Talk to your neighbor

Stock Photograph - Talk to your neighbor
Stock Photograph – Talk to your neighbor

So we, people of Quebec, voted out of fear after all yesterday. And then an apparently lunatic man acted out of fear.

We elected Pauline Marois by a narrow margin, and then some guy tried to shoot her down during her victory speech, but was stopped before he reached a place that would have allowed the deed. Unfortunately someone was killed and another deeply wounded in the process. The man screamed, en français, “English people are waking up”.

As this was happening, I was reading tweets about Marois. Some of these “English people” compared her to Hitler and were hoping someone would throw a shoe at her. Others were having the 36 year old reflex of stating they will leave Quebec once and for all now that the evil separatists are in power again. The threat of separatism was then constantly retweeted, taken out of context and wildly exaggerated.

Someone tried to shoot her.

Talk to your neighbors.

I got some flak from old-fashioned people yesterday for writing this blog in English, while my mother’s tongue is French. Well, I believe that one of the keys of having the citizens of Quebec live together in peace is to speak to each other and find out that if we drop the heavy baggage of ancestral propaganda and other current misinformation, we basically are very much alike. So I write in English, and I hope that many English people get to their keyboard to write in French.

Or just talk to your neighbor.

The internet and television have greatly damaged the sense of local community by isolating people and making them feel understood and right in their belief in little groups all around the world. And so they don’t feel compelled to explore who lives next door. In fact they often are scared of them somehow, full of suspicions and other fears based on ignorance. So they go online or watch TV and quickly find out that many others think that way too and feel right to do so. So the dialogue never starts. The truth never unfolds. The suspicions become certainties and then actions.

Someone killed a technician on his way to murder the new Prime minister.

People are afraid of separatism and comparing her to Hitler.

Where did that come from?

If I ever saw a politician change her ideas according to the latest poll, it is Marois. We are VERY far from a dictator. We are in the presence of someone who wants to do right by the people to a fault. She’s paying for the fact that she didn’t go to the English press. She was in a lose-lose situation in that regard and probably chose what, in her mind, was the lesser evil. It didn’t help.

In Quebec, the reporting in French and the one done in English, particularly from Newspapers published outside of Quebec, is wildly different. In the French Press, they pushed the idea that corruption and neo-liberalism is going to destroy the Earth, dilapidate resources, enslave the youth in a spiraling amount of debt and paralyze Quebec into inaction due to prohibitive costs and heavy bureaucracy. These were the top issues many French people were voting on and hopefully many English people as well. Meanwhile, in the English Press, out of nowhere, I mean Pauline was cornered into taking position on it – it just wasn’t in her program for years to come initially – the threat of separatism became a top priority. And obviously, at this point, only the liberals are firmly against it. This scare tactic has been working for 36 years, and from yesterday’s results, it is still working. A great many people voted out of fear and spite or just out of habit.

Maybe there will be progress in the younger generations. Maybe they’ll talk to their neighbors. Maybe they’ll have an interest in what they other side is thinking, living and feeling. Maybe they’ll work together and understand each other. Maybe they’ll learn the other’s language and use it without spite. Maybe they won’t be afraid of doing all that. Maybe then the debate around the possible outcomes of separatism will become healthy.

Maybe then we’ll be able to prevent something worse from happening.

Maybe then progress will become possible again.

Talk to your neighbors…


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