Thoughts on Viola Desmond Day

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Today is the first provincial holiday in Nova Scotia. This year, Nova Scotia celebrates the life of Viola Desmond[1]. She was a black Nova Scotian who was charged, held overnight in jail, not advised of her rights, convicted, and fined because she set in the main floor of a movie theatre in 1946. The law of segregation was in full force in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Blacks were only allowed to sit in the balcony in Nova Scotia in those days. Her case happened nine years before Rosa Parks[2] refused to give up her seat on the bus in the United States.

According to the law, Viola Desmond committed an offence to the established law of the day.

The theatre acted according to the law to remove her from the main floor.

The police had no problem to remove her from her seat because she was only give a ticket to the black only segregated balcony but she took a seat at the main floor.

The court acted according to the law of the day and found her guilty and fined $20.00 her for the tax (one cent) she did not pay because of the price difference between the main floor ticket and the balcony ticket.

All the procedures, removal, arrest, charge and conviction were according to the law. What was the problem?

The simple answer – the law was wrong!

I read about all the comments of the Chinese communist party, Hong Kong government and establishment claiming that they act according to law.

They rule according to law.

They arrest protestors, use pepper spray, drag protestor to dark alley and beat them up… all according to law.

Protestors were assaulted by police were charged. Seven policemen who assaulted them were hailed as heroes.[3] They were not charged.

I have no training in law. I have only a few observations.

“Law” or “Rule of law”

  • Should not be a tool for the government to maintain their governing authority.
  • Should not be used to shut down dissenting opinions.
  • Should not be used to focus on benefiting the ruling class or the establishment.
  • Should not be dictated to the court or police by the political party or the governing authority. The government cannot tell the court who and how to judge a case.

“Law” or “Rule of Law”

  • Should be fair to all segments of the society
  • Should be independent of the governing authority and the police.
  • Should be transparent in their procedures and decisions.

I can list more.

The “mighty nation” is just too strong. It can impose their will on other nations. No one dares to be the dissenting voice.

[1] http://www.blackhistorycanada.ca/profiles.php?themeid=20&id=13

[2] http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/modern/jb_modern_parks_1.html

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/oct/15/hong-kong-police-beat-up-protester-street-corner-video

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