Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Montreal Massacre and the Murder of Najia Sediqi

December 6th marked 23 years after the Montreal Massacre, when a 25 year old male walked into a college classroom and stated, "I am here to fight against feminism. That is why I am here. You're all a bunch of feminists and I hate feminists." He then proceeded to murder 14 women with a semi-automatic gun before turning the gun on himself.

The massacre is now remembered as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. And if the murder of Kasandra Perkins' reminds us of how much work we have to do around violence against women and gun control, the Montreal Massacre reminds us of the price many women pay as they fight for their rights and try to live a life of equality. In Montreal, 14 women lost their lives because they chose to pursue a male-dominated engineering career. In Egypt, women who participate in their country's political revolution are often sexually assaulted and harassed. Only recently, 14 year old Malala Yousafazi was shot by the Taliban for trying to attend school. And yesterday, Najia Sediqi, the acting head of women's affairs in Afghanistan, was murdered on her way to work.

Women experience violence and risk their lives for feminism every day. Young girls risk death for demanding the same education as their brothers. Women are murdered for trying to help establish a country that would allow women to flourish.

And while some think that the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is outdated and that women should "stop insisting they were victims of deep-rooted cultural misogyny," we need holidays like it to remind the world that women do live in cultures permeated by deeply-rooted misogyny. We need holidays like it to remind us of the violence women face as they fight for their rights and the rights of their sisters around the world.

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