Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Moving Us Nowhere: The Politics of Emotion and Civility in the Wake of the Quebec City Massacre

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Moving Us Nowhere: The Politics of Emotion and Civility in the Wake of the Quebec City Massacre

Article excerpt

Le soir du 29 janvier 2017, nos vies aussi ont bascule et depuis, nous avons l'impression de vivre un veritable cauchemar.  L'immense peine et la douleur causees aux innocentes victimes et leurs familles par ce geste inexcusable, reste pour nous, encore a ce jour, totalement inexplicable. Tant de vies ont ete detruites inutilement.  Suite au drame, nous avons choisi de garder le silence aupres des medias et d'exprimer plutot nos condoleances directement, par lettre personnelle aux victimes et leurs familles, lettre qui leur a ete remise par l'entremise de Monsieur Mohamed Labidi, vice-president du Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec.  Pour nous aussi, la peine et la peur s'est [sic] installees. Il y a eu des menaces serieuses proferees a l'endroit d'Alexandre et de notre famille. Heureusement, les services policiers sont intervenus, mais nous vivons toujours dans la crainte d'une recidive.  Alexandre demeure notre fils que nous aimons et qui fera toujours partie de notre famille. Comme tous les parents, nous avions espoir de le voir reussir et etre heureux dans la vie. Dans un sens, nous avons nous aussi perdu un fils.  Le discours courageux et rassembleur prononce par l'imam Hassan Guillet lors des funerailles nous a profondement touches. Nous aimerions remercier tout ceux qui ont pris le temps de nous temoigner leur support, parents, collegues, amis, voisins et meme des inconnus. Leurs paroles et gestes reconfortants nous ont donne du courage et nous aident a continuer.  - Manon Marchand et Raymond Bissonnette Retrieved from https://ici.radio-canada.ca/regions/quebec/special/2018/lettre -bissonnette/lettre.html  On the night of fan. 29, 2017, we too had our lives upended and since then we feel like we have been living a genuine nightmare.  The immense heartache and pain caused to the innocent victims and their families by this inexcusable act remains to us to this day completely inexplicable. So many lives were needlessly destroyed.  In the wake of the dramatic events, we chose not to speak to the media and instead to express our condolences directly to the victims and their families by means of a personal letter that was delivered to them by Mr. Mohamed Labidi, Vice-President of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec.  For us too, heartache and fear have set in. There were serious threats made toward Alexandre and our family. Fortunately, the police intervened, but we still live in fear of reprisals. Alexandre remains our son, whom we love and who will always be a part of our family. Like all parents, we had hoped to see him succeed and be happy in life. In a sense, we too lost a son.  The courageous and unifying speech given by Imam Hassan Guillet at the funerals touched us deeply. We would like to thank all those who took the time to offer their support--relatives, colleagues, friends, neighbours and even strangers. Their words and comforting gestures gave us courage and help us to keep going.  --Manon Marchand et Raymond Bissonnette (translated to English by the author) 

INTRODUCTION

On January 29, 2017, a man (1) aged 28 approached La Grande Mosquee de Quebec in Ste. Foy, a suburb of Quebec City, with three firearms. He opened fire on two worshipers exiting the mosque, and then entering the building, continued his shooting rampage inside where other worshippers, including children, were gathered. In less than two minutes he had murdered six Muslim men: Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane, and Aboubaker Thabti. He had also critically wounded nineteen others, some permanently such as Aymen Derbali, who as a result of the incident now lives with tetraplegia.

On January 30, 2018, a year after the massacre, and a day after the first anniversary public commemorations, the killer's parents released an emotional letter to the media. It was their first time speaking publicly since the attack. They expressed their profound sorrow about the attack, and offered condolences to the survivors and their families, identifying with their pain as they described the incident's impact on their own lives. …

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