Preamble to a Penanti proclamation

Azly Rahman (Malaysiakini)
Two scores and ten years ago, our forefathers and foremothers brought forth in this kampong the plan for a just republic that never materialised. We argued and waged peace for a republic of virtue but instead were given a warmongering State of Denial.

We toiled to established a kingdom of peace and tolerance but saw instead the evolution of a dictatorship of plutocracy and totalitarianism. We have become ‘It’ in our journey towards the ‘Thou’.
amin iskandar article 291008 merdekaTwo scores and ten years ago, we thought we had Independence – given on a silver platter by a dying imperial power. But what we got was a state that evolved out of  ketuanan Melayu. We wanted Liberty but we got Plutocracy.
Two scores and ten years later we are seeing a country divided, sub-divided, and further sub-divided into tribes and post-industrial tribes. The politics of race have strengthened and inspired the few to plunder and patronise the many. We are seeing chaos disguised in the name of consensus.
We live in an imperfect world. We live in Maya, in the shadow of Plato’s cave. We have allowed totalitarianism, corruption, repression, and hedonism to take root in our democratic institutions.
We constantly need to make changes to our institutions, so that democracy will have its breathing space, will evolve, and will flourish in accordance to the laws of Nature.
As the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said: “Everything in good in the hands of the Author of things, everything degenerates in the Hands of Man…”
In Malaysia, imperfection has made us slaves to the policies created out of our prejudices and arrogance, out of our greed and lust for power, and out of our ill-conceived idea of human liberation and economic development.
But let us not despair for even religion has asked us to revolt against the corrupt few; and philosophy has given us the wisdom to tear apart totalitarianism. We must recast our vision and cast off our garments of illusion.
Voices of change
This imperfect world needs more than just incremental change and compromise. It needs radical changes and no compromises. We made that change, sudden yet peaceful and civil, on March 8 last year. It was our Velvet Revolution, inspired by our own sense of non-violence, aided by technologies of cybernetics.
pix story hindraf birthday parliament 210508 kit siang roseThose hard long years of battling injustices, the sacrifices of those imprisoned without trial, of those humiliated and stripped of their dignity, those brutally beaten, those hunted down on the streets of our cities, those silenced and stupefied in our universities, those sprayed with chemicals, and the voice of the little girl – a child of the Hindraf revolution who brought roses to ask for her father’s release – all these violent images of oppression that we do not deserve have taught us to be stronger.
A few days before the Malaysian tsunami that swept away the powerful machinery of the ruling regime, sweeping it to the backyard of our national history, we were battling with this feeling that the regime would still be holding power and will continue to use it to oppress, intimidate, and to rob the people – for another 50 years.
We are now at an exciting historical juncture. No longer are we objects of history; we have become makers of history. History marches on, crafted by those oppressed by their own people..
Let Penanti not be a wait that abandoned us on this dangerous crossroad of history. This victory is already ours. We cannot underestimate our struggle – the struggle of Malaysians regardless of race, class, gender, creed and origin.
This victory will be a gift for our children. This will be the best gift we can leave the next generation in a country where ‘justice’ is put in its proper place.
This is the concept of adil and is what we base our struggle on. This is the concept of bersih, cekap, amanah in the truest sense of the word.