Photo by Dave Sidaway, Montreal Gazette
It was one hundred and seventy years ago, that 6000 Irish immigrants perished in Montreal, due to Typhus fever. They had fled their homeland, Ireland due t the great famine of 1847-1848. Most where the very poor and many were already sick on the voyage over, thus why is also called "ship fevor"
In the year of 1859, bridge workers working on the Victoria bridge uncovered the mass grave, many of them, themselves Irish. At the time they erected a memorial, so that future generations would not forget. Officially named the Irish Commemorative Stone, it is more commonly known as the Black Rock and also has been referred to as the Ship Fever Monument.
Today, the Irish community has been lobbying for a more substantial monument and better preservation of the "Irish Commemorative Stone" As the land has been purchased by Hydro Quebec, lets hope that the Quebec Government cares about preserving its patrimony and the telling of this important historical event, so that the story is never forgotten.
Photo by Dave Sidaway, Montreal Gazette
I confess, I myself was not aware of the amount of people who perished, as when I think of the Irish Famine, I always think of Grosse Île, near Quebec City, that was a quarantine station for the Irish immigrants arriving in Quebec. Indeed many a thousand perished there as well due to Typhus fever.
This is however, not just an Irish Story. Sickness Sheds had been erected to take care of and segregate those who contracted the fever. Many people helped and cared for the sick, even knowing how contagious and how dangerous this was. John Easton Mills, the then Mayor on Montreal tended to the sick and he himself caught the fever and died.
Photo taken 1898
The order of the grey nuns also tended to the sick, as did many francophone's and native Indians. Over 1000 Irish orphans were adopted by French families and helps explain why over 40% of Quebecers have some Irish ancestry. Outside of Ireland this is the largest burial ground of Irish famine victims outside of Ireland.
Notes: As this was in today's newspaper here, I read up on the topic, from various sources. Any errors in fact are mine, and if anyone wishes to either correct or provide more detailed accounts of any part of this narrative, I would love to hear from you.
Happy Birthday Canada!!!
Well, to celebrate here are two videos, I will let you the readers comment! :)
A Canada day poem by the beautiful Vienna Bombardieri a fellow Canadian Poet!
HAPPY CANADA DAY
Happy Canada Day Happy Canada Day my fellow Canadians, come watch the
Ambient fireworks that burst forth from a smokey sky. The
Parks are peppered with red/white flags of valor, citizens eat
Piping hot dogs, french fries, and fluffy cotton candy treats.
You need to see it to believe it, so come watch the festivities and rock with
Canadian artists that take center stage with popular songs on demand.
Another year of celebration is at hand, freedom diversity unity as one. It's
National pride day, we are happy to live in this beautiful land
Adjourn with us plop down your lawn chair and sit for a while,
Dance, sing, raise your hands, celebrate and join the party.
At the end of day, by 1st of July, Canada makes it happen!
Dare to wear your most flamboyant clothes and goofy hats today
Amalgamate with your fellow citizens and celebrate the old fashioned way
You can hold hands, sing Oh Canada, or ask God to bless your land
Marine Le Pen is a right wing racist extremist in France, which I am assuming because she can not attract a majority in her homeland has come to Canada to spread her vile diatribes here.
She will for sure have an audience in Quebec, the Parti Quebecoise and Separatists have welcomed her with open arms, even thought the leader PK Peladeau claims to know nothing of his parties meetings and agendas. One could ask, what kind of leader is this?
She has claimed that our accepting of 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada is a grave mistake. She stated “the consequences could include accelerating the demands of religious minorities, such as providing space for prayer or the establishment of religious courts”. I can only assume she means Muslim prayer rooms as I have not seen her to be very outspoken about Christian prayer.
I have to assume she is also unaware than many Christian refugees are also being brought here to Canada from Syria.
“A multicultural society is a society in conflict,” quoted Marine Le Pen
I wonder if her family is multicultural as she seems to have more conflict within her whole family than all of France!
As she had her meetings here with like kind, I wonder if she should maybe meet some Native American Indians. They too might wish the immigrants to leave and I would bet they would toss her first on the boat back.
Now her racism and extremism is well known, her lack of education, maybe not so well known. The societies here she claims are in conflict, have been multicultural for hundreds of years. Canada was indeed formed, not on identity but a set of common values, often differing from those in Europe. So possibly she could in fact take a lesson from us here, and maybe go back home and preach more tolerance and understanding.
I should also point out, there is no right or wrong, and that societies may in fact do things differently, as long as the outcome is harmony, peace, well being, productivity, then all the better, for with diversity we discover these ends.
To compare our issues and problems in society with those of France is ridiculous. We have not the same borders, nor the same ethnic mix as those of Europe and France. Indeed there are serious issues and problems that need addressing, but these solutions will not be brought about by racists and attitudes of intolerance, no matter where this resonates from.
She of course supports the Separatists of Quebec, as division is always the goal of an extremist. Canada was formed on common values, multiple cultures and as such no society is perfect, but in spite of all our issues, we have managed to maintain a free and democratic society. It is ironic that in 2016 fascism still remains a popular strategy of many politicians. I say, no matter the outcome of solutions we as humans must seek, it should always be framed in the context of building bridges and not fences.
One may discuss the policies and needs of integration of all within society; however tolerance of all people is a necessity on all sides. It is within this framework, we shall find solutions, and not with the rants of extremists such as Marine le Pen or Donald Trump.
On closing, I would like to point out, there were some Quebecers there to protest her speaking here, and I commend them for standing up and speaking out against intolerance.
Marine Le Pen, Go Home!
OUI! la France
Hi there, the blog has been running for almost a year, and as you can see I try to keep up a few posts a month. More about poetry and fellow poets, but also about current events, social issues as well as art and music. I look forward to any suggestions from readers and fellow poets!