The other day; May 24, 2003, I received a very angry unsolicited e-mail from someone claiming to be a Quebecois. Being that this is the Internet, who knows who sends e-mails? The writer could have just as easily been an Anglo Saxon with an extremely warped sense of humor.
But that said; I will accept that the writer was who he said he was: Martin with no last name.
He accused me of being an anti-Quebecer, a Francophobe (in my words) and a ZIONIST. That’s right, a Zionist.
With all of his rhetoric spelling out how wonderful being a French Quebecer is, and how much of a racist I am, he found time to lay out two of what he thinks are the gravest of all accusations against me.
1 – That I am Jewish. Imagine that?
2 – That I am a Zionist. Now there’s an accusation.
Lumped in with being Jewish, I was in his words, also part of the vast Jewish conspiracy that controls everything from the banks to the media.
But somehow, in his mindset, it is me who is the racist.
Martin has no problem with language laws that discriminate. He has no problem with language laws that exclude. And he has no problems with language laws that are designed to build barriers as high as the sky.
But he has all the problem in the world with someone like me who thinks it is wrong to be treated as a second class citizen. Even in my own home.
Martin, in his vilification of me, brought to my mind the many articles that were printed in the French Quebec press which described me as the “Anglo Juif” (English Jew). To the Quebecois writers, editors and publishers this was “normal”.
One day, I asked the French media in a most public manor, through the English language media, if they would think it “normal” to refer to Lucien Bouchard, Quebec’s Premier at the time; as the “Franco Catholic”? They didn’t think that would be “normal”.
With this one mention, all of a sudden, I was no longer referred to in the French language press as the Anglo Juif. Imagine.
I tell you this story, not because Martin made any unique points of consequence. But rather; because he expressed himself to be a “normal” member of the Quebecois community.
Not only is Martin a self admitted Separatist, he is also a self implicated racist. His beliefs are unfortunately shared by a majority mindset of the Quebecois. With Martin, it is not about being better. It is about being apart.
The only way Martin can feel equal, is if he feels superior. The only way he can feel that he is in charge, is if he subjugates me. And the only way he can feel culturally important, is if he demeans my culture.
Martin is a poster-boy for ethnocentric Quebecois nationalism, and he doesn’t even know it.
I hope that Jean Charest can carry the day and put Quebec on the real road to prosperity. But I sincerely doubt it. The first promise Jean Charest made to the minority communities within Quebec after being elected Premier; is that he would not change one comma in Bill 101.
And if that is his starting point, nothing will change.
There will still be nous (us) which refers to the French majority, and there will be les autres (the others) which refers to everyone who is not.
Just as the French media thought it was “normal” to call me an “Anglo Juif”, the majority of Quebecois think it is “normal” to discriminate against the minorities.
To quote Quebec’s first elected Separatist Premiere, Rene Levesque concerning the subjugation of everyone who is not part of the Quebec majority: “C’EST NORMAL”.
Because of Quebec’s official policy of cultural discrimination against its linguistic minorities, it is equally “normal” that Quebec will always be playing catch-up to most of the rest of Canada and the rest of the democratized West.
You can’t go forward when you desire to live in the past. You can’t grow when you stifle other thoughts and cultures. And you can never realize your potential when your grasp isn’t as long as your reach.
In the words of Rene Levesque vis a vis Quebec – C’EST NORMAL!