Truth in the realm of human affairs is analogues to facts in the sciences. For example, water is a combination of three atoms, two of hydrogen and one of oxygen. This is a scientific fact that doesn’t depend on who is making/doing it. On the other hand, justice is a discretionary notion that very much depends on who is fiddling with it. Hence, it is necessarily judgmental. What absolves it is the belief that it is based on available/verifiable facts/truths processed objectively and rationally. It is not for no reason Lady Justitia was portrayed as a blindfolded lady; it is to emphasize implied fairness in the judicial process. Nonetheless, like many things in the world of humans, the reality always falls short of the ideal!
The assumption that justice is usually derived at; after thorough and honest deliberation/reflection of relevant facts is what has sustained relative peace, (to be sure always interspersed with wars) within and between human civilizations since time immemorial. However, a close look at history reveals the above assumption has always been somewhat tenuous, if not outright fallacious. In the reality of collective human affairs, justice invariably favors those who actually wield real raw power. For example, in the Germany of 1930s, (the era which favored the Nazis) it would have been futile to argue, in the court of law, Jews (like their fellow citizens) also deserve the protection of their basic inalienable rights (human rights.) Ironically and in the same vein, it has also become politically incorrect to argue (at least inside the power corridors of empire) Palestinians deserve better conditions than is allowed them in the modern state of Israel. So let us not be naïve, the ideal of the blindfolded Lady has been, for the most part, ephemeral.
In times of relative peace and prosperity, the beast (human mass) tends to be gullible and naively presumes the ideal of justice will automatically prevail and dominate public life. But the politicos have never been and (most likely) will never be so naïve. Even in the best of times, they cynically fiddle with the justice system (judiciary) to fulfill temporal agenda, which usually entails the forgoing of basic societal values at the expense of base ambitions (mostly to stick around and parasitically leverage the system.) When justice is blatantly abused to the core, under the pretext of all sorts of expediencies/exigencies, violent disruptions and social chaos gradually step in. Ultimately the abused society becomes dysfunctional and gravitates towards the ranks of failing/failed states!
For us, a measure of a civilization’s depth is the swiftness and determination, (on the part of the populous) to coherently challenge the abuse of justice, systematically perpetrated by the shortsightedness of the status quo. A primitive civilization, nay a slavishly barbaric one, is characterized by a sheepishly submitting populous to the stupid caricaturing of justice. In this case, the people hardly put up any visible resistance to challenge the prevailing gross abomination. By this measure, not many societies can claim to be civilized, despite technological advances! This reminds us of a comment Oscar Wilde made in jest (Irish writer/poet) about the US. ‘America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.’ See also Hedges article next column and Michael Moore’s on page 50. People like Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer price winner and a former journalist of the New York Times, is one brave soul whose objectives should be supported and emulated across the world, just like those of his worthy predecessors (Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela, etc.) Currently he is openly challenging, (not only in the court of law; Hedges vs. Obama, but also outside of it) the creeping fascistic tendencies of his country, which, until recently was, arguably the freest on earth!
When truth, the raw material of justice gets distorted on a continuous basis so that injustice gets entrenched, to systemically favor the power that be (oligarchs and all), there will be unintended consequences emanating not only from those who unfortunately find themselves at the receiving end, but also within those who perpetrate injustice with impunity. The war of aggression against Iraq, spearheaded by the Anglo-American Axis, is a case in point. Not surprisingly, one of the defining characteristics of lawbreakers (local or international) is; they assume the beast is and will remain uninformed or even perpetually stupid, no matter the situation. In this regard they are akin to their soul mates, the mafia! Moreover, these demented characters have difficulty in recollecting human history and even if they do, they regard most of it as inconsequential. To these mutilated souls, ‘The French Revolution’, ‘The Declaration of Independence’, ‘The October Revolution’, ‘The Long March’, etc, etc, are mere incidents that left no mark in the annals of human history. Being oblivious to such earth shaking momentous events is another defining characteristic of simpletons!
Also, challenging the injustice that is openly and broadly practiced across our continent (by the power that be) is an unfinished business, despite the touted economic growth, which still remains polarizing. Be prepared, the call for ‘dignity’ that is spreading like wild fire, will soon come to a country near you. Even the bigger countries (like that of Egypt) might not be spared; Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, etc! May be it is time to recall the famous movie line: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” V for Vendetta. Good Day!