Sunday, July 27, 2008

175] With whom will the army stroll?

With whom will the army stroll?


Suharto, Idi Amin, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Somoza, Noriega, and Marcos were are all tyrants. Some fell from grace because of the greed of their women. Typical Marie Antoinette syndrome.

Azly Rahman dr.azly.rahman@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

No man is an island, entire of itself;

every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,

as well as if a promontory were,

as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were:

any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,

and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. - John Donne, English poet

We do not need an emergency rule unless we are still living in 1969. Those days are over. Majlis Gerakan Negara (MAGERAN) is history. This is a time for the natural state of things to unfold. A time to let a hundred flowers bloom. The semiotics of structural violence must not be paraded in front of Malaysians who now know how to protest peacefully.

They know what a totalitarian regime means. They now know what separation of powers means. They want to see an urgent evolution of this philosophy. Only those in danger of losing power want to maintain hegemony and will use the ideological state apparatuses to maintain power. Machiavellians included.

Emergency rules are for nations in desperation. For dictators facing an imminent and violent political death. For despots who refuse to detach themselves from power. For governments that allow prime ministers to rule for as long as they like. Ours is not. We do not have dictators. We have democracy yearning to break free.

Suharto, Idi Amin, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Somoza, Noriega, and Marcos were are all tyrants. Some fell from grace because of the greed of their women. Typical Marie Antoinette syndrome.

Police must maintain justice

We are evolving into a civil society in which civilians are beginning to speak up in the name of building our own civilisation from the possibilities of social and global justice, universal human rights, cosmopolitanism, and radical multiculturalism. A deployment of the army will kill this image of a civil society, right at its infancy.

Soldiers fight to protect external enemies of the people, not to protect corrupt politicians against their own people. The latter is philosophically wrong.

The police are supposed to be maintaining justice in a world of irrationalities and unjust behaviour. The police need no extra protection if they are true to their conscience and always available and reliable to protect the citizens, even against elected representatives who abuse power.

An image of the army on the streets will be a violent one - both in truth and perception. We need not go that route - the route of Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, or Burma. We are gentle people with gentle ways of dealing with conflicts. We are not a junta nation. We do not have Hutus and Tutsis.

A gentle people

Gently done, we know when to remove a regime that is no longer gentle to the people who voted it into power. Gently, the Internet will take its natural course in igniting mental revolutions first, and peaceful revolutions next. Gently done, we know how to protest loudly against the violent and sudden price hikes, massive corruption, death of the judiciary, and even unsolved murder mysteries.

We do not need the army on the streets. We need to instead arm ourselves with revolutionary ideals, to hold on fast to our dreams of a republic of virtue, and to use the Internet to voice our dissenting views and to engineer regime change.

We are already an army of intellectuals in our own way, patrolling the mindscapes of Malaysia, spreading the message of peace, policing against politicians that are corrupt to the core. We are an army and a police ourselves. We do not need the semiotics of violence to take root.

Malaysians are gentle people. Only the media is getting more and more violent, feeding our children with stories upon stories of sex, lies, murders, and political intrigues.

Forgotten, unheard stories

We have forgotten the more important news of the day: the rakyat suffering through the recession and possible depression, youth losing their moral compass, failing schools, sprawling urban poverty, continuing systematic spread of racist propaganda in schools and universities, breakdown of family values, siphoning of the nation's wealth out of the country, declining standards of our universities and a plethora of other issues we should be addressing and finding solutions to.

And many more. Stories of the rakyat. These are the masses whose stories must be heard. These are not the elite whose stories are pushed daily to the forefront, shoved into our consciousness ad nauseum.

No, the army must stay home and meditate or at best be deployed as peacekeeping forces for the United Nations. The people must be trusted to express themselves freely, peacefully.

Malaysian rallies are becoming huge family events. People come in all shape and sizes, from all walks of life, from a hard days' work to listen to music and their favourite revolutionary leaders, and to renew their commitment to regime change.

The people are armed with better knowledge of what will work for them as Malaysians and what has miserably failed. They want change because the only permanent thing in this world is change.

No, we do not need the army patrolling the streets. The family members of the army and the police are also suffering from the recession and the astronomical increase in the price of everything. They too are armed with the knowledge of why the country is messed up as a result of the messing up of global and local politics.

For whom the bell tolls

In the end, the bell tolls for thee. When the time comes for the truth to surface, no army can stop it from violently appearing from the ground beneath. No police can guard truth from appearing in the eyes of the public.

No army can defeat revolutionary forces that install better regimes through peaceful, silent, ethical and intelligent means. No iron bars can imprison the conscience and the yearn for one to speak the truth to power. The goodness in men and women will be the best police and the best army.

Man is born free yet everywhere he is in chains.

No army on our streets, please. We are Malaysians. We must let justice take it natural course.

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