No matter how we may feel about a situation, it is never right to take the law into our own hands. It may continue to take away innocent lives, possibly yours or mine or someone dear to us, if we all sit aloof. Most times, it is the youth who are manipulated into carrying out “justice”. This is not right. Can we start doing something about it before our loved ones are murdered too? Let us think about it. What will lead a whole town’s youth to murder someone they suspect to be a robber. Is it because they did not know him? Is it also because they saw him as an outsider? Did the mob even consider that he/she could not be what they suspected them to be? Did anyone pause just a minute to think about putting themselves in that person’s shoes?
The next time we hear a “thief” or “rapist” or “murderer” has been caught, can we give that person a chance (even in our thoughts)? To be allowed to go through the due process of the law. So that legally they can then determine the truth or not to his/her story and let justice prevail. We prejudge anyone who is caught before they tell their side of the story. There are many counts of people who were found to be innocent after being wrongly accused. The wickedness of people to stone someone on the head or lynch or burn a human being is inhumane.
It is especially disturbing to think about the onlookers busy snapping and videoing such disturbing incidents and doing nothing about rescuing or calling for help. Has our society really become so totally cold-hearted? It is terrible to fall victim without a chance to defend yourself. Yet we have human rights that we are supposed to uphold for all. To show dignity and respect to all of mankind.
We have the opportunity to teach our younger ones to use the right channels to address grievances, issues and acts of wrongdoing and not to take the law into their own hands. We can, in many ways, prevent some of these violent acts by giving people the opportunity to defend themselves in practical ways. Connecting with the police authorities or calling upon the village chiefs and community leaders to mediate and negotiate in situations like this. Social justice is defined as “the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society”. Just because someone is accused of something, it does not automatically declare them guilty. It is their right to a fair hearing and legal process.
Let us also lend a helping hand. Even when people are not willing to do. The world at large is dangerous place to live in. Yet, right where we are, is where we need to make the difference. In our own communities.
God have mercy on us.
Linda Adzeoda – Ghana (Change Agent)