CAROLINE MONNET

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During the last Nuit Blanche Montréal, I was invited to raise my glass to something we should all forget in an attempt of mass amnesia. The exercise was both exciting and challenging.

I decided we should all forget the notions of FEAR, this unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, and likely to cause pain or a threat.

Nobody wants to live in fear.

Because fear lives in the mind, and sometimes also lingers into the body.

It comes with negative feelings of anxiety, nervousness and self-doubt.

We develop specific fears as a result of our education and learning process. And it is our social relations and our culture that shape individual fears of social rejection and failure.

We are taught by our parents to not talk to stranger to protect us. And most often we grow up being afraid of the unknown and of the other.

We tell ourselves stories and give ourselves excuses that allow us not to face our fears.

We blame minorities because we don’t want to take responsibilities.

And we fear anything that could disturb the comfort of our lives.

We live in a time of divided societies. Where the growth of extremism is fueled by anxiety and fear.

FEAR is a powerful tool. It is used politically and culturally to manipulate, persuade or dissuade.

When we are afraid, a manipulator can talk us out of the truth that we see right in front of our eyes. And then, words become more real than reality.

They say: “It’s for your safety”. “For the safety of the country”.

FEAR makes people build walls, block frontiers, deny entry access, and breaks family apart.

FEAR makes people follow in line, in order.

FEAR stops public emancipation

FEAR brings racism and discrimination.

FEAR is when people feel that other people’s rights are subverting their rights.

And in some cases, FEAR is a feeling all too familiar.

We FEAR for our youth committing suicide in astronomical rate in indigenous communities across North America.

As women, we FEAR of walking alone in the streets at night.

We FEAR of forgetting our traditional languages and knowledge.

We FEAR of forgetting our past and not being able to move strategically into our future.

The idea that FEAR has helped us to keep us alive is no longer accurate.

It is not keeping us alive enough. The FEAR of the world’s end is not strong enough.

The world is changing more and more rapidly, and we are perfectly aware that it will continue to change faster and faster. And yet, we do nothing. We continue to consume the Earth. We put more pipelines on indigenous lands, and there still no running water for most indigenous communities across Canada.

How can FEAR work for some of the most horrific and irresponsible things in humanity, but does not influence positive and constructive change?

This is why I think we should forget about FEAR.

FEAR cannot prevent catastrophes.

Acknowledging differences makes us grow. Because when we are surrounded by the same prejudice as ours, the same opinions, the same views, we start to stagnate.

When we know who we are, where we come from and our sense of values, we feel stronger in our identity. And when we are confident in our identity, we fear less the other.

Instead of freezing in FEAR, we can acknowledge the possibilities for the future. We could dream of friendships, trust and loyalty that would counteract feelings of solitude and ignorance.

I am trying to forget FEAR. And replace it by simply trust, joy, calmness, and courage.

We have a collective responsibility for our collective future. Is there something we can do, all of us together, to be able to face the future without FEAR?


Caroline Monnet was born 1985 in Ottawa, Ontario and now lives in Montreal. She is very involved and active in notions of Aboriginal identity and is one of the founding members of the Aboriginal digital arts collective ITWÉ. Her earliest short films were shown at the Toronto International Film Festival (Canada), at Sundance and at Palm Springs (USA). In 2016, she won the Golden Sheaf Award for best experimental film at the Yorkton Film Festival for MOBILIZE. Being chosen by the Cinéfondation Paris for a residency allowed her to bring home the award for best script at Cannes the following year. More recently she was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. She is currently working on a feature film entitled BOOTLEGGER.

www.carolinemonnet.ca