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Monday, May 31, 2021

French Revolution: Kadir Jasin warns govt not to forget struggling masses


Using the dramatic comparison of the French Revolution in the 18th century, veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin warned the government of Muhyiddin Yassin not to forget the needs of the masses during the lockdown that is to be implemented starting tomorrow (June 1).

In a post on his blog entitled "Bread for the People", Kadir said he was sure the prime minister had read French history and would make sure when the two-week "total lockdown" begins tomorrow, the people would have enough bread to eat.

"The French elites were so detached from reality (or just didn't care) that when the powerful Queen Marie Antoinette was told the people had no bread to eat, she said they could eat cakes.

"Then on July 14, 1789, the French people stormed a medieval armory-cum-political prison known as the Bastille and triggered the French revolution. Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI, were put on trial, found guilty, and had their heads chopped off.

"I don't think the rakyat are expecting to be served cakes or beef of any type," said Kadir.

He recalled how uneven punishment meted out to ordinary people who were found guilty of breaking the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) has brought back memories of past class struggles.

"The struggle that pitched the ordinary people against the ruling class. On the side of the suppressed masses were the thinkers, poets, writers, and dreamers.

"The ruling elites had the political power, money, the army, and the propaganda machine," wrote Kadir, who was himself perhaps at his most influential when heading the New Straits Times Press (NSTP) group during the first rule of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He cited the ideas of 18th-century French-speaking intellectuals Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau who spoke for the ordinary people and kept their spirits up.

"With their philosophical views and passionate writings, they brought about changes by abolishing the class division and other chaos in the country."

Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin

Kadir warned Muhyiddin's government that while the masses may not have Voltaire and Rousseau, they do have social media at their disposal.

"We can express our views, expose injustices, and call for change.

"Mahiaddin (sic), (Home Minister) Hamzah Zainudin and (Communications Minister) Saifuddin Abdullah can use their vast power to cow the people or even incarcerate them, but truth will prevail.

"Social media has no editor that they can order around," said Kadir, tellingly.

At the same time, he cautioned those in Malaysia to be careful about how they expressed themselves.

"Please respect the laws, ethics, and customs of the country. Remember the saying, there are many ways to skin a cat," he said enigmatically. - Mkini

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