Crime and Consequence

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 25 September / Sep 2016. 11:00 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

Monday’s protests in front the Prime Ministry, as well as the current sweeping through social media platforms, following the assassination of colleague Nahed Hatter, all indicate our domestic unity is failing, as division transforms into hate, and murder.

Respective authorities were unable to contain the wave of hate on social media, and merely denounced trouble makers, and punished none of them.

Civil society forces including parties, associations, and prominent figures have made their statements, and moved on, leaving the stage wide open for the mob to get on and broadcast their hurtful hate speech.

Yesterday a gag order was issued on the Nahed Hatter case. But who save for newspapers and websites, abides to these orders. Social and foreign media? No! No one can gag these or hold them accountable. So what is the point?

Even though this isn’t the first time a gag order is issued, we still haven’t the slightest clue on what the exact piece of information that is prohibited from publication is; does it have to do with the ongoings of the investigation only? Or does that include analysis and comments on events of the sort?

The purpose of a gag order is to prohibit the spread of rumours and fabricated information that may hurt social security. But this kind of order requires of the official authorities to keep the public updated to satisfy the hunger for information and facts, especially on issues of public opinion. Otherwise, a gag order is just information censorship, which contrary to the original purpose of the order, facilitates and encourages the spread of incorrect information and damaging news.

There is a need for the distinction to be made between the crime itself as a legal unlawful act in regards to the judicial system exclusively, and the event itself and what circumstances that predated and followed the happening. And the major question in this regard is: could the authorities have prevented the crime?

Well, in this discourse, views conflict, and allegations of shortcoming are mutually shared among all parties involved; the family of the martyr themselves and the government. In my opinion, an investigation committee has to be formulated to inspect the thorough details of the event, address holes if any are found, and hold those responsible accountable, should they be proven so.

There isn’t a thing worse than letting hot issues of public interest cool off with time. This approach is cowardice; crises do not cool, they broil under the surface.

The crime of Hattar’s assassination is not the only phenom of shortcoming law enforcement; recently we have seen much unexplained fall-back in the restoration of law from strictness levels nearly two years ago, when it was seriously addressed, regardless of some violations on social media platforms.

Law above all. Switzerland, seen as a haven of freedoms, has seen a popular consensus recently on tightening monitory measures on social media, allowing for phone bugging. But even though they admit this is indeed a violation of personal freedoms, they have given priority to their society’s security. We are not by far more democratic than Switzerland.

Long story short; we do not want insulation, we want wise governance of the crisis unfolding.

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