Every human being in a free, open, and enlightened society is entitled to a free and fair trial. That is a basic human right.
And when we look around the world, from East to West and North to South, that right is not being respected by the arrogant authorities in power.
If Osama bin Laden had been granted a free and fair trial in an American courtroom, that would've been something rare, special, and extraordinary. But that didn't happen for a very good reason, because the U.S. government was not interested in getting at the truth of the 9/11 crime. Its mind was already made up on 9/10, and the rule of law was thrown out of the windows of the collapsing Twin Towers.
These days, the U.S. government goes around the world killing people, including its citizens, without giving them a free and fair trial. It jumps from Yemen to Somalia to Pakistan, blowing people up without first checking if their guilty or innocent, naughty or nice. The U.S. government has taken on the role of Santa Clause, and this is one very, very bad Santa who blows down the chimney and steals the children's presents.
Giving a person a free and fair trial is what makes a society strong and just. North Korea lacks that. Iran lacks that. Egypt lacks that. And, as more and more people are finding out, America also lacks that. These countries, and there are more that can be named, are run by executioners, not lawful rulers.
The executioners who believe they are above the law range from the priesthood of Iran to the generals of Egypt to the police of America. These countries do not enjoy the rule of law, but instead suffer from the rule of men.
The heart of the story in Ferguson is not about racial discrimination by white police officers agains young black men. It is more universal than that, which is why it has touched so many people around the world. It is about the arrogant abuse of power. It is about the lack of rule of law, and how certain professions are treated differently under the law. To be a cleric in Iran or a cop in America comes with privileges that the common citizens are denied.
Those who view their role as sacred and necessary, like protecting the public, as cops do, or guiding the public on the right religious path, as clerics do, don't have much patience for pushback from the public. They see themselves as a class apart, believing that the laws of the land do not apply to them as they do to regular, and less powerful people. The lawlessness starts at the very top, and it transcends borders, ideologies, and peoples.
The irony of our age is that for all the talk of democracy, freedom, equality, and human rights, especially in the holier-than-thou West, there has never existed such arrogant, corrupt, and out-of-touch political establishments. It seems like we've all stepped back into time, back into the age of kings and priests, whose word was law, and whose power more often than not was wielded unjustly.
Power is a dangerous poison. But it has a sweet taste, and it only takes one sip of the cup to get hooked. Most cops in America are not scared about pulling the trigger haphazardly in the field and killing an innocent person, accident or not, black or white, armed or unarmed, because he knows he is more powerful than his victim and that he will see no punishment for his crime. The arms of the law do not reach him because he is the law when he puts on that magical blue uniform, just as the Ayatollah is the spokesman of God when he puts on that black robe and turban.
But that's not true. The cop is not the law, and the Ayatollah is not God. But, don't tell them that, because they have the guns, and they can execute the innocent with the cleanest of consciences.