Sunday, 22 April 2012


Our newspapers are hardly bringers of joy.  The last few weeks have seen a steady drip of political scandals, abductions by Maoist groups, the odd disaster (natural and human-induced), bombings in sundry places and so on.

We have such a daily diet of rape and mayhem that it takes some doing to really chill you.

I got the chills yesterday.

It was when reading the newspaper reports about the trial of the Norwegian man Anders Breivik.  AB carefully planned and carried out a spree of killings that left 69 people dead.  The authorities have ruled that he is not insane.

This man certainly seems to be relishing the limelight as he explained to the court in horrible detail about how he had even taken water with him since he knew that his throat would get dry from the stress of killing people.

So how do you judge a man who has clearly planned such an attack and takes great pride in telling people how he did it and why he did it?

We have our own version of AB - a young Pakistani man called Ajmal Kasab who joined the jihad and landed from the sea with with 9 other similarly armed men on November 26th 2008.  At the end of their killing spree at least 166 people were dead.

Like AB - our AK was captured alive and has been holed up in solitary confinement in a high-security prison since then.

How do you judge and execute justice in these cases.  Norway does not have a death sentence - something that AB mocks and claims that he should either be pardonned or executed.  AB's counterpart here is far less vocal.  AK seems barely more than a young boy.  From media reports of his trial, AK can hardly converse - and yet AK was honed into a killing machine.  It is now clear that AK and his fellow killers were meticulously guided by a well-planned and ruthless group who wanted to make maximum murder - and especially kill foreigners and Jews. Hearing about how their handlers told AK's other counterparts to shoot the wife of a rabbi through the head - and to do it so that the handler could hear it over the phone is just horrible.

So now that these two have been captured - and their cases are being heard - will justice actually be served?

For one, even if both perpetrators are executed, the sheer scale of the killings remains.

The trials themselves have become dangerous spectacles.  The Norway one provides a terrible opportunity for AB to speak out his hatred - almost seeming a reward for the enormity of his actions. . The Mumbai one grinds on almost as a mockery to the ability for the state to dispense justice.

Where is the healing taking place?  It certainly does not seem to be there in either of the court-rooms.

But when we step out of the present and look into the future a different picture emerges.

Both men in their own ways seem to be cocking a snook at society's ability to administer justice.  And perhaps at least in the present set up both the so-called sophisticated Nordic courts and our own sweat-and-grime creakiness of the Indian counterparts seem to fall well short of being able to handle these killers.

But there is another court which will take place in the future.  The Bible tells us that at the end of days a great white throne will be set up and the dead - great and small will stand before this throne - and the books will be opened.  Books that list what all of humanity has done.

AB and AK and a host of others will have to give an answer for what they have done with their lives.  Not only the grisly actions that the press has almost gleefully shared around the world - but the many decisions that AB and AK have taken to rebel against their loving Creator.

Each one of us faces a similar date in court.  Its not popular to say this - but justice will be done.

And at the same time - a great and terrible mercy will also take place.

For those whose names are found in the Lamb's book of life - all their terrible acts - every single one of them - will be pardoned.

Why?  Because the Lover of our Souls took the punishment on Himself and bore it as an innocent, naked man, tortured and nailed to a twisted instrument of torture for six hours outside Jerusalem in about AD 29.

The scary thing about AB and AK is how much they resemble us.  We don't want to admit it, but the horror of their actions strikes a deep unsettling chord in us because there is no 'logical' reason for them to do such terrible acts.  Just like there are no 'logical' reasons for our many acts of commission and omission.

One of the reasons we are so angry with the courts is their seeming inability to appropriately punish the perpetrator - and give relief to the victims (in these cases the families of the victims - and those who survived the shootings).  As I think about it, this sense of justice not being served points to something deeper in us - an innate sense that justice will indeed be lived out.

And it will.  Though many many of us have tried to live our lives blocking the thought out.

Eternity is a long, long time.  Stretching into infinity.

The infinite grasp of justice is just around the corner.

AB and AK beware.  And you and me too.

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