When justice needs to be served, how much is enough?
How much should be done to undo the wrong that has been committed and to relieve the wronged?
How much should the severity of the punishment be to inflict the same degree of pain that the victim of the crime suffered?
Is an eye for an eye enough? Or do we need to go beyond that to ensure that we have perfectly balanced the pans of the scale of justice?
How much torture would suffice the necessary urge for revenge?
Well, it’s hard to answer. Because every person has different needs and standards when it comes to revenge. But you do need a close-to-objective standard to establish a state-level punishment that would satisfy a mass audience.
So what could be the most potent standard?
Thankfully, there are systems of governance in the world that have just the answer.
Be as brutal as you possibly can be.
Sadly, gone are the days of medieval torture in Europe and even the Electric Chair has been outlawed in the most conservative states in the US.
But not to worry, there is plenty of other help.
Shariah Law punishment is alive and well, and growing healthy by the day.
Perhaps not everyone is chopping off everyone’s hand, but the intent is commendable.
Saudi Arabia recently beheaded another Pakistani for smuggling heroin. Well, the bastard certainly deserved that. That ought to teach those drug dealers a lesson.
But before you cry Islamophobia, well, it’s not the only guiding principle. there are a lot of guidelines in the secular law around the world, which can be just as illuminating.
Take China’s brutal punishment of Liu Xiaobao for an example. Is speaking your mind treason? And is treason even a crime?
Or perhaps take a few examples from the civilized world?
US citizen Jonathan Pollard is still in prison for spying for Israel in the United States. Could someone explain to me what has Private Manning done to deserve, how many, 35 years in prison. Or even how the terrorist financier Afia Siddiqui could probably survive 86 years of confinement, even though she has not apparently directly killed a single man. Or maybe Shakeel Afridi’s sentence.
But then again, isn’t our Blasphemy Law a by-product of the civilized world?
Oh, but that was the British Empire. Apologies.
Forget even that. What did private property destroyer Gullu Butt actually do to deserve 11 years in prison? Seriously, I would like to know.
We are probably just a bunch of self-righteous passive-aggressive closet sadists who thrive on publicly humiliating and killing one of our own. Which sounds more like symptoms of some sort of mass moralistic psychopathy. And in order to hide that instinct of ours, we have created the label of justice. Because we are not brave enough to apologize for our dark side.
And oh, swift justice. Isn’t that what Ambassador Zafar Hilaly recently quoted on Capital TV to hint why people loved the Sufi Muhammad regime in Swat so much. But he won’t recall it now. It was in the heat of the moment.
And then there is the news and opinion media to serve this very purpose. To satisfy our insatiable appetite and lust for punishing and humiliating someone. Like these cannibals and necrophiliacs.
But why bring local politics in.
Anyway, let’s go for more recent, safer examples.
Take Reyhaneh Jabbari for instance.
The poor woman killed someone who was about to rape her, which actually doesn’t make her an angel, but she did it in self defense. You never know if the rapist is going to not kill you, and prevention of rape is a right after all. So violence for violence, as per the eye-for-an-eye rule, is perfectly justified.
But no, she did something so terrible. The Iranians had to hang her despite all the Western propaganda. So they did. End of story.
But then again, she committed a murder. Numerous others are publicly hanged in Iran, with their executions seen in live media broadcast. According to many of my social conservative friends, this is the best form of punishment to help deter crime.
Let’s see the other extremity too.
Unlike her, somebody like Mukhtaran Mai survived a gang rape, which by the way, was ordered by a village judicial council or jirga to address another grievance. And dozens of women like her undergo that rather weird form of punishment.
Or maybe another, which involves calling for castration for rape. Death for rape. You know, folks back in India could be as brutal and heartless as the vigilante mobs and other brutal penalizing authorities.
Well, I can’t say I hold the moral high ground here. I definitely don’t. Following the brutal murder of a young girl after her gang rape in a bus in New Delhi, I felt the same way. But I do realize, I was wrong and probably not any better than the rapists.
Maybe I am as barbaric when push comes to shove. I support shooting at violent rioters to prevent killings and damage to private property anyway. And ironically, oppose capital punishment.
But my personal hypocrisies are secondary here. I could believe in private revenge, like a million superheroes, or I may not, but it’s setting a moral example for state governance is what matters here, doesn’t it?
Having said that, I still support, as in Jabbari’s case, killing for self defense, and even in theory and in part, the apparently savage Stand Your Ground laws in the United States, despite their discriminatory application, which demands abuse reviews and possible amends. It’s not a perfect world if you are looking for justice.
There are a lot of liberal folks in Pakistan who wanted to put Mumtaz Qadri to death. Recall him? The same guy who killed Governor Taseer because of his criticism of yet another barbaric guiding principle, the Blasphemy Law.
I am one of those who are against capital punishment for Mumtaz Qadri. I even think that the blood money laws, if not coerced, are among the better parts of Islam.
But probably a lot of folks would blame people like me for the death of a British blasphemer in Rawalpindi’s Adiyala Jail after the incarcerated Mumtaz Qadri incited his murder in religious zeal. He actually believes that shit.
I’d take them seriously, but we have a lot worse problems to deal with.
Because half of people in Pakistan want the country to look like this.
And this is what the other half wants.
And Justice has been served.
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