Peo­ple Plan

The Walrus - - CONTENTS - by Matthew Tier­ney

So it’s lit­tle dystopian. room on the plat­form, Can’t de­ci­pher whether my fel­low com­muter, in­tent on his tablet, is a pro­fi­cient first-per­son shooter, if I’m his equal. Is there any mea­sure more bi­b­li­cal than a stone’s throw? Un­der­ground, what sun­light there is is re­fused us. I’ve mixed feel­ings point­ing out the ob­vi­ous. Ei­ther you un­der­stand my am­biva­lence or you do not. In the king­dom of con­spir­a­cies any­one of us could be a the­o­rist. On the sur­face fruit rots in horn-shaped bowls. Mir­ror man, our hair’s turn­ing sil­ver, last chance to ex­change looks. You first.

and found a recipe for a pres­sure-cooker bomb, and, at the fam­ily home of Ja­mali, found ev­i­dence that he had been watch­ing ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos. The cou­ple had also pur­chased two tick­ets to Greece—apo­ten­tial point of en­try on the route to Syria. Af­ter a month­s­long trial, the Que­bec Su­pe­rior Court ac­quit­ted the cou­ple in 2017. Just over a month later, it was an­nounced that Djer­mane and Ja­mali would be work­ing for a three-month pe­riod as con­sul­tants at the CPRLV and de­vel­op­ing a guide for peo­ple in the prison sys­tem who face ter­ror­ism charges — a move that drew con­cern and crit­i­cism from a skep­ti­cal pub­lic. “It’s not that we are naive about them,” Du­col says. “I can see the per­cep­tion that peo­ple have. ‘Okay, the trial is done, they have been re­leased, and now they are work­ing at the cen­tre.’” But this isn’t the whole story, he says. The CPRLV had been work­ing with the cou­ple for a year and half be­fore they were hired, while the cou­ple was still in jail, and had deemed them to be trust­wor­thy. “They have moved away from rad­i­cal­iza­tion,” Du­col says. “I don’t know if they are com­pletely de­rad­i­cal­ized or if they have com­pletely changed their view, but at least they have dis­en­gaged from ex­trem­ism.” In the past three years, the CPRLV has ex­ported its Be­hav­iour Barom­e­ter and other tech­niques to sim­i­lar cen­tres in France, the UK, and Bel­gium. And, in 2016, then United Na­tions sec­re­tary­gen­eral Ban Ki-moon vis­ited the CPRLV’S of­fice in Mon­treal. “I am very in­ter­ested in your ap­proach,” he said dur­ing a speech at the cen­tre. “You are fo­cused on help­ing in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies be­fore the prob­lems es­ca­late. This is com­pas­sion­ate and ef­fec­tive.” A month prior, Ban had launched a UN plan to pre­vent vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism and was en­thu­si­as­tic about new meth­ods. “Un­der­stand­ing these phe­nom­ena is not the same as jus­ti­fy­ing them,” he said, ar­tic­u­lat­ing a point not com­monly un­der­stood by those who doubt the em­pa­thetic ap­proach of the CPRLV. Fiset de­scribes the need to “re­hu­man­ize” rad­i­cals. “They are hu­man and they need help. Be­cause you’re not rad­i­cal­iz­ing when you’re happy,” he says. Re­sponses to Fiset’s out­spo­ken­ness have been mixed. Ex­treme rightwing groups have made threats against him, and he’s in­curred pub­lic dis­as­so­ci­a­tions from Mon­treal’s An­tifa — or anti-fas­cist — or­ga­ni­za­tion. “Some peo­ple are to­tally will­ing to trust me be­cause it fits their nar­ra­tive that peo­ple de­serve a sec­ond chance,” he says. “But some peo­ple re­ally don’t be­lieve in sec­ond chances, and for them, I will al­ways re­main tainted by what I might have done. And that’s also fine.” Seila Rizvic is a for­mer ed­i­to­rial fel­low at The Wal­rus. Her work has ap­peared in Ha­zlitt and Maison­neuve.

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