August 26, 2011
Throughout the world, nations and peoples are awakening, demanding that their governments will listen to them, 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 may 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 or even war.
Thus, the solution to the demand for social justice must include all parts 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. As such, it requires that we acknowledge every part of it—nations and individuals—as worthy in their own rights. Nations no longer tolerate occupation, and people no longer tolerate oppression. Compare humanity to a human body containing numerous organs of different functionalities. No organ is redundant. Every organ both contributes to the body what it should, and receives what it needs.
Likewise, the approach toward resolving the unrests in all the countries must include 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. Yet, because so many parties have just demands, all 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, legitimate needs, sharing their problems with one another, trying to reach an acceptable, dignified solution for all.
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 is about to begin, mom needs her Pilates lessons, and the big brother has just been accepted into a high-priced college. So the family gets together for a family meeting, a bit like thanksgiving but without the turkey. They talk about incomes, argue over 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 a family, connected by love, those who have to wait, agree to wait because after all, they’re family.
In many respects, globalization and growing interdependence have turned humanity into a giant-size family. Now we just need to learn how to work as such. If we think about it, a big family is always safer than being alone, provided it truly functions as a loving family.
Also, we must keep in mind that in almost all the countries, governments are struggling with mounting deficits and debt. There are not enough resources to go around, but there are certainly enough resources to allow respectable living for all, if only we acknowledge each other’s needs. Therefore, the “big family way” is the best concept to ensure that social justice is eventually achieved. 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 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 the round table way and spirit. 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 we are presented with these problems. Once we achieve mutual guarantee among us, they will be gone like the wind.