Justice Undelivered

Justice, when denied makes you the person you become. This thought, I am reminded of, specifically in relation to the men and women in the Time of the Coup.

At the very individual level, humans feel a need to be dealt  with righteously, fairly, compassionately. When the very basic principles of belief are crossed over by a wrongdoing, there is the initial reaction, shock and build up of emotions, resulting in an outburst, rage, and hibernation, to name a few. The build up goes on and on, the search for justice takes a steep curve, you do everything in your power to express your emotions, tell the stories, bend and break things in your vicinity so that you can reach the desired point until a realisation is reached about the infinite nature of the curve. And then there comes a point when normalisation starts to occur around you, except in yourself, and a few others with empathy. Later on, it is just you who is left to deal with fight against the injustice brought upon yourself by forces out of your control.

This is now the case of many young and old, male and female protesters who joined the call for freedom since the elected Maldivian government was ousted by a coup on 7 February 2012. The incomprehensible show of police brutality on 8 February was the first such experience by the thousands of protesters who joined the walk, the attack being the first of its kind in Maldivian history. Appalled and shocked by the witness of it, many joined rallies by the MDP, the only political party calling for  investigation into the coup, calling for freedom, and calling for an election. With sheer spirit, the rallies marched, women took lead, and submitted their individual cases of the brutal attacks on their selves and others to the Human Rights Commission of Maldives.

The cases are still pending. And while the cases are pending, the environment is changing. The protesters, men and women, old and young,  are labelled as terrorists by the Home Minister of coup government, named ‘a mob’ by the President of the coup government, and rah medhah vihaa (giving birth out of wedlock) single mothers by coup aligned activists. Still not a single word from the coup President or anyone in the coup government acknowledging that there is a case, in fact several serious cases of brutality experienced first hand by a massive number number of Maldivian citizens within a short period of two to three days.

And still the cases at the HRCM are pending. And while they are pending, several other rallies occur, several more men and women, young and old are faced with more brutality from police forces. And the coup government talks about damage to buildings and police property.

The flaccidness of the HRCM, the Police Integrity Commission, and other institutions that are required to push the deliverance of justice is leading to the weakening of hope and spirit of the men and women who have been unjustly brutalised. The spectrum is normalising, so soon, and excuses are born to justify the brutality. Jokes are said by the people who did not directly feel the blow of the police baton, as way of dealing with the forces that cannot be brought in front of the Courts. Hopelessness and lack of conviction towards the attainment of justice leads many men and women to find means to discard the initial emotions of anger,  and they to learn to stabilise their selves with a dose of ignorance  and choose a path to surrender.

But the stabilisation of the majority does not necessarily lead to the same acceptance of it by the few with strong convictions. It did not go away for a number of Maldivians who suffered torture under the 30 year long rule of Gayoom. The compilation of cases of torture in Maldivian jails by Aminath Najeeb shows the resilience within the group of individuals who suffered. The emotional voice-outs of the citizens of Havaru Thinadhoo fourty or so years after the actual events show their resilience in their search for justice. The recently published book on the inhumane treatment of Mohamed Amin Didi in the middle of the 20th century proves one writer’s convicting search for truth and justice.

While spectrums mellow out, while people find comical exclamations and lies to stabilise their minds in a volatile environment, while a coup government dishonours and stampedes on the very basic human need for freedom and justice using their batons and shields and helmets and rubber bullets and baton bombs, the individual Maldivian who has been unjustly brutalised will seek a way to find justice, today or tomorrow, until the curve for the search of justice reaches the point of equilibrium. Today or tomorrow.

ifham

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