|SOURCE DE SOULIERS A BAS PRIX ????|
Last Saturday's march through downtown Montreal by a coterie of zealots underlines the paranoid psychosis that afflicts those who believe that an English name on a store is somehow dangerous.
Demanding that stores post signs in French is one thing, demanding that they change their names to French goes beyond the pale, into the land of racism and fantasy.
The self-righteous demand that stores show 'respect' to the francophone majority, reminds me of that parent, the one with belt in hand, who demands 'respect' from his child under pain of a beating.
Respect is earned, not owed.
When militants tell stores to respect the letter and even the spirit of the law, what they are really demanding is blind acquiescence, something quite different.
I never understood the concept of minorities owing 'respect' to the majority by virtue of numbers, while by virtue of those same numbers the majority can run roughshod over the minority.
Do Arab-Israelis owe 'respect' to the Jewish majority just because they are a minority?
I'm sure that every single person who took part in the march would say no, me included, by the way.
(By the way, public signage in Israel is tri-lingual and stores can post in any language they choose.)
Ridiculous comparison? Not really. Sometimes when you look at an issue from a different perspective things look completely different.
And so it seems that big bad Israel is linguistically more tolerant than Quebec. Ha!
Now before readers write in to say that there is no comparison between Arab-Israelis and Anglophone Quebeckers, because as the language militants love to remind us, we anglos are the 'best treated minority in the world," I beg to differ.
Francophone Quebeckers are the best treated minority in the world.
So in the case of language in Quebec, it's a 'case of 'might makes right,' it isn't a question of respect.
The protest about English store names is based on the fantasy that 'out of site is out of mind,' that if English signs and store names are removed from public view, then somehow they don't exist. Poof!
It is an effort to promote an alternate reality, one where Montreal's English don't exist and the false perception that Montreal is 'French' and not bilingual is maintained by hiding reality.
This is the real essence of the protest.
Not English signs, rather English people and English businesses that protesters wish didn't exist.
Even the l'Office québécois de la langue française (the language cops) admit that the demands of these militants are beyond the scope of the law.
Going far beyond what the OQLF guidelines, namely that stores add a modifier to their names, as in"Les Cafes Second Cup" the rabble marching down Ste. Catherine street, with the determination of those storming the Bastille, demand that the coffee shop change its name to "Deuxieme Tasse"
Next they shall tell Quebeckers that those who possess names like Henry, Mary, William and Peter change their names to the more acceptable, Henri, Marie, Guillaume and Pierre.
Ridiculous? I'm not so sure.