You have won the battle against justice but you have not won the war against justice

Mr. President,

Congratulations! You have won the battle, the battle of your Executive Order barring people entry into the United States of America, on account of the countries they are coming from.

It is injustice, by your administration on the basic fundamental rights of human beings. It is not everyone from those countries who is involved in Terrorism.

Yet you are making thousands, if not millions of families, women and children suffer because your Executive Order is an Order of injustice.

Human justice has come a long way and it is still unfurling to levels where we human beings will related to each other under better, more secure relations, than what we have now.

There is evidence in history, prophetic brains have also predicted a paradise for us.

Your act, at this time in history is therefore a triumph over a battle won the battle of injustice against people of Syria, Libya, Iran and others, but you have not won the war of justice – It was justice that brought the Israelites our of Egypt; it was justice that stopped slave trading and slavery.

Abraham Lincoln was a fierce fighter against slavery, and signed the Emancipation law, which freed the slaves in America.

He also fought a war that brought a divided United States together. In history, he is considered a Martyr for Emancipation of the black race and forebearer of national unity.

One can go back to the Code of Hammurabi – regarded as the earliest complete legislation known to humanity (1800 BC); the Twelve Tables (450 BC) which stated the rights and duties of the Roman Citizen – which in the words of Gicero, the Roman philosopher and statesman – were both in their weight of authority and in plenitude of utility – formed the basis of Roman Law for a thousand years.

Mr. President, Democracy in reality is justice and freedom for all. It is to the Ancient Greeks that we owe both the word and concept of Democracy.

Democracy was translated in a system of Governance where economic power, political power of oligarchy or ruling class was redistributed to the people to the point that by mid-5th century BC Athenians had credited a participatory Democracy in which all citizens (free born Athenian males) could attend, speak and vote in the ruling assembly or Ekklesia.

Most public offices in the democratic governance of that time, like it is today, were elected. It is the words of Pericles one of those who fought for the Democracy, that we cherish today, that I thought I should bring to your attention.

At a funeral speech given over the bodies of Athenians killed in battle against Spanta, Pericles said “Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves.

It’s administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if to social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way; if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition”.

If we turn to our military policy, there also we differ from our antagonists. We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing (although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality), thrusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens.

We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show.

But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring friends by conferring, not by receiving favours.

Yet of course, the doer of the favour is the firmer friends of the two, in order by continued kindness to keep the recipient in his debt; while the debtor feels keenly from the very consciousness that the return he makes will be a payment, not a free gift. And it is only the Athenians who, fearless of consequences, confer their benefits not from calculations of expediency, but in the confidence of liberality.

Mr. President, like the ancient Greek Pericles, you should have found justice for the foreign citizens of Syria, Libya, Iran and others in the confidence of liberality which the United States is carrying today as a touch bearer of Democracy.

From the Greeks and their ability to establish a just democratic society to the French and American revolutions that established Liberal Democratic Governance, to the colonial injustices that saw the world oppressed under the European Imperialist powers in Africa Latin America and Asia – to the Independence and Liberation of the new post – colonial societies – we have witnessed the defeat of political, social economic and cultural injustice.

The global trend now is justice from all people in all nations. The words of the former Secretary General of the United Nations Koffi Atta Annan, given at his farewell statement to the General Assembly on 19th September 2006 are worth taking into account wherever you are making decisions of international or interstate nature; He said;

“When I first spoke to you from this podium in 1997, it seemed to me that humanity faced three great challenges. One was to ensure that globalization would benefit the human race as a whole, not only its more fortunate members.

Another was to heal the disorder of the past cold-war world, replacing it with a genuinely new world order of peace and freedom envisaged in our charter. And the third was to protect the rights and dignity of individuals, particularly women, which were so widely trampled underfoot.

For that we have terrorism to thank. It kills and maims relatively few people, compared to other forms of violence and conflict. But it spreads fear and insecurity. And that in turn drives people to huddle together with those who share their beliefs or their way of life, while shunning those who appear “alien”.

Thus, at the very time when international migration has brought millions of people of different creed or culture to live as fellows – citizens, the misconception and stereotypes underlying the idea of a “clash of civilizations” have come to be more and more widely shared; and insensitivity towards other people’s beliefs or sacred symbols – intentional or otherwise – is seized upon by those who seem eager to foment a new war on religion, this time on global scale”.

What matters is that the strong, as well as the weak, agree to be bound by the same rules, to treat each other with the same respect.

What matters is that all peoples accept the need to listen; to compromise, to take each other’s views into account.

What matters is that they come together, not all cross purposes but with a common purpose; a common purpose to shape their common destiny.

And that can only happen if peoples are bound together by something more than just a global market, or even a set of global rules.

Each of us must earn the trust of his fellow men and women, no matter what their race, colour or creed and learn to trust in turn.

Together we have pushed some big rocks to the top of the mountain, even if others have slipped from our grasp and rolled back. But this mountain with its bracing winds and global views is the best place on earth to be.

One manifestation of injustice in recent times was the apartheid system of rule in South Africa.

It was a product of European empire expansion – well known as Imperialism; resulting in settler colonialism fortified itself and encased itself into a racial state, separating the native black population from white state rule, giving birth to the official ideology of apartheid as a system of Governance which excluded citizens of the same state on racial lines.

The  consequences of that racist-solidified state which began from about 1650 and politically-formally ended in 1984 has left untold injustices to the natives of South Africa, whose despicable acts of injustice can only be equaled to the same period of slave trading slavery and racial discrimination- which also occurred in today’s USA covering almost the same period.

To this very day, even the thin political layer of democracy – has the veins of economic, political, social, cultural and even religious injustices still flouring with blood hemorrhaging in criminal activities among races.

Mr. President, from history, the world has pushed the big rocks to justice and freedom for all, your Executive order is one of the rocks that has slipped from global justice and is rolling back.

But it shall not be for long, the wheels of social justice, in unison with national justice will bush it back, to the fair level – top of the mountain, where there is justice for all.

You have won the war – justice for all will finally prevail. In the words of British Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn; “Build bridges not wall” – By barring people from certain countries, you are building walls between those nations and their people , not bridges of freedom and trust.

Donald Chanda

Lecturer – UNZA (Rtd)

Tel: 0979 771803


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