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When I was a kid at school there was a bully who ruled the play-ground called ‘Rex’ (I guess becoming a bully is inevitable if your name is Rex?!). He would pick on a different person each day and was the undisputed champion of the lunch break. Nobody could stand up to him. People had tried running away, but he was faster. People had tried fighting back, but he was tougher.
One day I got word that it was my turn. The messengers informed me that Rex would be seeking me out at lunchtime. There are not a lot of places to hide in a playground. The moment came, and Rex hauled me out of the the football game I was playing and started his bully routine. I don’t remember what I said in reply, but whatever it was, it was funny. It made him laugh. Then I said something else and he laughed again. A couple of gags later and he not only let me off the hook but said I could now be in his gang if I wanted to be.

People had tried to deal with him in the same predictable ways for years, and he was brilliant at beating them down every time. Accidentally, I did something else.

I thought of this incident while watching the world-shattering news from Syria this week, and the political rumblings & ramblings around the world.

Here is why. People have been trying to deal with bullies in the same predictable ways for years, and the bullies are brilliant at defying them every time. It’s time for someone to do something else.
All the political and military solutions so far discussed are concerned with punishment. But we the people have a soul connection with something quite different. The deep desire of the soul is for justice. The two are not necessarily the same. We have seen many people punished, but we are fed up of justice not being done.

Let’s be clear. I want Assad punished. You kill hundreds, no thousands of defenceless children by burning their skin off and melting them to chemical death: you need punishing. I would like to help do it, me, a baseball bat and a locked room. BUT. I also want something bigger…I want justice. I want the right thing to be done, and the wrongs done to the poor of the world made good. I want evil banished and darkness destroyed by light. I want fairness for all and protection for the weak.

I am not nearly wise enough to know what another way might look like in reality. That’s why we pray for the people in the positions of power. I am fairly sure a bunch of comedians will not cut it on this occasion, and I am fully sure that justice is harder to build than punishment is to give, that it takes longer and has more complications. But those are reasons it is more valuable, more worthy of our effort, prayers and hopes.