jus-tice: n. 1. The quality of being just; fairness.
2.a. The principle of moral rightness; equity.
2.b. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.
3. The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law.
Tagging along with Patricio yesterday morning, I accompanied him to work so we could later descend on the American Embassy with a pocket full of pesos and the spirit of shopping at its artisan bazaar. We drove into Naucalpan and inched through traffic to the courthouse, parking the Jetta with its nose to the railroad tracks. Patricio crossed the narrow street and started his lawyerly morning inside marble-floored offices of the Palacio de Justicia, literally translated as the Palace of Justice.
I slipped the bookmark up the pages of my book and opened it for a morning of reading, but eventually gave in to the distraction of roosters prancing around the front of the car. Looking straight ahead, not ten yards from the municipal/state court was an extensive settlement of squatters. The railroad tracks being federal land, no longer in use and overgrown with grass, it's not hard to set up "home" along its length, the likelihood of getting thrown out fairly slim.
Justice, the word that then kept me from focusing on the ones in my book. A considerable lack of it seemed to be right in front of my face, in large part on the the government's side, but also on the part of the squatters. Taking advantage of a political loophole to stick it to the government that's handed them a raw deal makes the idea of "moral rightness" suddenly become extremely slippery.
Because playing with scraps along the railroad tracks, two brothers passed the time together. Then one after another came scuffling out of the same house, a little girl with her sweater on crooked and her older brother, naked as the day he was born. A baby, crawling toward the light, made it halfway out the door before his mother took him inside, swinging him up by a single, tiny arm. Perhaps his older brothers would go to school in the afternoon session. And maybe they wouldn't. I could hope.
Lawyers came and went, pulling on the jackets of their suits as they did their job for the day. A few feet from their cars, the roosters and chickens and baby chicks came and went. So did those kids. And justice? It's just...I don't know.