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Rachel Garber Par Rachel Garber

Mercredi, 8 février 2017


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Beyond shock, my heart is sickened by the recent shootings at the Islamic cultural centre/mosque in Quebec City. I am speechless.

But in the face of homegrown hate, it has become more crucial than ever to stand on the side of love, in both words and deeds. A little vigil: I was among some 300 people shivering in front of the Islamic cultural centre in Sherbrooke, standing to show their support for the victims' families and the broader Muslim community. Will this make any difference, we wondered?
The Globe & Mail's website provided a partial answer in a little video showing a Muslim woman speaking about the vigils. "The weather is very cold," Fadwa Achmaoul said. "And they were here for us. And this is something huge for us. This is the first time we saw that they consider us like a human being, and this is very huge for us. Thank you."

The man beside her wrapped his arm around her and wiped tears from his eyes.

That "they" she mentioned was us. Imagine that we Quebecers have not, until that Monday, shown this woman that we consider her to be a human being?

Then she suggested something more we can do, something proactive rather than reactive. "Try to learn something about us. Try to respect our choices," she asked.

A wall divides both ways, and understanding and respect are the responsibility of both the majority and the minority cultures. But there is a difference. "The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority," wrote Ralph W. Stockman.

Never has the courage of our minority Muslim citizens been so sorely tested. And never has the tolerance of our majority citizens been so greatly needed. Will we rise to the challenge?

Hakim Merdassi of the Tunisian association in Quebec City fears not, as quoted in the Globe & Mail. "Will this act lead to some kind of collective looking-out for one another? I wish it would. But my fear is that we'll fall into the same identity politics and divisions we've seen in the past."

May we prove him wrong.

"Protect your Health - The Facts about Heart Disease & Stroke" is the topic of the upcoming Health Link session in Bury, courtesy of the Eaton Valley Community Learning Centre, Townshippers' Association and the CSSS du Haut-Saint-François. The session is on Wednesday, February 15 at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main Street, Bury. Lunch will be served starting at 11:30 a.m., followed by a guest speaker starting at 1 p.m., with a question period. Both are free of charge and in English. Reservations are not necessary, but would be appreciated if you plan to attend the luncheon. Info: Kim Fessenden at 8190-872-3771 or

The Colour Café is open for all ages every second Tuesday 10 a.m. to 12 noon starting February 7, and every second Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m. starting February 14. The Colour Café is just a fun, relaxing evening of colouring, conversation and snacks. It's open to all - no colouring experience is necessary. Bring your own colouring book and crayons, or use supplies already there. It's at the Relève, 54 Bibeau Street, Cookshire, about a block off Principale Street, and is hosted by Townshippers' Association, La Relève du Haut-Saint-François, and the Eaton Valley Community Learning Centre. Info: Michelle, at 819-566-5717,, or

At the Ramana Hotel the music and celebrations just go on and on: On Friday, February 10, at 8 p.m. is a concert by a blues-jazz band from Sherbrooke, La Roue du Loup. Tickets are $10. On Saturday, February 11, also at 8 p.m., is music by the Dave Bessant Band.

The Ramana is also hosting the Sawyerville Community Garden's Seed Festival on Saturday, February 18 (see the article in this issue of the Journal). And that's followed by the Loisirs Sawyerville amateur evening show at 8 p.m. with music and dancing by local talent. All are welcome.

And on Sunday, February 19, the Ramana welcomes "a big gang of snowmobile folks from New Hampshire," said Jean-Sébastien Bachand. That means the Bistro will be open for the occasion and all are welcome.

The Saturday program is accompanied by the Plaisirs d'hiver Sawyerville festival organized by Loisirs Sawyerville. From 1 to 4 p.m.: skating and sliding, snow painting and hot chocolate at the Parc de la Station. And from 4 to 7 p.m.: snowshoeing with torches, departing from the park.

The bilingual Viactive exercise groups for people age 50-plus are in full swing. All four groups meet every Wednesday, are volunteer-led, and are free of charge.

In Bury, Doris Eryou welcomes you at 10 a.m., at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main St., Bury. Info: 819-238-8541. In Sawyerville, Denise Nault and Gérard Nault invite you to the Sawyerville Community Centre, 6 Church Street, at 10 to 11 a.m. Info: 819-889-2630. In Cookshire, Serena Wintle and Lyne Maisonneuve lead the Cookshire group from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. at the Manoir de l'Eau vive, 210 Principale East. Info: 819-875-5210. In Newport, Ruth Shipman and Christiane Côté facilitate the Viactive group at the Municipal Hall, 1452 Route 212, Island Brook, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Info: 819-889-1340 or 819-560-8565.

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the Sunday worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French. Info: 819-239-8818.

United: Sunday worship services are at 9:30 a.m. in Cookshire and 11 a.m. in Sawyerville. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message).

Anglican: Sunday worship services are at 9:30 a.m. in Bury and 11 a.m. in Cookshire. The Cookshire services are in the basement of the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale W. Info: 819-887-6802.

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email by February 13 for publication February 22 and by February 27 for March 8.

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