Saturday, September 29, 2007

Standing with the brave in Palestine

Josef Roy Benedict send a letter to Malaysiakini titled Standing with the brave in Burma.

He said:
“As we Malaysians view pictures of the violent crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrations occurring in Burma, we are once again reminded about the brutality of the military junta which has denied democracy to its people and continues to detain at least 1,200 political prisoners for engaging in peaceful political activities and non-violent exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association.”

I agree and support Josef’s call, but I observe that his words (except for "to its people" - substitute that "to the people of its occupied territories") above would apply equally, if not more, to the Palestinian situation in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Palestinians have to suffer the ignominity and horrors of such brutal suppression in their own land by an occupying power, Israel, who has been robbing the Palestinians of their land through fabricated justifications of security, while conveniently pretending they are one of the most brutal colonial regimes, one of those many sanctioned and protected by the USA.

Another of his paragraphs went:
“The government sent troops to brutally suppress the protests. No official investigation has ever taken place, but the best estimates suggest that approximately 3,000 people were killed as the demonstrations were crushed in September 1988. As many as 10,000 people were killed nationwide between March and September of that year.”

Other than the relevant dates and statistics, the same applies to the Israeli suppression of the Palestinians.

“We must also call on China who has funded and armed the regime to play a crucial role in ending this crisis. China cannot wish to hosts next year’s Olympic Games as the defender of such a despicable regime and we must urge the country to use its influence with the regime to exercise restraint and move towards dialogue. Other countries who have economic and military ties with Burma such as India and Russia must be shown that there will increasing economic problems and political instability as long as the regime defies the will of the people. They should back the democracy movement if it wants a stable, peaceful and prosperous Burma.”

Make a guess as to what I would be saying with regards to the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians in the latter’s own land – just a hint, substitute ‘China’ with Western country!

But no, don’t just guess - why don’t you instead adopt it as your political support for the oppressed Palestinians in the same manner you are passionately expressing for the Burmese.


  1. Or Darfur and the Congo as well...

  2. KT,
    From my observation, in the Malaysian context there are far more people who support the Palestinian cause than those who are even aware of the issues behind tragedy occuring in Burma.

    The Burma protest on Friday in KL was mostly attended by Burmese nationals in Malaysia and a few NGOs. From the Malaysian government, deafening silence and the Malaysian government under Dr. Mahathir was they key driving force behind admitting the SLORC regime into Asean, giving them much needed legitimacy.
    From most NGOs and most Bloggers, from the general public, deafening silence.

    Contrast that to the Palestinian cause which has wide and very solid public support from the Government, many NGOs and high visibility in the mainstream press and the blogging community.

    The only constraint for the Malaysian government on the Palestinian issue is that its obviously not in the coutry's interest to openly condemn its No. 1 Export customer.

  3. in the not too distant future, it wont be the palestines, the burmese. it will be us, malaysians. the same machinations and tactics will be used against the people who protest for a freer and less corrupted society.

  4. Poor comparison in my opinion. The Burmese people aren't blowing themselves up on board packed civilian buses or launching unprovoked rocket attacks. Oh last I checked, the Israelis withdrew from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but all they got from the Palestinians was more suicide bombers and Katyusha rockets. And don't forget Israel still pays for the electricity and water bill in these two territories so don't blame them when they decide to turn it off for all the ungratefulness. If the Palestinians had showed that they could govern these two small territories without attacking Israel, the Israelis were back then, very willing to share Jerusalem with them, but all the Palestinians have showed is that they can't govern themselves and that giving them more land would simply make them think they can keep up with their antagonistic behaviour and get rewarded for it. I doubt the Israeli leadership would be so stupid to give the warring Palestinians more land. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  5. anon of 4:40 pm - you obviously have no idea what's happening in Gaza and the West Bank, the world's two biggest prisons guarded by the neo-Nazi Gestapos, namely the Israeli security forces!

    You obviously haven't a clue that Israel controls Palestinian government revenue and through its American ally, had blockaded financial movement into Palestine to force the Hamas Palestinian government to (unsuccessfully) kowtow, and to manipulate its more compliant and US-preferred President Abbas into control of the Palestinian government. You obviously have no clue of the Israelis arming the Fatah militants to fight a fraticidal war against Hamas for them (which incidentally is the lamentable weakness of the Arabs, allowing their enemy to easily manipulate them).

    You talked about Palestinians unable to govern themselves when you haven't a clue or have been too blind to read what's happening there.

    My post here is motre for the non-Muslim Malaysians to read, not for Malaysian Muslims, many of whom are blindly supporting the Palestinians because most Palestinains are Muslims too, but without even understanding the issues of history, justice and humanitarianism. You're as blind as they are - both are equally unhelpful in the long term to the cause of the Palestinians.

  6. Among non-Muslims in the country, my observation is that those who are knowledgeable on the Palestine/ Israel issue tend to symphatise with the Palestinians. Or rather they are usually opposed to what they see as US hegemony and arrogance worldwide.

    The majority of non-Muslims in Malaysia just don't bother much with the issue.
    The tendency is to see Arabs as purveyors of very strict or extreme interpretations of Islam, and in that context, Arabs get little sympathy in general.

    Its basically just an extension of Malaysian domestic politics.

  7. kk46, spot on matey!

    but unfortunately so, because it's wrong, a reflection of our (non Muslims') 'blindness' or 'blind hatred' in allowing our domestic prejudice to let us ignore or be unsympathetic to people who really need our support on the basis of (real) democracy, justice, and compassion-humanitarianism.