Battling the demons of enmity

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To help build peace and unity, we have to come together to talk honestly without antagonism, to forgive and heal the rifts that have frequently driven us apart in animosity and enmity, says Jasmine Tea.

In many countries the world over, there are terrible wars, tearing societies, communities, families and individuals apart.

There are so many; yet we often only react to those that attract the most publicity. I needn’t mention these, as all who watch or read the news bulletins everyday are aware of them. It is natural to have a reaction on seeing or hearing such painful news of inhumanity committed against other human beings.

Intra-familial wars are actually worse than being attacked by some outside aggressor, a common enemy. The enemy within is harder to eliminate.

In everyday life, there is a demon that can emerge out of our sub-conscious, it is the demon of prejudice, bigotry, generalisation and stereotyping. It usually waits for an opportune moment to seize possession of us, suppressing our normal gentle, kind, forgiving and loving natures. When this happens, we can become raving, blood-thirsty lunatics who are capable of doing things we will most definitely regret, when the madness subsides.

If the madness is rationalised and justified, it continues and progressively erodes our humanity, turning the once gentle, humane person into an inhuman abomination, capable of anything.

Why do people run ‘amok’? Why does the killing continue? It spares none.

Yet, those delusioned by the madness might still smile the smiles of hatred and glory in the blood they have spilt.

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Here at home, in Malaysia, where racial and religious politics are the occupation of many of our politicians, especially those still hogging the reins of power, the common people are realising the futility of infighting and the creation of division and disunity. People are trying to unify, trying to find common platforms and causes that counteract the divide-and-rule system of governance that is the colonial legacy. This method of governance was adopted by the subsequent leaders of our ‘independent’ nation ever since we divested ourselves of colonial rule.

In truth, we have not really eliminated a neo-colonial structure. The same arrogance prevails – but by a different group of bureaucrats. Now, it is for us the common people to battle the demons as those who assume rule of this place have succumbed to their self-interests and given the demons full sway over themselves.

To help build this fortress of peace and unity, we have to come together to talk honestly without antagonism, to forgive and heal the rifts that have frequently driven us apart in animosity and enmity. We dialogue with one aim – to be united in our diversity – a family of a nation, accepting each other and being part of the spectrum of the cultural rainbow that makes up our unique Malaysian world.

If you would like to participate in this effort to build our rainbow, go here to see how you can do it.

“Project Dialogue” is a project under the “Say NO to Racism Campaign” in Malaysia. Use the link to find out more about it.

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You may find something you never thought was possible.

Jasmine Tea is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to the Aliran website

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