Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The temporality of justice

Ok so the heading sounds a bit theoretical - but its one of more core beliefs: that justice will come, in the end, come what may.

In the aftermath of the crash, I hear stories of loss of only two or three degrees of separation - a friend's friend's fiance dying, Funmi Iyanda's friend's LUTH doctor, one of only a tiny few ENT specialists in country...

We are always connected to the death of others. When one person dies, we all die. When one person goes through the incomprehensible agony of bereavement, we are all bereaved. Everything is connected, despite the frequency of our vain, egocentric attempts at disconnection.

I think back to Bellview. I was going to take that flight, but Bibi said 'while you're in Lagos, you might as well make a weekend of it.' One degree of separation from death. My life-partner saved my life.

Like many, I have local flights ahead of me in the next few days, and I'm dreading it. If you believe in God, you can pray to a higher force for good grace and destiny to see you through. If you believe only in the sacredness of this world, as the one world, everything centres back on the self, facing the great unknown. As a bit of a morbid type (it runs in the family), so many times I've prepared myself for death on a plane, only for the turbulence to stop. You reach a state of grace at a certain point - a supreme stillness and acceptance of the sublime inevitability of death.

I should have died so many times by now, the last near-death incident being on the road to Osogbo from Ibadan six years ago (Bibi and I held each other in the nanoseconds after the tyreburst - but the long grass saved us - a miracle of sorts). We lucky ones can continue, and so we must.

On the temporality of justice. It might not happen now. It might not happen tomorrow. We might even not be alive when it happens. But I believe, against all beliefs, in a final reckoning. History will seek out and select and determine, ultimately. History never gets it wrong, ultimately and in the long run. Those who denied their own culpability, those who reverted their responsibility to a higher power as someone who decides to set their phone to automatic forwarding rather than face the questions.. they will be sniffed out by history. No matter their swagger today, or tomorrow, no matter the sheer hutzpah of their lies, history will find them out. Justice will come.

Rest in peace, souls of the ADC departed.


Sunny Raisin,  12:55 am  

Jeremy you dey write Oh! Haba. How you take dey hold down J.O.B. for inside all this internet F.O.C. writing? I hail you y\oh Oga oyibo.

Anonymous,  1:03 am  

When one person dies, one person dies, my friend. Sorry to burst your bubble, I don't mean to, and I'm usually not callous, but such is life. It's unfair, it's terrible, it's barbarous, but it's life.

If Justice doesn't happen now, tomorrow, or even when we're alive to see it, does Justice really happen?

Justice is in the eye of the beholder.

St Antonym 1:19 am  

Justice sometimes happens. Often doesn't.

Pieter Botha died at home, at 90, in peaceful surroundings, in the company of family and loved ones.

Steve Biko was chained to a window grille and hit repeatedly on the head for an entire day. He died in "police custody."

Justice sometimes happens. Often doesn't.

History is a callous bitch in whom I have zero confidence. The history of humanity is the history of much atrocity and a little grace.

But this, this here, is a lovely meditation. Keep writing.

Jeremy 1:20 am  

Shango - I don't know how to say this without sounding patronising - but I don't think you're thinking just yet. Atomism and the idea of the purely solitary death makes no sense in a human context.

We're all affected by the crash, just as we were all affected by the ones before it. The connections can be filigree, gossamer thin, but they are always there. Its simply that we fail to spot them.

Somewhere someone had just decided fuck it, I'm moving back. Now they've decided to keep their life where it is. Someone else who had just projected hope into Nigeria, only to see it smashed like porcelain down a staircase.

There is no isolation or insulation from world events such as these - there is only the protective veneer we weakly project upon the world: that somehow we are apart from the madnesses that take place in some far away elsewhere. We think we are not affected by the Holocaust, because it was a mad bunch of Germans in a foreign historical context: we risk understanding and accepting the potential violence within any human situation if we expel it from our world of understanding in this way. Everything returns to everything else; it is only our limited understanding that prevents us from seeing this..

As for the point about justice: tell me, which historical figure do you know of that, in the final analysis, 'got away with it'?

History may first of all be written by the victors. But the victors themselves will always have to give way to the historians of the future..

And, for the first time, blog technology is giving a true sense of the intense sorrow and anger of Nigerians around the world. That's history in the making, and the earliest suspicions that justice is on its way..

Styl Council 12:43 pm  

Dearest Jeremy,

"If you believe in God, you can pray to a higher force for good grace and destiny to see you through"...

I am happy to say that sometimes, its the prayers of otheres that protects us all. Both you and Bibi are in my thoughts and prayers everyday!And WE are ALL in mummy's prayers everyday (as I'm sure so were the departed souls of ADC in their mother's prayers). But above all that, your meditation is also is surely a form of prayer...I srongly belive that when its ones time to go, then nothing can prevent it....Its not about religion, is just about TIME!

From the devastating stories of this disaster, somehow, life has a way of forcing through a glimmer of hope(however small),like sunshine on a rainy day...Did you hear that 3 daughters of the Senator (or Governor) of Kogi state were amonghts the survivors...!!!

Now, there's what i call hope!!!!

Anonymous,  2:24 pm  

awesome post!

I am a young chap & I was just wondering if I could send d link of your blog/copy & paste this post to begin an email cycle.

The reason being that I think most folks need to be reminded of history. I believe most Nigerians need to see this to remind us of our collective responsibility as well as common humanity.

Anonymous,  4:31 pm  

Jeremy, if by your phrase "got away with it" you mean "die", then we all don't "get away with it." In the end, everyone gets it, right the heart.

In re our "connectedness," I take your point in the very general sense, but particularly, really, there isn't a pragmatic need to keep thinking in terms of how everyone on earth affects everyone else. That's a recipe for madness at worst and utterly distracted incompetence at best, neither of which is palatable. That "protective veneer" you talk about, that's what keeps us sane.

Years ago, I heard the term "sphere of influence." This means those things over which one has direct, almost palpable influence and concentrating one's efforts in that direction. Alas, the deaths from a plane crash in Nigeria doesn't fall into a great many people's spheres of influence. There's nothing they can do about it.

As a lesson in not biting off more than you can chew, tell me three things you don't care about. Remember, CARE about. And if you can't, relax, meditate some more and reorganize your priorites! :-)

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