Lawyers gone rogue
Apparently the pen is not mightier than the sword (or at least, the fist) in the eyes of many members of the legal profession in Lahore, Pakistan. A recent Toronto Star article reads suspiciously like something from the Onion, describing a scenario that carries echoes of Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai: lawyers as once heroes-turned-rogue. The piece describes how the lawyers of the city had been at the forefront of protests against a corrupt leader, braving tear gas and other brutalities as part of a movement for judicial independence. Now however, they have apparently decided that the whole brute force thing might expedite their ends in the professional context, and so have taken the notion of the zealous advocate to extremes: courtroom brawls, as well as coercive brutality in compelling evidence and testimonies, have apparently been added to their standard toolkit of advocacy and rhetoric.
This simultaneously horrifies and fascinates me, even as I wonder if it’s humbug or at least exaggeration.
There’s something potent in the symbolism and symmetry of it: in a country where corruption is rife and rule of law shaky at best, what could be more horrifyingly appropriate than rogue lawyers wandering about in black suits and ties, bullying, brutalizing and beating those who would go against them or try to stand up to them? Legal process indeed.