On Christmas Eve, 24 December 2004 (before I started my own blog here), I published a post titled 3 American Heroes at My Lai over at my other (then shared) blogsite, BolehTalk.
The title of that post was unusual because, and I have to ‘fess up, I abhor, despise and would usually condemn the USA’s neo-colonial imperialistic adventures in Vietnam, and in various parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Iraq (Gulf War II) as well as its various intrusive avaricious meddling in the Middle-East and South America.
So it would require a fairly humongous sea-change-type of effort by those 3 American soldiers for me to deem them as heroes.
In that BolehTalk post, I wrote:
Thirty six years (by now, 44 years) ago in My Lai, one of the most shameful episodes in US military history occurred when around 60 American troops massacred 400 to 500 Vietnamese civilians, mainly women and children at My Lai. They raped, mutilated and tortured their victims during the bloody mayhem. The only man court martial-ed for this terrible atrocity was Lt William Calley. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders but released 3 years later, when pardoned by President Richard Nixon.
But a few among the US soldiers did refuse to participate.
On that dark bloody day, a few good men stood out like bright shining stars, as heroes, true American Heroes.
This Christmas Eve, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we remember the Three Wise Men who came from the East to honour Christ. We should also use this special occasion to honour and remember the Three Good Men from America. I post this in deep respect of the three US Army helicopter airmen for their incredible bravery, human decency and honour in carrying out their duties as courageous soldiers on that fateful day at My Lai.
I salute Hugh Thompson, Lawrence Colburn and Glenn Androetta.
For the story of courage, please read here, here and here.
Today, RPK, once a hero to many PKR supporters, is considered by them as a 'zero', cast afloat on an angry roiling sea, facing character massacre a la My Lai from his very same but erstwhile PKR admirers.
These wonders have already made up their minds, all because RPK had the blooming effrontery to criticize their Icon. I’m a bit sick of their mindless anwarista-ish fanaticism.
But on this dark bloody moment for RPK, a few good men stood out like bright shining stars, as sane, balanced, moderate and fair heroes, true to their own perceptions.
While not necessarily agreeing with RPK’s opinions of Anwar Ibrahim, and even chiding RPK for what they consider as his intemperate and untimely attack on Anwar, they have struck a generally fair path. Their comments have been:
But whether Anwar is convicted or not, and whether or not RPK is in the pay or the thrall of the government, it seems to me that both of these controversial figures have played important parts, indeed starring roles, in awakening major portions of the Malaysian public to the perfidies of Umno/BN.
And now it’s up to every Malaysian to be sufficiently inspired and emboldened by these shining examples, however tarnished they now may be or possibly have yet to become, to stand up as leaders rather than just followers; as fighters for their principles rather than passive supporters of public figures.
The above was by Dean Johns in his column Principles beat personalities at Malaysiakini – incidentally, the article’s title is also indicative of Dean’s high level view of the imbroglio.
Then we have:
RPK, whom I continue to respect and love as a brother and friend, even though we may be diametrically opposed in specific instances - and to whom I will always be grateful for his magnificent role as a powerful galvanizer of political awareness - may have decided that Anwar Ibrahim is "morally unfit" to be appointed our 7th prime minister. He has every right to his personal opinion.
The above was by my matey (wakakaka) Antares in his post at his blog Magick River - poor Antares gets annoyed when I address him as ‘my matey’ wakakaka, and I do apologise if my brief extract of his post conveys any incorrect picture of his views.
But the most touching came from a man I truly admire. He wrote:
Many of you may already have forgotten why RPK and Marina are now in exile.
I’ve linked 3 posts below.
The first and the second I wrote in 2008, whilst RPK was detained in Kamunting.
The last, before he and Marina took flight to go into exile.
Please read them all. Read the comments too. Who knows, you might just be reading now what you wrote then.
Have we misrepresented ourselves to RPK?
If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom: and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too – W. Somerset Maugham
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends
Many of you appear to be of the view that RPK has betrayed us, and has sold out.
I think you premise this on his interview with TV3 last March and his latest interview with NST and Utusan.
I do not share this view.
Mine is premised on the man and Marina that I believe I have come to know.
We cannot both be right.
Let us all hope and pray that the error is yours and not mine.
You have my word, though, that should I discover the error to be mine, I will not hesitate to disclose all that I know to you.
Meanwhile, this divergence of view aside, we are all committed to see the end of UMNO and BN’s reign of tyranny and rape and plunder.
Let not this difference of opinion distract us from the work before us.
In my last post I had said that by God’s will, we will, together, plant love, tenderness and respect in this land of ours.
To those of you who believe that this man who once served us all so selflessly has, for whatever reason, left us, I urge you to let the process of planting love, tenderness and respect begin now.
If you truly believe this, rather than hate, pray that God returns RPK to our course.
Whilst I do not advocate this, if you must hate, save it for all that UMNO and BN do.
For me, I will pray that I will never ever have to say sorry to you for being wrong. You might want to add this in your prayers, too.
The above are extracts from Brother Haris Ibrahim in his post Oh Lord, how soon we forget! at The People’s Parliament blogsite.
Indeed, Brother Haris, how soon we forget! But obviously your sense of friendship runs deep and long like Antares' Magick River
I salute Dean Johns, Antares and Haris Ibrahim.