I got myself involved in a couple of heated conversations in the last couple of days. One of them was regarding my position on demonstrations, rallies and the such. While I agree that as a world citizen, we must make our voices heard when defending justice, I do not think that actions reflecting what we are standing up against should be undertaken. For it makes no logical sense to think that you can fight fire with fire. Remember my 10 year old friend’s advice? You fight fire with water.
A small demonstration (pun intended!).
Let’s say that, because of my deep concern regarding the current situation in Iran, I decide to rally up everyone I can contact, people that I know or don’t know, using email, Facebook and Twitter. At the appointed date and time, dressed in green, we march together towards the Iranian embassy and spend the whole day there chanting slogans and talking to reporters. We feel empowered, we feel joyful, we feel like we are a part of something bigger. And, at the end of the day, we all go home feeling great, having made new friends and having developed a new perspective on the world.
On the one hand, such an event will definitely raise awareness. In a society in which awareness is seriously lacking, it’s a great objective to achieve. After all, most people seem to practice what I like to call ostrich-style citizen participation.
On the other hand, raising awareness and encouraging a country’s government to sanction Iran for it’s less than adequate election process is about all that is going to happen.
I’m not trying to belittle the effort that goes into organizing these events; quite the contrary, kudos to the individuals around the world who take the time and effort to rally when their souls are stirred by injustices perpetuated time and time again. And, in the case of rallies happening in places where oppression runs supreme, I’m certainly not belittling the courage it takes for people to show up to them. It takes courage to speak up, but even more courage to speak up when you risk being punished for it.
However, I do dare say and repeat ‘all that is going to happen’, because, yet again, the root cause of the problem behind the problem hasn’t been addressed.
To find that root cause implies embarking on a tedious, lengthy and very difficult process of discussion, consultation, and change – the real kind. When we are told by Gandhi to be the change we want to see in the world, few people realize just how true his words are. As the questions in a previous post on Sahar’s blog show, justice at the lowest of levels is necessary to achieve justice at the highest of levels.
For if there is no justice in your household, how can there be justice in your neighborhood?
And if there is no justice in your neighborhood, how can there be justice in your county?
And if there is no justice in your county, how can there be justice in your state?
And if there is no justice in your state, how can there be justice in your country?
And, to top it off, if there is no justice in your country, how can there be justice in the world?
‘As the body of man needeth a garment to clothe it, so the body of mankind must needs be adorned with the mantle of justice and wisdom.’ (Baha’u’llah).
Without justice, there can be no peace.
So give your little sister her doll back, give your best friend his guitar pick back, and get working on establishing justice in all your relationships.