The price some of us pay for freedom, democracy

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Those of you who are with us on the quest for change must never give up on your hopes nor limit your dreams. Honour the struggle and believe in the cause, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.

About 158 arrests have been made so far and Malaysians can expect more as our country continues to spiral downwards into an age of iniquity.

Racial tension and religious intolerance are at an all-time high; threats and other forms of negative verbal exchanges go on quite frequently with very little consequences; and now arrests are being made on a daily basis. As a result, even the more moderate ones who walk among us are now beginning to feel the paranoia and the distrust.

Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” Having spent half of his lifetime behind bars, his name has become synonymous with valiant values like fortitude and perseverance.

Mandela understood what struggle meant and knew the importance of believing in the aforementioned values; he was imprisoned simply because certain individuals were not comfortable with his wisdom. Much like how our brothers and sisters in Malaysia are being imprisoned because of differing political ideologies, daring exposes and unwillingness to succumb to conventionalism or maintaining the status quo.

What triggers our irritation is how the well-off and the well-connected celebrate their lives in the most extravagant ways while we grumble about the 6 per cent tax being shoved down our throats and worry if we can ever afford sending our children to good schools. But what really sets it off is when innocent Malaysians are being hauled in for the silliest “crimes” ever imagined, while the murders, rapists and bigots roam free.

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So what if every once in a while we need to vent our frustrations? It is only healthy to let it out and not keep it bottled up inside. Most of us channel our anger through social media, but that too will get you in trouble these days.

Those in power seem very adamant about curtailing any ounce of freedom left in this country, and their bravado only confirms that they have been sanctioned to do so. Yes, they can get away with anything at this point while the rest of us lose sleep and our appetites over how chaotic our country is becoming.

I won’t get into the details of what those in power are doing to us; we already know and do not need to be reminded. These arrests are only an affirmation of the socio-political inequality that exists in our society. These arrests are highly oppressive and contradict our democratic system.

Those in power use threats as an oppressive tool to hinder our ability to think or act. They use oppressive measures to control our decisions and to make us stop thinking about equality, liberty and justice. The system wants us to experience life without ever going against their ideologies because let’s face it: they just can’t handle criticism well.

We know that speaking up against cruelty and tyranny takes balls of steel in this country. In addition, we know that not giving up right now takes a whole lot of strength especially knowing very well how the system has been designed to work in their favour.

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But there is a silver lining to all of this inanity. Those arrested represent hope for Malaysia, and presenting such a thing in a country that is in desperate need of reforms can be a dangerous thing for those in power.

Those of you who are with us on the quest for change must never give up on your hopes nor limit your dreams. Honour the struggle and believe in the cause.

It is time to mature, Malaysia, and wake up. The system isn’t broken unless you believe it to be.

Source: themalaysianinsider.com

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