We are a nation at war with itself

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The politics of fear

It’s time Malaysians do something to pacify our fears and gather the courage to challenge those who have treated us unjustly; we must not let fear prevail, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.

John Adams, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America who also served as its second president, once famously said, “Fear is the foundation of most governments”.

Fear is a tremendously powerful tool; it keeps us fixated on the past and apprehensive about the future.

Turn on the TV, scan through newspapers and various websites; you’ll realise that there are so many reports that highlight worrying news – government corruption, military coups, murders, racial unrest, and sexual violence.

Each distressing bit of news has been tailor-made to strike fear in the hearts of every citizen alive in this planet today. Every bit of information carefully crafted to make us believe that fear, panic and hate are normal social aspects.

Malaysia is now at a crossroads of socio-political reforms; we are now entering a new phase whether the ruling party likes it or not. Hence, the very inkling that change could possibly happen in the near future is something that does not rest well on them.

Mastering the art of fear and managing it in a smooth, subliminal manner has always been their forte. The aim is to simply sidetrack us and to divide us further with each passing year. With every BR1M handout, every kenduri, every contract signed and given to those connected to them, they succeed in planting the seeds of hatred and insecurity in some of our brothers and sisters.

We have been dissuaded from critical thinking and asking questions because some of us have been conditioned to blame each other when something bad or unexpected happens. They tell us to vote for this politician, support this party because they’re the only ones who can save this country. A vote for them is a vote for anarchy, chaos and civil unrest.

The powers that be continue to split us up into smaller factions: we are divided by our political beliefs, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, economic background, social status, education background, halal or haram, and the list go on and on – and they painstakingly carry on dividing us until there is nothing left to divide.

But the political reality in Malaysia today isn’t that we only have two options; we have more than that and definitely deserve more than the scraps they give us. If we can acknowledge the fear they try to instil, if we can see through the lies, the deceit and the hazy illusion they’ve conjured in front of our eyes, we can begin to understand that overcoming these socio-political phobias they broadcast aren’t exactly difficult obstacles.

Because triumphing over the evils that exist in our country and fighting for our freedom has never been done by idly sitting back and waiting for someone else to change this country for you. Freedom is won through actions – peaceful rallies, petitions, standing up to those very principles that you hold close to your heart and never giving up even when the stakes are high or when the odds are too great.

Fear is the root of the problem and this causes us to be at war with one another. Malaysians are constantly fighting each other while those in power gleefully observe the chaos they masterminded.

As author Mark Vernon noted: “The politics of fear plays on an assumption that people cannot bear the uncertainties associated with risk. Politics then becomes a question of who can better deliver an illusion of control.”

It’s time Malaysians do something to pacify our fears and gather the courage to challenge those who have treated us unjustly because the absence of individuals who will stand up for freedom and restoring faith in our system makes it too easy for fear to prevail.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

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