It has been such a long time since I’ve blogged. I haven’t really felt too inspired. I’ve been writing a lot. I have completed the first draft of a children’s series. And, now the editing begins. (Do you feel the sigh through the internet?)
I have decided to rework Forgiveness is a Four-Letter Word. Basically, I am starting from scratch. (Another long sigh…)
I entered a writing contest (and contests are like the lottery, pretty darn near impossible to win). That said, I’ve created a character named Joy, who I absolutely love and base a collection of short stories on. I have no shortage of ideas, but it’s the re-writes and editing of these things that’s killing me (maybe literally, who knows for sure!) The life of a writer is absolutely ridiculous. 🙂
And, now that I’ve sufficiently ranted about the writing process and how much I sometimes hate my life, I’d like to turn my attention to another issue that’s been weighing on me quite heavily – the taking down of monuments of historical figures, who are, well quite frankly, racists.
When I look at the recent heartbreaking events in Charlottesville, United States, I can see the effect on Canada.
I am saddened by the fact that the United States doesn’t have a leader, who will stand up and denounce hate.
Groups like the KKK exist here in Canada, but we have a leader, who will stand up and say (after the shooting at a Mosque in Quebec City) that the Government of Canada and Canadians will not tolerate these crimes. (I would be thankful for this, but I feel like denouncing Nazis and the KKK is a pretty low bar you have to jump over!)
With respect to renaming buildings, removing monuments, etc., Canada is now following in the footsteps of the United States.
The Prime Minister recently renamed the building, where his office is located. Macleans magazine wrote (see below to read the full story), “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says keeping the name of Sir Hector-Louis Langevin – someone associated with the residential school system – on the building that houses Prime Minister’s Office clashes with the government’s vision.”
While I can understand that it is important to show our Aboriginal brothers and sisters that we are dedicated to reconciliation, I have a question:
Are taking down statues, renaming buildings, schools and street names going to address critical problems and issues, which I would argue are much more pressing?
Here are a few I came up with off the top of my head:
- There are still Aboriginal communities without clean drinking water.
- There are people living in impoverished, unclean, unsafe communities, whether they are called “Reservations” or some other name.
- There are children committing suicide on reservations because of a depth of pain I can never truly understand.
- There are hate crimes against Aboriginals, Muslims, Jews happening in this country (and more so since the election of Donald Trump).
- There are missing and murdered Indigenous women and their families trying desperately to be heard and fighting for justice.
- There is police brutality against Aboriginal men and women.
- Black people (particularly men?) are carded in the subway / metro.
- We still have homelessness, in spite of the wealth in this nation.
- We need to revamp our justice system – the majority of those incarcerated are Aboriginals and the link between the effect of residential schools and incarceration cannot be ignored.
- Women (of all colours) are being sexually assaulted, beaten, killed.
- A lack of education, with respect to history, in this country (we’re getting better) but things can be greatly improved!
Come on, Prime Minister – Come on, Canada – We can strip away all of these names, monuments, etc., but if we do not work to improve the quality of life for every person living in this country, then I don’t think it makes one bit of difference how many names and monuments we tear down or how many placards we update to accurately reflect history.
Don’t get me wrong – These are not bad things and they show that we care, but it actually makes me quite angry – not that my culture is being “taken” from me – but that we’re not taking concrete steps to correct wrongs and improve lives.
It’s too easy to change a name, but much more difficult to change a life. Are we just taking the easy way out to make ourselves “look” and “feel” good?
To our friends in the United States, I say, ” Hang in there America!” and “Please don’t have another civil war”.
Love and blessings,