Thursday, June 08, 2006


i've been thinking quite a bit about justice today, as that word has been used over and over in the media since i woke up this morning. last night, american troops bombed the building where zarqawi was known to inhabit. the first description i heard of this event was described as, "he was brought to justice."

the use of this word alarmed me, since i believe "justice" to be concerned with laws, with juries, and with due process. dropping a 500 pound bomb on a building does not sound like justice to me. now, my beef with this description has nothing to do with him as a person, or as an allegedly violent human. it has everything to do with how comfortable some feel describing a killing as an act of justice. i don't believe any death is justice; it's the act of contemplation and exploration of events that brings about justice. to be sure, i checked to seek alternative definitions of "justice" that may offer insight into this contemporary usage, but to no avail.

as the day progressed, other words were used loosely to describe this event. most disturbing were phrases used by military officials that depicted a less-than-human: "exterminate," "eliminated that target," "that was the deliberate target we were out to get." in the latter example, the military official never used a pronoun to describe zarqawi, instead using "that" as if he weren't a human being. notably, it was tony blair and kofi annan who were the most dignified when speaking of zarqawi, both labeling him a person, and acknowledging the "heinous acts" (as annan described it) zarqawi allegedly committed.

all of this thinking about justice reminded me of bono's infamous cries of justice in u2's early years, as well as his more staid ruminations on justice today. i'm sure bono wouldn't agree with the media's use of "justice" either.


Michelle said...

Nice Sarah. I have been bothered by this too. It reminds me of the use of the word "cowards" to describe the 9/11 terrorists, and the way the administration labels their enemies with these buzz words sure to rile the American people, and perhaps distract them, in this case, from the slaughter.

sarah said...

thanks, michelle! so nice to hear from you.

the other day, someone from the adminstration said that the gitmo suicides were "a PR stunt." i couldn't believe it. man. we're animals, aren't we? THEY're animals. it's sick.

Lynne said...

This reminds me. Peyton and I have been reading bible stories at night. I felt like he needed to be familiar with stories that are so much a part of our culture. To my surprise we look forward to them every night, they are captivating stories. But we've been surprised to learn about God, and how badly behaved he is. God actually KILLS people who don't obey him. He FAVORS a certain group of people over all other people, and he KILLS people who get in the way of his CHOSEN people. God seems to have the emotional intelligence of a 2-year old. I was struck last night with how similar biblical themes are to the themes being played out in world politics today. People haven't changed very much over the past few thousand years. I'm wondering if God has evolved.