Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. (Thoreau)
These days, it seems every “minority group” seemingly worth its salt is crying out for justice. I think it’s fitting to kick off my Tumbleweed blog with a free-verse poem I wrote titled “Justice Enslaved.” I hope my readers find it thought provoking. Where indeed is the justice in justice?
To what…to whom are we enslaved? Who forged our chains?
Is enslavement just? Where is the justice? Who decides what is justice?
Slavery justified from the Hammurabi’s Code to Bible scrolls.
Neolithic times segue to Sumer, ancient Egyptian pyramids, Greece,
To China and Hebrew kingdoms, to the ancient Levant…even to the West;
Slavery as punishment, debt repayment, spoils of war, or birthright.
Christian, Hindu, Islam; all find justice enslaved to the law.
Is there justice in slavery? From slavery?
Be it medieval Europe, Vikings, Tartars, or Barbary Pirates;
Slaves were as booty, a mercantile undertaking, a way of life.
Justified in economics essential to the culture, a fact of life!
Whether issued by Dum Diversas, Romanus Pontiex, or Sublimus Dei.
Pope or Imam, King or Sultan…made no matter; misanthropes all!
Justice stood as mute sacrifice to some larger, greater need.
Where then is justice? What indeed is the justice?
Reparation, rehabilitation, retribution…mere slogans.
From Aztecs to Cortez’, Incas of Peru, Comanches of our plains;
To southern cotton fields and tobacco barns enslavement flourished, justice died.
Despite Wilberforce, Newton, and Lincoln, slavery forever prevails.
EBT cards replace chains, urban plantations defy any escape;
Khartoum, Delhi, Jakarta, or Detroit; enslavement abounds.
We cry out for justice. Cry to end enslavement.
Yet its pervasive tentacles imprison all nations, all people;
Justice seems such a shallow game, a losing default setting for life.
What is justice to the enslaved? What then is justice to the enslavers?
And what is justice for those who would end slavery? Such optimistic fools.
Only our souls offer protest, unshackled by iron chains;
Yet justice rings hollow as payment for our past enslavements.
Dare we dwell on justice for past and present sins?
Can money or lives truly compensate for injustice perceived or real?
For justice remains an elusive charade, be it divine or natural,
Be it distributive, egalitarian, social, fair, or utopian.
Retributive and restorative justice stand as inherently unjust;
We find ourselves mired in justice, mine or yours, the red pill or the blue pill;
God forgives, and in the end only “the truth will set you free.”
Indeed, the truth is all that really sets us free; the only justice.