One of the worst things for a just cause is for it to be exposed to a situation where it becomes impossible for justice to be achieved. As a result of this, this same cause becomes a scapegoat used by political symbols or simply a symbol itself. In a case such as this one, injustice becomes normalised as people are paid to play the role of the victim, pushing the real victim out of context, as the alleged victims are believed to be the true victims.
This type of circumstance is not necessarily caused by an intentional or conscious act but is born as a result of a difficult time in which problems become mundane and situations are linked with so-called objective factors or subjective reasons, according to a man who has read one or two Marxist books and now considers himself an expert in philosophy.
The manner in which just causes are manifested has a great deal to do with how they are manufactured and, in turn, live. Moreover, there is often a rising class of political figures who fight for said cause and occupy themselves with representing it. As a result of the creation of symbols, they create a parallel world in which the miserable can thrive. These individuals create symbols and amplify this parallel reality. In addition to the fighters, this reality, by its very nature, gives way to a slew of frauds and liars who magnify the suffering of others so that they may benefit from these experiences.
Accomplishments have been achieved in the international awards arena where people have begun to sanctify suffering and compete to see who has suffered the most (as if the on-going tragedy was not enough). They consider the victim's location a standard provision while celebrating assumed victories. In the real world, many have fought to create a balance of power between the occupying power and the distorted reality of the occupation but the result is that this has contributed to the perpetuation of the occupation's imbalance. This process is self-nourishing; it feeds on itself and cannot be solved by a superficial solution since it requires changes in ways of thinking. Yet, changing the way in which people think about such situations is becoming impossible with generational changes and the closure of existing strategies, not to mention that everyone has now accepted and come to terms with these impossibilities.
I will not go into details by describing how damaging these factors are to a just cause as it would require a long time to explain how political personalities are built, the political culture behind the cause, societal behaviour and the other obstacles behind freeing the oppressed.
Among the ways that a just cause is manifested is its use as anaesthesia or for psychotherapy or as a way to please narcissisms in all forms. Our individualistic societies often serve as hotbeds for narcissism. This reality constitutes a naïve or non-naïve use of a just cause to create and alleviate political symbols as part of the prevailing political culture. Consequently, the people find themselves involved in this reality both emotionally and in terms of their interests. Thus, people who are often involved in this political culture in an effort to protect their political interests have a hard time taking themselves seriously. Moreover, those who are involved in the political reality due to their emotions find themselves stuck in this situation despite their personal embarrassment. The biggest disaster to come out of this arises when an individual is emotionally involved in his or her interests or when it becomes an interest to guard one's emotions.
The real sin lies in the fact that the emotions and factors mentioned above are often used as a justification for the use and abuse of a just cause.
The real sin here lies in the use of a just cause to justify or normalise injustices, which bear no relevance to the original cause. Fatal damage can occur if those who are still fighting for a cause are exposed to real harm as they can find themselves caught up in the binds of an artificial clash caused by the pursuit of another people's justice. This artificial clash is unnatural and it is created in an unjust power's attempt to hijack a just cause in an attempt to justify injustice, to kill more people, throw them into prisons, fire canons at them or to deprive them of their political and human rights. All of this is done in the name of a just cause.
There is absolutely no connection between these two things (a just cause and injustice). In fact, the only connection is a contradiction. Anyone who uses a just case to justify oppressing his people not only affects the fairness of the cause, alienates people from the cause and reduces the number of people who are willing to align themselves with the cause, but also destroys the foundations of the cause and its potential to be victorious. The problem here lies in the fact that the practice of injustice is linked to the culture that arises from its manifestation, which often leaves the people sensitive and vulnerable to blackmail from political figures and symbols.
What is even more important is that the true victim is removed from the equation entirely. A just cause is used as a scapegoat to justify injustice and marginalises communities who are considered a nuisance to the regime in its quest to monopolise power. What is required is to bring an end to torture and arrests without just reason or cause and finally to reject all forms of corruption. The people are required to stand up to the unjust regimes that claim to be serving the cause when, in actuality, they are only serving the interests of their political motivations and aspirations.
Moreover, the tyrants who use just causes for their purposes can turn the tables and condemn the oppressed for allegedly refusing to stand against injustice in another place. The tyrant has a monopoly on the victim's role and can use this to kill and oppress the true victim under the false pretext of protecting the cause. We now live in a time where it becomes nationalistic to stand with a foreign cause in another place. He who has spent his youth and life fighting for a cause in his own country can now be considered a traitor if he stands against a government which claims to be fighting for a just cause. Thus, the unjust becomes good and justice becomes evil. The problem is that this reversal will give unjust regimes the support to solidify this belief that standing for injustice is a good thing because it is no longer a contradiction, ultimately rendering the just cause a symbol.
This article is a translation of an article that appeared on Al Araby on April 21, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.