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29 mars 2011

The (only good) ghetto

There is a certain amount of historical perspective needed when it comes to talking about the McGill ghetto. Unworried, I am pleased to brush those quarrels away. (As do most people who truly love the city of Montreal… After all, what can really go wrong around avenue du Parc ? or the Mont-Royal ?)

Well, look at the backstreets, for one thing. But then again, the beauty of the ghetto lies in its sadness. Because the backstreet reminds you of what a student, even when he or she is promised to great things, is living. Fatigue, stress, tension. We are plagued by indecision. We swim in ridiculous love affairs and on top of that, the whole world is awaiting, impatiently, for us to be happy and responsible. It’s a chaotic lifestyle. We want to travel far away, yet we feel the urge to build stable homes. We work so hard, yet we are in the process of learning how to work. We drink to no end. To. No. End.

However, there is something so happy about it. I can’t put my finger on it. I won’t even try to. It is not majestic enough, it is not colorful enough. Some buildings are plain ugly, others are astonishingly anonymous. It’s too close to everything, the university, Sherbrooke, St-Laurent, so it’s noisy. Since mostly students live there, you can’t really find this homely feeling you would have in Verdun, Hochelaga or Outremont.

Maybe I can’t brush those quarrels away. Maybe I should not. Everything that I love and hate about Montreal is typified in the ghetto. I guess it is those songs, sang by drunk students, and the feeling of togetherness that comes with it. I guess it is those languages (not just French and English) colliding constantly, a reminder of how relaxed we are. Finally, there are the little rooms, in the middle of the night with the strange lights, and you know that throughout the years, millions of ideas have been created on these desks, in these discussions, and ours will soon be brought upon the world.

There is so much more to be told about the ghetto... but for now, these pictures and symbols will be enough.

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