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Geneviève Lajoie June 8, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.journaldequebec.com/2012/06/08/symbole-de-violence-et-dintimidation
The red square symbolizes “intimidation” and “violence” in the eyes of minister Christine St-Pierre.
Storyteller Fred Pellerin refused to be consecrated Knight of the National Order of Quebec. The artist did not feel comfortable receiving this honour in the midst of a “social crisis”. The minister of Culture said that she respected Fred Pellerin’s decision, but noted that it was a “bit of a shame” nonetheless. “He has the right to wear the red square, we are within freedom of expression, but us, we know what the red square means. It means intimidation, violence; it also means that people are kept from attending school. For us, that’s what it means and for a large large portion of Quebeckers, that’s what it means”, Mme St-Pierre said yesterday morning.
The minister added that Fred Pellerin could still be decorated at a later date.
These comments incited the ire of the péquiste (Parti Québécois) opposition, the majority of whom have worn the red square since the beginning of the conflict.
In MNA Maka Kotto’s opinion, that the minister of Culture made these kinds of comments while numerous artists are also wearing the red square, is “crude” and “demagogic”. “Does she mean to say that artists are violent people?”, the Bourget MNA indignantly asked.
Mr Kotto wishes also to recall that many protests featured families and young children, who also wore the red square. The scarlet swatch of fabric has never been a symbol advocating violence, but rather a “cry for intergenerational equality, a cry to denounce the drastic hike in tuition fees,” the péquiste MNA believes.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.