Violence can take many forms; extreme poverty and deprivation suffered by the marginalised is also a violation of human dignity, writes Henry Loh.
The tragedy that has befallen the passengers and crew of the ill-fated flight MH 17 has once again put Malaysia under the global spotlight.
An entire nation was gripped by the sentiment, “Oh no! Not again!” with the breaking news that a MAS commercial jetliner had been shot down in Ukraine.
Indeed the mystery of the whereabouts of the missing flight MH 370 remains unresolved; yet now, MH 17 with 298 crew and passengers on board was cruelly and mercilessly shot out of the sky.
Aliran, as with many other concerned Malaysians, calls for a thorough and independent probe into this tragedy. As highlighted in the statement, “It is especially heinous and reprehensible if this mid-air tragedy that has destroyed innocent lives is the outcome of a proxy war involving major world powers“.
In this the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims and those of other faiths alike are called to reflect on the blessings we have received – to be thankful and grateful – and to share with one another.
But the violence and atrocities committed in so many parts of the world certainly run contrary to this spirit. In Aliran’s facebook page, there is a poster bearing these words, “If all religions teach Peace, then why can’t we achieve Peace?” Those who are guilty of promoting hatred, perpetuating and glorifying violence ought to do a lot of soul searching.
The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and now the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza – has led to the loss of many innocent lives, including children. So far 640 Palestinians and 31 Israelis reportedly have been killed. Some of the killings have been indiscriminate, and there’s even a report that a rehabilitation centre for the disabled in Gaza was bombed.
“Aliran abhor’s the violence perpetrated by both sides of the conflict and argues that it is imperative that the underlying causes of the Palestinian resistance against the occupying forces of Israel be tackled seriously by the various stakeholders in this bloody conflict.”
Violence can take many forms and extreme poverty and deprivation suffered by the marginalised is a violation of human dignity. Hence the homeless and hungry deserve our understanding and support. Efforts made to provide the poor with a decent meal by concerned Good Samaritans should be lauded and encouraged.
On the other hand, placing a ban on ‘soup kitchens’ within certain zones is inhumane – an indecent attempt to paint a rosy picture and hide the harsh reality that exists. The government should instead study the root causes of poverty and try to alleviate it rather than ‘conceal’ the problem.
Over in Selangor there is an unconfirmed news report that Dr Wan Azizah, the president of Party Keadilian Rakyat, has been slated to take over as Mentri Besar from the incumbent, Khalid Ibrahim. Now, if this comes to pass many Malaysians will celebrate knowing that the sexist views expressed by anUmno lawyer and others like him are clearly archaic and perpetuate gender inequality.
In a few days, Muslims in Malaysia and from all over the world will celebrate the end of the fasting month.
Aliran would like to wish all our Muslim members, friends and readers, “Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri”.
Let us all use this festive occasion to promote unity, harmony, goodwill and above all peace among people of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities.
24 June 2014