Unmasking the oppressor in Malawi: Part 2

A series of online lectures:

Imagine, for instance, that a colleague pops in at your office gutted. She explains that traffic policemen on her way to work insisted that she pays a fine because she did not show the policemen her driving licence.

Her explanation that she forgot the driving licence at home fell on deaf ears. She eventually parted with K2, 500 for which the policemen refused to give her a receipt. Say this is despite a statutory stipulation to show the licence within the next 7 days in the event that you did not carry the licence with you.

Do you have a way you can help this distraught colleague? Is there a way you can help her fight such an injustice.

Oppression manifests in different forms: the roadblock generally elected for the police to take bribes; the bank that levies thieving charges, the police who tortures their prisoners, the elected politician in office who has morphed into a shocking unbelievable arrogant tyrant or the corrupt authorities who steal from the poor.

Injustice often immobilised us because we don’t know what to do. Nothing is more intimidating than that we do not understand

Consequently we treat injustice as natural disasters – tragic and sad – but not something we can do anything about. Very wrong.

It is possible to move out of the paralysis of despair simply by coming to a better understanding of the elements that make up oppression.

Wherever we find the perpetration of injustice, we will find two components: coercion and deception. The two work together or separately.

Coercion is the compelling a person by force of authority to act against his or her free will.

The oppressor usually uses physical force, the threat of force or the threat of some other dire consequence. In the case of our grieving lady above, “Your car will be impounded unless you pay the fine now” could be the threat.

Gary A. Haugen states three elements of coercion: weapons and brute force; the powers behind the force and a claim to lawful authority.

The only thing that distinguishes the police officers above and robbers is some claim to lawfulness, proper authority or legitimacy.

If properly handled false claims to lawful action or authority can be proved to be unsustainable. We can stop the injustice.

Of course some oppressors are willing to look like criminals in the eyes of their community, nation or the world. However most are not. They want the world to believe them that they respect the rule of law.

In subsequent lectures it will be shown that with understanding, commitment, perseverance and choice of a proper method of intervention the oppressor can be made to remove his dirty feet from our heavily bleeding necks.

In this lecture suffice to unmask that always remember that no oppressor is powerful enough to overcome all the forces of truth and justice that humanity could amass against him (oppressor trembles!).

*Cryton Chikoko is a Barrister-at-Law, ex-broadcaster and ex-dentist. He has Masters’ degrees in Law, Media and Theology. He tweets latest UK legal news @cryton (https://twitter.com/#!/Cryton)

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