national day of remembrance

Never Forget & Never Stop Fighting

27 years ago today, 14 women were mercilessly executed at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. Why? Because they were women.

Fourteen incredibly intelligent women with bright futures of now unknown potential were murdered by one man. One man crusading against the “Feminist Agenda.”

  • Geneviève Bergeron, a civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan, a mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau, also a mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault, another mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward, a chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick, a materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière, a budget clerk in l’École Polytechnique finance department
  • Maryse Leclair, another materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay, another mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier, also a mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard, a materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault, a mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte, also a materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, a nursing student

These are the names we need to remember, the names that we must celebrate, honour, and mourn. The misogynist that was so insecure, he was threatened by women studying engineering –– and women in general –– does not even deserve his name to be written in a footnote. 

These fourteen women are the ones who need to be remembered. They were rounded up, terrorized, and shot dead –– because they were women –– because they were smart, curious, and brave enough to enter a male-dominated field of study.

These women are the reason a pit grows in my stomach, the reason fear strangles my heart, whenever I see a man passionately argue #NotAllMen when faced with the innumerable accounts of #YesAllWomen. Because all it takes is one man with one gun to kill fourteen women when he feels like his rights, his place in society is threatened. 

One insecure man. Fourteen defenseless women.

This is why we need feminism, why we need to challenge the status quo to be better, to want better. We need men who can’t fathom why a woman shouldn’t be a physicist or an engineer. We need men who think it’s perfectly normal to cry or show emotion around their friends. We need boys who don’t understand how throwing or hitting like a girl is an insult. We need boys who are just as happy to dress up as Elsa for Halloween as they are Batman. We need toys that don’t separate the genders, that don’t tell the boys that they can be the next Einstein while telling girls that being cute is as far as they get to go in life. We need men to stop being threatened by a woman’s independence, strength, and success.

Feminism is not about the success of women at the expense of men, it’s about the success of women alongside men. It’s about respect and dignity. There is no reason (other than insecurity) for men to feel threatened by feminism, no reason (other than guilt) to try to discredit the negative experiences of women. Feminism should be about basic human decency, not about attacking (or defending) the patriarchy.

These fourteen women found out that you don’t even need to be an activist to be vilified as a feminist, you just need to be a woman. You don’t need to march in the streets for women’s rights, you just need to study engineering. You don’t need to take action, you just need to exist, and that’s enough to get you killed.

2

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand.

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and today serves as a national day of remembrance for our soldiers. You can read more about it here.

Thank you to all the Anzacs; the brave men and woman who have sacrificed so much for our countries, and still continue to do so. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

Today is Anzac Day. A national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”

Private Miller Mack (pictured) of the 50th Battalion was one of those diggers.  Aboriginal Australians are only now are being recogized for their service to a country which didn’t consider them citizens, wouldn’t let them vote, earn an equal wage, enter a public bar, marry a non-aboriginal or buy property.

Armistice Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.

6

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

January 27 marks the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD), an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era.

From 1940 to 1945, more than 1.1 million men, women and children were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. 90% of them were Jews. All were innocent. Today, we remember

Never Again.

What we remember

Victor Davis Hanson at The Wall Street Journal:

“The shared ordeal of the Civil War, with some 650,000 fatalities, would eventually demand a unified national day of remembrance. Memorial Day began as an effort to square the circle in honoring America’s dead—without privileging the victors or their cause. The approach of the summer holidays seemed the most appropriate moment to heal our civic wounds. The timing suggested renewal and continuity, whereas an autumn or winter date might add unduly to the grim lamentation of the day.

But could the distinctions so crucial to war itself really be suppressed? Consider the themes of the two greatest speeches in the history of Western oratory: Pericles’ long Funeral Oration for the Athenian dead of the first year of the Peloponnesian War, delivered in 431 B.C. and amounting to some 3,000 words in most translations; and nearly 2,300 years later, President Abraham Lincoln’s 272-word Gettysburg Address of 1863.

Both statesmen agree that the mere words of the present generation cannot do justice to the sacrifice of the fallen young. Lincoln sees the talking and the living as less authentic commemorators than the mute dead: “We can not consecrate—we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”

Pericles argues that even a notable such as himself has almost no right to assess the sacrifices of the dead: “I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were not to be imperiled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand or fall according as he spoke well or ill.”

By their ultimate sacrifice—what Lincoln calls ‘the last full measure of devotion’—the mute war dead argue that even heroic men are less important than the eternal values of freedom and democracy that ‘shall not perish from the earth.’ Such chauvinism assumes that democracies are by nature superior to the alternatives. Thus to Pericles, Athens was the ‘school of Hellas’ and for Lincoln America was ‘a new nation, conceived in Liberty.’”

7

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

January 27 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. 

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD), an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era.

From 1940 to 1945, more than 1.1 million men, women and children were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. 90% of them were Jews. All were innocent. Today, we remember

Never Again.

2

In his famous “I have a dream” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for freedom to ring from every mountainside in our great country. Encouraged by his message of peace and equality, the United States moved closer to becoming a more perfect union. We honor his legacy today and every day at public lands where everyone can be inspired. Photo of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC by Buddy Secor and photo of Dr. King during the March on Washington in 1963 courtesy of National Archives.

Re-examining historical tragedies in the light of current events and policies that threaten to repeat them is not “offensive to past victims,” it is necessary for potential ones.

Please do not sit here and tell me that the victims of these atrocities would rather see them repeated than see us take a lesson from history before it’s too late. When we remember their faces but not why they lost their lives, we open the door for this to happen again.