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Justice or 'just us'?

Deafened by the self-righteous claims of politicians, we have forgotten the real nature of injustice

There are two types of "injustice" - political injustice and non-political injustice. Thailand's problem is that we have wasted too much blood, energy and tears on the former and paid too little attention to the latter. The issue of "justice", of course, has the tendency to be plucked out from the political realm or sucked into it, but that doesn't mean the general mindset must follow suit, especially if the country really craves genuine peace.

Jatuporn Prompan might compare himself to Suthep Thaugsuban and other anti-government leaders and complain about mistreatment. Sondhi Limthongkul might take a look at Nuttawut Saikuar and see infamy. Yingluck Shinawatra is attracting a lot of sympathisers, as did Abhisit Vejjajiva before her. There have been red-shirt protesters killed and injured. Soldiers, policemen and protesters of other "colours" have also fallen victim to violence. These names and events involved injustice, more or less, but is the country's obsession with them doing other cases justice?

Motorists who bribe the police are being unjust to honest road users. Tax evaders, in defrauding taxpayers, are spreading injustice. If roads or electricity or Internet facilities are better in the areas that form the support bases of politicians in power, that's injustice. Parents paying schools "tea money" to get their children enrolled is injustice. The list goes on.

The victims of non-political injustice are nameless. They remain nameless because few people care about them, thanks to the fact that the entire political apparatus - despite its grave divisions - is in agreement that the issue of injustice should remain strictly political. Some might want Suthep to win, while others prefer that Yingluck stay in power, but does either side address the real issue?

The political war has been over-romanticised. Each side claims to be defending real values, but if that's really the case, they should start looking beyond political boundaries. If Yingluck is found guilty over the controversial rice scheme, it will be anything but an end to our hopes for a just society. Our greatest fear should be of an ordinary citizen being wrongly accused and persecuted under the system and having no one to turn to for help.

Political victims have good and bad days, partly out of their own desire to play politics. Nuttawut was branded a terrorist suspect; now he is a caretaker Cabinet member. Abhisit served as prime minister but now stands accused of massacre. Yingluck ascended the heights and had the chance to quit before hitting her current low point. These people have one thing in common: whether they receive justice or injustice depends on which way the political wind is blowing.

Non-political victims of injustice have no help from any political winds. They will suffer no matter who is prime minister or who wins the current showdown. They remain at the sharp end of police corruption, of school bribery, of tax fraud, and of whatever social ills they produce.

And many non-political victims of injustice remain nameless because their fate still awaits them.

The "tradition" of bribery is certain to affect people tomorrow who are not victimised today. School "tea money" may deprive some children not even born yet of education opportunities. And those who think tax avoidance does not cause injustice should think a little harder.

It's time to rethink the whole "injustice" issue. If we want to really do it justice, that is.


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