THE LEGENDARY PATRIOT
Written on May 18, 2020
A few years ago, as I was walking on Ste-Catherine Street with my (now) ex-girlfriend in downtown Montreal, the National Patriots’ Day celebration was taking place. A crowd of people, who were mostly of French descendance, joyfully paraded the streets with their Quebec flags in hand, while flaunting their white & blue attire. Most bystanders’ attention got diverted to this cultural happening, which was normal. Since my girl and I were no exception, we just slowed down our stroll and glanced at the unfolding of the event.
As the festivities continued, we noticed a man who appeared to be a little more drunk than the rest of his peers. He was very vocal about his patriotism and displayed some aggressiveness in his body language. He shouted his pride and made it clear that he was happy to be part of, what he considered, a great nation. His speech slowly turned into a rant against immigrants. And then, at some point, he and I made eye contact. At that very moment, I became his main target. He looked at me and said, ‘’Chu chez nous sti. Ouin toé, c’ta toé que j’parle, té chez nous icitte, t’as tu compris? Té chez nous icitte coliss’’. Now if you are reading this as a non-Quebecer, I doubt that Google will manage to help you with this translation. So, let me introduce you to: Joual 101. He basically said, ‘’This is my home dammit. You, yeah you, you’re the one I’m talking to, you’re on my territory! This is my fucking home; do you hear me?’’ Everyone standing around was shocked. Another man, who I assume was also Haitian, gave me the ‘’let’s beat the shit outta him’’ look. But I kept a grin on my face and replied with the ‘’c’mon bro, you know it ain’t worth it’’ look. Then, he continued our non-verbal exchange with the infamous ‘’I wish a nigga would’’ head tilt. Lastly, I ended our dialogue with a classic ‘’Yeah I know bro, you know how it is’’ shoulder shrug. As we walked away from the scene, my girl expressed how she could not believe how those types of scenarios were still happening. I was not too phased by it because I did not want to fall into the trap of generalizing that whole group of celebrants, so I got over it pretty quickly.
Today is May 18, 2020. Haitian Flag Day and National Patriot’s Day both fall on the same exact date. As a child of Haitian immigrants and a Quebec citizen, I will simply want to express the gratitude that I have towards both cultures and say that I feel lucky to be a part of them. I did not exist when any of those revolutionary acts took place, but I am now living in the aftermath of those historical moments with the chance to admire their impact and be inspired by them. I would rather reserve the ''prideful stuff for what I am about to accomplish, as opposed to a series of boasts based on my predecessor’s accomplishments. Well, I know some of you readers will give me the ‘’-__-‘’ look.