Look him in the Eye (Voir) (TW: police brutality)
by Marc-André Cyr, May 14th, 2012, Voir
The original French text can be found here: http://voir.ca/marc-andre-cyr/2012/05/14/regardez-le-dans-l%E2%80%99oeil/
The image is intolerable. A horror.
Maxence is bloody. He was hit directly in the face with a plastic bullet. While he was semi-conscious his friends carried him through the streets of Victoriaville, to the sounds of screams of fear and rage coming from protesters, and the sound of police officers pounding their clubs on their shields, in time to the pace of their steps.
Look him in the eye. You’re lucky, he’s been left with one.
Tell him the police officers “did their job well”, with “professionalism”, “rigor” and “discipline”. [Finet, spokesperson for the SQ].
Tell him that ‘it’s terrible’, but ‘it’s a risk, as we know, when there is violence’ [Minister Dutil].
Remind him that he should be ‘happy’, since the protest ended with ‘very little damage’ [Rayes, mayor of Victoriaville].
Look him in the eye and talk to him about the ‘victimization of vandals in Victoriaville’. Tell him it gave you a ‘good laugh’ [Martineau]. He’ll think it’s all well and good.
Ask him to condemn the ‘violence and intimidation’ of the strikers [Beauchamp].
Tell him he has to stop saying the state is ‘violent’ [Pratte].
Explain to him why the forces of order have made more than 1300 arrests and caused dozens of injuries since the beginning of the conflict. Remind him that we have to protect property, that we must respect the law, and that violence is perpetrated by ‘vandals’ and not by the police.
Look him in the eye and tell him that, unlike in the case of him and his friends, this conflict has caused REAL victims.
Such as Line Beauchamp’s secretary, who’s glasses were broken by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois!
Like the students opposing the strike who have been intimidated by some very, very mean emails [Journal de Montreal].
And like poor Martineau who was ‘floored’ by a protest of ‘social rage’ in front of his house (protesters even exploded authentic firecrackers) [Bock-Cote].
Look him in the eye and explain to him how you feel ‘taken hostage’ by protesters [Tremblay].
Tell him how hard it was to arrive two hours late to work on account of ‘student terrorism’ [La Presse].
Tell him about your ‘fear’ and your ‘anger’ as a metro user [Journal de Montreal].
Explain to him why you want police officers - even the army – to stop the strikers who ‘are sewing terror in the streets of Montreal’ [Duhaime].
Go ahead, it’s only a small effort, look him straight in the eye. Two times lucky: not only has he been left with one eye, but it wasn’t even him whose ear was ripped off, so he can still hear you perfectly.
Don’t be intimidated.
Take a big breath of this satisfying liberalism which we call our own and tell him words which he is certainly in need of hearing: ‘We’re living in a democracy’.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.