DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Who Killed Theresa?: Et j''te dis, Rene "a la prochaine fois!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Et j''te dis, Rene "a la prochaine fois!"

When I was a kid we had two posters hanging in our rec-room: one was JFK, the other Pierre Trudeau. It should have been Trudeau and Levesque.

Growing up as a kid Levesque terrified me. I was certain he was aiming for the destruction of me and my family. He was small. He was ugly. He chain-smoked. He spoke the worst Quebecois  joual.

I was wrong.

I feel a strange fraternity with Rene. It started on a visit to Quebec City two years ago where I was compelled to visit the Assemble Nationale.  By accident I stubbled upon his statue at the front of the building. Then I discovered we had a kinship (Rene est une Acadie comme moi; il est ne a Cambelton et mes famillies sont de Bathurst au Nouveau Brunswick).

But there are other things. I remember I was quite upset when they changed the name of rue Dorchester in Montreal to Blvd. Rene Levesque. This was the street where my sister and I would arrive on visits to Montreal by the train station (who were these Patriotes to change that name?).  Later I thought, but who-the-hell was Dorchester?

If you don't know Rene Levesque, you need to Google him: A founder of Cite Libre with Trudeau, Gérard Pelletier, and Pierre Vallières... great Quebec thinkers. A man of passion and precision; a Separatists, but of non-violent means. 

It is strange. I have felt lately a reckoning with Quebec coming on. Some sort of understanding. Because I grew up English there, without any understanding of the culture. And now I must pay that price. I have expressed this sometimes as a "Stockholm Syndrome": a great guilt for my lack of understanding. 


I have a great dream. In the dream I return to Quebec after many years. And all my sins are forgiven. 


At 12:05 AM, Anonymous Louise said...

this is a great insight. No I didn't like Levesque at all when I voted "mon non est quebecois" but I always like to hear shared views such as this because it takes me back to a time that most people in the world are unaware of, that I was part of. Thank you.


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