28 January 2011

An Eye for an Eye

- back to basics

Written late January 2011 - (94 lines)


An Eye for an Eye, that well-known phrase
Regardless of what the Bible says
Is NOT from Moses but someone
Called Hammurabi, king of Babylon
Around eighteen hundred BCE
The proof is there for all to see
For the Code of Hammurabi still exists
And impressively though laboriously lists
Two hundred and eightytwo laws
Each one stated in a separate clause
Carefully worded and carved in stone
Warning his subjects that to atone
For a violent crime the punishment due
Was that the same would be done to you

Reading the transcript it suddenly clicks
For statute one hundred and ninetysix
Demands, would you believe it, "an Eye for an Eye"
Identical wording that you cannot deny
And further commonalities can be shown
For one ninetyseven is "a Bone for a Bone"
And two hundred is "a Tooth for a Tooth"
Indeed the entire Law of Moses was in truth
Nothing radically different or new
So confidently say to any Christian or Jew:

Indisputably, whatever we are told
The concept of just retribution was old
And tried and tested way back then
Many centuries before the men
Of Israel set out on the Exodus -
Still the Bible confuses most of us

Justice must be real and not something we just find
As noble but abstract ideas in the mind
Or in shelves of cobweb-covered books
Of worthy words where nobody looks
Or hidden behind some judicial screen
Of good intentions - no, it must be seen
To be enforced and properly used
So everybody knows it is never refused
With nobody beyond or above the law
Only then would it deserve to draw
The support and admiration of everyone
Knowing that justice would always be done

Moving on to modern times
And the monstrous daily crimes
Committed at every opportunity
With universal impunity
In formerly peaceful Palestine
Would give this law a chance to shine:
An Eye for an Eye - and the land of the Jew
Would soon disappear completely from view!

How often in the news today
Nasty people are getting away
With serious crimes more or less free
It is grossly unjust and we all agree
Yet life goes on as if nothing took place
At most perpetrators are likely to face
A few days or weeks in a comfortable jail
Before wealthy friends free them on bail
More commonly just a minor fine
Plus community service as a sign
Of disapproval, but not behind bars
A suspended sentence rounds off the farce
Being slapped on the wrist and told gently:
"Try not to do it too frequently" -
There is neither deterrence nor justice in that
It is no more than insults and idle chat!

And should the trial reference
Incontrovertible evidence
To prove your guilt beyond any doubt
So the judge cannot throw the case out
If all else fails, your defense could be
Pleading momentary insanity
A tactic used again and again
By a wide mixture of evil men
So keep it in mind when your options are few
Who knows it might also work for you

Rehabilitated before too long
To carry on as before - how wrong
Can any system of justice be?
Much better with some clarity:

An Eye for an Eye - the concept is good
Straightforward and easily understood
You know exactly what to expect
So demanding compliance and respect

Should every nation decide to enact
This law, before long a simple fact
Would stare everybody in the face
(Could we only read it!) to replace
Our smug and cosy conscience
And shatter the old self-confidence
When everybody was brought to book
Then asked politely to take a look:

An Eye for an Eye and most of mankind
Might well be one-eyed and quite possibly blind...


Copyright © 2011 - IBRAHEEM (O.E.H.Johansen) - All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Yemen said...

An Eye for an Eye and most of mankind
Might well be one-eyed and quite possibly blind
so wonderful,i like this two lines the most

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