I walk across two battlefields every day on the way home from the Old City.

As I walk west, I first cross the Plains of Abraham, where, on the 13th of September, 1759, French and British troops faced off in a short but frenzied struggle for control of Québec City. Fighting for king and country on both sides, soldiers shot and killed each other in the warmth of a late-summer morning. When the smoke lifted, dozens had been killed and hundreds wounded. The French retreated and the British took the city.

Then, further down the road, I cross the Sainte Foy battlefield, where the French and British clashed again. It was the following spring – April of 1760 – and their roles were reversed: this time the French were laying siege to the capital city and it was the British who came out to confront them. When the British retreated into the city, hundreds were dead and over a thousand wounded.

If I walk just a few more kilometers, I will find myself on the site of the old village center of Sainte Foy. There, on January 29, 2017, six innocents were killed and a score more wounded in a battle that we are all fighting, a battle that we cannot afford to lose. The stakes in this struggle are far more important than the prosaic concerns of an eighteenth-century empire. In this case, we are fighting for human decency and our very humanity.

My sincerest condolences go out to the victims of this horrible tragedy.

30 thoughts on “Battlefields”

  1. I am so sorry that the sickness of the US politics have seeped across our northern border into Quebec. It is something we neither can tolerate and must continuously work to prevent such occurrences.

    1. Sonya youngstrom

      Really George..blaming this on United States politics?

      This kind of horrible tragedy is happening all over the world.

      I’m guessing that you area liberal Democrat.

      1. Sonya, do you really want to diminish the incidences of harsh politics from Mr. Trump beyond the borders?
        People who commit this kind of act are disturbed one and are very fragile and influenced.

        1. Sonya youngstrom

          Luc…im tired of people from other countries feeling that they are entitled to an opinion of our elections when they are not even from here.

          Last may on a cruise to Alaska we had a Canadian couple happily saying they couldn’t wait to watch our pres debates because they were gonna be so entertaining. ..

 also tired of everyone blasting trumps every move. …I want a safer country…I also want children to say the pledge of alleigence in school without offending anyone who chose to come here to live cause we are such a horrible country to live in! I’m also tired of all the liberals and Democrats whining and protesting and vandalizing about having to endure 4 years of trump when we had to put up with 8 years of Barry ….and don’t get me started on his he has flushed our country down the toilet. ..

          this is exactly my point. …this is a post to give sympathy to Quebec and we have George Wayerly steering it towards US politics!

          Stop blaming America and Trump !

    2. This is a horrible thing that happened in Quebec, a senseless act…but I don’t understand why a previous comment from Mr weyer is blaming this on us politics? Last June during the rhamadam holiday there was a pigs head left on the doorstep of the mosque as a insult/threat….since 2015 there have been 39,000 refugees admitted to canada…maybe some crazy person from Canada snapped. This person has a history of hate against islam. I think it’s horrible that quebec has to endure this painful and tragic situation, but Mr weyer shouldn’t be blaming america or our new president.

  2. We are all at risk when it comes to extremism. All societies have extreme elements. I am sad when I hear others blame one COUNTRY for the extreme views of a few. Just because Canada and the U. S. have been companionate countries in the past and fought for the freedom of others ; we are demonized today by progressives as if we are responsible for all the bad that occurs around the world. I do not see all the people demonizing us leaving to go somewhere else. Do you? The boarders for exit are open, why should we not correctly vet those entering?

  3. My heart breaks for your enchanting city! My heart breaks for my divided country. My heart breaks for our broken world.

  4. J’ai le coeur brisé pour ces familles éprouvées. Je suis encore sous le choc que cet acte de violence soit arrivé chez nous, ici, dans notre magnifique et paisible ville que j’adore! Tu exprimes très bien ce que l’on ressent en ce moment. Merci Neil!

  5. Au début de ta missive intitulée “Battlefield” je me demandais la raison de cette étendard en point d’exclamation central, un pétale d’iris versicolore droit, un croissant sur fond bleu ! Attentat, attendons que la poussière retombe.
    Évidement qu’une histoire de conquête est toujours sanglante, l’histoire du navigateur Royal Jacques Cartier également, et le déplorable geste de ce jeune atroce pour les survivants de la communauté québécoise et un déplorable compte de victimes innocentes et croyantes de liberté.
    Merci pour la réalité historique et moderne, déplorable mais d’actualités.
    Sincèrement compatissant.

  6. I totally agree with your comments. Quebec is such a lovely city and on first thought you would think it’s to far away for these kind of tragic events. But in reality these events are global. To instill love and compassion instead of hate may be an impossiblity but the world has to keep working towards this goal.

  7. The people are showing everyone that standing together that force and power of love are winners. No matter what anyone could say. But those that I pray for the most today are the parents of Bissonette. No one wants to Go through something like this. Let’s have a big thought for these people that must face all of this. Thanks Neil. It’s always great to hear from you.

  8. Colette Parayre

    A chacun de ces tristes évènements , me revient en mémoire une chanson de Raymond Lévesque, auteur compositeur un peu méconnu, qui est l auteur d une magnifique chanson” Quand les hommes vivront d amour ” Je te conseille Neil de la trouver sur YouTube, surtout la version d Eddie Constantine, un américain francophile qui vécut en France , tout comme toi, mais au 20e siècle; avec son accent charmant, c’est la plus belle version.
    Merci Neil de ce touchant et généreux partage….ne polémiquons pas sur les divergeances d opinion, mais ouvrons nous à la différence !

  9. Thank you, Neil, for sharing. The sad and unnecessary loss of life will be repeated all over the world until humanity finds a way to work for the GOOD of all. We are mourning with your beautiful city and hope and pray that someday all will learn not to terrorize people of different race, blood, religion, thought. Life is too precious for this.

  10. Aujourd’hui je lisais un texte de MLK. “I have a dream… freedom … respect…” comme nous avons encore bcp de chemin à faire. Comment comprendre l’incompréhensible? Sincères condoléances aux parents et amis des victimes directes et indirectes .

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