Spring is here. Again. I look at the cherry blossoms at the lakeside, and I feel so happy, and yet so sad. After months of cold winds, snow, dark days and dead trees, suddenly little flowers peeked from those lifeless branches. As the dark days of winter turns warm, I say this to God,” What more do I ask from you?”
|and he waddles away~|
But another spring means that another year had passed, which means that I am closer to death. I walk among the daffodils and the bluebells, and as the ducks waddle alongside me, I ask this; what have I done for the past year? Did I do good?
As a student, have I done all I could to learn? If I am a cherry tree, did my flowers bloom as well as last year? If I am a janitor, have I scrubbed all the necessary stains? And if I am a member of the parliament, did I attend all parliamentary voting sessions?
It is because we know that we are going to die that we look back into our memories and calculate, whether the years of our life have made us into a better person, or whether they only add to our sins. Human beings are created with memories, an ability to remember things of the past. I am not sure whether ducks and cherry blossoms are able to reminisce about awkward things they did in the past, and flap their wings(or sway under the wind) in shame.
But memories also make people remember horrible things. To me ,the winter was a nightmare of cold and dead trees, and the university fields were full of dead trees and duck shit. The wives and kids of the innocent men who were jailed for years without trial under the ISA( Internal Security Act ) would always remember the sins of the ministers and the cops who took away their beloved without justification. Hishamuddin Rais, or Tukar Tiub, when he came to Nottingham last year for the last round of his theatre told my friend that he still remembers the cockcroach that became his girlfriend in jail.
Was the name Jessica? I don’t know. He said that he remembered the cop who did unspeakable things to him in jail, and as God decided it, Hishamuddin met the guy years later, who was then a taxi driver, in that man’s cab . Such a horrible man, who could stand torturing another, or putting people in jail without reason, turned out to be a plain and ‘innocent’ man on the outside. I do not how did he felt back then; whether he had the urge to rip the driver’s throat, or whether he made peace with the past.
Horrible was the ISA, but it is now a thing of the past. Yes, the families of the oppressed are still recovering from the injustice; the pain of separation, and the stigma that society smears upon ‘convicts’, but the ISA was erased from the constitution. When Mahathir said that he did nothing wrong during his rule, victims of his ISA questions the integrity of his brain, and wonder if Mahathir has finally gone senile.
After the demise of the ISA, the government’s power to put anyone who said too much became limited. The sedition act was limited , up to three years of jail, and 5000 in fine, and the persecutors must bring the case to court, before they can put you in jail. There was no trials under ISA; the government can practically put you in jail forever, merely under suspicion, because a police ‘believes’ that you are inciting violence or an insurrection.
Memories are horrible things, when the young wives of detainees under the new Prevention of Terrorism Act remembers the MPs who were absent yesterday during the voting in Parliament. These vain little men, who swore in the name of God to protect the people, to bring them to heaven , couldn’t do so because they were ‘busy’. When the police round up innocent men and haul them off to jail, you tell their crying kids the names of the ones who let this injustice happen. You tell their grief-stricken mothers , that the ones who represent Islam, good manners and character could not vote in the parliament for their sons, because they have other ‘pressing matters’. When their parties hold rallies in front of SOGO in their future against the POTA, you go grab the speakers from the politicians, and yell in their faces that they are responsible for this as well.
The POTA is ISA incarnate; a board of terrorism prevention appointed by the government ‘decides’ whether an accused is a terrorist, then he’s put in jail, under the name of national security. They can put anyone in jail forever, because the court cannot question the decision of the board. No court in Malaysia (not one, even the federal court) can review their decisions, or overturn the judgement.
Just picture this; the government can take your wife, your husband, your father, and even Dr Mahathir to this board, and put them in jail forever, and you cannot do anything. You cannot appeal in court, and no lawyer will be heard. If you are going to be active in Pas in the motherland, then by all means, remember this. Or don’t; it doesn’t make any difference.
The civil society has no right to put someone in jail, or confiscate his property, merely for speaking out his mind.
First of all, the man and his opinion might be right. And if we put someone in jail because he said something true, then we are the ones losing. Imagine if the sultans of the past before Islam imposed laws against the propagation of religion, and the Muslims from Gujerat, or from China and the Middle East were killed because they spoke about Islam, how horrible would it be? Would we even be Muslims now?
Secondly, if his opinion is wrong , and we put him in jail , then the civil society will still be at lost. Because a man who is incarcerated , or killed just for talking would attract followers and sympathizers. He is now a martyr, a symbol of the fight against oppression, and people would support his cause, even if he is wrong.
If his opinion is wrong, there is no way to discover the truth , if he is killed, or put in jail. The only way to decide whether an opinion is right is to let other opinions refute it and criticize it, the discussion must be let on its own, free and undistracted. This applies to everything; religion, race and ideologies. In the same way that we question our own faiths , to know whether it is true, opinions question each other, and the best argument would win, and only then would we discover the truth.
The judgement of the Sedition Act is too arbitrary. The clauses are vague, and what is considered ‘seditious’ isn’t clear. Intentions does not matter (how do you decide one’s intentions in the first place?) If the judge feels that you said something seditious , then you are put in jail. What kind of law puts people in jail because someone ‘feels’ that you are guilty?
Some people would say that some man’s speech, or drawing, or poetry might incite violence. I say this; an artist, a writer or a poet only express their feelings, their conceptions of society, and the ones who are responsible for the violence are the ones who interpret the writings , who somehow understand that “I must kill because this poem says so”. What responsibility does one hold, when someone else , with a healthy and functioning brain, chooses to be violent – when it is ultimately someone else’s choice?
Some other might say that it is the Sunnah of the reformers, of the prophets, to be persecuted for saying the truth. They say that truth will still win out at the end, so the sedition act , and the POTA, or SOSMA, or the ISA is only a process in reaching the truth. The ones murdered, the ones jailed are necessary sacrifices on this road towards the truth. Like duck shits under the cherry trees; without those nasty things, the daffodils and the cherry blossom wouldn’t have bloomed so brilliantly. Have we forgotten how the Jews were condemned to hell forever, because they murdered their prophets?
Yes, God said that the ones bearing the truth would be persecuted, jailed, roasted to death, tortured and exiled, but that doesn’t mean we should stay put and silent. What right do we have to let this people and their families suffer while we watch, while we defend our beloved politicians? What verse said that we should let this huge injustice happen again?