04 March 2011

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday March 2, 2011
Ignorance giving rise to discrimination

Much of the tension that we experience today is because of the mistrust we have for one another and also because those who have more cannot find it in their hearts to be fair to those who do not have as much.

IN THE women’s rights work that I do, the foundation of my colleagues’ and my belief regarding our rights is that there can be no justice without equality.

Where that applies to women, it’s called feminism, but it can equally apply to any oppressed group we know of.

Basically, we cannot be just to anyone if we don’t think of them as our equals.

If we don’t think some people are equal because of their sex, class, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, ability or age, then it would be very hard to be truly just to them.

We find it hard to compare them to ourselves, and, therefore, as deserving as ourselves of whatever rights and opportunities there are.

This is sometimes why we are in awe when people “cross barriers” to help someone outside their usual circles, like when Princess Diana visited people with HIV. It was just so unusual, that it proved the rule.

Hence, we are neglectful of people who are different from us, or worse, discriminatory. Often this comes from ignorance.

There are some of us who grow up simply unable to fathom lives different from ours. But it can also be willful and deliberate.

Much of the tension that we are experiencing today is because of the mistrust we have for one another, because those of us who have more cannot find it in our hearts to be fair and just to those who do not have as much.

Worse still, we find ways to justify why we have to behave that way.

We have come to a point in our nation’s life where we really have to think about where we are headed.

Are we going to perpetually think of ourselves as so exceptional and different from everyone else that we don’t have to meet normal human standards?

Do we have to be so defensive that we only see what we want and are blind to any other point of view?

Today, I read about some people who objected when a non-Muslim began his speech with the traditional Muslim greeting of peace.

Apparently, this was considered offensive because it was sensitive.

Honestly, this is the sort of thing that makes me want to give up on this country, that there are idiots who have the temerity to call themselves leaders at all.

As any child knows, assalamualaikum means “peace be with you”.

It is the most benign and civil of greetings, welcoming and warm.

If meant sincerely, it means that you have come in peace and wish to conduct yourself in a peaceful way.

In the Arab world, everybody uses this greeting. They certainly never, as Malaysians did at one time, differentiate between who they could say it to, and whom they couldn’t.

It is not a greeting patented by Muslims or owned by God.

So, intelligent right-thinking Mus­lims should be very welcoming when a non-Muslim uses it because it means they have come in peace. And you can hold them to that.

So why make war out of it? How come when President Barack Obama used the same greeting when he went to Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, nobody objected?

Why, if he went to Penang and did the same thing, no doubt there would be appreciative applause and pleased shuffling, too.

I don’t know what world we live in that we think we are so special that nobody can hold a candle to us.

We look in distaste when Arabs protest, but when we see that it’s peaceful, we say that they must be mature people, unlike we here who are so incapable of protesting peacefully that we need to be censured before we even step out of our homes.

Students and young people around the Arab region are liberating their countries from tyranny and oppression, and ours are deemed too untrustworthy to even talk about politics.

The image we seemingly want to present to the world is one of gross intolerance of anything that doesn’t fit into the small narrow hole we call Malaysian.

At the same time, we seem to be proud of our immaturity. Do we actually tell foreigners that our students are too immature to be trusted to discuss politics? And we’re proud of it?

How do we explain to puzzled foreigners, including Arabs who actually speak the language, that we think some of their words are exclusive to us only?

Right now, the coolest nationality to be is Egyptian. It means young, democratic, inclusive and free.

In Wisconsin, where people are protesting against a state government that is taking away their union rights, there are signs that say “Fight like an Egyptian”. Imagine that.

When will the rest of the world want to be Malaysian?