When I was asked to write about social justice, I thought it would be simple, but I found an abstract problem with specific consequences. An idea that comes from us humans, that has been invented by us and affects us directly.
What is fair? Justice is summed up as the equality of conditions regarding human dignity, the law and the common good. Three terms that vary in time and depend on each culture. I suppose that social justice aims to equalize the opportunities of all human beings. Could I put technology in this box then? It allows people to investigate and learn. The possibility to travel? It allows us to expand our horizon. Or going to the physiotherapist when our back hurts. Is it fair that someone uses the Internet to study, travels to get to know more or is cured from a back pain easily, while others have to settle for human rights? With a house and something to eat. I don’t see equal rights here, I see injustice.
Yesterday I was traveling in the moroccan desert. 15 year old berber children pastured in the sun. Women with veils only showed their eyes, although they seemed to be smiling. The men, wearing turbans to protect themselves from the scorching sun, returned from making tourist routes by camel. I saw nothing of injustice in all of this. I was impressed by how a culture was being kept alive over time, without moving forward. If moving forward is better or worse is something susceptible, it has many profiles that can change the interpretation. But I could see authenticity, something not so common in the advanced world. I will try to explain my nonsense. I don’t think the world can ever manage to be fair, there are too many differences. And I think that is precisely where we must discover empathy. To be able to recognize others as human beings, accepting and listening to them, and acting from here onwards. There is no need to be charitable, generous or even kind. Justice is not based on having the same opportunities, but on offering this moment whatever we can give. Looking in the eyes, discovering each other and participating in the union.
The term “social justice” began to be used in the nineteenth century in relation to the discomfort of workers since the installation of capitalism. The UN was founded in 1945. Greenpeace, the organisation that protects the environment and animals considering their rights, was founded in 1971. It seems that there is a growing movement towards understanding and listening. Is seems that seeing others suffer, even animals and plants, moves us and makes us stand up for them.
Humans have discovered in others parts of themselves. An idea of unity worthy of music. A set of separate elements that are needed to function; that look for each other and when they meet, you only have to listen.