I have visited this theme before, and I will probably do it again, because the hypocrisy and/or ignorance involved here is simply unforgiveable, and because I need to stake out my position more clearly on the matter.
When the murder itself is not the problem and the identity of the victim is irrelevant; when the identity of the murderer is the thing that prompts reaction and dictates its nature and scale, is it really surprising that we live in mayhem, and that hypocrisy is the guiding ethos of our lives? So long as our support for justice remains selective, the very notion of justice loses its meaning. Those who truly believe in justice have to be consistent in their stands. Syrians, Iraqis, Darfuris, Yemenis, Somalis, Pakistanis, etc. deserve justice no less than the Palestinians, irrespective of the identity of the persecutors involved: ruling regimes, extremist militias or foreign occupiers.
Mere disaffection with the status quo in the world, or one’s lot in it, is not enough to help chart a path beyond it. A guiding vision is needed, and in order to formulate the right vision, which needs be inclusive and fair, an open debate of the issues is a must. Otherwise, processes will be guided and outcomes determined by figures and parties armed with the narrowest of visions and the lowest of ethical standards, people like Putin and his obsession with the return of Greater Russia, and groups like Al-Qaeda and its determination to revive the obsolete Caliphate system. While neither Putin nor Al-Qaeda is in a position to directly threaten global peace and stability, the localized regional mayhem they create is more than sufficient to harm millions of people, making this world a more dangerous place than it needs to be and rendering hope in a better future irrelevant. Atavistic longings cannot pave the way to a better future.
When will we ever be ready to act right, not just speak it, and make that the norm?
All political considerations aside, I simply cannot believe that ten thousand years after the emergence of the first city states, five thousand years after the invention of the first alphabet and the introduction of the first legal code, more than sixty years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and close to 10 years since the formulation of the Responsibility to Protect, world leaders still lack the political will to stand up to mass murder, to say “no,” to prevent it from happening when the signs are there, and to quickly stop it when it occurs and bring the culprits to justice.
He was a great man. He had a difficult life, the last 23 years notwithstanding. It took much pain for him to get there: to freedom. Though he saw his dream fulfilled, I am sure he was aware of the toll of it all, on himself, on his nation, and I am sure he was weary near the end and ready for rest. I am also sure that he was whole and fulfilled. He was surrounded by loved-ones, and his legacy was undeniable. Very few people will ever have this chance: dying while whole and fulfilled. It needs to be earned, and Madiba definitely earned it. His memory will live on, his legacy will be remembered and humanity will be better because he had once lived. But the fuckups will continue, and many of them will be committed by those who claim to have appreciated and understood his legacy. But those who really appreciate act, they don’t grandstand. I, for one, am not sure where I fit. I am still trying to understand I guess. I haven’t had the chance to reflect about this yet: Madiba’s Legacy.