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Josée Blanchette June 22, 2012
Devil’s advocate, Robert Tremblay, embraced by “the angel” during a student protest. When love becomes political momentum…
They are young (at heart, at least), they are crazy (that has no age) and they’ve killed two birds with one stone, or one slogan rather. Don’t changing the world and falling in love come from the same impetus? The loves may not be eternal, but the memory of how they met, yes.
Spring 2012 will have its fair share of fairy tales. They add themselves to the thousands of flames that marry and burn out, fireflies in the night drawn to each other to beating of spatulas, in light clothing, in the intensity of and fervor, in the defiance and obscurity, ingredients completely compatible with falling in love.
I wouldn’t give a lot to be 20 years old again, but a protest, a crush or a flirt, yes, I admit it, that would be fun. I would have liked to have been a student and fallen in love with a young recruit from the SPVM, for instance. We would have been the Romeo and Juliette of the story. Besides, for a minute I believed the story that circulated on the Twitter account @manifdating. And I wasn’t the only one. A police officer and a poli sci student, scoffing at logic. Everyone wants to believe that love is stronger than the police, that it is a child of Bohemia and has never never known the law (78).
If there was need of proof, I interviewed a young transsexual couple via Skype, one from Montreal and the other from New York, who met through mutual red squares on Facebook. Complicated? Not as much as their blossoming love and the difficulty of finding a unisex public bathroom to go relieve their bladders during protests. They confessed to me that they would prefer to abstain…
Everything is political, even love
In front of me, direct from New York, Raphaële of Montreal, 27 years-old, fine arts student at Concordia, and Ameila from New York, 21 years-old, unemployed, without a fixed address either. “For transsexuals, everything is political, even love! We are activists, our survival depends on it”, underlined Amelia, who talked to me about psychiatric problems, discrimination and murders and suicides, common in the trans community.
Would they have fallen in love without this activist charge or if one of the two had worn the green square? Uneasy. “Not sure…”, answered Amelia with her masculine voice, brushing aside a strand of loose hair that covered her face.
“It’s like if I was a republican and her a democrat; it’s impossible”, assures the blonde Raphaële who made the trip to join her in New York. She is visibly impressed by her activist dove inside the Occupy Wall Street movement: “Amelia is pretty, bright and very involved in political action. She just came back from the NATO summit in Chicago. The world is fucked up and we, we want to change it.”
The message earned them a spot outside of fairy tales. But romantics haven’t had the last word. Kenza Chaouai started the account @manifdating on Twitter to help those who had a #manifcrush to find each other. “Since the beginning of the protests, everyone enters the streets, it’s very easy to make connections. And I have heard tell of plenty of love stories that were born during the student protests,” tells the communications manager of the web site Askmen.com
Her account, @manifdating, with its two little felt hearts pinned together, acts like a transmission belt. A charming initiative that may give birth to #manifbébés.
While waiting, Kenza gave advice to trans protesters: use a telephone to consult the SPVM Twitter account, follow your instincts and the sound of the casseroles, offer a place under an umbrella or even imagine yourself with plastic handcuffs with the politician of your choice.
“Here, in Quebec, the people don’t shout out to each other a lot,” underlined Kenza. “There is a tendency to be afraid and you’re not sure in which language to approach someone. It’s a dreamed of opportunity to break this wall by asking where is the protest or by hitting someone’s casserole. A black block protester even gave a flower to a girl and she sent her photo to @manifdating to find him again! “Even masked, the offering won hearts. Advice for the timid.
A knight on a black horse
For whoever says love, attempts at seduction and home theatre, says fantasies with a big F, the best moment of love comes after the task at hand. The student leaders have at the moment become, in this regard, poster children as coveted as Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis “Me, I hold my breath from Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois,” confides Kenza, 24 years old. He exudes confidence itself. It’s very attractive. He has leadership and he speaks well, in addition to being very virile. My “dream protest situation”, would be if GND would kidnap me on a stolen SPVM horse to take me somewhere.” You’d have to have a word with Xavier Dolan…
A very down to earth fantasy if you consider that the mascots Anarchopanda and Banane rebelle also appear very high in the list of princes who, due to their charm, can on take the role of super heroes the 22nd of each month.
Certain groups divide themselves as per the respective charms of some and of others, be it more Gabriel than Léo (sweeter and composed) or more inclined toward Jeanne Reynolds than Éliane Laberge. No matter what, the legends of the student movement feed the emotional allegiances and the enthusiasm of the heart, red passion or green hope.
But in terms of impossible loves, nothing will defeat my friend Anne who’s heart skips a beat for an old casserole (no, she isn’t in a relationship), a modified wok who’s use she had never grasped until now. Now, her little street orchestra can count on her and her jazzy rhythms: “In the company of my wok, I have mad a ton of friends and I have established relationships with my neighbors. It’s marvelous! We’ve become a group of buddies”, she tells me.
Without a fling, close friends are a precious second-best.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.