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Destruction

Mental illness destroys lives. It decimates families. Bell Canada doesn’t tell you that in its “Let’s Talk” campaign. Don’t get me wrong. I am very happy there is increasing discussion about mental health issues and an important push to decrease the stigma attached to it. But what I don’t see talked about much is what severe mental illness does to the families of those who suffer from it.

Let me try and describe it here. Lire la suite

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Réponse à la chronique de Fatima Houda-Pépin

Le 13 janvier, le Journal de Montréal a fait paraître une lettre signée par l’ancienne députée libérale Fatima Houda-Pépin intitulée « Lettre aux orphelins de l’attentat de Québec ». La première section de cette lettre donne le ton avec comme titre « Un Québec exemplaire ». Ainsi, Houda-Pépin exige des enfants des victimes qu’ils soient reconnaissants envers le Québec et les Québécois.e.s qui auraient tout fait pour les soutenir suite à l’assassinat de leurs pères. Comment décrire la violence qu’est d’exhorter à la reconnaissance des enfants qui ont été privés de leurs pères assassinés ? Tandis que des familles s’apprêtent à marquer le premier anniversaire du jour où leur vie a explosé sous les balles d’un meurtrier qui avait dans sa mire pas un ou deux individus, mais toute une communauté, cette politicienne qui doit sa notoriété à un discours profondément anti-musulman considère qu’il est essentiel de rappeler à ces orphelins leur devoir de reconnaissance envers une société qu’elle affirme pourtant être la leur. La contradiction inhérente à cette injonction est flagrante : si elle considérait réellement ces enfants comme québécois, pourquoi devraient-ils être reconnaissants pour une solidarité qui leur est dus, de la part d’une société qui est la leur ? Est-ce normal et décent de demander de la reconnaissance à des enfants qui ont vécu des tragédies ? Jamais ! Sauf, à en croire Mme Houda-Pépin, lorsqu’il est question d’enfants musulmans.

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The care women give other women

Every day I am the lucky recipient of so much care at the hands of the women in my life. My friends in many ways are my lifeline. They are usually no more than a phone call or a text away. I can call them to vent about how tough I find motherhood or about how embarrassed I was to run into an old friend looking like something the cat dragged in while she, well into her 40s, is still gorgeous. They reread my work, cook for me and my family when I am sick or too pregnant; they visit my mom while I am out of the country and drive me to the doctor; they tell me I look nice, help me clean my house, babysit for M so that my husband and I can have a night out, encourage and recognize my work, and just generally act as my champions at all times. I am very aware of how much of a difference this has made in my life and I try never to take it for granted.

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Life is messy.

Women’s lives are messy. (Don’t worry this is not a post about all the dirty diapers I have had to change in the last two years or the numerous conversations I have had with the mothers of other children about poo in that time.) This is the conclusion I came to very simply the other day as I helped a friend work through some painful issues she is facing. I thought « my goodness how many times have we all had conversations like these during which we are forced to revisit some terribly painful chapter in our lives; how often have the worst of times co-existed with the best of times? Does it always have to be like this? » I wondered. And as I looked around me and thought about so many of the racialized women I know, the answer that came to me was a resounding yes. And for the first time in months, the fog of motherhood and pregnancy lifted enough for me to think « I want to write about this. » Lire la suite

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With Friends Like These

I have been trying to write about the question of solidarity for nearly two years but every time I start a text I can’t seem to finish it. There is so much to say, so many aspects of this question I’d like to broach. What constitutes true political solidarity? As racialized women whom do we owe it to first and foremost and whom can we expect it from? Which strategies should we be adopting to ensure we move forward, without throwing others under the bus? These are really tough questions and have been the topic of so many conversations with friends and fellow activists. Until now I have been unable to commit to something on paper. However, as I prepare to say goodbye to D who is moving to another part of the country, it now seems impossible not to write about this issue. Lire la suite

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Why am I so upset about Jian Gomeshi?

I have been obsessed with the Jian Gomeshi story all week. I have spent as much time as my 8-month old will let me reading articles and listening to the few radio discussions that have been had on the subject….and I don’t fully understand why.
Why did I walk around in a state of shock for the first two days after I learned about this? Why was my first instinct to refuse to believe it? Why did I feel the need to text and write to my friend Adnan who knows the Canadian journalistic and literary scene in Canada well to tell him how upset I was over the whole thing? Why did I want so badly for it all to be untrue….even as the sinking feeling in my gut told me I should not be so surprised? How come I have found myself to be so emotionally invested in these events, in the future of a man I have never met and have no connection to except through his radio show? Lire la suite

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Of Blogs and Babies

A few days ago my Dad called and said he and my mother were coming over for a visit. He hadn’t seen the baby in some time….and that morning was convenient for him. I had planned to drop the baby off at daycare for a few hours and to catch up on my reading…and maybe even do some writing. I had been trying to do this for two weeks, and that Tuesday morning seemed like it might offer a real possibility. But where my family is from, when your parents call to say they are coming over, the only response that is possible is « welcome . » Lire la suite

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