Justice

July 2, 2021 at 7:13 am (Uncategorized)

There really isn’t enough of it, is there?

(And I benefit from that fact.)

I’m reading a book at the moment (re-reading, actually) and it takes place in a deeply unjust world. Most of the main characters fight against the injustice, but in very different ways.

One of them decides to take the political route; removing those in power and taking their place in order to make the world better. In order to gain this power, he commits new injustices. When he is brought low, he devotes the remainder of his life to serving those he abused while in power (…those that are still alive).

One of them gives up everything she has when she realises that everything she has is the product of theft. She helps matters quite a bit, but really does lose everything—and becomes a victim of injustice herself.

One of them believes that truth is the answer. He convinces a few to change their world view, but others simply will not believe the truth no matter what, and violence ensues.

One of them believes that the structures of injustice must be destroyed at the roots, no matter the cost. Many people are killed as a result, and many MANY others lose everything… which technically they did deserve. A few of them choose to rebuild a better and more difficult way. Others do their best to rebuild things exactly as they were, including the innate injustices of the system that used to let them be on top (at the expense of others). They probably won’t succeed, because they’re outnumbered by those they treated badly the first time around… but some of those they treated badly have internalised their status as less important/worthy.

One is a soldier who aims to kill those who have benefited from the injustice. Which is an entire society.

Random cat pic!

There are three great injustices in my life.

First, I am living on stolen land. Specifically, I am living on Ngunnawal land. Like most Indigenous nations around the world that had the bad luck to be living in a place that European invaders deemed suitable for a major city, the Ngunnawal people, culture, and language suffered even more intensely than the average Indigenous nation.

It is extremely obvious that Indigenous people around the world continue to suffer both physically and psychologically from past injustices as well as present structures and attitudes. It is equally obvious that I benefit from past and present injustice.

Should I give up the land on which I live (or, more realistically, pay compensation to the Ngunnawal people)? Should I attempt to quantify the amount of benefit I have received from my racist ancestors and devote that much time/money/etc to Indigenous charities? Should I be spending more time campaigning for the modern-day injustices perpetuated against Indigenous people to be changed (eg the appalling rates of maternal death, infant mortality, incarceration, and even child imprisonment)?

My closest Indigenous friend would snort at all this and tell me it’s over and I should move on. But he’s a bit of an a-hole, to be perfectly honest. I know perfectly well that it isn’t over, no matter what his side of politics says.

The second great injustice is even bigger, at least in terms of population. Australia is a wealthy and safe country, and we are not doing our share to look after those who need it in the rest of the world. Once again, the injustices of my European ancestors are proving amazingly beneficial to me and poisonous to others—and with our increased power, we in the West continue to subjugate other nations (eg by fighting unjust wars, stealing resources, lending money at interest, and so on).

I’m unable to engage with the political side at all, because even keeping up with the news sends my mental health into *blaring red klaxons* territory. But I’m reasonably at peace about this particular injustice ever since I started running the Castle of Kindness Refugee Sponsorship Group. Out of the limited resources I have, a significant proportion goes into directly helping the victims of global injustice. On this issue at least, I can face myself in the mirror without shame. (Here’s the GoFundMe, by the way.)

Time for another animal pic? Certainly.

The third injustice goes the other way, because life is never straightforward.

I am disabled, which means that a large portion of society believes that I have no worth whatsoever and/or that I am lazy or a liar. Despite what some think, I do deserve to live—including food and shelter and medical care, which means money. I live in a country that DOES give me a measure of support (and immediately withdraws it if I earn enough to be over the poverty line), but I have to fight for it. I don’t want to go into details because I’ll just get upset, but the paperwork one needs to go through to get disability payments is specifically designed to be hard enough to weed out anyone who can’t devote a considerable amount of time and effort to it (all the while knowing that one might receive nothing at the end of it all). I may have mentioned that I’m disabled? So not super flush with the ability to visit multiple medical specialists, let alone to pay for them? Or to go through it all over again from the start because I was refused the first time and now everything I did is out of date? Or to take a special trip to Tuggeranong with a pile of forms because I made a minor error on one of the hundreds of pages of forms?

Other people are writing online that marriage equality doesn’t exist if a disabled person loses their payments when they marry. I’m not sure I agree 100% but it sure does put a strain on a marriage when a partner has no choice but to financially support the disabled one for as long as the marriage lasts. And of course being disabled is expensive, too.

I know there are others fighting for my rights, and I’m so grateful, because I don’t have the strength (either physical or psychological) to fight for myself to be anything other than a second class citizen. Every so often I’m reminded that my worth is innate (even, gasp, as a fat female). I try to hold that truth in my head, but it’s slippery.

One last bit of gratuitous cuteness, from several years ago:

And that’s all I have to say about that.

At least, for now.

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