A wise colleague posted on Facebook a quote that claimed something to the effect, “there is no peace without justice.” I’ve seen that phrase so many times, I barely noticed or questioned it. But today I did. Probably because of this sprained ankle. I’m slower and have more time to sit around and consider my resonance with profound-sounding postings.
I cannot say for sure if my colleague’s claim “there is no peace without justice” is true in regards to global conflict, but I’m absolutely sure it is not true in relation to my personal life. In fact, I’ve found that I can achieve peace without the apology and without the wrongdoer getting their “due.” In fact I have had do; I suspect you all have had to as well.
Of all the injustices you have experienced how much have you received in terms of reparations? How many “mia culpas”? I suspect a small number. Maybe of the 1000 injustices you perceived, you received 10 sincere apologies and maybe a couple people took you out to dinner to make amends. In spite of this small “infraction to justice” ratio, do you walk around in a state of rage all the time? I suspect not. Not most of you anyway.
You have had moments of peace, no? I’ve been able to find peace even in midst of the deepest sadness and strongest rage, sometimes it feels like just the eye in the storm, but it’s there. Frankly, the body just seems unable to hold grief and anger for very long before it wants a change of tune. For example, I may be walking along yapping (in my head) about this or that injustice until a flower catches my eye. I look at the flower; it’s beautiful. I take a deep breath. I feel peaceful.
Has justice been served? Well, I’m not sure anything happened to “my perpetrator” in that moment. No trial occurred, no sanctions issued, no apology received and yet I found peace. A moment for sure…but a moment is enough to build upon. So, no, I don’t think we need justice for peace in our personal lives.
Again, I cannot how this applies to atrocity-level wrongs, such as genocide and torture. Or what the implications would be for justice. But I know for myself, if I waited for justice until I felt peace, I’d probably end up looing like the Dickens’ Mrs. Haversham seated above.