This article was previously published on The Malaysian Insider.
Lord Bobo, how do your human rights lawyer minions stay motivated to fight for human rights when they are destined to ultimately lose the war? Do they ever get disillusioned and think of switching practice areas? I’m a law student and will have to eventually decide what area of law to go into. (Angela B., via email.)
What makes you happy in your life? Your spouse? Your kids? Money? A new car? Or leaving a legacy?
During our sermon at the 427th LoyarBurok World Conference, we said: “It is not what you do for yourself that defines you. It is not what you have that keeps you alive. It is how you are remembered after you die that truly means something.”
This was followed by mass group hug, furry belly rubs, and His Supreme Eminenceness then mind-controlled everyone to finish up their curry puffs and get back to work.
Genuine human rights lawyers are inspired to do what they do because they believe they need to fight injustice. They feel the victim’s agony. Their primary aim is to obtain redress for the client.
For many human rights lawyers, there is also a strong secondary aim of using the case to effect executive policy change or law reform through the courts.
Human rights lawyers are not naive. They understand that the road is long. And hard. And winding. And badly lit. And full of potholes. And there are faulty traffic lights. And rubbish road signs. Plus, the expensive tolled roads with bad traffic. And there’s the occasional flash flood. Or landslide. And let’s not forget the road closures for more important events. Anyway, suffice to say that it is a painful journey.
But if no one took on human rights work, then apartheid, slavery, and witch-hunting would still be around today.
Rather than being content with moaning on Facebook and Twitter, there are those who will commit to taking real action. And thank Bobo for that.
Of course, there are those who do it for fame, for the profile, or because they are already in the twilight of their practice and have made their millions.
Whatever their motives, they are doing good work — and this fight needs as many soldiers as it can get.
But His Supreme Eminenceness is most heartened to see so many recent law graduates, pupils, and young lawyers taking up human rights cases.
Many do so in their “free time” because their profit-focused law firm employers wouldn’t approve of such trifling hobbies.
And, of course, with LoyarBurok, there are so many non-lawyers who are also helping out with our public interest litigation (you don’t need an LLB to be LB; you don’t need to be a lawyer to be a LoyarBurokker).
Regarding what practice area to go into, well, that really is an individual choice.
It is wrong to assume that human rights lawyers only do human rights work. There are many who are very good lawyers in almost every practice area there is (okay, maybe not so many conveyancing lawyers…).
Consider these questions — what’s the point of work (which will take up so, so much of your life), and what legacy do you want to leave?
Would you like to be known as someone who transacted 1,000 condominiums and made a lot of money? Or would you like to be known as someone who saved a child refugee from certain death? It is a personal decision.
Human rights work frees us. It nourishes our impoverished souls. It purifies our inner consciousness. It turns you on like nothing else can (okay, maybe not). It attracts the opposite sex (okay, maybe not).
Standing around looking at people who are abused by the state, a lawyer — a person — can only be truly human if it triggers in him an undeniable need to take action.
You say that human rights lawyers “are destined to ultimately lose the war”. Lord Bobo disagrees. To us, it is a matter of perspective.
The modern rights movement is young, having starting out in 1945, and has seen many successes. With this perspective, it is nothing short of amazing that the few — armed only with a sense of righteousness according to law and logic — have in a short time triumphed in getting governments to provide food, shelter and housing such in Africa while protecting minority rights in Europe. And all this in the face of resistance from the entire state machinery.
The war is not fought only in court, but in numerous arenas which are not as visible as courtroom combat. These invisible galaxy wars we have won aplenty, despite what the state-controlled media and capitalist information sources would have you believe.
Join the army. Pick your weapon.
There is something for everyone and anyone to do.
Have you freed your spirit?
Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate your questions by either emailing [email protected] or tweeting your question, mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #AskLordBobo. Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)!