The Road to Social Justice

Throughout the world, nations and peoples are awakening. They are demanding of their governments to listen to their cries, recognize their pains, and resolve their problems. The uproar is not only over food or housing prices. At the bottom of it stands a firm demand for social justice.

Yet, social justice is an elusive goal. With so many sections of society affected by inflation, unemployment, and lack of education, one person’s justice might very well entail another person’s injustice. In the current structure of society, it seems that whatever solution is reached, it will only perpetuate, if not exacerbate the injustice, causing widespread disillusionment, which could lead to more violence, and even war.

Therefore, the solution to the demand for social justice must include all factions of society, none excluded. The 2011 “Spring of the Nations” proves that the world has changed from the root. Humanity has become a single global entity, and as such, requires that we acknowledge every part of it - nations and individuals - as worthy in their own right. Nations no longer tolerate occupation, and people no longer tolerate oppression. Compare humanity to a human body containing numerous organs of different functionalities. Yet, no organ is redundant. Every organ both contributes what it should to the body, and receives what it needs.

Likewise, the approach toward a solution for the unrests in all the countries must be one that includes all parts of society. The keywords to all negotiations involving government officials and protesters should be “thoughtful deliberation.” The negotiations should be based on the premise that all parties’ demands have merit and should be addressed respectfully, and yet, because so many parties have just demands, the parties must take the other parties’ demands into account, as well.

In such deliberations, there are no “good guys” or “bad guys.” There are people with genuine interests, sharing their problems with one another and trying to reach an acceptable, dignified solution for all sides.

Think of a large and loving family. Everyone in the family has his or her needs: grandpa needs his pills, dad needs a new suit for the new job he got, mom needs her Pilates lessons, and the big brother has just been accepted into a prestigious, high-priced college. So the family gets together for a family meeting, a bit like thanksgiving but without the turkey. They talk about their incomes, argue about priorities, share their needs, squabble a bit, and laugh a lot. And in the end, they know what’s necessary, what’s not, who will get what he or she needs now, and who will get it later. But since they are all connected, a family, they agree to wait because after all, they’re family.

In many respects, globalization and growing interdependence have turned humanity into one giant-size family. Now we just need to learn to work as such. If we think about it, a big family is always safer than being alone, if it only truly acts like a healthy, loving family.

Also, we must keep in mind that in almost all the countries, governments are struggling with mounting deficits and debt, and there is not enough resources to go around, but there are certainly enough resources to allow for respectable living for all, if only we acknowledge each other’s needs. Therefore, the “big family” is the best way to ensure that social justice is eventually achieved.

Granted, not all demands can be met at once. But if we discuss our needs openly, and join forces working toward resolving all the problems, we will be able to decide which problems are the most urgent, and which can be addressed subsequently. Just as in a family, the idea is not to break down the system, but to adjust it, tune it into catering to people’s needs rather than catering to the wants of various pressure groups.

King Arthur had a round table, around which he and his knights would congregate. As its name suggests, the table had no head, implying that everyone who sat there was of equal status. Similarly, governments and citizens need to understand that there is no way to resolve the social problems unless by discussing everyone’s problems while seated together at a round table (metaphorically if not physically). We must remember that we are all mutually responsible for one another and that we’re interdependent, like in a family. The problems that seem to tackle us around each corner are not the causes, but the symptoms of our real problem - lack of solidarity, and mutual responsibility for one another. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we resolve them specifically in this way - the round table - and by resolving these problems one at a time we will gradually build a society that is governed by mutual guarantee. Indeed, the mindset of mutual guarantee is the real reason why Nature is presenting us with these problems. And once we achieve mutual guarantee among us, they will be gone like the wind.