Morality and Law.

Byline: Amer Nazir

Is it even likely that the holder of the highest office in the land might not know the difference between morality and law?

The first is subjective, a personal belief system, an outlook; the second an objective process. The first transforms into self-righteousness if not contained - the second has its focus on benefit of doubt, it is willing to let a hundred guilty walk free as long as not a single innocent is wrongly accused. The first is a sentiment, the second determines the difference between chaos and order.

Otherwise, you may find a man standing on a street corner urging women to cover their heads in return for money. Others may admit their limitations, concede they are not robots. And still others, with cameras in their hands, may approach families having dinner in a restaurant to accuse them of looting a nation. And they would all have good reason. They would all feel justified. For when mobs rule, when everyone is in charge, morality takes over from law, until finally, an unbridled morality becomes immoral itself.

What is obviously forgotten along the way somehow is that law is practiced in the courts, not in the streets and that you are innocent until proven guilty. That, yes, a crime should be punished, but not for the sake of pleasing a crowd and not every crime carries a death sentence even if that alone is what may satisfy a mob. And that, no, a punishment is not indefinite, it has an expiry date, and it cannot be passed on from a grandfather to a grandson.

And yet, it is happening. With self-righteousness running amok, even crimes now look different. No more is a crime restricted to a criminal act alone. That is not where it ends. That is not the only tangible and chargeable offence admissible in law. The crime scene is now extended to include the dress involved, questions are asked as to why was a woman at a wrong place at a wrong time, how could she not have had it coming to her, what else was there to expect? What kind of woman would leave her home after dark with her children in tow..?

What is never mentioned of course is that it is already hard. That you are already suffocating. That your freedom is already massively curtailed. Or that when you live in a lawless land you already take more than your share of precautions- instead, you are now asked to be more careful in future, to surrender a bit more of your freedom, give an assailant a bit more power over you, and allow a cloud of guilt to hang over...

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