On Persecution: “The Strangers”


Noise noise noise noise noise.

A million million voices try to talk one on top of the other. It sounds like music. It sounds like the worst jazz you have ever heard.

The effect of all the voices is to make you feel screamed at, but no one is screaming. They are speaking with only a note of urgency. They are not shouting, but they know they should be heard. That you should hear them and that they must say their piece.

This is just when you first go through the gates. This is nothing yet.

The gates, by the way, are tall and iron and topped with diamond-shaped spikes. They are there for a very specific purpose: because the boys of the town will try to sneak in and put mirrors on the graves. The gates will not stop the boys from trying, but they will stop all but the most resourceful boys from getting into the graveyard. In the time before the gates, that everyone remembers but no one was alive for, there were shards of mirrors all over the graves like magpie confetti. No one remembers why, but the boys know that this is what they are supposed to do. The gates are especially needed at holidays.

After you have recovered from the shock of all the voices – because it will be a shock, even though I’ve told you about it now – you can start walking into the graveyard. If you step too close to someone’s grave, there will be a hush. This will be tempting. But you should be careful, because the longer you linger by any one grave, the harder it will be to go back into the fray. Once, a girl who was not prepared ran into the graveyard at night time. She was overwhelmed by the voices, and she sat down on a grave to rest in the peace. They found her the next morning, lying on the rectangle of grass as if it were a down mattress. They were never able to wake her. This is another of the stories – the ones that everyone will tell you.

If you listen carefully, you’ll start to pick individual voices from the noise. You should listen to them. It will be hard. It won’t be hard to catch the thread, to latch onto a voice and follow it. But it will be hard to stop yourself from shaking it off once you do catch it. They don’t scream, the voices, but they do not flinch from the truth.

These are the graves of the strangers. None of them exist anymore. If they do exist, in an outnumbered molecule of someone’s blood, someone is not telling. I doubt that anyone will ever tell.

You will make your recommendation to the town council by the third of November. We didn’t know these people. Their traditions were not ours, and they are gone now. The land could be put to good use.

word by Charlotte Joyce Kidd

“This story could be about anyone.

My own familial and ancestral background is Jewish, and it’s a group that has been dodging annihilation throughout history.

Religious, racial and ethnic persecution happens and has happened everywhere, and too often results in genocide.

I also wonder about the living’s obligation to the dead in regards to burial wishes and traditions, especially in cases where the desired ritual of the deceased seems obsolete or culturally irrelevant. I was a voracious reader of Egyptian mythology and history growing up, and I questioned the ethics of excavations and exhibitions as much as I revelled in seeing them. Although it was anthropologically exciting and potentially important to dig up a Pharaoh’s grave, what if he had been right to believe that he needed a pyramid of clay figurines to survive in the afterlife? Had we just destroyed his vision of paradise? We can dismiss the desires of the dead as quaint, erroneous, or even morally wrong, but we don’t get the opportunity to argue; we can only choose to refuse or honour them.

In this piece, I tried to create an image of a society that may no longer believe in traditional burial, that has no connection to the buried, that exists on land that has no meaning to them but is historically deeply significant, that perhaps is even responsible for the elimination of a certain group, and finds itself struggling with the presence of a vanished people.”

colour by Julien Coquentin

Parents Against Parents


Children were quite a test of who you were: They walked around repeating things you said, echoing things said in kitchens, like mobile parrots. You couldn’t blame a seven year old kid for having an opinion on Obamacare, or graffiti, or the government funding one branch of religious schools, because, well, they were seven. Born in ’07. You had to give a seven year old credit: They were seven. Seven. No seven year old actually thought I believe graffiti is immoral like tattoos, or I think to backing one religion while saying you’re mul-ti-culti-raw is so embarrassing! No. Or maybe they did. Maybe they were those seven year olds from Guinness, the Youngest University Student, Youngest and Most Bored Person In This Seminar, I Just Want Some Juice.

Parents were these labels used by adults for anything, really, like those scenes in Hollywood movies where the victim got away by saying I’m a parent- I have a daughter at home, and a dog who doesn’t listen to me unless I growl, or the capital P Parent, plastered on resumes, Member of the Parent Action Committee, Volunteer Organizer at Parents Against Obamacare, Director of Parents Against Parrots, Parents Against Alternative Medicine, Parents Against Medicine, Parents Against Parents, Parent Bar Meeting About Nothing.

I’ll have a pint of Guinness

Coors Light for me

I’ll follow the man with the gray hair and have a Guinness

Coming right up

I think you’re just jealous of my gray foxiness

That’s it

Miss Henderson seems to be quite the fan.

Whatever guys back to the issue: All I’m saying is that, sure, I appreciate that some people can be supported by the Government, but it’s been a hundred years: They’re not exactly some fading group

This coming from a man who drinks Coors Light.

Yeah, you forgot your skirt at home or what?

I’ll have you know that it is delicious and crispy. The point I was trying to make is that how can our government benefit with immigration and everything by saying oh, look at how tolerant we are, but we really prefer the Catholics.

You mean accepting.

You know what, I’ll agree with you, just for the sake of moving on.

You guys know what I’m saying

I think you’re forgetting the French thing: They kind of need it to keep their thing going, don’t you think?

The French: I think it’d save us a hell of a lot of tax payer dollars if we just let everyone do what they want

I guess that’s a good point, but why couldn’t they do it in a public system? How can you say we’re not going to think non-catholic means not-normal when there’s a fucking cross on the front lawn? Is that tolerance?

You mean acceptance. And I think that religion is part of culture, and so taking the Catholic away from French would be like, uh, taking you away from your water.


Let’s say this whole culture idea is good, that trying to create this one idea of what a normal person is in our province is like a necessary thing in order to sell the province to companies, it still assumes that the other traditions are foreign, because they’re not Catholic, or from here, although they are now from here

Someone get me a pistol and a bag of chips

Today, in class, we’ll be talking about languages: Does anyone remember about languages? Yes, Kathy?

English is a language.

Yes, it is. Does anybody know the names of some different languages?


Thank you, Brian, but please put up your hand next time.

They’re stupid


oh man


you‘re stupid!

Brian: That was not a nice thing to say, please apologize to the class.

I’m so sorry

Nobody is stupid: We’re all the same, it doesn’t matter what language you speak. Does anybody know the names of any other languages?

the French are so stupid cause they took my mom’s job

whatever bry your dad drinks coolers light!

to be continued this Friday

colour by ccekios

words by L. L. 

read more info on the current school debate in Ontario