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About Goliaths
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-01-10 11:11:05
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It is really long time ago when somebody very close to me happened to be in the centre of London when a bomb exploded. Until then this strange feeling of David fighting Goliath had somehow blinded any other sense and logic and somewhere inside I could find justice in what IRA was doing. That period there weren’t mobile telephones and internet and it took a while to find out that everything was fine and the person I was worrying about despite delays had arrived to work safe.

That day something changed inside me dramatically and I have to admit it was the first time I actually felt Ghandi’s non violence words. You see this David and Goliath feeling can really veil any logic and sense. Later and it is equally important I had a better look at what I was in theory “supporting” and to my total disappointment I found out that I had become so blind to agree even in thinks that contradicted my principals; and all that judging from the size of the opponents. And I’m saying that without giving right to any side since I think in the case of north Ireland, the Catholics are equally responsible with the Protestants in whatever happened and unfortunately despite all the effects doesn’t want to stop for good.

But thankfully some got to their senses and the nightmare of 70s and 80s is over. What made me think of all that it is the “not guilty” plea of the Nigerian man who nearly killed 290 people exploding a plane on the air and nobody knows how many more could have die in the ground. And the amazing thing is that I don’t think that he pleaded “not guilty” as a defence trick but he really believes it. He really believes that he is small David fighting the mighty Goliath without been able to see the faces of the 290 innocent people!

When you are 20 or 23 as Mr. Abdulmutallab is, everything is black and white and you want justice or better you demand justice, you demand a fair word, you demand equality and even one poor person on the streets can make you angry. And please don’t misunderstand me, I find all that a very creative motivation to change the world. My generation in Greece did that going bare hands against a dictatorship with tanks and guns. And this is what started the change that brought back after seven years of a ruthless dictatorship, democracy back. And yes the young people have been all through history the light that led to change but how can you explain that to young Abdulmutallab and the Abdulmutallabs of this world that the David he chosen is really a …short Goliath?

How can you explain to this young man that you don’t fight evil with a worse evil and that the enemies of my enemy are not necessarily my allies? Oddly this is a lesson Bin Laden has given to all sides the last decades. But returning to young Abdulmutallab, who’s going to be the judge under the circumstances and with all this terrorist-phobia at the moment that will have the courage to listen and understand the young man and further more help him to understand. Perhaps I’m asking too much and under the …circumstances I will be misunderstood.

You see despite I’m long away from my twenties I still believe in justice, and I still believe that justice is there not to punish but to rehabilitate, to show that he made a mistake, a lethal mistake but the society knows how to forget and forgive. And I’m not asking from any court to accept that he is innocent. No Mr. Abdulmutallab is far from innocent. A 23 years-old man apart his romantism or better because of his romantism knows well what is good and what is evil. He knows that murder is evil, mass murder is even worst. He knows that very well, he just needs help to see it as well. and that’s why he has to serve time, to have the chance and the help to see the truth he missed.

This is when justice works and this is when Abdulmutallabs learn that the Goliath they think that they can see is not exactly a Goliath is just a big person you can talk with. And perhaps they can see that the David they are supporting is really a Goliath that holds them under his shadow never letting them see what stands on the other side is, just tells them what he wants or better what their youth likes to hear.

Let’s just hope that all this phobias will not trap justice but act as justice should do; listen try to understand and then help the person to rehabilitate and bring all this energy to something creative and for the good of the society instead of filling him of revenge just because we have no time to listen.

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Emanuel Paparella2010-01-10 13:07:51
Indeed, the Romans had a three word saying that well portrays the above described situation of David fighting Goliath: corruptio optima pessima: the corruption of the best is the worst kind. One takes an ideal such as justice and turns it upside down and in its name one evolves into a fanatic ready to obliterate half of the alleged enemy population including innocent men, women and children, so that “justice” can prevail. Robespierre thought of himself a “virtuous citizen” and brought about the corruption of the ideals of the French revolution: the reign of terror. What is sadly lost sight of is that such a Machiavellian stratagem which says that the ideal end justifies the less than perfect means ultimately end up corrupting the end as well. Unfortunately, most of the bloody political revolutions of recent history are that kind: they begin with an ideal of justice and equality and even “brotherhood” often theoretically conceived and they end with a tyrant on top dispensing his brand of justice and depriving people of their inalienable right to freedom. The justification is for it all by the goal of “justice.” (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2010-01-10 13:08:39
That explains why there is an attempt now to rehabilitate the image of a tyrant such as Stalin. And Napoleon lies in a “glorious” mausoleum in Paris; a symbol of the superiority of French civilization. Somebody like Gandhi and Martin Luther King had the wisdom to see the fallacy of that mind-set. They knew that to fight evil to evil is to be corrupted by evil and to end up doing more harm than good. They also knew that to blow-up innocent people is not a sign of bravery but of utter cowardice; that it is more courageous to confront evil with non violence, which has nothing passive about it, and thus retain one’s integrity and what is best about oneself leaving what is worst to one’s enemies. To resort to violence and fight fire with fire (which is in some way the definition of war itself) is ultimately to join the cadre of losers dispensing injustice and deluding themselves that they are creating a better world. To recap: corruptio optima pessima.

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