Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1146, 2 - 8 May 2013
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1146, 2 - 8 May 2013

Ahram Weekly

The majesty of justice

Al-Ahram Weekly

Can a nation survive without the rule of law? There is an inherent love of justice within us that all men will pay dearly in order to achieve. Why is it, therefore seldom achieved?  How do you deal with a government defiant of all laws? “Let Justice be done, though the world perish” said the Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, (1503-1564). Are we to perish before we acquire it?

The painful drama of Egypt’s quest for democracy grows more complex with each passing day. In all its 7000- year history, Egypt has been ruled by a moral code of laws, respected and adhered to by all citizens.  Laws apply discipline and give the people protection, and Egyptians have abided by their laws under every form of government, whether as a great ancient civilization, a colony, a monarchy or a republic.

Dictators are all the same, corrupt, dishonest and depraved.  They abuse, oppress and tyrannize the citizens, but by and large they observe the law.  Without the law a state of anarchy reigns, spreading lawlessness and political disorder. Was this the purpose of our revolt?

There is an absence of government when the innocent are imprisoned unjustly and the guilty escape punishment.  A government so corrupt loses its legitimacy and a nation without a government loses its status. Are we no longer a nation among nations?  What therefore should we call ourselves?

The people are angry and anger supplies the arms with which men seek revenge. As the voices of dissent grow louder, anxiety and fear shake our existence.  We watch helplessly as our cherished institutions suffer the disregard of the mighty arm of the law.  From the dignity of Azhar University, to the grace of a nursing mother, all have suffered the infringement of an unjust and meddlesome government.  The Coptic Church, the Constitution, the Armed Forces, the Police Force, the Educational System, the Rights of Women, all revered by Egyptians, have been  degraded and humiliated by an arbitrary and despotic rule.

This sorry condition urges the question that has baffled Egyptians for many moons.  Why did the US, this leader of liberty, aid and abet the establishment of a Muslim Brotherhood government?  What a revelation it would be to discover the reasons behind the calamitous decision of the Obama administration!  It went as far as to contribute millions of tax dollars towards the election of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for presidency.  What great satisfaction they must feel for having succeeded.  Who benefited from this decision?  Not the citizens of this great land who remain baffled and bewildered by the US action as they  watch sorrowfully the steady decline and ruin of their nation; and the pace is accelerating.

Why this would be the purpose of the Obama administration is beyond comprehension!

In a broadcast talk on October 1, 1939, the great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill answered thus to a query about Russia: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia.  It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”   May we now borrow the words of this singular statesman to describe the action of the US!

The looting, the burning, the torturing, the killing of young rebels needlessly and inhumanely, the tearing up of one constitution and substituting it with another more befitting to their whims, the total disregard of the sanctity of the law and the majesty of human justice, describes a state of lawlessness no one even remotely imagined on that historic day of January 25, 2011, when the noble people of Egypt waged a revolution to remove their ruler and the rule of tyranny.  The ruler is gone, but tyranny lingered on, to gain more efficacy and extremity.

Long before man could even write, he needed a system of laws to follow in order to survive peacefully.  Laws became the first behavioral system known to man, handed down orally from one generation to the next.  Writing gave birth to man’s first civilization

Ancient Egyptian law dates as far back as 3500-3000 BC.  A civil code, it was broken into 12 books, characterized by tradition, rhetorical speech, social security and impartiality.  If Egyptians were aware of that calibre of justice then, how can they ignore it now?

The Codex Hammurabi was developed around 1760 BC by King Hammurabi of Babylonia.  The code of laws was inscribed in stone and several copies were placed throughout the kingdom for the entire public’s benefit. Between Hammurabi and the present lies the most amazing record of human exertion to achieve human justice for all.  How miserably has man failed in achieving this goal!

Man-made laws are mostly derived from divine laws, which many consider come directly from the will of God.   The Ten Commandments, believed to have been given to Moses by God is often referred to as the Mosaic Code, or the Law of Moses. It had tremendous influence on the moral content of most laws that followed.

All Divine Laws share the same principles.  The Torah, the Bible and the Koran follow the same teachings of love and compassion, equality and justice.  Human laws are moulded to fit each society but they are never far removed from the basic morals of Divine Laws.

Love thy neighbour as thyself is one of the great commandments.  Are we now to inquire first about the religion and beliefs of our neighbour?

Justice has to remain blind in order to survive!


 “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison.”

         Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


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