Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A hard week

So yeah, we're having a bad day in Iqaluit. And when I say we, I'm not referring specifically to Cathy and I. For those of you who might have missed the news, we had an....incident here yesterday. You can read more about it here and here.

I've had some friends and family contact me and ask if we're all right. We are. They've asked if we knew the family involved. We did not. However, Iqaluit is 7,000 people. We're not talking six degrees of separation here to find people who were friends and family of the people involved. And if it seems I'm being circumspect with the information, well, the police and media are not giving out a lot of information until family can be notified. And there's enough of a reporter left in me that I respect that. Besides, the mood in town can best be summed up as stunned.

Understand, it's a small town. Rumours are flying fast and furious. Everybody knows the names of those involved and there's plenty of speculation about what happened. But this blog isn't the place for that, so I'm not getting into it. The RCMP will be doing a press conference on Thursday. If you want to know more I'm sure there'll be more coverage then.

This hasn't been a great last 12 months in Nunavut. There's been a lot of tragedy and when you start reading reporters finding it getting too hard to keep doing these stories (Several experienced journalists were on Twitter last night giving details as they learned it and they were obviously distraught) then you know things are getting bad.

We love living in Iqaluit and Nunavut. If we didn't we'd be making escape plans. We wouldn't have bought a house. We wouldn't have just bought a car which is getting here next month. It can be an astonishing place to live. An opportunity you feel lucky to get a chance to experience.

You get tremendous acts of community and willingness to come together. When there was a fire earlier the year that left dozens homeless so much clothes were donated they had to ask people to stop because they didn't know what to do with it. There was a terrible snowmobile accident a few weeks ago that left one man dead and a young woman still in hospital and the outpouring of grief and support for the families involved was nearly overwhelming.

And that's in Iqaluit. It happens all across Nunavut. In the face of tragedy, communities band together to help.

I just wish tragedy didn't feel so commonplace up here sometimes. We love Nunavut. I just wish Nunavut made it easier to love it, that's all. I think the thing that disheartens me the most sometimes is that there are smart people up here trying to figure things out, so that tragedies like what happened on Tuesday are less common than what they are. And they struggle to come up with solutions.

I've always said Nunavut's problems aren't going to change overnight and for a (North American) culture that expects change to happen almost instantaneously and without pain, that's a hard thing to accept. That it could take decades or generations for Nunavut to be the kind of place that people here dream it could be is hard to take.

In the meantime, if you could spare a prayer or, if that's not your thing, then at least a thought for the friends and family who are absolutely devastated by this, then I think that would at least be a start.

Last Five
1. 40 - U2
2. Come talk to me (live) - Peter Gabriel*
3. Do what you want - Hall & Oates
4. Why do you love me - Garbage
5. Ending start - Metric