The title of this entry is a very strong word that may have several connotations. It may refer to a legal, social or even religious term. I however am not going to go in depth in such a complex topic, as not to bore, plus I am nowhere near qualified to do so; therefore I will merely speak of fairness.
In any legal system a person is judged based on the gravity of the crime he/she has committed. Even though I’m beginning to doubt that that’s the case in Egypt; since a tyrant, who has terrorized the country for the past 30 years, and his corrupt sons have yet to be prosecuted. Not to mention he is still lying on that damn bed, as if that will bring his any sort of sympathy from the people. All of that, however, is irrelevant to this entry.
Being judged by a jury in a court for a crime is normal and just, but being judged because of your gender, religion or political ideology is not.
After the regime that has blinded and suppressed the Egyptian people has been ousted a year ago, people were able to see the realities on the ground. Some of these realities were unimaginable, while others were just unacceptable.
People speak everyday of political freedom, justice and democracy. I’m a political science major, so I study the textbook definition of these terms on a daily basis. We study what they really mean and how their application could succeed. So in order for a country to have political freedom it needs to first achieve a somewhat acceptable degree of social freedom, since total social/political freedom can never be achieved.
A society where you are judged by the people of your own country for just being yourself, will never achieve the political freedom that it is so desperately seeking. Because if you do not accept other people’s opinions and are unable acknowledge that they have a right to disagree with yours, then how will you do expect them to be accepting of you. Sharing an opposing view should never be a basis for discrimination.
A more severe problem is that so long as some communities in the same society are considered less a part of that society than others, there will never be real freedom or even fairness within a society. People in the Egyptian society tend to pass judgments without any substantial evidence to support them. By looking at a person or on the bases of a mostly false reputation a person easily thinks him/herself fit to pass judgments on others.
Whether you are judging a person or a community – regardless of the size or superiority of that community – based on reputation or prejudice that judgment will almost always be unfair. I say almost because people tend to get offended by generalization. But either way it will be unfair because the basis of that judgment were invalid to begin with.
Ultimately the only way society can have political freedom, is by being more tolerant and more accepting of minorities, of people from various political and social background and of people who are different from them in general. Otherwise political freedom will be useless, because the society will be suppressing itself and its members without any help from political powers.
Originally Published in The Independent Newspaper, AUC