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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I’m sorry to hit you with that one. I am very much aware that you really, really have to stretch to consider “violence” a good word. But let me try.

December 6 is a day that many of us remember well. It’s one of those days that some of us can say “I remember where I was when I heard the news.” On that day a young man walked into a school, held several people in terror and finally killed fourteen bright young women before turning his gun on himself. In Ottawa our news feeds quickly became saturated with reporters’ and commentators’ and various “expert” opinions what had happened.

Colleagues soon began to wear the white ribbon that has become the symbol of solidarity around the issue of violence against women. Men and women alike struggled to deal with their emotions. What to say? What to think? Hours, even days were spent trying to put this event into words—to ourselves, to each other, to our children. We did or did not deal with the list of francophone names. What were we to do with that? This had happened in Montreal, in Quebec. Did that make a difference? How much did we “own” that city, those young women? It was 1989 after all.

How should we respond? How should we react? Would we let this day slide into the back of our awareness, onto the back pages of the newspaper, out of our consciousness? Or was there something else to do?

Now, here’s the “good” part. It seems to me that December 6 did become a turning point, a significant date when many things truly changed in the Canadian psyche. Different people responded in different ways. But few people really did let it go. Some lobbied for better legislation about guns. Not everyone agrees with their solutions, but it was never the same. Others paid attention to questions of equality for women’s education. I am aware of more than one smart young woman who went into engineering or law as a personal tribute to the budding careers snuffed out that day.

Some took their private thoughts into the creative arts. Books and poems and plays were written to help figure out some answers to some of those impossible questions raised in our minds that day. They keep emerging. For many the processing took years. Fathers and mothers spent time talking with children of all ages, trying to explain what was, and to hold up the ideals of what should be—what must be, in relations between men and women.

Today, tonight, there will be vigils held to memorialize the fourteen women killed that day in 1989. Their names will be read aloud. In Ontario the twenty-two names of women killed by their own domestic partners in the year 2010 will also be read. Because, although we’ve not buried the questions, neither have we resolved them. Alas.

But neither have we let go of them. December 6 is a day to visit once again the desperate need to bring peace into our families, into our relationships and to keep working to give those unresolved issues the attention they deserve. No more violence!

Posted by Marion

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