When Justice is Hung by a Thread

By Christian Obi. Christian is from Ondo, Nigeria. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

It is no wonder why an act of injustice committed in a corner of the world reverberates with a multiplicity effect in the wider world. The logic is not far-fetched. Both the beneficiaries and the victims of injustice carry the guilt and stigma respectively along with them everywhere they go, rubbing it off onto others. Even the justice system has been grossly impaled by injustice. At the heart of every rebellion, violence, protest, crime, felony and other irrational decision and behaviour lies the long-borne cancer of injustice. These social menaces start somewhere and like a contagion ignite the sense and feeling of injustice in other parts of the world thereby threatening the justice system.

The threat of human right violation to the equity system has become overwhelming insomuch that both now exist on equal pedestal in every facet of human life, especially on the legal perspective. In reality, both struggle for mastery over each other.

The title-quote of this essay by the revered clergyman in the mid 20th century has never been truer than it is today. The prevalence of racial discrimination and class consideration in America and other ills elsewhere in his days has gone several inches deeper and metres wider in our inhabited world. The popular allusion by George Orwell in his classic, “Animal Farm” that “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others” should be understood in its right context.

Racial discrimination, xenophobic assaults, wide social disparities, abuse and misuse of privileges, deprivation and denial of rights, diplomatic lopsidedness, partiality in judgement and spurious delay in entrenching justice are all acts of injustice. This biased relationship has been seen to exist between the privileged few and the poor masses. These ‘privileged few’ range from individuals to nations including other entities in between the two. Injustice, like goods and services, are constantly being imported and exported across nationality boundaries, creating awareness, infecting multitudes like viruses and leaving scarred memories upon humanity.

The Arab Spring of 2010 readily comes to mind to substantiate this point. The uprising started in Tunis, Tunisia on December 2010 following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in protest of police corruption and ill treatment. With the success of the protests in Tunisia, a wave of civil unrest swept through Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, toppling government and changing the status quo.

On educational standpoint, this quote applies with firm tenacity. Education is said to be a right, not a privilege. However, when the right of a child to education is abused through lack of facilities for conducive learning (facilities that include but not limited to school buildings, renovation of dilapidated buildings, well-equipped laboratories and libraries, furniture and ICT equipment), non (or poor) funding, discrimination in providing scholarship especially for indigent students or outright diversion of same due to tribal or family interests, lack or dearth of trained, qualified teachers, high tuition or school fees, delay in or non-payment of stakeholders in education like teachers and supervisors and the rest, it is a gross injustice, be it on the part of government or other groups or personnel. This is committed blatantly against millions of children yearly in both First and Third World countries, particularly, the developing States.

Furthermore, teachers, lecturers, supervisors and examiners perpetrate theirs when their profession takes a place in the priority scale other than the first, or worse still, is substituted with private and pecuniary inclinations. The students bear the brunt of their inefficiencies, become disenchanted with their education and finally develop flawed mindsets about their future and life in general.

Additionally, misguided parents have a share in this fragrant abuse of their children’s right to education. Gender discrimination is rife in many primitive and uncivilised African traditional societies. Ignorance, customs and warped mentality are the root cause of this injustice in families and communities. Cases abound in their thousands whereby female children are kept at home to do chores, help in the family businesses and farming activities and finally forced into early marriages. In sharp contrast, the male children are given the privilege of education through the females sweat! The girl child therefore grows up to consider herself inferior to her boy counterpart.

The consequence of these education-based injustices are awful and far-reaching, to say the least. As the progenitors who started the Unfairness Syndrome become aged, their progenies and protégés begin the process of entrenching these acts as norms. Having greater advantages, influence and qualifications than the ill- or semi-literate and oppressed masses, they penetrate and occupy the major posts in the education circles, political swirl pool, government institutions, private sector, industrial arena and even religious fields. This leads to the amendment of constitutions, enactment of dictatorial decrees, change of edicts and trampling on the rule of law. Thus justice is brought on its knees!

The reportage of such actions by the local and international tabloids, news and social media spread them to all nooks and crannies of the world. While some will condemn the deeds, some, nonetheless, will accept and replicate them in their domains. Hence, justice is threatened everywhere. Meanwhile the victims are forced to accept their fate, thinking, albeit wrongly, that they are doomed to a life of inequity. Their struggles at resisting the injustice meted out to them are met with stiff and brutal retribution.

In conclusion, the threat to justice everywhere lies with the propagators and beneficiaries of injustice. At present, justice is being held (hung) with a thin thread; it can snap at anytime unless humans of conscience strive to run the system.

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