Najib’s Orwellian 1 Malaysia – Written by johnleemk (who most authoritarian-‘ly’ dubbed Malaysian online commentators and people interested in politics – ‘chatttering classes’ on 4:58:29 am Mar 11, 2010.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak was supposed to be a better Prime Minister than Tun Abdullah Badawi. But his charm offensive belies his failure to protect our democracy and our institutions. Najib replaced Pak Lah because of the Umno warlords protecting their own interests, rather than those of the country’s; he is a Prime Minister beholden to Umno politicos, not the Malaysian voters.
The biggest problem people had with Pak Lah was that he was weak. He said nice things, but he didn’t have the willpower to see them through. He was a career civil servant, not a politician. So we got Najib—a consummate politician.
But Pak Lah’s weakness was a double-edged sword. He let a lot of people get away with saying nasty things—our nation’s dirty laundry of corruption and racism was aired like never before during his time. But the Sarawak Tribune aside, the Abdullah administration also let people get away with a lot of productive debate. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad regime.
The Najib regime is a return to the era of Mahathir. One of the most pervasive and repulsive examples of this is the insidious 1Malaysia campaign. It’s simply a tiruan ciplak of Bangsa Malaysia or Wawasan 2020—a pretence of vision for the country. Nowadays when I go to official events, the emcees greet us: “Assalamualaikum dan salam 1Malaysia.” This is nothing more than Orwellian propaganda.
Now, I could tolerate propaganda if this amorphous 1Malaysia idea were actually productive. It seems that Datuk Idris Jala has been working his butt off to make it so. But as The Malaysian Insider has reported, Idris’s attempts to redress racial injustices have been rejected by the Cabinet and replaced with vague, token promises of sweet nothings.
Other reform efforts, such as the amendment or abolition of the ISA and our other anti-democratic laws seem to have fallen by the wayside. Despite the fanciful KPIs flying around, the government still cannot convince the public that our law enforcement agencies truly work to uphold justice. In the public’s eyes, the MACC is as tainted and politically biased as ever. The constant foot-dragging in the prosecutions for the death of A. Kugan and the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone disaster only suggest that Najib has no intention of meaningfully upholding the rule of law.
Under the Constitution, the same laws apply to all Malaysians: if one Malaysian has the right to peacefully protest, then all Malaysians must have that same right. Only a few days ago, the police stopped a major Pakatan rally in Kuala Lumpur because it was supposedly disturbing the peace.
When a bunch of rabble-rousers held rallies outside mosques across the country in January then—rallies where some people had the gall to call for further torching of churches—that wasn’t disturbing the peace? Apparently not: Najib’s regime protects your democratic rights only when it is convenient.
Now, Najib’s government is going further: it is confiscating books simply because it doesn’t like them. Cartoonist Zunar’s 1FunnyMalaysia is gone—I suppose because the title makes fun of 1Malaysia. Amir Muhammad’s Politicians Say the Darndest Things, which was perfectly acceptable for public consumption a year ago, is now gone from the shelves. Nat Tan and I edited a book on police brutality and custodial deaths, such as Teoh Beng Hock’s; this book, Where is Justice, is now gone too.
Again, forget the rule of law; these books are not officially banned. (Indeed, in some stores, the sales clerk will sell them to you from behind the counter.) What Najib has simply done is intimidate booksellers into taking these books off the shelves, so you do not even realise they exist. Again, the Orwellian parallels are frightening.
What I liked about Pak Lah is that as bumbling as he was, he was an accidental democrat. Under his still-authoritarian regime, we at least saw the beginnings of some productive and open debate. Heck, he even tried to reform the Anti-Corruption Agency and overhaul some of our draconian laws like the ISA before he stepped down. If Mahathir was Bapa Pemodenan, then I daresay Pak Lah could be Bapa Demokrasi.
Najib is set only on protecting himself and the cronies of his regime, democracy and the rule of law be damned. 1Malaysia does not do away with any of the serious injustices in our country; this is not a government for all Malaysians. This is a government for Umno. There is a chance, of course, for Najib to change course, and make 1Malaysia for all; he could, if he wanted to, be remembered as Bapa Reformasi. But unless he takes action, I fear we may well remember him as Bapa Kezaliman.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
” What I liked about Pak Lah is that as bumbling as he was, he was an accidental democrat. Under his still-authoritarian regime, we at least saw the beginnings of some productive and open debate. ”
NO, John ‘Chattering Classes’ Lee, thats not true at all. Pak Lah was no accidental democrat. During Pak Lah’s time, FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS without abstention options backed by fines and jail terms which still exist today were implemented. Those had caused near a score deaths and still cause deaths among trainees. There is nothing accidental or democratic about Pak Lah allowing that to occur under his watch. FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS without abstention options backed by fines and jail terms in fact draws influences from two of the world’s most oppressive regimes – Singapore’s dictatorship, Taiwan’s ‘Fear of Invasion Collusion for Contractor profiteering AGAINST the Chinese hinterland’ and Israel’s Zionism and directly contravenes the Human Rights Charter which Malaysia is a signatory of and perhaps even the Hadiths of Islam.
What’s so democratic about Pak Lah who allowed FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS without abstention options to be inflicted on Malaysia (alongside with so many instances of less than subtle clique forming and nepotism)? Given PM Najib’s use of APCO Worldwide, an Israel based and possibly Zionist owned media company to promote 1Malaysia, we know where Malaysia is heading under the racist faction at UMNO, hopefully Pakatan Rakyat will abolish FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS (sadly we have parachute CM YM Lim Guan Eng indirectly fetting the pernicious abstentionless militarisation system – doubtless influenced by DAP’s ppatron PAP Singapore to the point that DAP’s MPs and Assemblymen cannot declare their assets – by saying the Forced Abstention Clauseless Militarisation/Brainwash programme ‘helped’ Guan Eng’s daughter – well on the mind control note, NOTE CAREFULLY Guan Eng went down in a Malay staffed submarine for a few hours, this is enough to place any Neurotech implants or allow for any chemical induced brainwahing to occur – he’s just not made his move for his new ‘Masters’ yet so do know that DAP leadership is currently impacted by UMNO high tech infiltration/brainwash (unless PAP has some de-brainwash protocols?) in which case DAP is still subject to PAP fifth columnist influence, needs changing – note how shidty Guan Eng is on Hudud these days? Meanwhile ISA has not even been abolished, implement IPCMC as well as give Malaysia :
1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.
;so that we will not mistake so pre-groomed Yes-Men (installed illegally as PM by the facts thus far) with so called ‘Bapa Reformasi’ and ‘Accidental Democrats’ who militarise the population by force (no abstention and under threat of fines and jailings) by the writings of possibly embedded writers such as the above. Slamming a single political (Najib) faction while promoting another (Pak Lah) has been faction does not make one a defender of Human Rights and Democracy John . . . while Malaysia becomes more and more oppressive with police state, militarised laws like FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTION and ISA which Pak Lah had power to remove but did not, we have people like John lying through his teeth whil calling politically interested citizens ‘chattering classes’. Just another spin-doctor counter-propagandist working for racists.
By God’s will (if you believe in God) Man is free, Man can choose, and unless Malaysians are not considered human and have rights as elucidated in the UNHCR, by which FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS without abstention options rubber-stamps obviously are illegal, none (especially Federal Government) has a right to force anyone into military fatigues under threat of fine or incarceration. Pak Lah, why did you allow that to happen? Why did you not address the above ITEMS 1,2 and 3 and vacillate the people’s mandate away? Some of us believed in you and you let everyone down . . .
Breaking the fever of militarism — Chris Floyd
MARCH 9 — All who draw the sword will die by the sword. (Yeshua Ha-Notsri, Palestinian dissident, c. 33 CE.)
As we all know — or rather, as everyone but those who climb and claw their way to the top of power’s greasy pole knows — the effects of war are vast, unforeseeable, long-lasting — and uncontrollable.
The far-reaching ripples of the turbulence will churn against distant shores and hidden corners, then roil back upon you in ways you could never imagine, for generations, even centuries.
Nor is “victory” in war proof against these deleterious effects. For the brutalization, moral coarsening, corruption and concentration of elite power that attend every war do not simply disappear from a society when the fighting stops.
They persist, like microbes, in myriad forms, working with slow, corrosive force to degrade and deform the victors.
Indeed, victory in battle often leads a society to enshrine war’s most pernicious attributes: violence is ennobled, and becomes entrenched as an ever-ready instrument of national policy.
Militarism is exalted, the way of peace dishonored: cries of “Appeasers! Cowards! Traitors!” greet every approach that fails to brandish the threat of extreme violence, that fails to “keep all options on the table.”
The apparent “lesson” of victory — that there can be no right without armed might to win and safeguard it — quickly degenerates into the belief that armed might is right.
Military power becomes equated with moral worth, and the ability to wreak savage, unimaginable destruction through armed violence —via thoughtless obedience to the orders of “superiors” — becomes a cherished attribute of society.
War is no longer seen as a vast, horrific failure of the human spirit, a scandalous betrayal of our common humanity, a sickening tragedy of irrevocable loss and inconsolable suffering —although this is its inescapable reality, even in a “good” war, for a “just” cause. (And of course no nation or faction has ever gone to war without declaring that its cause is just.)
Instead of lamenting war, and girding for it, if at all, only in the most dire circumstances, with the most extreme reluctance, the infected society celebrates it at every turn. No national occasion — even a sporting event! — is complete without bristling displays of military firepower, and pious tributes to those wreaking violence around the world in blind obedience to their superiors.
Oddly enough, when a modern nation consciously adopts a “warrior ethos,” it casts aside —openly, even gleefully — whatever virtue that ethos has historically claimed for itself, such as courage in battle and honor toward adversaries.
In its place come the adulation of overwhelming technological firepower and the rabid demonization of the enemy (or the perceived enemy, or even the “suspected” enemy), who is stripped of all rights, all human dignity, and subject to “whatever it takes” to break him down or destroy him.
Thus our American militarists exult in the advanced hardware that allows “soldiers” to slaughter people from thousands of miles away, with missiles, bombs and bullets fired from lurking, unreachable drones high in the sky. (A recent study shows that even by the most conservative reckoning of who is or isn’t a “militant,” at least one third of the hundreds killed in the Bush-Obama drone campaigns on the “Af-Pak” front are clearly civilians.)
The drone “warriors” — often living in complete safety and comfort —see nothing but a bloodless image on a screen; they face no physical threat at all. This is assassination, not combat; it reeks of cowardice, and dehumanizes everyone it touches, the victims and the button-pushers alike.
Yet our militarists — most of whom, of course, have somehow never found the time to fight the wars they cheer for — wax orgasmic about this craven weaponry. In the transvaluation of values that militarism produces, cowardice becomes a martial virtue.
Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Laureate, pushes forward with plans for the “Prompt Global Strike” system of “conventional” super-missiles that can rain down massive death — unstoppable, undeterrable, without warning — anywhere on the planet within an hour. All this, while expanding shorter-range missile “defense” systems that bristle with blatantly offensive potential, and intent, all over the world.
Plus spending billions to “modernize” the nuclear arsenal, ensuring that it stays effective enough to murder the entire earth, while weeding out some “redundant” warheads as a PR gesture.
Meanwhile, the drone programs — emblazoned with names that proudly proclaim their savage nature: “Predators” and “Reapers,” launching “Hellfire” missiles into sleeping villages — keep expanding relentlessly. As noted by Nick Turse — who is doing invaluable work detailing the deadly nuts and bolts of the militarist empire and its profiteers — the Pentagon is drooling over visions of vast robotic forces filling the heavens and roaming the earth, even down to the smallest crevice.
He rightly notes the main purpose of this massively funded R&D: to make war “easier,” less deadly to “our side,” and thus more palatable to the public:
“This means bigger, badder, faster drones — armed to the teeth — with sensor systems to monitor wide swathes of territory and the ability to loiter overhead for days on end waiting for human targets to appear and, in due course, be vaporized by high-powered munitions.
It’s a future built upon advanced technologies designed to make targeted killings — remote-controlled assassinations — ever more effortless.
“… For the Air Force, such a prospect is the stuff of dreams, a bright future for unmanned, hypersonic lethality; for the rest of the planet, it’s a potential nightmare from which there may be no waking.”
But while Turse outlines this potential nightmare in grim detail, we are of course beset by present nightmares in horrific plenty. And few are more chilling than the ruling establishment’s astonishingly swift acceptance of outright torture as an open tool of national policy.
This acceptance not only includes the increasingly frenzied praise and championing of torture by the circle of war criminals and accomplices led by Dick Cheney; in slightly more restrained tones, it goes right across the board among the political and media elite. Torture is now nothing more than a topic for “debate” — debates which center largely on the relative “effectiveness” of various torture techniques, or else on mindless (not to mention heartless) hairsplitting over the meaning of the word “torture.”
There is of course a myth that Barack Obama has “ended” the practice of torture. This is not even remotely true. For one thing, the Army Field Manual that Obama has adopted as his interrogation standard permits many practices that any rational person would consider torture.
For another, we have no way of verifying what techniques are actually being used by the government’s innumerable “security” and intelligence agencies, by the covert units of the military — and by other entities whose very existence is still unknown.
These agencies are almost entirely self-policed; they investigate themselves, they report on themselves to the toothless Congressional “oversight” committees; we simply have to take these organizations —whose entire raison d’etre is deceit, deception, lawlessness and subterfuge — at their word.
And of course, we have no way of knowing what is being done in the torture chambers of foreign lands where the United States often “outsources” its captives.
Finally, even if the comforting bedtime story of Obama’s ban of torture techniques in interrogation were true, there remains his ardent championing of the right to seize anyone on earth — without a warrant, without producing any evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing — and hold them indefinitely, often for years on end, in a legal limbo, with no inherent rights whatsoever, beyond whatever narrowly constricted, ever-changing, legally baseless and often farcical “hearings” and tribunals the captors deign to allow them.
Incarceration under these conditions is itself an horrendous act of torture, no matter what else might happen to the captive. Yet Obama has actively, avidly applied this torture, and has gone to court numerous times to defend this torture, and to expand the use of this torture.
Many thousands of innocent people have already been forced through the meat grinder of this torture — at one point early in the Iraq War, the Red Cross estimated that 70-90 percent of the more than 20,000 Iraqis being held by the Americans as “suspected terrorists” were not guilty of any crime whatsoever, much less ‘terrorism’.
And that is just a single snapshot, at a single point in time, of the vast gulag that America has wrapped around the earth — a gulag where many have been murdered outright, not just tortured or unjustly imprisoned. And it is still going on, with scarcely a demur across the bipartisan establishment.
The heinous and dishonorable practice of torture, physical and psychological, is now an intrinsic, openly established element of American society.
Murder, cowardice, torture, dishonor: these are fruits — and the distinguishing characteristics — of the militarized society. What Americans once would not do even to Nazis with the blood of millions on their hands, they now do routinely to weak and wretched captives seized on little or no evidence of wrongdoing at all.
We are deep in the darkness, and hurtling deeper, headlong, all the time.
Let’s not kid ourselves, however. The militarism that has now gained such a strangulating ascendancy over American life did not drop down suddenly from the sky (or arrive on the hijacked bus that Bush and Cheney drove to the White House).
Although this militarism has now reached unprecedented levels of institutional and political dominance, there has always been a strong warlike strain running through American history — indeed, through its pre-history as well, as Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton demonstrate in their book, Dominion of War, detailing the decisive influence of war and imperialism on America’s development over the past 500 years.
Nor is it a peculiarly American problem. As Caroline Alexander notes in her excellent new work, The War That Killed Achilles:
“If we took any period of a hundred years in the last five thousand, it has been calculated, we could expect, on average, 94 of those years to be occupied with large-scale conflicts in one or more parts of the world. This enduring, seemingly ineradicable fact of war is … as intrinsic and tragic a component of the human condition as our very mortality.”
We human beings have been shaped by millions of years of genetic breakage and mutation, all of which is still on-going. We are compounds of chaos, ignorance and error. Our psyches are frail and variegated things, isolated, with each individual consciousness formed from a unique and ever-shifting coalescence of billions of brain cells firing (and misfiring) in infinite, unrepeatable combinations.
Beneath this electrical superstructure lie mechanical rhythms and erratic surges of instinct and impulse, dark, hormonal tides and drives that never reach the plane of awareness.
In the infancy of our species we began to cling — fiercely, in fear and desire — to patterns of behavior, emotion and thought that seemed to bring some sort of order, some containment of the whirlwind within us, and some protection from the dangers, known and unknown, that lurked outside.
We began to do “whatever it takes” to preserve these patterns from the ever-present threat of their dissolution in the whirlwind, to impose them, by violence if necessary, on the recalcitrant material of reality — including the always-unknowable, impenetrable reality of the Other, those mysterious combinations outside our isolated consciousness.
The patterns become ingrained, they sink into the substrate where they operate unquestioned and unseen, they become “natural,” the way that things must be. Domination and obedience are among the strongest, and most enduring, of these patterns, taking multitudinous forms — a “local habitation and a name” — in the ever-changing circumstances of existence.
War is their expression writ large. It is in us, it comes from us.
But to acknowledge war’s intrinsic, universal character does not absolve us of the need to resist it. To say, “Oh, that’s just human nature; it’s always been this way and always will be this way,” is not only a lazy, timorous acquiescence to base instinct, it also posits a settled, even eternal quality to human nature and human consciousness that simply does not and cannot exist.
To go against war, to step outside the ingrained behavioral patterns of domination and obedience is indeed an “unnatural” act — and it feels unnatural, it feels strange, and raw, and frightening. But the deeper fear — of psychic and physical dissolution — that lies at the foundation of these ever-more destructive patterns can only be faced down, changed, and wrenched into some more benevolent pattern by embracing the risk and discomfort of stepping forth, of stepping beyond — literally, “transgressing” — the boundaries of a wholly imaginary (or even hallucinatory) “human nature.”
The whirlwind that characterizes the imperfect, breaking, misfiring, evolving reality of human consciousness is not only a producer of (very understandable) deep-seated fears; it is also a force for liberation.
Because our nature is not ultimately fixed, we can, literally and figuratively, burn new connections in our brains, we can enlarge our consciousness and extend our empathetic understanding of those strange Others. And we have been doing this, in fits and starts, in lurches and staggers, with much backsliding and many wrong turns — indeed, in ignorance and error — for as long as we have been creatures cursed and gifted with self-awareness.
We do have the capacity, the space, to resist the patterns of domination and obedience, to seek out new ways of seeing the world, of being in the world, of communing with others.
This seems, to me, a worthwhile thing to be getting on with during our painfully brief time on the earth, during our infinitesimal window of opportunity to make some small contribution toward pushing the project of being human — or rather, becoming human — down the road, at least a few more steps, in the direction of a better understanding, a broader consciousness, a greater enlightenment. — http://www.counterpunch.org
* Chris Floyd is an American writer and frequent contributor to CounterPunch. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at http://www.chris-floyd.com.
Suppress ‘Anti-conscription System’
The National Police Agency (NPA) investigated internet sites of anti-military/avoiding military service. Two sites closed by themselves and discussion on it is getting passive.
What is difference between objecting military service and avoiding military service?
Where can we draw a line between discussing conscription system and agitating objection of military service? On Mar.20.2001 an investigation team on cyber crimes of the NPA announced that they are investigating on three inter-net sites, which informed people about how to avoid, military service, agitated people to object military service and recruited its members through the notice board on Internet. This announcement is controversial in Korea. The three sites, which are under investigation, are ‘Non Service Army site (NSA)’, ‘Organization of Objecting Military Service (OMS-Taum Cafe)’ and ‘Defense Ministry of Abusing Us (DMAU-Laicos)’.
The OMS is the most active discussion site among military service related sites and has been accessed more than 40,000 times. The police announced to exclude OMS from investigation because OMS had been a discussion site, which had pointed out problems of conscription system and suggested volunteer army instead of it, and it had also come under a sphere of ‘freedom of expression’. DMAU was also excluded because even though it had been considered the site which had informed people the way of avoiding military service in detail such as the amount of bribes, having an experience of treatment in mental hospital, and habitual dislocation, it had given information of recruit of special case of military service and played a role as a private bureau on military service. Moreover, ordinary people already know the methods of avoiding military service that had been shown on the notice board of DMAU.
The site that the police focused on is NSA because it declared the anti-military movement. The police announced to investigate the NSA because a member of the NSA had declared not going to the army in public, and their behaviors such as denying military duties and agitating objection of conscription are anti-social. Moreover, they had ‘offline’ meeting twice, and it was considered an action for spreading anti-military movement. Even though it is controversial, the police investigates and actively applies NMS’s behavior to Article 114 of the criminal code which stats a crime of being a member of group/organization of objecting military service. After an announcement of the policy of the police, more than 300 mails both of agreement and disagreement with it have been shown on the NMS site.
On the same day the police required Taum communication and Laicos Korea to submit managers’ personal record, and ‘the Council of Info-communication Ethics’ also required these sites to close. Although Taum communication submitted managers’ personal record and ID address, Laicos Korea rejected closing its site because it considered the close of conscription related site is too much restriction on the freedom brought by internet. The Council of Info-communication Ethics couldn’t decide an order of correction because the discussion in the council hasn’t been convened. However, on the notice board of OMS displayed its close, and all contents of the notice board of DMAU were removed the following day.
The managers of OMS and DMAU accepted the police investigation, but two managers of NSA didn’t. While the police insisted that they violated Article 114 of the criminal code (it read that people who organize groups for the purpose of objecting military duties or tax payment duties, or to be a member, will be punished 15 years of imprisonment or less than 15million won penalty), it seems the range of application to the law will be controversial. Furthermore, the fact that the police included not only managers of the sites but also members as its investigation objects is more controversial. The mangers of the NSA said, “We didn’t put the method of avoiding military service on the site. Moreover, we only required government to accept the rights of objection by political conscientious reason and the alternative service.”
During the police investigation, citizens’ organizations one after another announced their statements. On Mar.22.2001, 8 organization for peace and human rights such as the Solidarity of Peace and Human Rights, the Organization of Human Rights Movement and Mingahyop criticized and said “the police action is an expression of their will which they won’t sit and watch the rational discussion related to problems of conscription system and making it as public opinion. The following day the Progressive Network Center, the Democratic Labor Party and the Solidarity of All Nation participated in ‘Co-action against Info-communication censorship’ and announced its statement. The statement read that the idea, which the police justify, its censorship on the inter-net by considering only having discussion about conscription system being antisocial is out of date. And these organizations required withdrawing its investigation on discussion sites about conscription.
A person concerned the police said “I don’t think that the NSA established a big organization only after opening its site one month ago. But we want to prevent beforehand because we have to pay much social cost when this movement occurs in large scale. We also know that the discussion on conscription system in the society is already started, and we never think about stopping the discussion itself totally.
It is not sure that this incident is applied to ‘the crime of being members in organizations of objecting military service’. The police have to prove that the NSA organized an organization for the purpose of objecting military service, and the managers of the NSA have to prove that their purpose was not avoiding conscription. The policy for investigation of the police already brought passive (=not active) discussion just after the discussion on conscription started. It is proved by the two sites, which closed it by themselves.
Interview with Jo Yakgol (manager of the NSA) on a Meeting of ‘Offline’
“We oppose all kinds of violence and the military force.”
Is anti-military movement different from movement of conscientious objection?
Anti-military movement is a larger conception than movement of CO. We oppose militarism pervaded in every place of Korean society and CO. Avoiding military service is not a purpose of our movement. Our purpose is having doubts and reflection about the attitude that military system and conscription system are too justified by ordinary people.
Why anti-military movement?
For me, it is a struggle for surviving. I was terrified to see people (not only men but also women, disabled people, and homosexuals) living under oppression of nationalism and uniformity. If I endure this situation, it means that I aid violence. I think that the core of nationalism is conscription system. That is why I am doing the anti-military movement.
What is an aim of movement?
Getting rid of all kinds of violence and military force is our ultimate aim. However, CO by political, religious and humanitarian reasons should be accepted the first. If the alternative service is introduced, the next task is to change over to volunteer military system. I don’t think these are easy tasks.
Who do you cooperate with?
We welcome whoever stands for anti-military. An essence of military is monopoly of military force, and a few privileged people keep the present social order using it (military force). We want to work together with the weak and the minority against the present social order.
What are methods of movement?
We are planning to have a performance about anti-military on the Mayday. We are collecting songs about anti-military and already have some of them.
How is the situation of running the site?
I have received much response on the line, but people don’t turn up a meeting of ‘offline’. I guess that some people come here and look around, but they don’t show up. I can see deeply rooted fear of our mind through this behavior.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
We citizens in South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand (this is a monastic conscription but still conscription nevertheless), Taiwan etc.. (Russia is ending Forced Military Conscriptions . . . so not on this list) also need a UN Agency addressing FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS to set up an office here in Malaysia as well. Normal citizens are having their human rights abused via the FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS being forced on them via fines and jail terms. Via the UNHCR abusing NS Act, the government of the day has contravened the Articles of the Human Rights Charter :
* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family . . .
* Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Expression of Conscientious Objection is trampled upon by the NS Act.
* Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization . . . of social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. A right to not being part of a Quasi-Military organisation under threat of fine and jail is given in Article 22. (i.e. Islam is a religion of peace, Indians have concept of Varna, Chinese do not regard the Military as a prestigious institution . . . )
Please set up a UN agency addressing the FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS on Conscientious Objectors or people who do not subscribe to non-voluntary enforcement of military service.
The rhetoric of oppression
MARCH 9 — Umberto Eco, in his article, The Wolf and the Lamb — The Rhetoric of Oppression (from which the title to this article is borrowed), posits that often enough, an oppressor — such as a dictator — would try to legitimise his oppression. He or she will even try “to obtain the consensus of those he is oppressing, or to find someone who will justify it” by using “rhetorical arguments to justify his abuse of power.”
(At this juncture, I would like to add to Eco’s example of an oppressor. In addition to a dictator, I would add a “totalitarian democrat” who is a so-called leader elected through a controlled democratic process. I would also add to the list what Rawls terms as the “benevolent absolutist.”)
The need for legitimisation of an act or acts of oppression, to my mind, stems from the desire to justify such acts, which in turn is driven by purely egoistical motivation, or perhaps is due to a deep feeling of guilt. Added to that must be the desire to gain acceptance of the people and to pander to the middle class intellectual probing.
Whatever the reason for the attempt to legitimise, at the end of the day, the rhetoric of the oppressor, to reasonable and probing minds, would often come out as completely lame and curious — sometimes even ridiculous, stupid and laughable — babbles.
That is because of the nature of the oppressor. He is so used to getting and doing what he wants without the necessity to justify any of his actions. He thus develops this inability to answer properly when questioned; to engage when called to question; to debate when argued against.
The oppressor rules with absolute subservience from his minions. He is the supreme leader. He is an idol of the people. His wishes are his people’s commands. All the years of absolutism contributes to his feeling of being infallible. That in turn numbs his mind and thought process.
Darwin’s evolution theory has proven that when any particular biological or physical mechanism is not used or needed for some time, it will soon disappear from the being. That is true with the oppressor. Soon, he ceases being a thinking creature.
All that matters to him is the untold power which he wields. And the idolatry which he enjoys.
Thus the legitimisation of his acts is actually unnecessary. It is not a rational act. Or a rationalisation process. There is no need for such process. Because at the end of the day, all that matters to the oppressor is the achievement of a goal. And that is already assured and ensured. Not much care is then needed in the process of legitimisation.
Being so, when an oppressor tries to legitimise his oppression through rhetoric, it often sounds curious and ridiculous to reasonable people. Needless to say, they often fall flat.
Eco, in his work, gives us a classic “pseudorhetoric of oppression” in the form of Phaedrus’ fable of the wolf and the lamb.
In the tale, a thirsty wolf and a lamb came to a stream. The wolf was drinking upstream and the lamb was downstream. The wolf, ever the oppressor that he was, sought to start a quarrel.
“Why are you muddying the water I am drinking?” said the wolf.
If we stopped here, we could see the utter ridiculousness of the would-be oppressor’s starting line. How could the lamb, who was downstream, muddy the water which the wolf was drinking upstream? But the wolf, as with any oppressor, does not care about reasonableness of arguments. Reasonableness is only for the weak.
The lamb, however, represents a picture of reasonableness, when he sought to rationalise with the wolf. He answered, “I am sorry, but how could I do that? I am drinking the water that has passed you first.”
That is a polite answer. It is also an answer which any sensible member of a civilised society would offer to the oppressor’s rhetoric. Faced with such sensible — and probably irrefutable — rebuttal, the wolf changes the goal post and employs another line of attack.
“Six months ago, you talked about me behind my back,” charged the wolf.
To the reasonable mind, this is something which is totally unrelated to the first line of attack. It reflects the oppressor’s inability to engage in any meaningful debate about a stand taken by him. When faced with such a situation, the oppressor would create a new attack in a reckless manner.
The recklessness in the oppressor’s reply shows when the lamb said “but I wasn’t even born yet six month ago!”
Again, the oppressor’s inability is exposed. He is shamed but not ashamed. That is due to the power which he wields and the obvious physical prowess between the oppressor and the oppressed. The wolf would again change his charge.
The wolf, this time with impatience, said, “by Hercules, then it was your father who spoke badly of me.”
With that statement, the wolf pounced on the lamb, killing it before eating it up.
Regardless of the simplicity of the tale, the reflection of the oppressor’s mind and how it works in that tale is paralysingly frightening. The almost nonchalant attitude towards the exercise of extreme power by the strong and mighty over the weak and meek is symptomatic of any oppression.
Throughout Malay classical literature, we can see for example, the child Hang Nadim, who saved Temasek from the dreaded “ikan todak”, being executed for being too smart and therefore a possible threat to the Sultan. When Hang Tuah was perceived as being favoured by the Sultan, he was accused of partying with the Sultan’s “gundek” (concubine) and sentenced to death.
In not too far a time before, for some reason or other, the regime wanted Tun Salleh, the Lord President, sacked. That was the opening line as provided by the wolf. To which, Tun Salleh asked “Why?”
The answer was “because you have signed a resignation letter.”
The reply was “But I have changed my mind, because I was under pressure.”
The final rebuttal, before Tun Salleh was dismissed was, “You have to resign because you have abused your power by bringing your son to the authority to request a fishery license. You also have to be sacked because you promote Islam and Islamisation in your judgments and speeches.”
The utter ridiculousness and unreasonableness of the rhetoric did not matter. Because the oppressor had no ability to rationalise. Nor did he see the need to do so.
Later, Anwar Ibrahim had to go as the DPM.
“What did I do?” asked Anwar. That was the sensible and reasonable lamb asking the wolf who was starting a fight.
Just like the wolf accusing the lamb of bad mouthing him six months ago, Anwar was told that he had to go because he had committed sodomy.
The lamb, in the fable above said he wasn’t even born yet six months ago.
Anwar said “but the apartment in which I committed sodomy wasn’t even completed yet at the time you said I committed sodomy!”
Notice the uncanny similarities between the fable and the event which had actually happened?
Faced with that, the oppressor changed his story, just like the wolf. “Okay, but you did commit sodomy at that place on a different date. And I have the mattress too.”
With that, the lamb was pounced on, killed and eaten up.
Contemporary Malaysia is filled with stories of oppression and denied justice. The rhetoric of oppression has been perfected and repeated to utter death.
“You are too noisy and please shut up,” said the wolf.
“What have I done?” asked the people.
“You have insulted Islam and are a threat to national security,” came the answer.
Or, “You have to be detained for your own safety,” came the mind-numbingly curious answer.
I could go on and on. But I would just sound like a horribly scratched CD.
The question is, what is the lamb going to do about it?
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
What is the lamb going to do about it? Why does the writer presume to make the reader into a lamb and show how helpless the reader is? That is my impression at any rate. We are HUMAN BEINGS and not lambs. Therefore we can do whatever any other HUMAN BEING can do. Just MANKIND here. No lambs sorry. By that let us live in a state of :
1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.
That is what HUMAN BEINGS are going to do here in Malaysia. Wolves and lambs can go yiff and vore each other to death. We HUMAN BEINGS couldn’t care less. Neurolinguistic programming articles are the worst type of word litter on the web. Rhetoric of Oppression indeed !
Try the below site :
War Resisters International (this is nominally an end Forced Conscription Organisation as well) :
War Resisters’ International, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX, Britain
tel +44-20-7278 4040 & +44-20-3355 2364, skype: warresisters, fax +44-20-7278 0444