History of justice is as old as the history of the human planet. It is as much relevant to man as to other species.
Research conducted in 2003 at Emory University,Georgia, USA, involving Capuchin Monkeys demonstrates the relation of justice to animals.
The findings state that other cooperative animals also possess a sense of judgment, and that ‘inequity aversion may not be uniquely human’.
They conclude, ‘ideas of fairness and justice may be instinctual in nature’. ( Nature 425, 297- 299, September 18, 2003)
The argument solidifies the logic that justice is central to living creatures, and that the violation of it will hurt the cause of existence on the earth.
Justice, no doubt, differs from person to person, society to society and nation to nation, yet justice is common to all.
The reason justice implies ‘‘conformity to truth, fact,or sound reason’ ( The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language ).
John Rawls claims: ‘Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought.’ (John Rawls, A Theory of Justice , revised ed.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p- 3)
Justice, in short, is a form of societal defence mechanism. It aims at the protection of people in the society.
Brain reacts to justice as it does to other physical events, a study shows. The persistent denial of it leads to social discontentment, eventually resulting into revolutions.
One of the characteristics that caused uprisings in Libya is the deprivation of justice to common citizens. The previous regime had mechanism in which fear ruled more than the rule of justice, and thus the public largely remained in a state of silent agitation despite them having genuine grievances.
Among many challenges, the most prominent one, to the new government in Libya is JUSTICE. Many have suffered immensely before or during the war at the hands of those who exercised absolute power to do what they liked.
From destruction of houses to plundering of national wealth, from torture to illegal detention and from murder to rapes…the list is endless; the National Transitional Council has to evolve a mechanism that those whose hands are red with blood are brought to justice without delay and political affiliation.
Justice is not about criminality only. It is not about quarrel, robbery or murder in particular. It is much more beyond that.
In his A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, equals justice to ‘an impartial distribution of human resources’ (p -266 ). It is about equal treatment to all without prejudice and favour.
In this context, the new government in Libya has to evolve a system in which the benefit of national resources, i.e. OIL reaches the grass root level.
The disillusionment among the people with Qaddafi regime was that while the country amassed a lot of wealth coming from oil revenue, public in general suffered from the lack of basic facilities such as health, education, transportation, housing and communications.
Liby in terms of population has no immediate challenge. It has just six million populations equal to any smaller city of India or China. The new government can do wonder for its people translating their aspirations of revolutions into reality. It is all within its means and resources.
The task to enhance justice multiplies in the light of Libya declaring itself to be governed by Sharia, Islamic law.
The Holy Quran enlightens, ‘God does command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; And when you judge between man and man, that ye judge with justice; Verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives! For God is He Who hears and sees all things.’ (4 :58)
Those charged with authority or responsibility or decision, or the settlement of affairs in the society must deliver justice.
Islam makes no sharp distinction between sacred and secular affairs, it expects ordinary governments to be imbued with righteousness, and such authority in power must be obeyed and respected; otherwise there will be no order or discipline.
Well! Though there is a sharp division between law and morality, between secular and religious affairs, as is the case in most countries at the present day, Islam still expects secular authority to be exercised in righteousness.
The Divine Book continues: ‘We have sent down to you the Book in truth, that thou mightiest judge between men, as guided by God; so be not as an advocate by those who betray their trust.’ (4 :105)
What matters to Islam is JUSTICE …nothing less and nothing more. The Quran is never with those who oppress, usurp and deny the rights of individuals.
Upholding the ideals of justice is not only the sacred duty of the government but also a step forward toward attaining the goals of liberty, equality and fraternity as enshrined in the principles of democracy.
Published online: THE TRIPOLI POST,
Posted from WordPress for Android