A Word Without Synonyms 


Forgiveness is not synonymous with justice. We’re the most fascinating people. We understand what is real and just. We have morals, standards, and laws. We have a fixed way of dealing with moral and legal situations. But now and then, we decide to turn it upside down. Until it happens to you, the law is the law.  As a formerly close-knit and communal society, we had our elders decide on appropriate punishment for errors. 

Elders who may or may not be objective or reasonable. Elders who approach the subject as if it were a personal preference system. As a result, when tremendous harm is done to someone, we seek forgiveness. And, of course, the Elders and relatives question the victim. This is the victim’s choice. Forgiveness. If he or she so desires. 

It does not, however, rule out the need for justice. Even with the advent of forgiveness, grave offences should be met with grave punishment.  Yes, you are forgiven, but you will also pay the price for your actions. Our society currently appears to be characterized by a lack of repercussions. Justness benefits the entire community, whereas forgiveness benefits the victim.  

As a society, we need to demand justice. Because it tremendously benefits our society. And in the pursuit of justice, humanely and equally among all social classes. Remembering that justice is as vital to the victim as it is to the perpetrator is. What would justify the death of a human? is anything worth a human life above life itself? But this stems from a society that lacks justice and rights in its systems.

The punishment for theft exists in every society and should be carried out at just that. To the best of my knowledge, it looks like this. Reported to the police, arrested and kept in remand in a cell, taken to court to be proven guilty, and at this point, appropriate and quantifiable punishment is meted out. 

This is what justice looks like. Both to the victim and to the assailant. However, death is simply unjust. And mob death is so much way worse. You then have a new victim and a plethora of assailants. Jungle justice requires a crowd to mete it out. It also requires a different crowd to ignore the situation, perhaps out of fear of getting caught in a crossfire and the lack of courage. This always happening in the presence of children creating a never-ending chain of the lack of justice and sometimes deeply broken people.

In the physical representation of justice, the scale is always equally weighted. Side by side. But we are an interesting people. And frequently forgo justice for forgiveness. There is no summarising this. 

I, however, hope we look deeply into our hearts and our frequent quests for forgiveness and demand justice. One does not replace the other. Justice meted out with mercy. Mercy on a scale of both victim and assailant. Mercy in quantifiable and equal reach to the grievance.  

Justice makes for a less broken society and an equally less unruly one. But I would leave you with this, Said probably by a great Philosopher whose name I do not yet know “There is no such thing as peace without justice”. That seemingly peaceful community without justice is one centimetre away from, “we rise at dawn and to death we go”. Justice appropriately meted out protects the assailants as well as the victim. Bloodshed, more victims, and assailants are as well avoided.

About the author

Blackie, The eternally confused.

My name is Chinenye Nsianya. And in recent times there's not so much about me to say. I loved reading. I loved walking. Now i just exist. There isn't a lot that I do that gives me joy right now. I am making a commited process and i shall update you as it goes. This is what i will be writing about. A journey of growth and self confidence.

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