The Relentless Pursuit of Justice

After watching “The Fourth Angel”, I have resolved that both Hollywood and Humanity have a fascination with the concept of Justice.  “The Fourth Angel” is a 2001 movie starring Jeremy Irons, whose intensity on screen is rarely matched, and Forrest Whitaker, a favorite for his ability to slide into any character and make it believable.  That being said, the movie has earned a 5 (in my book) on a scale of 1 to 10.  Why a 5, you might ask?  Well, although I was graced with the performances of two talented actors, the plot was ordinary, the outcome was predictable and the shooting was on the heavy side (too heavy for my taste).

It is the story of a British magazine editor (Jeremy Irons) turned vigilante in order to find JUSTICE for his wife and daughters killed during a plane hijack while the terrorists walked free.  Mr. Whitaker plays the American FBI agent who will figure it all out when he discovers that none other than an American diplomat was the brain behind the whole hijack…UGH!! (I should have given it a 4).  Nonetheless, not the worse movie ever made and worth seeing if there is nothing better to do; but I digress.

It made me think about the ideal that Justice, or the pursuit of it, is usually the dominant propaganda of every society that deems itself civilized.  Playwrights and writers have been writing about it for centuries and the film making industries have given it to us ad nauseam.  Who doesn’t like to see the “bad guy” getting caught or brought to justice after committing a vile crime against peaceful citizens?  We all feel that in this world every wrong must be rectified and we understand that in order to live in society, rules  must be abided by and boundaries must not be crossed at the risk of running head first against the wall we call the law.  I have concluded that if the Law guarantees societal order, it has not really concerned itself much with Justice.

After all, what is Justice?  I believe that in this Universe, there are numbers of natural laws.  In the Animal Kingdom, all species are really concerned with three rules:

1-      Eat, to guarantee the survival of the individual

2-      Procreate, to guarantee the survival of the species

3-      And, whatever you do, don’t get eaten

So, I have often wondered, this fascination for Justice in our human species, where does it come from?  I haven’t yet found the answer.  Perhaps it is this propensity we have to want to constantly elevate ourselves beyond our means and capabilities.  For to want Justice and to truly believe in it, one has to agree that its ever reaching powerful Arms will fall upon our heads when we are in the wrong regardless of our socioeconomic position in this world.  Good luck!

I searched and searched; thought, thought some more and ended up getting a headache for lack of finding an answer to my query.  I decided that Justice is Divine.  In this Universe when you violate one of the most sacred laws which is “never proceed with malice for personal gain”, the Creator will “take care of you”, “even the score” sooner or later.  To parody a most beloved cliché, in this great big circle of life, what goes around comes around…

AHHHHH! Justice, as we become more and more technological, more and more “advanced” it seems to elude us more and more.  The great Human victories were not won because of the obsession with Justice.  Rather, they happened because we focused on Injustice.  This is why former French slaves bought/brought from the African west coast challenged the Colonial system and slavery in 1804 and created a country called Haiti.  This is why an entire Jewish nation crossed the desert to get away from Egyptian domination.  This is why in 1789, a new class of men and women calling themselves Bourgeois said no to the notion of Blue Blood which limited their upward social mobility in the land they called their own…You get the point.  In other words, when we take notice of the grave injustices in our world, we fight to correct them.  In so doing we don’t always arrive at securing justice for all those who have suffered but what we do instead is rid ourselves of systems and beliefs that are potentially dangerous for the survival of a community and sometimes of humanity.   Although hundreds of Nazis responsible for war crimes were able to get away and continued living undisturbed in other parts of the world, one of the positive outcomes of the War remains the recognition that Human Rights must be enjoyed by all regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender.  The pursuit of Justice has often the flair of vengeance but fighting to rid the world of injustice has bore sweeter fruits.

Cassandra Honorat

December 13, 2011

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