One morning at our Law College, when our new teacher for “Introduction to Rights” entered the classroom, the first thing he did was to ask the name of a student who was seated on the first bench: “What is your name?”
“My name is Juan, Sir.”
“Leave the classroom and I don’t want to ever see you in my class ever!” screamed the unpleasant teacher.
Juan was bewildered. When he got hold of his senses, he got up quickly, collected his belongings and left the classroom.
All were scared and angry; however nobody spoke anything.
“Well, let’s start the class,” said the new teacher. “What purpose do the enacted laws serve?”
We were afraid, but slowly gained confidence and we began to answer his questions.
“So that there is order in our society.”
“No!” the teacher shouted.
“So that people pay for their wrong actions?”
“No! Doesn’t anybody here have enough brains to know the answer to this question?!” asked the teacher, sarcastically.
“So that there is justice,” said a girl timidly.
“At last! One person who is not a complete moron! That’s correct…. so that there is justice. And now, what is the use of justice?”
All of us were extremely uneasy with his rude attitude. However, we continued trying to answer….
“To safeguard human rights.”
“Well, what more?” asked the teacher.
“To differentiate right from wrong and to reward the good.”
“Ok, that’s not bad. However, answer this question: Did I act correctly when expelling Juan from the classroom?”
All were quiet, nobody answered.
“I want a decisive and unanimous answer!” he shouted.
“No!” we all replied in unison.
“Then could you say I committed an injustice?”
Then his voice softened and he asked, “And why did nobody do anything in that respect? So why do we need rules and laws if we don’t have the necessary will to practice them? Each one of you has an obligation to do something when you witness an injustice. ALL of you! Do not stay quiet, never again! Go and call Juan,” he said staring at me.
On that day, I received the most practical lesson in my course of Law. When we don’t defend our rights, we lose our dignity, and dignity is not negotiable.