June 14, 2024

Existinglaw

Law for politics

Towards Understanding Injustice, Inequality, Violence and Social Problems Blocking Human Progress – UncommonThought

Towards Understanding Injustice, Inequality, Violence and Social Problems Blocking Human Progress – UncommonThought

[Graphic: Indian Muslim Observer, 11/25/2011.]

By Mohammad Momin Khawaja

Editor’s Note

There is a larger context into which this piece by political prisoner Mohammad Momin Khwaja fits – he is a political prisoner. That is one of the elephants in the room we (and Canada) call the “criminal justice system.”  Let’s go to a common, relatively unloaded source – the Encyclopedia Britannica – for a definition:

political prisoner, a person who is imprisoned because that person’s actions or beliefs are contrary to those of his or her government. This is the most general sense of a term that can be difficult to define.

Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, coined the term prisoners of conscience as clearer labeling.

I think that things are even murkier than that, at least in the U.S., and perhaps in Canada as well. Like a shadow over the entire “justice” system is race.

Why do I feel like I am digging a hole for myself?  First is the issue that disagreeing with one’s government can end you up in prison (not jail) for a very long time. This is in nations (like the U.S. and Canada) that are purportedly democratic countries, where freedom of speech – even unpopular speech – is a bedrock of a free society. Second, many (Western) nations upped the ante on political prisoners by enacting thousands of anti-terrorism laws. In the U.S., terrorism has expanded to virtually every area of our lives, and many of them are commercial. For example, interfering with a business’s operation can fall under terrorism laws. The U.S. (and I assume Canada) has tacked terrorism laws into hundreds of pieces of legislation. However, that terrorism has deliberately excluded most white power manifestations. Instead, it has been targeted at non-white individuals (especially Arabs and Muslims), and at those who are seen as being on the “left” – mainly anti-racist, environmentalists, and anti-capitalist groups.

Both within the public mind, and in the “justice” system, terrorism and Muslim are an automatic connection and that is the battle that the author has been fighting.

His “crimes” were minor until “terrorism” was added to the mix – donating to a charity, traveling abroad, texting his girlfriend. It is possible that the only “real” crime was creating a cell phone jammer. It seems to me that would be a rather minor offense until they put it under the terrorism umbrella.

So Mohammad is caught in a possible life sentence. He is a political prisoner because the Canadian government is afraid of Muslims. I imagine he is also a prisoner of conscience, but I doubt that there are many whites who protest against their nation’s wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, etc), or just anti-war, who are sitting in prison for several offenses. In fact, I doubt that many (if any) even got arrested.

The problem with much of the discussion of issues of criminal justice, political prisoners, and prisoners of conscience, just blows right past the problems of racism and xenophobia. The jails and prisons are disproportionately filled by brown and black people (or they get much longer sentences). That is a systemic problem and not the “threat” posed by these members of our society. In other words, it is not simply a disagreement with the government, but a form of silencing and repression. Mr. Khawaja asks whether we should rethink the morality of the justice system. The answer to that is definitely “yes”, but that needs to occur outside the system as well. The justice system follows the laws which are created by legislators, and legislators are elected by the public. The justification for such unfair and immoral outcomes is reinforced by media and “entertainment” that reinforce common biases as a matter of course. People who end up in prison under “political” charges are just assumed to be guilty by a public (largely public) who have a basic trust (and a significant investment) in things as they are. It is easier not to think of these things, but there is a serious life and death need to ask the questions, raise the issues, and make people think.

Mohammad Momin Khawaja

 Our Human Culture and Our Problems

Logic seeks truth – the principle and strategy of rational thinking. If the 21st-century knowledge-based societal leaders would use the natural faculties of mind, vision, and intellect, we could imagine having public institutions (systematic governance) to deal with issues of racial discrimination, inequality and social injustice, violence, and societal degradation leading to mindless behavior. True knowledge is always benevolent not cruel or retaliating in human pursuits. We, the humans, are adaptive to wisdom, fortitude, and benevolence but fall victim to modern ignorance and man-made socio-economic superstitions creating social disharmony, disorder, and dehumanization. Thus we got stalled with our own weaknesses and cynicism to move forward for change, progress, and universal brotherhood. As educators and truth tellers, we the people of knowledge have an obligation to share truth not lies. Morally conscientious people should always care for facts of life – when facts of life warrant a change, they will follow facts, not feelings as attributes of human character. At times, our societies are overwhelmed with socio-economic and political bondage to ignore the truth and a truth teller could encounter discouragement in pursuit of societal change and reformation for the best. Time and history show that when a society adheres to lies and deception, it evolves into a culture of delusion with false thoughts, values and beliefs as emotional crutches. To rejoice in truth and social harmony, human dignity and soul seek balanced tranquility of true characteristics of truth and wisdom for progress and human success.

Caitlin Johnstone (“Our Entire Civilization Is Fake And Stupid”, Information Clearing House: 9/13/2022), an Australian thought-provoking writer spells out the reality of our contemporary mainstream culture:

Your eyes probably found this text because you’re the sort of person who’s been trying to make sense of the world in a sea of propaganda and deception, which often results in a growing disgust not just with the power structures which oppress and tyrannize humanity, but with our entire civilization………From the very beginning, human civilization has been built around serving the interests of the powerful………..So mainstream culture presents a fraudulent image of reality. It’s written into the code of everything that’s mass-produced — not just in Prager University lectures on the evils of socialism or propagandistic news stories about weapons of mass destruction, but in sitcoms, in advertisements, in clothing brands, in pop music, in textbooks, in trends. When it’s not constant messaging that capitalism is totally working and the world is ordered in a more or less sane and truth-based way, it’s manipulations designed to shape our values and measures of self-worth to make us into better gear-turners.

Social inequality exists in all human cultures having material, financial, psychological and technological resources that enhance the individual capacity to meet all the wants and needs. (1)  Thus having resources, a person could enjoy higher social status and exert power on others. (2). And the quest for power and control leads to discrimination and social inequality. (3)

To legitimize control, they divide society into many segments to be treated unequally. (4) It will be my interest to explain how human behavior is shaped and what leads to the perception of injustice and inequality and how these primary elements correlate with crime, violence and other social problems. (5) 

Sociology, Crimes, and the Canadian Criminal Code

In sociobiology, human behavior is explained by two distinct arguments:

  1. That evolutionary process of adaptation accounts for complex social activities that appeared to be learned and resulted in in the triumph of reason, science, and order (6).
  2. Another triumph of knowledge and reason over ignorance and violence is the way of functional perspective.  A society comprises of interrelated parts- each serves and supports the stability of society. These institutions include family, education, government, religion, economy, and healthcare.  (7)

A predominant opinion in sociology is that cultural life is created by culture itself. Although human nature has the capacity to imprint culture by itself, human nature is an empty vessel and thus devoid of prejudice, bias and other preferences which relate to cultural influence. (8)

At times, sociologists highlight crimes in cultural or environmental factors but some models look inside the heads of criminals for answers.  Jack Katz studied the biographies of convicted criminals and concluded that the causes of crime are constructed by the offenders themselves. Imaging and telling the stories about their own lives which appeal to the primal elements of machismo, aggression, and emotionally create a life narrative that reinforces and justifies their criminal choices. The four major themes found in criminal narratives are humiliation, righteousness, hardman, and hedonism.  According to Katz, criminals sometimes act out these fantasies in real life if the opportunity arises. The offenses set out in the Canadian criminal code appear to share certain common elements. However, courts had a great deal of difficulty in defining what they are. (9) People assume that some great principle underlies all of the criminal code such as harm or evil. (10) In sociology, this powerful but false assumption of unity is referred to as essentialism.  Essentialism regard as criminal acts as inherently wrong or absolutely evil and as partaking in primal violations that do not merely violate society’s norms and rules but have offended the very laws of nature, science, or God. (11)

Defining crime as an act of typically criminal public purpose is not helpful but it does not undermine the belief that all the offences set out in the Canadian criminal code appear to share certain common elements.

Do Laws and History make us Rethink and REVISIT the Imperatives of Social, Moral, and Legal Justice?

Do laws, rules and regulations change over time?  Some acts we do today may become a crime in the future, and other acts we now do might have been a crime in the past. (12)  Lawrence Lessig in his book Free Culture shows that technologies such as motion pictures, cable TV, VCR, and even file sharing were all once considered illegal. (13) Ages later, we now know that time, social changes, and citizen activism efforts have made most of these technologies legal and commonplace.  Are we much different in morality, faith, values, and the US laws of slavery? Few could rationalize that the American Government’s execution of 277 African-Americans participating in revolt and 20 others aiding escaped slaves was morally and legally justified killings. In Canada, Louis Riel (the Native Metis leader) hanged by the British for revolt deserves historic reference for political injustice. The ongoing investigations into massive killings of Native school children by the Catholic and other Church missionaries in Western Canada and the US; and Laws and preferential treatment of ethnically superior race and black slavery practices still persist across Europe and North America. George Floyd died last year pleading: “ I cannot breathe…I cannot breathe…”

We continue to ponder the movement of time, history, and our culture to foster human equality, dignity, equal justice, and human unity for all as One People, and One Human Beings.  But contrasts and conflicts continue to divide us weakening our human strength and unity as One People. Caitlin Johnstone (“Our Entire Civilization Is Fake And Stupid”, Information Clearing House: 9/13/2022), shares her intellectual foresight to keep us vigilant to monitor change and human progress: 

You can see it in the sky. You can see it in the bushes and the pigeons……. And you can see it in the giant-brained bipedal primates you’re surrounded by each day……. Once you learn to see it, you can observe nature winking at you even from inside the most rage-faced pundits and most self-absorbed social natterers. It’s there.

In reality, this sense of alienation is just an awkward transition phase between buying into the imperial dreamworld and a deep, deep intimacy with humanity as it really is beneath all the obnoxious programming. Beyond the revulsion at the phony facepuppets, something ancient, authentic, and exuberant is dancing. And it is more real and more true than our disgust with this civilization.

Look closer and you see the fraudulence. Look even closer and you see what’s real. Your sense of alienation is entirely valid and based in truth, but we’re not meant to stay there. Truth beckons us forward. Truth is beckoning us all forward. And these mind cages they have built for us aren’t real enough to hold us in for much longer

 

References:

  1. SOCIO 2656, Social Inequality, Gender, Race, Class and Power, Laurentian University, 2022, page 1
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid.
  5. Socio 2656, Introduction to Social Inequality”, page 1
  6. Ibid.
  7. Murray, Linden, Kendall, Sociology in Our Times, 2012: pp; 12-13
  8. Leahy, T.  “The Elephant in the Room.” Current Sociology, V. 60, 2012 pp: 810-812
  9. Socio 2066, Module 2, “Essentialism”, Laurentian University, 2022, page 1.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Socio 2066, Module 2, Critical Critiques of Crime, “Crimes Across Time”, Laurentian University, 2022, page. 1


Mohammad Momin Khawaja is a Canadian Prisoner and a university student from his prison cell and writes on the real issues experienced because of legal injustice. He claims innocence and has not committed any crime against anybody on this Earth but was charged with “terrorism” criminal legislation. The trial judge acquitted him of “UK-related terrorism involvement” but he was sentenced to 10.5 years on five charges (sending money to Afghan women-children food -medicine charity; making a cell phone jammer; emails to his girlfriend; and travel abroad) and then to Life-24 by the Supreme Court appeal without any evidence. He plans to go for a Law degree program soon.