24 Juin = Merci
Thinking about it, it’s one thing I’ve ever told you.
You know, one of the reasons I don’t tell you more often is that I worry that it might actually offend you. You know, who am I to thank you for anything? What makes me think your doing it for me? You know what I mean? Even I spend a lot of time disputing the idea that there is such a thing as You and Me.
But we’re family, you know what I’m talking about.
I’m the old kind, you’re the other kind or the new kind.
Are we one of a kind? Most often we don’t know.
But you know and I know that you don’t have to care about French in America but you do. You could live in New Jersey but you live in Laval. There are so many places where everything would be so much easier, where the roads would be better, but you’d just as soon live somewhere where things are stranger and harder.
The Quiet Revolution started over forty years ago. Nearly everyone reading this post was born after that. Many of your parents migrant parents weren’t even in Québec when it started, yet they landed in this anachronistic itch in North America’s side and still decided to be part of it.
No one here was caught by surprise by the culture and language conflicts of Québec. Yet, we’re still here. We all had a chance to leave and yet we stayed. Or came back.
Thank you the bitter refugee, the one who didn’t even want to come to this not-quite-country. This is not the Canada you thought you were coming to. I know why you stayed, though. You saw people living through linguistic chaos, ethnic tension, culture clashes and it reminded you of home in the good days, before those things tore it apart. I know you won’t let your kids live through that.
Even you, the most pigheaded unilingual Anglo deep inside Montreal West. You could have been a pigheaded Anglo in Kingston, Ontario, where everybody is a pigheaded Anglo. But you chose to be a pigheaded Anglo in Québec, where that makes you an anarchist, a subversive, a freak. Respect.
We don’t agree about many things, but then, what families do?
What do we have in common? We don’t buy the lie that there’s anything abnormal about living in a conflicted place.
Everybody in Québec today does not agree about what Québec is, but no one has any illusion that it is like anywhere else.
Maybe we’re not the same. But we all are what we are because we met in this place that is not like any other.