UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF CORRUPTION By Jacques Depelchin

In these current times, corruption seems to be everywhere. And yet, depending on the place where it is being discussed, the finger tends to be pointed against one type of culprit. In Brazil, since the work of car wash was launched (2014), the powers that be decided that the most corrupted group was the politicians, more specifically those of the Workers Party.

As a presidential election approached, the target of Car Wash focused on preventing Lula from being a candidate. The opinion polls kept showing him as the favorite against any of the candidates.

After Jair Bolsonaro was elected, Sergio Moro, the judge who was in charge of Car Wash was chosen as Minister of Justice, with a promise that he would be nominated to the Supreme Court as soon as a vacancy occurred.

Through the work of The Intercept, it has now become clear that the judge was far from impartial, in particular, with regard to the process that led to the incarceration of former President Inácio Lula da Silva.

Veja, a conservative weekly that had been enthusiastic in its support of Car Wash and elevated judge Sergio Moro to the stature of sainthood produced on its last cover page (July 5) a picture of the judge tipping the balance of justice in one direction.

The Intercept was the first to reveal the conversations between the judge and the prosecuting officers. The conversations clearly showed how the judge was advising the prosecuting team to do its work, to ensure a sentencing that would land Lula in jail and also ensure that he would not be allowed to participate in the 2018 election.

As in other places on Planet Earth, a number of questions comes to mind: how does corruption happen? Is it only some politicians? Is it only a group of people? Does it happen only in certain countries, from a certain hemisphere? If specialists were to study how did corruption spread, would they come up with the same kind of phrasing that led the climate scientists to say that climate change is the result of human impact?

In both cases, one can clearly see a refusal to be more specific. Would the scientists say that people like Ota Benga, inhabitants of equatorial forests, or the San in the Kalahari Desert are as equally responsible for climate change as, say, fossil fuel producing corporations, armament industries, etc.?

Should one not be asking questions that have not been asked? What should one think of a justice system that managed to be partial without triggering an immediate alert? Did it go wrong just because of the behavior of one judge who colluded with prosecuting officers? Shouldn’t the partiality lead one to ask other questions with regard to the unjust treatment that have been practiced systematically, and without protest, for centuries?

Aren’t the inequalities currently in place in countries that call themselves democracies, the result of systematic corruption of relations between humans?

When facing a catastrophe like human extinction, will all humans see themselves as equal? One can imagine that it will be a difficult decision for those who have always seen themselves as superior.

Is it not the case that corruption is above all a practice of systematic injustices that grows thanks to the impunity that encourages such a practice? Isn’t the violence against women that goes on in democracies, with impunity, a form of corruption of human relations?

When the most powerful nations can, with impunity, violate the integrity of other nations and, thus lead to the slaughter of innocent human beings; shouldn’t such a behavior be described as a corruption of human relations?

The roots of the corruption of human relations are connected to how power has emerged, how it has concentrated in the hands of a few, in the current times. While it might be easy to understand that power corrupts; any nation that has accumulated more power than any other is not likely to admit that such power shall encourage the corruption, nay, the destruction of human relations.

Sources:  Ota Benga Alliance

Jacques Depelchin is a Congolese historian and militant. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Ota Benga International Alliance for Peace in the DR Congo.

 

 

 

 

 

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