Loyal Followers

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bersih and the Fall of Reason

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” : Thomas Paine

The events unfolding before our eyes in the past few weeks say a lot about us as a collection of individuals; as a society and as a people. What is clear  however is the sad fact that when we are faced with adversity, we tend to lose our head and retreat into the same old dark and cold cave of emotions, of irrationality and of convenient rhetoric.

Above all, we abandon the very faculty which differentiates us from all other primates, namely, our ability to reason. That is the saddest reflection of us, as a nation.

With all due respect, the government could have handled the Bersih’s requests and demands in better ways than imaginable. As a people living in 2011, we expect better. We expect the government to respond and not react. And react rashly and even stupidly at that.

When the momentum of Bersih’s call for a rally gain traction and weight, the usual suspects jumped into action. Apparently, Dato’ Ambiga, the Bersih chairman, was an enemy of Islam. The obligatory demonstration (which was granted a police permit in two days after an application was made for one) coupled with the inevitable ultra-nationalistic speeches climaxing into the predictable burning of Ambiga’s pictures took place.

It is ironic that Ibrahim Ali named his movement “Gerak Aman” (“Peace Movement”, in English) while at the same time making a not-so-veiled, but vile, threat that the “Chinese should really stock up food in their house”. He then appointed himself the “war general”. And so, a Peace Movement had a war general. Certainly a first for Malaysia.

The police force was not to be left behind. Its intelligent unit jumped into action and within minutes it found evidence that the Communist had infiltrated Bersih and was planning to overthrow the government through Bersih. A number of people from Parti Sosialis Malaysia were promptly arrested and red t-shirts were seized.

Not enough with that, it was also found out that Bersih was being funded by some Christian groups. That seemed to gel with the earlier assertion that Ambiga was anti-Islam.

And so Bersih has managed to achieve what no other organisation in the whole world had managed to even dream, ie, the unison of Christianity with Communism in post World War time. How’s that for international notoriety?

If we had thought that Malaysia and her authorities have gone ape, we were in for a big surprise in later days.

The members of some silat organisations that announced that they would “wage war” against Bersih. 50000 of its members were ready to kill off any challenge by Bersih or by the rally participants. As  to what the challenge was, nobody gave any clue. Later the silat organisation seemed to grow in numbers and this time it declared it was ready to “defend the country from Bersih’s action”.

Then the usual intellectual and some persatuan peniaga runcit whatever joined in the fray. The planned rally would create traffic congestion and would cause traders to lose a lot of money. Why don’t they do it in Putrajaya? Pity the taxi drivers.

Of course it was lost too them that the bounden duty of the police is to ensure safety and order during the exercise by the people of their Constitutional right. Why don’t the police meet up with Bersih and hatch out a security plan rather than act to prevent the people from doing so?

There was, and still is, a complete lack of understanding as to the rights of the people and the function of the State when such rights are about to be exercised. Thinking that it is the year 2011 and that Malaysia has gained independence for about 54 years, it is distressful to note such completely belligerent attitude against the people by the government.

Worse was to come, however.

Ambiga and the Bersih committee were hauled to the police station. The fact that these people voluntarily went to the police station speaks volume of their non-confrontational approach towards the whole thing. They had not committed any crime. Nor were they planning any crime. But went to the police station they did.

The thing which struck me as the most uncouth move of all was the dragging of Pak Samad Said, our national laureate, to the police station for a 90 minute “interview” over a poem which he allegedly read at a Bersih launch.

From then on, Bersih, to me, had travelled into a different dimension. It was not about electoral reform anymore. It had become a movement about the people moving against some sort of tyranny.

Soon followed the outlawing of yellow t-shirts depicting the Bersih word. The IGP joined in to say that even shoes, umbrellas and buses depicting the word Bersih are seditious and will be seized. The Home Minister capped the whole insanity with the declaration that Bersih is illegal.

Arrest and more arrests took place. Malaysia was surely descending into the pits of absolutism.

The Home Minister never failed to baffle many. That trend continued when he said that books on communism and communist leaders may be given the green light for sale or publication on the condition that they do not promote Bersih. And so Bersih has now become Malaysia’s post-emergency (oh, sorry, what post-emergency, we are still under states of emergency!), post-war-confrontation-13th May biggest bogey man. And to think that Bersih is headed by a recipient of the United State’s women courage award!

The most baffling statements in all these Bersih related rhetoric came from none other than the Honourable Prime Minister.

While addressing a crowd of about 20000 people in Kelantan, the Prime Minister declared Ambiga as an enemy of Islam. The basis for that declaration was that Ambiga had acted in the Lina Joy’s case, a case involving a Muslim woman who had converted to Christianity and was fighting to get her religion changed on her identity card by the national registration department.

Welcome to 1Malaysia. In just one single sentence Mr Prime Minister, I am afraid to say, that the concept of 1Malaysia, which is  so enthusiastically promoted by your administration, will remain a concept for quite a while.

In the first place, Ambiga wasn’t even in the Lina Joy’s case! Even if she was, that declaration is a display of a complete misunderstanding or non-understanding of the role and functions of lawyers who appear for their clients in the Courts.

Using the Prime Minister’s arguments, would we call all the Syariah lawyers who defend people who are accused for khalwat or not fasting in the Syariah Courts anti-Islam or even the enemies of Islam?

What do we call lawyers who defend people who are accused of rape in our Courts? Pro-rape? Lawyers who defend people accused of murder are anti-life? How about the Attorney General who appear in Court to argue that certain people should be detained without trial? Do we call him anti-liberty?

The Honourable Prime  Minister gave a speech on moderation in Oxford University on 17th May 2011. Among others, this was what he said:

“Our choice is clear. Come together in action for a future of justice, freedom, hope, compassion and goodwill for our children or it will be replaced by a future of injustice, tyranny, hopelessness, cruelty and hate.

We must address the underlying causes of global violence. Merely going after specific individuals, dismantling their organisations, disrupting their finances and discrediting their ideologies is far from enough. We must be able to differentiate between the symptoms and the root causes. Only then, can we achieve a lasting solution.”

Why didn’t the government look at the root cause of the grievances in Bersih’s case? Why must the Prime Minister merely choose to go against his very own words by “going after specific individuals, dismantling their organisations and discrediting their ideologies”?

Why has there been no attempt at all to differentiate between the symptoms and the root causes?

And where is the “action for a future of justice, freedom, hope, compassion and goodwill for our children or it will be replaced by a future of injustice, tyranny, hopelessness, cruelty and hate?”

His Royal Highness the King had granted an audience to Ambiga and His Majesty had asked that Bersih do meet with the government to work out a compromise as of yesterday. That put paid to all the vile accusations and declaration of illegality by the government against Bersih.

The question is why haven’t the government paid some respect to the King’s exhortation? Why hasn’t the Bersih activist been released, some even from detention without trial under the Emergency laws? Why are people wearing the Bersih yellow t-shirts still being arrested (today alone, there are several arrests).

Why did the police surround a talk organised by the lawyers last night in Kota Damansara just to educate the public on their rights upon arrests?

Why did the police mount countless roadblocks today which caused traffic congestions resulting in much difficulties to the public? The police and government kept on saying that street rallies cause traffic congestion and untold misery. What about the roadblocks?

The answer given is that the road blocks were aimed to prevent unwanted elements in the capital city.

I just have one tiny question. If Bersih’s aim is to overthrow the government, then they must be quite sophisticated. After all they are aided by Christians who are working hand in hand with the communist.

Now, how does several policemen carrying guns, standing on the road, manning roadblocks and waving the traffic to move along help to trace all these sophisticated elements?

Frankly I think the police would do much and way better if all those policemen were asked to capture the acid splasher who is still on the loose till this very moment. Or why don’t they go and investigate some sex videos?

The truth is the government has surely lost the proverbial plot over the Bersih issue. This is, I am afraid to say - and I am saying this with the greatest of respect -  a government which surely is not at ease even with itself, let alone the people it thinks it is governing!

The Prime Minister, in his aforesaid Oxford speech quoted Nelson Mandela, who said:

“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.”

Yes. The mind and the soul. The government may seize all yellow t-shirts, outlaw Bersih, arrest the body of its supporters, but their mind and soul remain free. The mind cannot be arrested.

To cap it up, the Prime Minister said:

“But while one man standing in the road is a nuisance, a mere distraction, 10 men standing together are far harder to ignore. And if those 10 become 100, a thousand, a million, a billion even, they become a force so big, so strong and so united in their common cause that those who espouse hatred will face a very simple choice.”

I rest my case.

 

41 comments:

Kris said...

Oh so well said my friend, so very well said.......

The vitriol and vilifying our government has poured and carried out on a simple and honourable request, to have clean elections is mind boggling to say the least. What exactly have they got against that? I expect my government to administrate cleanly and fairly up to and including ensuring that they are elected cleanly in the first place...That isn't a noble or honourable cause. It is the most basic of human principles, that we don't lie, cheat and steal our fellow man to achieve our objective....

Anonymous said...

Art, I just love the way you arrange the word and points very CLEARLY and PRECISELY.
I HOPE THE GOV read this to get some sense of their past 2 weeks act.
TQ VERY MUCH.

Krishna said...

What the Najib said about Ambiga is untrue. What Najib said at Oxford is also untrue. It amazes me that he was able to say these with a straight face!

Are we to believe that the Agong acted on his own in this matter? I believe Najib went to see the Agong and pleaded with him to intercede. The intelligence agencies must have reported that government action so far has incensed the rakyat. The turnout for the rally is going to be huge. Chicken najib got cold feet!

Bimji said...

Pardon me if I have my facts wrong but...

"... Parti Sosialis Malaysia were promptly arrested and red t-shirts were seized."

... weren't the shirts yellow?

Great read nonetheless. =)

Raison D'etre said...

Ah, said a whole load of things, did he not?

One thing's for sure: He's got a hell of a good speech writer.

Yup. Agreed. The Bersih showed exactly what we are dealing with. Wanna bet the election will not be called any time soon?

Anonymous said...

@Bimji, PSM was on another campaign called "Kempen Udahlah Bersaralah" against BN rule and was unfortunately the proverbial kancil caught in between. Hence, the red tees (theirs) and not yellow (Bersih's).

- siew eng

Sampagita said...

It is articulation. Well said. How many of those who are not conversant in English sees the truth of your write up. Thank you.

HTC said...

The current federal government is inep, delusional, hypocritical and dishonest. It is unfit to govern. The calibre of its leadership is found wanting. It is a disgrace and an insult to thinking Malaysians. The way it is, Malaysia will never achieve its full potential in anything. Let us arise, all thinking Malaysians regardless of race, and make our mark. Let us make Malaysia what it could be.

UniversalTraveller65 said...

Hi Art,

An idea cannot be killed, it lives on.

V for Vendetta.

Anonymous said...

Arty boy, be careful in 'hentaming' those in power, you might get arrested for sedition...

You know , Bolehland is not a true democracy... I say cosmetic democracy...do be careful...

Anonymous said...

The thing is that the nice and wonderful speeches that Najib gave were written by his speech-writers. So he knows not the meaning and essence of the words that he spoke. Therefore, when confronted, he reacts like a hooligan because he lacks intelligence.

Singam said...

Art, I'm sorry, you can't rest your case.

The Honourable Home Minister has declared that Bersih 2.0 is still outlawed.

What are we to make of that? Does that not amount to Derhaka?

Paul Wong said...

Art,

The PM and his team might not understand the wonders of your writings la.

Anonymous said...

I wish to point out that the government isn't the only one which is paranoid over the rally.

On Monday, my company had an assembly. The MC spoke out against BERSIH saying that employees who participate in the rally will face *immediate* sacking & went on to say BERSIH paid drug addicts to attend the rally.

Is this reason for immediate sacking legal in labour law?

~ Concerned

Anonymous said...

Salam,

This will be used as reference when I go on my ceramah kelompok round.

TQVM. MABY

-MAKORANG-

Sea MunnKey said...

Hey Harun,

It's been a long while since I'd last read your threads and just earlier today I was catching up to the Malaysian news and came upon BERSIH intended rally and bam ... I see the PM Najib and his possé trying to "Stop" the BERSIH rally by intending to use violence and brutal force to supposedly crush the BERSIH rally? PM Najib's motto sounds like ... "It's either my way or the Highway punks!!"

Malaysian police force are as corrupted and prejudice to whomever is "against" the ruling government. Confiscated parangs, petrol bombs with BERSIH t-shirts found and how convenient that the police had "tips" on where to locate this weapons of destructions?? How much is Najib's dept. paying off the police IGP for the comments he made regarding the use of any BERSIH's clothing accessories and footwear ... wow!!

Any chance someone can "send" me a BERSIH t-shirt to show support for a democratic "voice out"?

1Malaysia is just a selling tool for Najib's crap hole government!

Anonymous said...

Hishamuddin said nobody above the law. Since he is the law & has outlawed Bersih even Tuanku DYMM SPB YDP Agong cannot be above him.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

A very articulate and informative piece, but we all know the real reasons for the heavy handed approach and loss of reasons don't we?

It's all about staying in control, whatever and however it takes. Anything that looks remotely against UMNO and their regime must be stopped at all costs.

Forget about public order and safety or loss of business, etc. Its all just a bunch of lame excuses to justify what they did.

Remember the cow head demo? The insults hurled at hindus? The home minister siding with the cow head protestors?

That incident was blatant instigation for a confrontation(thank goodness hindus have the common sense and grace not to retaliate) yet the protestors were made to look like heroes. While BERSIH, which is about cleaning up our electoral process, got harassed and arrested and made to look like communist christians plotting to overthrow the government with the help of buddhist sympathisers (hey look at the news today about parangs and BERSIH t-shirts and molotov cocktails found behind a buddhist temple).

Still can't see the real reasons now?

wolf

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

A very articulate and informative piece, but we all know the real reasons for the heavy handed approach and loss of reasons don't we?

It's all about staying in control, whatever and however it takes. Anything that looks remotely against UMNO and their regime must be stopped at all costs.

Forget about public order and safety or loss of business, etc. Its all just a bunch of lame excuses to justify what they did.

Remember the cow head demo? The insults hurled at hindus? The home minister siding with the cow head protestors?

That incident was blatant instigation for a confrontation(thank goodness hindus have the common sense and grace not to retaliate) yet the protestors were made to look like heroes. While BERSIH, which is about cleaning up our electoral process, got harassed and arrested and made to look like communist christians plotting to overthrow the government with the help of buddhist sympathisers (hey look at the news today about parangs and BERSIH t-shirts and molotov cocktails found behind a buddhist temple).

Still can't see the real reasons now?

wolf

donplaypuks said...

"One thing's for sure: He's got a hell of a good speech writer." Raison D'etre

Yes even the devil may quote the scriptures. Note too what Najib said in Oxford is in total contradiction with what's hapeening here at home due largely to his racist and religious bigoted (mal)administration.

Bro Art, thanks for the tip. I checked up. The lawyer who defended Lina Joy was indeed Cyrus Das and Ambiga had zilch to do with it. CLICK HERE

Do check out my latest post -
HIS MAJESTY AND STEEL MAGNOLIA - TIME MAGAZINE PERSONS OF THE MALAYSIAN YEAR? at http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com/

dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

POLIS R.D.M said...

THE IDEA OF HAVING MANY POLICE ROAD BLOCKS ARE FOR THE PURPOSE OF HARASSMENT, NOTHING BUT JUST PURE HARASSMENT. THEIR ONLY AIM IS TO CREATE MAXIMUM NUISANCE TO THE MOTORISTS. THESE SIMPLE MINDED SILLY LEADERS THINK THAT BY DOING SO, THE PUBLIC WOULD GET ANNOYED AND FRUSTRATED AND THERE BLAME IT ON BERSIH. TO A CERTAIN ASPECT THEY MAY BE RIGHT BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE SHALLOW MINDED THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THEY ARE PLAYING WITH A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD. HERE IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF THE ADDAGE "HE WHO RULES BY THE SWORD WILL DIE BY THE SWORD". TAKE HEED, YOU BN CLOWNS.

aniktnf said...

Can someone who has the knowledge and means to expose our double faced Pee Em to the world leaders so that they would know his true character. All his speaches made overseas sounded very inspiring, as if coming from a great statesman. The truth is that all those scripts were written by spin doctors, the best money can buy. Back home, we see a different PM, so different from the one we saw oversea.

Anonymous said...

It'd be useful if UN can pressure the Malaysian government and it's ruling party over its oppression towards its citizens now.

Well, this is just like another joke in the world's view on how poorly a supposingly democratic country is managed.

So ashame that the countrymen abroad would blush and not admit his/her nationality or ignore this issue totally watching this joke/ soap drama plays out itself side by side with the world.

Anonymous said...

It's ok to let 1 million youths(or so they claim) to gather in Putrajaya for THREE days to "defend" the govt (against what?)but not for citizens to rally for clean and fair elections! Why is Jibby visitng the Vatican (on a private??? visit)to seek links with the Vatican when he can't even honour his own words?

Anonymous said...

Art,

One thing is true and that is the PM is a man who lies, cheats and deceits. The PM has lost whatever remnants of integrity he has. He has proven beyond any doubt that he double speaks. As a PM who is supposedly to be a learned man, he has shamed his children. I can imagine his children having to carry the burden of having his name for the rest of their lives. May the PM have everlasting problems.

dean ali said...

Dear En. Art,

Would you mind to comment on the article written by Another Brick? The link is as follows: http://anotherbrickinwall.blogspot.com/2011/07/right-to-assemble-is-no-blank-cheque.html

I'm no lawyer but sure it ain't crystal clear as what he assume it should be.

Well, he told us not to be fooled by the opposition, left wing NGOs and anti-establishment lawyers. I bet you, by his term, probably be among those what we, the netizen especially, must be aware of. Hehe... Still, I feel compelled to hear you :)

Wake UP! said...

Salam bro. I seriously think that the serial acid splasher is one of the BerSHIT wannabes who is trying to see first if he could get away with it.

Tiger said...

Victor Hugo said,"Even an army cannot stop an idea whose time has come".
Zahid Hamidi, I have no idea why you are eligible for my tax dollars to pay your darn salary, but please remind the Army and Police they are to serve the Rakyat! NOT BN!

Parody of Bolehland said...

Art you are at your epic self again giving your usual clear and clean cut analysis.
It's odd in the Land of Smiles, Thailand, a women was respected admired for fighting for the people and got elected on the road to be the first woman Prime Minister of a nation, our leaders think lesser sophisticated, developed or holier than us. In BolehLand we have a woman trying to champion a people's concern and she gets persecuted, ridiculed and labelled all sorts of anti 1Malaysia concept if we believe in the 1Malaysia concept at all.
In this LandofQuota, we have gentle persuasion to require percentages of women in the corridors of power of corporations and proudly boast to the world this 1Malaysia Women policy is proof of emancipation of women in BolehLand
In the Land of Smiles, there was no such broads in boardrooms ruling but one could become a Prime Minister. Try that in BolehLand?
We don't need a Bersih event to reinforce the present government's inconsistencies and contradictions. Northern neighbour seems to show us how third world and backward our leaders and nation is, right? Is it that Thailand has more good Yin and Luck and BolehLand is flooded with yang.
While other nations are congratulating Yingluck, our leaders are awfully quiet.Can't blame them as they are having too much on their hands trying to deal with two ladies who may bring in the winds of change, good yin and luck in BolehLand, no? Now is that a clean or bersih or naughty thought huh?
Read the rest 'Good Yin(g)Luck Victory' at writer's blog.

sudevi dasi said...

Loved it.
Your observation is spot on.
Unfortunately it will only be appreciated by like minded people.
It is lost upon those myopic, weak spirited , bigoted fools running the Government!

A Pinch Of Salt said...

Dear Art,
Thank you for another good article and well said indeed. Thank you for standing up and be counted as a Malaysian. Certainly, only a few good men left in this twisted nation of ours! Be blessed.

Anonymous said...

I like how malaysians engage in argument,.. what you call brain-less dude!! When non-muslim criticize muslim, they claim you are against islam.When one muslim criticize another muslim, what they call!!...challenge one another to swear in mosque!!!

Anonymous said...

Sheer stupidity!

J.A.D said...

thank u for u wrote exactly what my mind thinks and more eloquently than me that's for sure. And that is also why i have posted your entire post in my blog just to make sure 'uneven' minds around me read it too...

Deux Anges said...

The heavy handedness here could also be put into a more international prespective. Perhaps the government is worried about what his happening in the Middle East going to happen in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful clarity and eloquence in your arguments. Hopefully more Malaysians will read this and realise the propaganda behind condemning Bersih: to instigate fear among Bumis so that they'll continue voting for the deceiving, corrupt BN.

Seriously, I weep at the thought of how great Malaysia could be if we have true, honest intellectuals as politicians...

halimah said...

i totally agreed w. Kris...
=Oh so well said my friend, so very well said.=

art, i shared this on my fb, hope it is ok w.u

abu idris said...

arrayah.info - Demonstrasi Khilafah 2.0 berjaya bukan Bersih 2.0

Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/pages/FreeYellowMan/159565027449977

Blackie007 said...

My blog was targetted, and my post is now just unintelligle junk. I suppose they are trying to scare me, knowing I'm just a small inconsequent person?

And no, if you think I had cut and paste incorrectly, no, I had actually typed everything and it was fine the last time I checked yesterday evening. I am so pissed off with Be End.

Anonymous said...

The Speech that the PM read out was written by his secretary. The PM merely read it and he don,t understand the content..
So how can we expect the PM to syn what is he talking about.. when the brain and the mouth are not connected.