An idea for a land claim settlement: or how I learned to stop hating Montreal

Apparently a young Louis Riel went to Montreal and ended up in various mental hospitals being rescued over and over by various workers from being detected by his enemies. But he still ended up in a Montreal hospital, which is bad in and of itself. I don’t think I was protected by anyone in Montreal hospitals, and it kind of scares me because I worry about having blocked memories. So much of that time is really scattered. On the other hand, people could have pretended they’d been protecting Riel when in fact they were installing programs to make sure the rebellion would fail. I mean, no one really knows except him. He didn’t recover very well, but crap, I mean that was a fucked up time, it was like a political crunch time for someone who was also undergoing some kind of spiritual journey. He was alone most of the time in there, and I also almost wonder if he started getting a kind of Stockholm Syndrome. His last poem was written to his jailer, but I think he also knew he had ensured a place in memory. I mean, he tore across the country on a rampage, you can’t not notice that kind of fervent energy. But on the other hand, you can’t not notice that kind of fervent energy. I think he hadn’t picked up any idea of proper military maneuvers, because the only maneuver that worked in that rebellion was the one proposed by my great great grandfather. I think he didn’t want to learn military tactics, because at heart he was a pacifist who felt he made major mistakes. But he ended up leading an army anyway, although a tiny one.

I don’t think violence solves anything, but this maneuver is pretty interesting if you just look at it in a certain way, which is that you decentralize your base of operations and have people everywhere and yet no where, like ghosts. It’s working in Iraq, which sucks because it’s not working in the right way, it’s still using violence. But a decentralized healing and awakening, that would work, and is working. I think that observing the internet, this kind of thing is happening now all on it’s own. People have all kinds of opinions to look at and are thinking critically. And an awakening doesn’t even have to be a spiritual thing in the way people imagine, it can just be the destabilization of particular ideological channels. Maybe it’s true that the CIA has an agent in every news room, who knows, but it’s also true that the CIA doesn’t have time to write all the blogs, and probably doesn’t even want to. We dodged a bullet by being viewed primarily as vanity pages for a long time. And the other irony is that the internet was invented to survive a war, and not only that but the internet has a history of academia. The new slam is “Oh I bet you read that on the internet!” and it’s kind of funny, because lies can happen anywhere and it’s not a purely online phenomenon. It’s like saying “Oh I bet you were reading that in a book!”

Oh yes, but back to Montreal. I went there with stars in my eyes, I don’t know, after Sept 11 I suddenly up and quit my BFA and told everyone “I am going to Montreal, and I don’t know why.” Well, I kind of did know why, I was going to go and learn french and fall in love and drink espresso and write tortured poetry. And I remember on my way out of Vancouver, Archer Pechawis said “Try to revive the aboriginal art scene because we all had to leave.” And I said I would try.

There’s something creepy about Montreal. What is it? The people are so sexy, yet so creepy. Not all of them, but the ones who are creepy are REALLY creepy. I think it’s separatism that made people creeps. I had so much trouble finding a job, because I didn’t speak French, but in a decent world that wouldn’t be so negative. A friend of mine in film school came to first year without speaking a lick of english, and yet somehow he got through one year of anglo post secondary schooling without being detected, I think it being an art school made it easier. He drew a lot of things with stick figures to communicate. I still remember we were out for beers and talking raunchy and he was trying to talk about his favorite position and had to draw these smiley face stick people doing doggy style. When we were graduating he finally said he never took the english equivalency tests because the school made a paperwork slip and forgot he needed to take them.

He made us watch the moon for half an hour, little brat.

The irony of Montreal is that Riel’s name is used a lot in support of separatism and yet he’s an aboriginal man, and Quebeckers seem to have a real hate on for aboriginal people. I’ve never quite grasped that. It’s like they forgot who’s land they’re standing on, like they forget they would have died if it hadn’t been for the people of Hochelaga. I remember being in this francophone hospital trying to get transfered to an english hospital and they wouldn’t do it and they wouldn’t do it even though it meant I had shitty standards of care, to the point where I couldn’t even communicate that I burnt my hands to the nurses on staff. I did communicate it, I said it in English though and they thought english was the language of pig-dogs.

And I remember thinking Fuck the French because they weren’t any better than the anglophones who put Louis Riel on trial in a different language. And the funny thing, and hard thing, about saying Fuck the French is that I am French too, so it’s kind of just me being an asshole to myself. And even though I speak English, I don’t have a drop of English blood in me. But what was fucked up is that I had wanted to learn French, which is why I moved there, but I got terrorized through extreme separatism. Oh man! It’s so ironic. I remember I only felt okay walking up and down Saint Laurent because it was the dividing line between the Francophone side and the Anglophone side. And if I lived three blocks over, I might have been able to be in an english speaking hospital.

The funny thing is that I feel like I can prove Montreal psych wards are using politics in their treatment, because I remember there was a girl who was my age going through the EXACT same thing and we talked to each other all the time, but she was francophone and spoke no english and I was anglophone and spoke no french, except for the rudimentary stuff she and I had both learned of each other’s language. Sometimes she would write stuff down to me and another patient would translate it for me. But we got along splendidly, which is what I had hoped for in Montreal. But she was white and francophone, and I was an Indian and anglophone, and you can guess who got better treatment. And she knew it too, and it was really upsetting for her.

So I think there is something to Montreal, I think it’s the last colonialist outpost. No that’s not true, but it did turn into the most racist cesspit I ever had to live in, and I have no idea why except that the people really believe they can claim total theocracy over Hochelaga.

And so, I think we should do a land rights case for the Island of Montreal. I think it could be fun. And we could leave the cross up on the mountain just for irony’s sake.

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