An Eye For an Eye, a Tooth For a Tooth?

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” this statement is always what they say when justice is being talked about. Is this really an effective kind of justice?  Mahatma Gandhi once said that “An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye ends in making everybody blind.” He is right, if one does seek for retributive justice everyone will be left hurt and shattered, not only the offenders but the victims as well. Restorative justice is the answer to a better way to handle justice.

Restorative justice is a process, in the world of justice, that the offender gives restitution to the victims or to the community. Justice is about paying back to the things that the offender did. It should not be in relation to vengeance at all. The punishments given to the offender is controlled by revenge, by this the principles of proportionality and consistency is being violated. The degree of anger aggravated differs thus, the punishments led by revenge will vary. As said by Minow, Martha in her Between Vengeful and Forgiveness that  “The victim should not seek revenge and become a new victimizer but instead should forgive the offender and end the cycle of offense.” (Minow, Martha. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1998). Revenge seldom gives the relief that the victims look for. The victim gets caught up in the situation (crime) which makes him or her full of loathe, rage, and hatred. This results into vengeful motives which will add more tension and violence. Then, the cycle of revenge and escalation will go into the picture.

This world will be a better place if revenge and justice would be separated from each other. Restorative justice is the answer in which all of us in the end will be left with a sense of sight. The people are the ones who can only break or shatter the cycle so it should be done right away to avoid having all blind people in this world.

Revenge and justice are words that should not be associated with each other because they have very different meaning. 



-Mantes, Angela Camille M.


5 thoughts on “An Eye For an Eye, a Tooth For a Tooth?

  1. Great blog post. If someone hurts/makes you angry, it is definitely difficult to control your emotions. At times, one may think that they should feel the same pain they inflicted on you – because it’s unfair that they’re off that easy. But if that’s the case, the cycle will go on and on and it will do nothing good for society. It is definitely hard to forgive, but that will help us progress in the long run. Letting go will not only do good for the offender, but it will do good for the victim as well.

  2. A cycle that will never end… It is a cycle we all wish to end…
    But, punishment are made to make the victimizer suffer for his/her wrong deeds… It’s a sad fact and all, but some punishments are required to deter the recurrence of such acts…

    It may not be in the form of physical punishments, but it will not be that helpful to a victim… Some crimes can be traumatizing for the victim, being mauled or getting stab is something a victim can forgive but never forget… This where the term “scarred for life”, comes to place…

    Here’s something to consider:
    For example, If you witnessed your whole kin get slaughtered just for fun, the gravest punishment now in the Philippines is just life imprisonment… For the murderer, it is of no effect to him as he has grown numb in the process… But for you, you’ll try to forgive and forget, but the damage has already been done…

    Yes, punishing somebody wouldn’t make them go back, but seeing the gravity of the punishment, it is not enough for other mentally unstable (or whatever politically correct term one can call them) to do just the same… Grave punishments are there for a reason…

  3. Great post! 🙂
    Sorry, but as I was reading your post, all I could think was Naruto hehe. He has this idea of wanting to end the cycle of vengeance (if A killed B, then B’s family will kill A, then A’s family will kill someone from B’s family, and so on) by means of forgiveness.

    Anyway, this topic about differentiating revenge and justice is really interesting. A lot of people are asserting that they are just hoping for justice, when in reality, all they want is revenge. Suggesting that restorative justice is the answer to all these things is also quite thrilling. Yes, that idea would really be great; to repair the damage that has been done by asking for forgiveness, doing something in return or whatever. However, I wonder if, or rather I’m hoping that everybody would be satisfied and settle for it.

  4. I agree with your notion of restorative justice. But what really makes it hard to uphold such system is the strong influence of one’s culture on what is happening in their society. If justice is differently perceived by a particular group of people, we could not establish a common line among all nations with what kind of justice they want to uphold.

  5. It is true that revenge will never be a solution for whatever it is that has been done to a person. It is wrong for someone to seek revenge. It might make him/her feel better for a certain time but sooner or later, it would just make him/her feel worse.

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