“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
His words ring so true given our knowledge of past history.
According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, justice is “the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity.”
Society generally bases its laws on what its population wants and needs for everyone to enjoy a decent life. It sounds so simple. Yet so many ideas enter into a society’s code of what is right that justice often becomes entangled with personal feelings and perceptions.
Does a serial killer deserve justice? Does a dictator who endangers the citizens of his or her country deserve justice? Even though we undeniably know that someone is causing harm to others, we still have to show justice towards them to prove that what they are doing is wrong. It is a tangled web.
When the scales tip towards those who execute injustice, the result can be uprisings, war, and mayhem. Those who live by the rules know inherently when injustice is getting out of hand. They rally together to overcome it and restore what is considered acceptable behavior.
We have only to glance at past history to uncover injustices. Have we learned from them? It doesn’t appear that we always have. Many of us are still fighting in the present world, still hating and still jealous and greedy for what others have. Maybe we are innately programmed to feel these negativities as well as feelings of love, and regard, commitment and responsibility. It seems that each one of us struggles to find that balance so that we can live alongside our brothers and sisters without conflict.
Slavery can be traced back to 6800 B.C. Who has the right to own another human being? Aren’t we all created equal? Not everyone believed that or even believes it today. The thread of this injustice wove through the years, gaining strength because no one stopped nipped it in the bud.
In the days before the Civil War, plantation owners used slave labor to work their fields, and to serve them in their homes. They thought it was a necessary thing to do. Others were horrified at such a system and fought a civil war over it. Justice won. Slavery was abolished in the United States. Yet we still find remnants of slavery and sex trafficking around the world. If we don’t fight against them, they could spread like a cancer.
If the Allies in World War I and II hadn’t persevered, what would the world be like today? I shudder to think of it. The Jewish people suffered so horrendously because of Adolf ItlerHHhh Hitler. He was able to spread his ideology of hate and created a following that threatened the world. We might be living in a dictatorship today instead of a democratic nation if Hitler hadn’t been stopped by those determined for justice to prevail.
Injustice thrives on brainwashing, bullying, propaganda, aggression and even fake news to embolden its agenda. It is up to us to resist these influences and fight for what we believe to be right and just.
Religions strive to give us answers. They teach us to love thy neighbor and follow the laws. Was religion instigated to keep us in line, to give us a code to live by? Perhaps it was. However, even the sanctity of religion can be challenged. Wars were fought and lives were needlessly lost over religion, such as during the Crusades. Today the Catholic Church is struggling with the scandal of sexual misconduct in its ranks. It is the perfect example of an injustice that was ignored for many years, and which caused immense suffering for many children. It could all have been avoided if someone brave enough had come forward and spoken out about such despicable actions.
It is unlikely that we will ever completely annihilate evil on the earth. But we can’t stop trying. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa – I could make a list of thousands of brave people who have marched against injustice, who were willing to give their own lives for the common good.
If only the peoples of the world could embrace one another’s heritage and appreciate each other’s cultures. If only we could all realize that a smile, a hug, a few words of encouragement, or just a kind word means more than all the riches we could ever acquire. Love has the power to defeat injustice. What is true happiness if there is no one in our life to love? If only….