the massacre.

When I look back, I’m amazed that I managed to finish my engineering studies.

The only explanation I can find is that, since I was a little girl, my mother had been telling to be be financially independent. I was motivated to work full time so that I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone. The other two women in my class who were injured also graduated from Poly. All three of us are now engineers.

People always ask how the events of Polytechnique changed my life. Life trips you up sometimes, that’s just inevitable. Sometimes it trips you up really, really hard. But I don’t think a trouble-free life exists. And if it does, I’m not sure it would be such a good thing.

I think I may be more aware now. My eyes were opened to a lot of things. Could it have happened any other way? I’ll never know.

‘Things haven’t changed enough,’ Trudeau declares 30 years after École Polytechnique massacre

  ‘Things haven’t changed enough,’ Trudeau declares 30 years after École Polytechnique massacre Commemorative events are planned across Canada in memory of the 14 women who were killed during the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal.Thirty years after 14 women were killed in an anti-feminist massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared more work needs to be done to combat gender-based violence and win the struggle for equality.

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A tragedy that stays with you

When I started talking about what happened, in the days following the killings, I felt like I just had to share my story once and it would be out there. It took a very long time for me to understand that every time you talk about it, it’s like throwing a stone in the water. It creates new waves.

Those who oppose tighter controls of firearms sometimes tell us to “get over it” or to “turn the page.” That’s not something we can do. When you go through something like I did, you have a lot of pages to turn. It’s a book, and we don’t know what the next page will be made of. I feel like I’ve turned many, many pages.

The Polytechnique attacks didn’t only impact the families of those who died or were injured. It didn’t only impact the people who were there that day. It’s a tragedy that left a scar on our society, but it’s also a product of our society. Because it is us. Because Marc Lépine came from the same social fabric as I did. If he did it, it’s because we are capable of doing it.

It’s important that we keep talking about it. We have to look at our own tragedies, so that we can understand them as a part of our history.

As told to Florence Breton. This story originally appeared on HuffPost Québec. Translation by Émilie Clavel.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada.

'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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