This message is addressed to Ms Porridge44 who I have the pleasure to argue with on the Gazette.com.
I was very pleased with your last message. It seems that we could at last have a genuine discussion. We obviously desagree on some fundamental issues, but I see that your are giving me your point of view sincerely and that you are not throwing arguments at my face.
There are things that you say for which I have a different perspective, may I tell you my point of view? I will say some things that might surprise you, maybe, I hope not, upset you. Don’t see it as an argument, as une joute verbale, see it as someone giving his point of view sincerely like you just did.
You said : « My emotion comes from francophone nationalists continuously trying to deny the English fact. » We don’t deny the fact, we fight it. It is not the same thing. To act and change reality, one has to see reality for what it is. Would we not see the overwhelming weight of english in North America, we would be fools, and we would not have acted, and we would not had linguistic politics. On this question, our eyes are wide open.
You said : « They seem very insecure in their identity […] » We have issues with our identity, our history is full of paradoxes. But I might surprise you by saying that I see a greater insecurity among canadians and among english quebecers. Today, a majority of quebecers see themselves as quebecers only or quebecers first. Our history is, as I said full of paradoxes and we have overcome a lot, and I would say that notre âme est trempée par les humiliations d’hier et les insultes d’aujourd’hui comme la lame de l’épée est trempée par le feu et l’eau (I have no words to express that in english…) On the other hand, for many english canadians, simply mentionning that Québec is a nation is an unbearable idea. When i see someone living in British-Columbia, which is quite far from Québec, feeling threatened by the existence of another nation in Québec, I can’t help to think that they must be insecure. And here in Québec, english quebecers who fear, right or wrongfully, for the place of english in Québec, who feel canadians, not quite quebecers, but resent being left out, would like to be included, etc. Aren’t there paradoxes and insecurity? I am not saying this as if I knew better. I ask questions. And I say that canadians often seem insecure to me.
Now, would you start throwing arguments at me that Québec is not a nation or that, no, the majority of quebecers don’t see themselves as quebecers only or first, it would be ironic… It would remind of your emotional response about english being universal or not… :)
About the english that we « try to belittle it at every turn, giving arguments on how unimportant and insignificant it is. » If you engage in discussion in which you try to convince with logical arguments that english is important, that we sould learn it, that it is the dominant language in the world, you are calling for arguments opposing your point of view.
It might be difficult to understand how much emotional is this question. Let’s say you see a language as a mean of communication, like a telephone, i don’t care much if you tell me that your phone is more important than mine. But if you see french as a part of our identity, a part of our soul, a part of who we are, things are different. Now, when you tell me that your language is very important and that everyone should learn it, that I am stubborned in defending my language, you are telling me that, as a person, I have less value, that I am less important, that I should give up who I am and be someone else. And, of course, one will argue until the end of times to defend who he is and you, you are wondering what is all that fuss about a phone.
There is a misconception when one thinks that we reject english. We learn english, most of us speak english. When recently Jean Charest proposed that half of the sixth grade will be in english, there have been no outcry, it was more or less OK with mostly everyone. We are willing to learn english and we do. But on the other hand, if a politician would want to touch bill 101, he will be crucified, because it is the protection of the french language. One of our paradoxes.
There are a number of things that could be said about French. Maybe later.
You said : « my emotions come from the too many blogs I read where English bashing is the fashion ». I have read the National Post comments lately, the Gazette comments, there is not much I have not read about quebecers. It is socialy accepted to spit on Québec and it almost doesn’t hurt me anymore. A tie is really forever broken.
I would like to come back to one of your previous post, but this one is already a little too long.
Just a final note about different perspectives.
You wrote (2:44 PM on February 9, 2011) at http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/adult+debate+language/4240872/story.html#comments#ixzz1IKEfqGCU :
« I am very bilingual and I’m very proud that we are unique in Quebec. I love the friendly, open-hearted francophone people with their amazing sense of humour. The problem is that they turn very ugly when language issues come up. We could all live so much richer lives if we could find a way to get along. »
I could write almost the same thing :
veryto some degree bilingual and I’m very proud that we are unique in Quebec. I love the friendly, open-hearted francophoneanglophone people with their amazing sense of humour. The problem is that they turn very ugly when languagesovereignty issue comes up. We could all live so much richer lives if we could find a way to get along.
(Would this long message hurt you, I would remove it from the blog.)