I am afraid of Barbara Kay

with 7 comments

Yes, I have reconsidered my decision to not pursue a debate with Barbara Kay. She called me a wimp and, in the words of the great teacher KRS-One, “if you call my name I come get that.”

A double standard, Ms. Kay, is when you make a living out of denouncing what you perceive to be the racism at the core of the Separatist movement while at the same time write some of the most unilaterally chilling dismissal of an entire ethnic community, nay, culture, namely Arab, that I have ever read. Twice you have condemned Québec sympathies not for regimes, dictators or terrorist organizations, but “Arab countries”.

Moral relativity, Ms. Kay, is when you condemn a so-called preoccupation by some Québec politicians for “ethnicity” while your writing is replete with a constant division of the citizens of Québec between “old-stock Quebecois”, “Pure Laine” and the very eloquent: “by “we” I obviously mean anglos and ethnics”. “Most educated Québécois are wonderful people to live amongst“( my italics), you wrote. Nobody is excluding you from the Québécois but yourself.

And by the way, God knows we’ve heard a lot of questionable ideas on religion, language and citizenship in the last few weeks, but who the hell is talking about ethnicity but you and my buddies at The Suburban?

Selective memory is when you write “it is only in Quebec that you find racist remarks coming from the mouths of so-called political leadership”. Remember federal cabinet minister Doug Young telling Bloc MP Osvaldo Nunez to find himself another country? Or how about the uplifting anti-Québec political ads run by the parliamentary wing of your newspaper in 1997? Betty Granger’s Asian invasion? Remember Reform MP Bob Kingma sending gays and “ethnics” “to the back of the shop”?

Hypocrisy is reaching far back into the past to a “long tradition of anti-Semitism in the discourse of French intellectuals from France”as proof of “the strains of racism that invariably accompany hardline separatists” and conveniently overlooking that the “principled Stephen Harper”‘s (your words, not mine) own Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party struggled late into the 1990’s to purge itself of the Heritage Front and Social Credit Party elements at it’s root.

Yes I am afraid, Ms. Kay. I am afraid of people who holds someone guilty until proven innocent (how french a concept…) because of the accident of their culture and/or birthplace. I fear a culture in witch fast and easy logical leaps from French-speaking to Arab Francophonie to Rampant Anti-Semitism are not considered “in any way unusual or even highly provocative”. I fear a climate where the cultural insecurities of provincial townspeople who wouldn’t know a Jew from a Sikh from a Mormon are portrayed as proof of widespread organized projects of ethnic cleansing. I fear a country where you must subscribe to predetermined values determined by an arbitrary third party (pun intended) before you are allowed to seek public office or take part in a public demonstration.

I fear a time when what used to be passionate debate about political structures degenerate into politically motivated structured campaigns of fear. I fear that by engaging fear-mongers I feed the beast that I most fear.

I’ll be out of the kitchen for a while, not because of the heat, but because I work for a living.

7 Responses

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  1. If you can find me an Arab country that would not willingly see Israel wiped off the map, I am all ears. Of course some Arab countries like Jordan and Egypt grit their teeth and agree to a cold peace because they are pragmatic, but seriously, name me an Arab country whose children are not taught anti-Jewish myths and to one degree or another hate education, and I will happily eat humble pie. My sweeping generalization of the “Arab countries” is based on reality, not racism.

    ii)By “we” I meant for the purposes of the column, for the putative “citizens” Marois is talking about are obviously not québécois individuals, because “we” are the targets of her animosity.

    iii) Who is talking about ethnicity? Perhaps Drouin from Hérouxville? Perhaps Pierre Curzi? Perhaps Bernard Landry when he drunkenly berated the poor hotel clerk who spoke excellent French but alas came from another country? Perhaps Yves Michaud? Perhaps Jacques Pairzeau (“money – that is, Jews, – and the ethnics”)Need I go on? Oh wait, then there was the RDI sports announcer who just recently said we needed a hockey team made up of “real” Quebecers, of whom he said there are 5 million. One could go on and on, that is who is talking about ehtnicity. ALways from the same party.

    iii) As you will recall Doug Young lost his job over that remark, and ion fact in the rest of Canada any racist remark by a politician is usually followed by him being kicked out of caucus. Besides, one politician’s remark to another is not quite the same as a poltiician’s remarks or actions with regard to an entire group of citizens.

    iv) If you can find me one anti-Semitic or racist remark that ever came out fo the mouth of Stephen Harper, I will eat another humble pie.

    v) Pauline Marois is no country bumpkin. She has seen plenty of Sikhs and Jews, and I don’t think she is too thrilled about sharing her “nation” with them, hence the Identity Act. It’s couched in terms of language but it is really about creating two classes of citizens.

    vi) Jews are the canary in the mine, my friend. We can sniff out xenophobia miles away, and we see it here all the time. As I said, Quebec is a great place to live except for those bottom-feeders who wish the rest of us would all go away. And the reason I say “amongst” is because i a million years I would not be considered a “québécoise” by any francophone outside of Montreal in his heart, even if I spoke French better than you. I consider myself a Montréalaise, by the way, and in my dreams I see it as a bilingual city-state, disconnected politically from both the province and from Ottawa. It would be great. Barbara


    November 2, 2007 at 8:09 pm

  2. Tu devrais lire la réplique de Lysianne Gagnon dans la Presse de hier et tu verras que Barbara Kay n’est pas la seule à voir clair dans toute cette affaire. Pour une fois, nombre d’intellectuels québécois sont d’accord entre eux et reconnaissent le non-sens de ce projet de loi discriminatoire.


    November 3, 2007 at 1:37 pm

  3. 1-Ethnic hatred is based on the reduction of individuals stereotypes and a tendency to dehumanize these people. So far you have dismissised Arab countries who don’t recognize Israel, Muslim countries who do recognize Israel, regimes, terrorist organizations fighting against these regimes, the Arab Francophonie, people who feel they have affinities with francophone Arabs and xenophobic Mauricians who fear Arabs and Muslims as part of the same antisemitic and anti-Irael movement. I do not see how an Arab person, short of converting to judaism could step out of the hateful stereotype (the one about the Arab whose sole preoccupation is the destruction of Israel) you have locked him into. I don’t feel I should be discussing Middle Eastern politics anyway. If I felt I was qualified to do so this Blog would be called the AngryAshkehaze, the PissedShi’ite or the FuriousSunni.

    2-You and Pauline Marois agree that the Québécois identity divides in us and them. I don’t. That’s established.

    3-I was talking about last week. If we constantly have to reach back into history to back to Noah and Abraham everytime we talk about anything no progress will ever be made. That was one of the reasons I initially did not want to get into a discussion with you. Discussions with nationalists like yourself or the Drouins of world (the definition of the nation in question does not matter) always turn into these pathetic archeological digs into the sceptic tank of history. Boring.

    4-So discrimination against one person because of his ethnicity is fine, but discrimination against a group is not. Gotcha.

    5-I never said Harper was a racist or an anti-semite. Are you beginning to understand what’s wrong with the guilt by association logical device you seem so fond of?

    6-I don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment what you “think” Pauline Marois “thinks”.

    7-Jacques Parizeau was married most of his life to Alice Poznanska, (a jewish woman whose father died in a concentration camp. I don’t know how he raised his children but they would be considered Jewish according to even the more orthodox denomination’s standards…. Update: This has turned out a surprisingly difficult fact to confirm. There is credible information that supports it, yet important sources like Jacques Parizeau’s 3 volume biography and Francine Lemieux’s movie ‘Monsieur’, don’t mention it at all. If anybody knows…)I’ve never been part of the school of thought that gives special abilities to people by virtue of their ethnicity or religion. But I believe the inability of humans to smell their own odor is a scientific fact.


    November 3, 2007 at 11:40 pm

  4. “but seriously, name me an Arab country whose children are not taught anti-Jewish myths and to one degree or another hate education”

    Yes, and in Israel, the history of how you “expanded” Israel after 47by “taking” the land of Palestinian and destroying their villages is taught to children without myths or hate toward the evil arabs. There’s no propaganda in Israel, only the evil Arab countries are doing it. Israel is 100% pure in its motive and and a hopeless victims with nukes and the most advanced weapons in the worlds. It’s the ultimate victim of evil Muslims (and the rest of the world when they don’t want to support their “defensive” actions toward palestinians).

    “Pauline Marois is no country bumpkin. She has seen plenty of Sikhs and Jews, and I don’t think she is too thrilled about sharing her “nation” with them, hence the Identity Act. It’s couched in terms of language but it is really about creating two classes of citizens.”

    So, you’re accusing Marois of being racist ? I find it amazing how some Jewish people can label others as being racists so easily. What gives you this right ? Because your ethnic group became the ultimate victim of racism 60 years ago it now gives you the right to label as racist anyone who disagree with you over any issue ? Do you have the monopoly on racism ? I’m always amazed that nobody in the media can criticize Israel actions without being instantly labeled anti-Semitic or racist by all the Jewish organizations. While everybody can criticize Arab countries without the fear of being called anti-Arabic or anti-Persian. I mean, it’s only normal to criticize them, they are evil terrorist anyway !

    I couldn’t care less about your ethnic origin and if you believe in Buddha, Yahweh, Allah, a God in the clouds or Raël. But don’t you think it’s normal we want to preserve our culture and INTEGRATE people WHO CHOOSE TO IMMIGRATE in the only French province of Canada ? Otherwise, what are they expecting ? There’s nothing that thrills me more than to see kids from hundreds of ethnic origins play together in a school yard in French. And there’s plenty of immigrants who are happy to integrate and learn French. Most of the resistance has come from the communities that has been established here before the 60-70’s. I’m always amazed that some people lived their whole life in Montreal without learning French, and I understand why they might feel threatened by this kind of law. It’s their choice if they don’t want to learn the language of the majority, if they want to stay in their ghetto and read in the Gazette how their minority is the poor victim of big evil French majority.

    But do you think someone could run for President in the US without speaking English ? Oh, I forgot, you can’t even run for President if you’re not born in the US… so they also have 2 class of citizens, are they evil racist like Marois ? And could I run for Ontario elections if I only spoke French ?

    Most countries ask the same of their citizens, but because Quebec want to do it, we’re only a bunch of racists who don’t want to share our nation. And if you can find me one anti-Semitic or racist remark that ever came out of the mouth of Marois, I will eat an humble pie with all the one you have to eat.

    “Jews are the canary in the mine, my friend. We can sniff out xenophobia miles away, and we see it here all the time.”

    You should make a distinction between paranoia and real racism. By accusing everybody of racism all the time, you’re diluting the real meaning of xenophobia. And even if I consider that the Shoah was the worst attrocity of humanity, it doesn’t give you the monopoly on xenophobia or a “canary” status. It only made you become paranoid, and I kinda understand why. But your paranoia is not reality. Just try living as a black woman for a week and tell if you are the canary in the coal mine of xenophobia.

    And please tell me, is the Jewish community free of xenophobia toward other races /ethnic / religious origin ?


    December 20, 2007 at 2:30 pm

  5. Unfortunately I selected montreal as headquarters for an engineering design company I had set up employing a few dozen highly educated people and targeting architects, artists, designers, engineers the world over. It bacame a quebec company with designstudios in montreal, ottawa, and orlando fla. It did not require any bank loans, even pierre trudeau, ginette reno, patsy galant and just about everyone were designing their own lead free Solid brass fittings, fixtures, furniture, In 1979 I was surprised when I received a visit from the montreal police telling me to leave the province, that I was one of the 1 1/4 % of americans who were to leave quebec. I thought it was a joke, and then I fought them for the next 15 years and saw the ruination of a wonderful international community, when the parti quebecois setup a federalist type gouvernment and thn began to rid the province of about 600,000 anglos. Its still hard to understand the reasons, I am mostly native american, and feel as if I have a right to roam free in the americas, I am ashamed of the greatest holocaust in the world when the 10,000 native american tribes were exterminated ( mostly ) leaving only a few tribal areas, and constantly hammering them as well. I see the world has abandoned nature and repaced it with fashion and law. The world cannot sustain the population growth fueled by the stactics that show a few north american cultures double their numbers every 20 years or less. Its a sad ending to a once wonderful peoples at one with nature in an ongoing creation of the earths species, waterbodies and forrests. ” vive la quebec libre ” The words of an idiot followed by fools


    December 1, 2008 at 10:33 pm

  6. Really, restricting languages, in an IT world where a few moments can translate virtually any language to the language of your choice. A unilingual society is neither logical nor ethical and will have a bad ending for those who think they are entitled to dictate the language of your family. because their culture is too primative to see the world of tomorrow where the world is on one book, and accomodates all languages, regardless of the fact that the french had no hand in its development, no contributions of: software, hardware, no math platforms, only the well know colonies ie: vietnam, haiti, rewanda, berunda, french north africa each subculture speaking some form of convoluted language spoken no where else in the world, french, indeed. Destroyed cultures where the departing francais left the country owned by the 3rd and 4th generation occupiers, and some special families with ties to the world class mafia. The french are but victims of the real occupiers who own them, financially, controlling their newsmedia and academic structures, causing division among the true citizens, hoping for some form of war where they can come in after and pickup the geophysical assets, the real reason for most of the wars of the world, fostered by a peoples, who hide and live away from the others, intent on owning the earth, who ruplicate at 5.7 children per family


    December 1, 2008 at 10:52 pm

  7. Israeli war machinery, didn’t come from israel, and the level of technology required to maintain it can be daunting, at best. The continuing settlement policies are there for all the world to see, as well as their treatment of their neighbors, bulldozing their orchards, gardens, homes, women and children who are not the ones tossing the primative bombs into the illegal settlements, 254, home to 400,000 israelis. The palestinians live on less than 3.00 per day and have no future, no hope, and you side with the open field theives. What ever happened to the golden rule, or the promise that israel made when it joined the united nations, to reinstate the refugees to their original homes? I am sorry for all the victims of men fueled by lust and greed


    December 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm

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