Karma Police


Newton's third law states that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

While this statement applies to forces and motion, it represents a very important ideal to which our society clings: for every wrong action committed against us, redemption is sure to follow in one form or another.

The whole idea of karma dictates the same sentiment. Good things will happen to good people and bad things will happen to bad people. Justin Timberlake sang a seven-minute song entitled, "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around."

I rest my case.

We live in a society where apologies are prevalent. Kindergarten teaches us to treat others how we would like to be treated. As adults, if we have a problem, we take the offender to court. Don't feel like justice was served? Appeal the decision. These rights are guaranteed by our Constitution.

It may be a human's inherent right to be respected and treated fairly, but this unfortunately creates disillusionment when considering how a large portion of the rest of the world lives.

Starving Sudanese children don't see the justice they deserve. Their next meal may never come. Money doesn't matter in Akobo, a region in southeastern Sudan where there is no food to be purchased. They will, very likely, starve to death amid other family members and friends struggling to survive.

Meanwhile, about one in three New York State citizens are dying because of an abundance of food. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2009 statistics, about a third of United States citizens are obese.

Born into Brothels expertly illustrates this point. Children in Calcutta, India are born and sold into prostitution by their mothers, fathers or caretakers. These children see their mothers have sex with countless men and are ordered to cook, clean and tend to the rest of their family before joining the sex trade themselves.

Many of these children are born with HIV, which makes them ineligible to attend school. However, even if the children are born without the disease, many parents are unwilling to give up the revenue each would earn from prostitution.

Sometimes a story will reach our sheltered ears about a pregnant Middle Eastern woman being stoned to death because she was raped, which is seen as disgraceful to her family.

Or what about gorgeous Middle Eastern women whose faces are permanently disfigured and made wholly unrecognizable by sulfuric acid, oftentimes because they have rejected a marriage offer? It happens a lot more often than we'd like to imagine.

Perhaps even worse is the story ofShamsia and Atifa Husseini, two Afghani girls whose faces were sprayed with battery acid because they were going to school. Who would do such a thing? A Pakistani government official would; he paid the attackers $1,250 to complete the mission.

One hundred thirty million women around the world have been subject to genital mutilation. Twenty-one percent of Ghanese women say their sexual initiation was by rape.

The momentary uncomfortable feeling that these statistics and personal stories may give you will subside. Shortly thereafter, you'll continue your conversation about a teacher who has treated you unfairly or a friend who never paid you back for lunch last week.

For countless others, justice plays no part in their world. What goes around may never come back around for millions.

At the very least, appreciate what you have been given. I'm allowed to write this because my government won't censor my writing. You're allowed to sit in class and not worry about having acid thrown in your face.

Just as you were taught in kindergarten, do unto others as you'd have them do to you. In our global society, our neighbor no longer means the person sitting in the seat to our right. Our neighbor in Ethiopia may not be easily accessible, but he still exists and he still deserves respect and justice.

E-mail: jennifer.harb@ubspectrum.com