Canada 'It's an insult': Defaced war memorial leaves visitors shocked, gets quick cleanup

09:37  12 november  2017
09:37  12 november  2017 Source:   CBC

Montreal war monument graffiti draws anger

  Montreal war monument graffiti draws anger MONTREAL - A Montreal man said he and other residents were shocked and saddened after a war memorial was defaced with graffiti on Remembrance Day. Berj Merdjanian says he saw the lettering early Saturday morning when he went to work at his photo studio in the city's Saint-Laurent borough. What he saw was spray-painted profanity and antiwar messages in red lettering across the white cenotaph, hours before ceremonies were set to begin around the city at 11 a.m."It's an insult to the army, and to soldiers that died for us, and even now I feel emotional because every time I see it I get goosebumps," he said in a phone interview.

Just as Remembrance Day ceremonies got underway Saturday morning, a war memorial was defaced in the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent. But some visitors had come to the park early, Merdjani said, and left dismayed. Merdjani says the city was quick to clean up the words he said especially

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'It's an insult': Defaced war memorial leaves visitors shocked, gets quick cleanup: Berj Merdjani was entering his photography studio Saturday morning when he saw the war memorial across the street in Montreal was vandalized . CBC News has blurred out offensive language in the photo. (Submitted by Berj Merdjani)<br />© Berj Merdjani/Submitted Berj Merdjani was entering his photography studio Saturday morning when he saw the war memorial across the street in Montreal was vandalized . CBC News has blurred out offensive language in the photo. (Submitted by Berj Merdjani)

Just as Remembrance Day ceremonies got underway Saturday morning, a war memorial was defaced in the borough of Saint-Laurent.

Berj Merdjani saw the red graffiti, that said "F--k war" and "F--k the army" in French, as he was walking to the photo studio he owns across the street.

It was about 8:30 a.m. and Merdjani called the city right away. He feared the writings would still be there as people arrived to pay their respects at 11 a.m., just as he's watched them do for the past 35 years.

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The words especially stung on Remembrance Day.

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"For me, it's too sad," said Merdjani, whose great-grandparents died in the Armenian Genocide. "This is embarrassing, it's an insult."​

City workers showed up and promptly removed it. Montreal police say they have launched an investigation.

Visitors stunned

But some had come to the park early, Merdjani said, and left dismayed.

"Another lady came, she just stopped the car and went right there and she was stunned," said Merdjani, who is also the president of the local business association, Zone Décarie Nord.

"I said, 'Are you OK?' and she couldn't say anything. That's what was shocking … My reaction was, it was like in my stomach I felt bad."

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Merdjani, said he's happy the city took action so quickly, but he wants to make sure people understand what kind of impact the defacing can have.

"It's wrong. They're welcome to express their views, but not like this," he said.

"Imagine, soldiers' parents, soldiers who died, they see this, how are they going to feel?"​

A silver lining​

Merdjani saw a silver lining, though. Some of those who had initially left when they saw the graffiti came back later.

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The middle-aged woman he'd spoken to returned, this time with a friend, and a man he'd seen leave upset came back at around 1:30 p.m.

"He was smiling that it was clean. He waved to me from afar and he left," Merdjani said. "It was a good gesture."

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