This weekend, I'm in solitary celebration of my own. On Thursday, I finished all three courses I teach. We ended criminal damage with a bang, and with a case about the March 2003 war on Iraq by the allied forces. A group of protesters burned RUF property, and prayed to be excused from criminal damage charges, as they were ultimately saving Iraq from absolute destruction. The excuse didn't work. Iraq was absolutely destroyed.
I was excited that in the last class we got to talk about -- a "statute" of Margaret Thatcher's getting decapitated, activists cutting fences of US military airbases with hacksaws, and vicars scratching political messages on pillars outside parliament buildings. My excitement did not resonate with the students.
I had half baked notions to make them question judicial statements that necessity can never be an excuse for trespass as a shameless defence of private property -- how judges usurp Parliament's role simply to assert their own distaste of homosexuality.
They are stressed about exams. And somehow, the urgency rings through -- Madam, we understand your desire to remind us that ultimately the rightness of law is but a chimera, and an ode to the powers that be, but this stress only reminds us that we are looking to pass, and then become judges and crore pati corporate lawyers. And then become the powers that be.
A student said what a stupid waste of time, and what was his counsel thinking to raise such an excuse. (For the Iraq protesters' case)
But there are always diamonds in the rough. One kid was like. Well, if she was Ayn Rand, surely they would have said she can burn bridges, and cross Rubicons, and do whatever, and doesn't have to wait for gestapo to knock down her door. Now he's worked on his anti-Semitism but his political instinct is right. Cases seem to work out where people are in essence hating or fleeing the enemies of the UK and the US.
Shia hijackers who were afraid Saddam would hang them partially succeeded in claiming they hijacked a plane to Amman under duress. Suddenly the word immediacy (required for a claim of duress) was doing linguistic acrobats.
Its fun to see the kids who have shown up for class realize the material is actually quite simple. The last two weeks were a piece of cake for them. They have mastered legalese, or else theft and robbery are really easy chapters. They lap it up. Does a naked man (dressed only in socks) commit burglary when he climbs into the inner sill of a girl's window before she purportedly beckoned to invite him in? Was Robin Hood really dishonest if he believed ordinary moral people would regard stealing from the rich to feed the poor honest?
And now's when there is a bigger urgency to find tricks to pass. As the stress piles up on them, I'm relieved A relief that can only be compared to swimming 40 laps, most of them front crawl, and walking into a hot jacuzzi or growing organic seeds, and watching the plants climb climb to reach the tops of green canopies.
The painful terror of exams and revisions, notwithstanding. Once the material is out, its a gigantic leap into the realm of -- "Fcuk, the ball is in your court now."
And so this entry is for some of my sweet sweet students. Those who have made class bearable by speaking up, and narrated facts with earnest faces, and offered defenses for the defenseless, fought back with faintly funny humor, those who have asked questions that snapped me out of the outlandish fear that I was teaching a class of amoebas. That there is intelligent life. That like Chris Tucker in "Rush Hour", I do not need to enunciate: Do You Understand the Words That Are Coming Out of My Mouth?
To this moronic group of people whose only protection from a suicide bomber is the last row, rows of gunny bags, a cute Pathan chowkidar who mans the metal detector, and a goofy smile. Hats off!
And kudos to you - the religious arrogance was so low profile this time around - the namazis would leave at maghrib most discreetly - they were subtle and mild voiced about prayer and never once demanded I halt the class. And so when I was teaching a case in strict liability about a defendant named Mohammad, I said, "Mohammad was a gambler." I was reminded of Cohen's song "Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water." I checked myself. I do pray I am never under the hypocritical tyranny of blasphemy. So I said, for some god is light, for some he is fire, and for the rest of us, he is in you and me.
To each her own. Take your victim as you find her. A Jehovah's can refuse transfusion if she so desires. I got nods and murmurs.
I have taught so freely and openly, and am amazed at these young open hearts. May you kick some major ass. And file some bail applications, and always follow in Asma's footsteps.