Thursday, February 06, 2014

A world without murder.

I found this in my archives, and have no idea why I didn't actually post it. It was written in 2010, and I'm still wondering...

A few days ago, on Valentine's Day, I attended a march to honor the 3000 missing or murdered women of Canada. This was an amazing event, and a wonderful way to spend an otherwise overly commercial and often lonely day.

The march was started several years ago by the Saalich people of the West Coast. As you may or may not know, a disproportionate number of women who die violently or go missing are aboriginal, thus this cause is close to the hearts of many aboriginal communities. The march on Sunday was no different.

Prior to marching, the elders in attendance spoke a bit about what they hoped to achieve, and then opened the event with a traditional smudge ceremony. During the opening comments, one of the elders commented that, in her language, there was no word for "murder", so she would just say "those who have gone before us". This got me thinking: Languages are often reflective of the priorities of the cultures they stem from. What would it be like to live in a culture that did not need a word for "murder"?