Sunday, December 06, 2020

Polytechnique at 31

Where life had a chance
London, ON
November 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

December 6, 1989. 31 years ago today, 14 women were murdered at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique because a single man couldn't, wouldn't accept women succeeding as engineers.

I remember the night like it was yesterday, remember the stories of journalism school and newsroom colleagues who covered the massacre. How so many lives were ended, and so many others altered forever.

I'd like to think that misogyny has been resolved in the ensuing decades, but I'd be wrong. The stifling patriarchy that normalized the anti-women behaviors at the root of this tragedy took root long before one failure of a human being picked up a high-powered rifle and singled out his victims because of their gender.

We haven't learned a thing. And saying nothing ensures it will continue to happen. In headline-grabbing mass murders like this, or in individual cases that don't necessarily merit annual reflection. But should.

Why the tree? Because 14 brilliant lives were snuffed out before they had a chance to unfold on their own. Because so many stories failed to play out as they should have. Because the branches of life were cut before the canopy could even be formed.

To think what should have been. To think how our continued inaction dishonors their lives.

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