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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dr M, what about the 'monsters' back home?


COMMENT And so Dr Mahathir Mohamad is upset - perhaps this is too timid a description of his outburst. Perhaps it would be more apt to phrase it as him being in high dungeon with the Jews over the bombardment of Gaza.

Such anti-Semitic frothing in the mouth is nothing new for the old chap.

Mahathir has always harboured a hard spot for the Jews and judging from his recent blog post, titled simply as "The Jews", the ill-feeling has not mellowed with age.

On the contrary, it seems to have ascended a notch or two on the scale of viciousness.

Over in Gaza, the never-ending tale of hostilities has unraveled once again, with both sides accusing each other of barbaric acts and having the blood of the innocent on their hands.

But when images of civilians, including children, perishing in the war surface, Mahathir's indignation is understandable.

However, to condemn all Jews for the actions of the Zionist regime is akin to blaming all Muslims for the violence permeated by terror networks like Al-Qaeda.

Post 9-11, numerous Muslim luminaries both in politics and the religion reminded the world not to equate the two in order to prevent a backlash on the innocent.

Similarly, many Jews around the world have taken to the streets to protest against the ongoing bedlam in Gaza, with one such protestor in New York brandishing a placard, which read: "New York Jews, Say Not In Our Name."

When a "learned" man like Mahathir refrains from making the distinction, firing his salvo on all Jews, would not the average man be consumed with blind hatred for all that is Jewish?

The former premier lashed out on how the holocaust had not taught the Jews the meaning of suffering and now took delight in massacring the Arabs.

He commented on their "imbued" superiority complex stemming from the belief that they are the "chosen ones" of God and therefore considered themselves above criticism.

He then blamed the United States and Europe for "creating this monster" vis-a-vis Israel.

What about monsters he helped create?

But what about the "monsters" he helped create, who seem to behave in a similar fashion to the "chosen ones" depicted in his anti-Jew tirade?

These "monsters" who choose to divide this nation along ethnic and religious lines, branding all efforts geared towards unity as being the work of the devil?

These individuals, politicians and groups like Perkasa, of which Mahathir is the patron, and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) operate on the same "superior" wavelength that empowers them to belittle and deride Malaysians of other races and faiths.

They bombard the "insignificant other" not with missiles but insults and do this without the slightest remorse and worse, believing that their deeds are justified, with their supporters heralding them as heroes.

And it must be pointed out that the "chosen ones" exist on both sides of the political divide.

Given the often repeated "threats, reminders and warnings" of a repeat of the racial bloodletting which rocked the nation more than four decades ago, it seems like the "chosen ones" here would not hesitate to emulate the "chosen ones" in Mahathir's diatribe and spill the blood of those whom they consider to be a danger to their divine status and birthright.

And with unscrupulous characters continuing to sow the seeds of division and hatred in impressionable minds, perhaps there may come a time in the not too distant future that there would be a pogrom "for fun" similar to what, according to Mahathir, the Zionist are executing.

Another strange and rather comical phenomenon that emerged under Mahathir's 22-year watch is a group - with significant numbers-  masquerading as the "chosen ones" and joining the bandwagon to lash out at others, including those from their own ethnic background.

For example, even Mahathir, who is speculated to have paternal relatives in India, questioned the granting of citizenship to Chinese and Indians.

And this comes from the man who envisioned Malaysia to be a developed nation in 2020, when a sizeable portion of its inhabitants, much to his own doing, still dwell in caves with regard to their mindset.

Skycrapers, bigots in designer suits and elephantine malls, make not a developed nation.

It requires an evolved state of mind that transcends the narrow peripheries, where respect is accorded to all regardless of color and creed.

It is a state where bigotry and bigots are shunned and not celebrated.

Ironically, the bridges are burning under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's nose, the man who rode into office on the 1Malaysia slogan, promising to bridge the gaps.

And to those who champion and desire for change, do not be disheartened by the voices of detractors. Do not allow them to extinguish the flame.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent." -Martin Luther King, Jr.


RK ANAND is a member of the Malaysiakini team.

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