There are numerous perspectives when it comes to peace, and often the definition changes depending on who defines it. Although it has varied meanings to different people, every single person on earth is capable of understanding peace. Wealthy people may define peace as being concerned with their various interests, while those in poverty may define peace as just having food on the table every day.
Peace is connected with the idea of social justice. There can be no peace without social justice. Non-implementation of justice in the community by leaders can provoke conflict. The story of the litany of revolutions and counter revolutions coming one after the other revolves around the idea of social justice.
Social justice is achieved when the poor are saved from the tyranny of the abusive leaders. Feeding the poor is not enough; there is a need to urge people to treat others fairly and take care of them by making sure that their needs are met. This is a universal view on social justice.
So far, there is no nation today that has achieved it. Those who doubt this must refer to the justice that strong nations show towards weak ones, or the justice of the whites towards the blacks in different parts of the world, or the justice of rich leaders towards the poor followers—these are the real situations which are known already to every Juan Dela Cruz.
The problem comes in when distribution of the world’s natural wealth is done in a manner that is unjust. The sheer example is the case in Kuwait, Qatar and UAE among other rich Arab countries—the people on the top are happily and heavenly enjoying boons of oil revenues with enough time to sleep while the people in Syria and Yemen are sleepless due to their empty stomachs. It is this dilemma which drives the wedge of religious and humanitarian values on one hand and greed on the other.
Moreover, social justice cannot be achieved through superficial manifestations of religion such as going to the mosque, church or temple, worshiping and celebrating religious holidays; rather it can only be achieved when life is ruled by religious ethical standards and when people’s affairs are conducted in accordance with moral values and teachings. These are values and rulings that guarantee absolute justice by giving everyone’s rights and organizing social relations among people in a just manner.
This is the second principle of justice as fairness introduced by John Rawls thus, “social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions such as they are to be attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity and that they are to be to the greatest benefit of the least-advantaged members of society.”
Ideologies of varied sorts have no concern with fairness and justice. In fact, ideology is just a system of ideas forming the basis of economic and political theory. It is people who create and control the system.
Part of social justice is the implementation of equal rights of the people. People have the right to participate in the decision-making of the government. They have the right for information. Therefore, in order to achieve justice, transparency is needed.
Ultimately, peace will reign in every corner of the community and the whole country if social justice is put in place.
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