"And as we wind on down the road,
Our shadows taller than our soul"
Robert Plant: Stairway to Heaven
When our shadows are taller than our soul, at the end of it, we would be consumed with fear. Just as we are nearing death, and we realise that our sins have far outdone our good deeds, we would be consumed with nothing but fear of the judgment day.
That is only to be expected. That is just a part of being a mortal human being.
When I learned about the arrest of about 30 people who attended an anti-ISA candle light vigil at Amcorp Mall last night, the first thought which came through my mind was, why is this government so afraid of the people it wishes to govern?
It is like this government is bereft of any moral standing to govern. Like it fears any kind of expression of feelings by the people. Like it fears any show or display of whatever which may teeny wee bit resembles an opposing opinion or stand.
No wonder even cartoon books lampooning the administration has been banned. Not long ago, even t-shirts bearing some depictions of funny cartoons and logos were seized in Central Market just because they "offend" the powers that be.
I ask on Twitter, when will this government ever respect the people's constitutional rights to assemble peacefully and to express their opinion and themselves peacefully? When?
Why must the peaceful people of Malaysia, who just wish to express their stand against a totally archaic law, which has been abused again and again and again, in a totally peaceful manner be met with riot police, swarming and bearing on them with baton and riot gear?
Just take a look at this video:
This was supposed to be a peaceful candle light vigil to mark the 50th anniversary of the Internal Security Act 1960. In addition, of course the attendees wanted to make a statement that the ISA ought to be abolished. That was all.
What was so threatening about that that they had to be met with riot police in full riot regalia? And why must they be stormed at, swarmed on and dragged like some arm bearing bank robber?
Has this government lost any kind of ability to treat the people with at least some common decency? Has this government no ability to acknowledge the existence of human dignity, some very basic form of rights which the people, as human beings, naturally possess?
Most importantly, has this government lost the plot?
The most sickening thing about this episode is the fact that all of us, members of civil society and the peace loving people of Malaysia, are made to swallow the blatant and nauseating hypocrisy by this government day in and day out.
All of us would remember that when some rabid "mentalites" from Shah Alam marched from the mosque while carrying a bloodied and severed cow head, stomped and spat on it in front of the State Secretariat, no less than our Home Minister said that those people felt "victimised" and that "they had only wanted their voices to be heard".
He then cavorted them, met and sat with them and even had a press conference with them. This government actually cavorted with pure utter racists who were hell bent on creating racial disharmony.
The few policemen who were around that day did not even lift a finger to prevent that shameful act which threw the whole country into a state of international infamy!
Oh, they had only wanted their voices heard.
Well well Mr Home Minister, how about the attendees of the vigils last night? They had wanted to overthrow the government, were they?
ALL THEY HAD WANTED TO DO WAS TO EXPRESS THEIR STAND AGAINST THE ISA IN A PEACEFUL MANNER? (sorry, I have to shout!).
Why must they be treated like some criminals? Who were more threatening? Those people carrying the kepala lembu or the candles?
One would also remember that when some Muslims threatened to have a big demonstration after Friday prayer over the "Allah" issue, no less than the Honourable Prime Minister who said that the government will not prevent such demonstrations. That statement was made knowing full well how the Allah issue was being used to fan racial hatred and how big such demonstrations could be, as it was planned to take place after Friday prayer. (notice how these people just love to turn Friday prayer into a hotbed for demonstrations).
I remember clearly the Honourable Prime Minister saying that the planned demonstrations cannot be stopped because "if people want to demonstrate, there is nothing the government could do"!
And what was the result of that statement? Yes, churches were burnt nation wide. Are we happy?
Why the double standard? Why the talam dua muka?
Why can't some peaceful Malaysians be allowed to have a peaceful assembly to pursue a cause which they thought was worthy of their attention?
What is there to fear?
Some people really have to go back home tonight, stand in front of the mirror and ask him or herself, "what has become of me?"