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Wed Oct 17, 2018, 12:57 PM

A very affecting article on allowing the police to march in uniform in Toronto Pride

By Anthony Oliveira: https://www.dailyxtra.com/were-best-friends-arent-we-toronto-police-and-pride-121825

You are a decent, rational, compassionate person. You of course recognize that, the individual foibles and allowances of individual officers aside, the Toronto police have been the historical, habitual and ongoing antagonists of Toronto’s LGBT community.

Perhaps you remember Operation Soap, the malicious bathhouse raids that destroyed people’s lives — and subsequently triggered Toronto’s first Pride march as a passionate anti-police protest. If not, you still know about the decades of harassment and attempts to destroy the village’s institutions like the Glad Day Bookshop. You probably saw the footage of HIV-phobic insults hurled at a homeless person in the village. You likely remember 2016’s Project Marie, which descended on anonymous and closeted men in a park and publicly humiliated them in droves. You certainly saw the cheerful police photo op just a few weeks ago with neo-Nazi mayoral candidate Faith Goldy.

You know about the people we lost while begging the police to do something for decades, though perhaps their names escape you; there are, after all, so many of them: Majeed Kayhan, Selim Esen, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Abdulbasir Faizi, Kirushna Kanagaratnam. The decades of grisly cold cases, now reopened, despite the mockery they once gave us for suggesting there was a killer; the blame the police chief tried shifting to us when the killer was caught too late. Alloura Wells, left to rot in a morgue while her community searched everywhere. Tess Richey, left in an alley stairwell for her mother to find.

To demand an abuse victim to stand and smile with their abuser is an act of cruelty and an obscenity contrary to every ethos of restorative justice. Philosopher Hannah Arendt, writing about Christ and the Jewish capacity to forgive their oppressors after the Second World War, noted forgiveness is only possible if and when the perpetrator stands in the victim’s power to be punished if they so choose.

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