Why justice matters

Yesterday I watched the service to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.  96 people were crushed to death at a football game.  I watched it on TV.  I’ll never forget it.  But I wasn’t there.  For me it was an horrific episode that left me open-mouthed in shock.

But yesterday as I listened to the 96 names being read I realised, probably for the first time, that these were people.  Real people.  What struck me most was the number of people who had the same surname.  Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters who went to watch their team play football and never came home.

Justice is a strange thing.  For many justice really means revenge.  For others it means punishment.  But for the families of those 96 people and for the thousands who survived, justice means something else.

My friend and colleague Leo was there.  His account of that day is one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever read.  He survived because a policeman pulled him from the crowd.  He wants justice.  Real justice…  and I pray he gets it.

And I’m glad he survived.