We also got "mixed signals" coming from the most unlikely sources .....
We had some apologists (Refer to Jebat Must Die's -May 13th 1969 – The "Correct" View which comes in two sad parts) attempting to justify the actions of security personnel - by painting the "other side blacker than black" with one broad brush.
On the other hand, we had an element of remorse in the voice of Abdullah Ahmad (The Critical 30 minutes) - an aide to Tun Razak, and a former NST Editor. He implied in this article, that it was because of the delay in communications that the whole event proceeded as earlier planned.
I quote -
"The tragic and vicious incident need not have happened had Tun Razak's message to Datuk Harun Idris, the Mentri Besar of Selangor, reached him 30 minutes earlier or had Tan Sri David Tan Chee Khoon and Tun Lim Chong Eu spoken to Razak 30 minutes earlier relaying their decision not to cooperate with DAP to form the state government of Selangor nor to work together in Perak and elsewhere.
I was beside Razak when he took the calls from them late past tea time on the fateful evening of May 13. I recall clearly what Razak told Harun,"…the good news is you will continue to run Selangor. Chee Khoon and Chong Eu had just spoken to me that they want status quo preserved. So tell the people gathering at your house to disperse."
From the above, it is quite clear that it was within their power to prevent the bloodshed, and as to who the architects of the incident were. That it was "too late" to prevent it from breaking out is I suppose quite another matter altogether, as the intention for the bloodshed, and the "reasons" (as opposed to the excuses of JebatMustDie) were quite clear.
Now - if that isn't a damning indictment (no matter what pathetic "communist excuses" Jebat may bring forward to justify it), I really don't know what is.
For what it is worth, let us give credit where it is due. It was at least courageous of Abdullah who (probably due to the "haunting spectre of guilt") has come forward with this "veiled remorse" in his winter years. This has to be something that we have to take in the right spirit, should we seek reconciliation, the "Bangsa Malaysia" or "1Malaysia" which we all strive for. So let us refrain from spewing hatred upon the present for the mistakes of the past.
However, there is an element of "fear" in Umno, that they would be subject to a "backlash" should they acknowledge the past. While that may be partly unavoidable, this backlash that they fear cannot be prevented through their denials or their lame "justifications" for the bloodbath. Thanks to the Mahathir years, Umno in inevitably in its sunset years - and as such, this backlash that they fear will in no way be as bloody as in was on 513.
If anything, they'll only lose political power - and nothing more. What is important here is the fact that all communities understand that whoever leads Malaysia would swear allegiance to the Federal Constitution, and that nobody would be sidelined or victimized based on past misdeeds of their predecessors.
Let us then "clean up our cup from the inside" - offer an olive branch just so that we can move on and heal together as one nation.
To those who bear the burden of confusion, hurt and guilt, here is a short message from Ravi Zacharias which is quite relevant to the "illness" that afflicts our nation:-
Guilt Concealed By Fear
What do we do when we have committed a wrong that we are ashamed of? What can we do with those wrongful deeds that we can’t seem to erase from our consciences?
One way that many people deal with guilt is to cover it up. This can seem almost instinctive at times, as if something inside us says, “Hide it. Forget about it. No one can know.”
But this puts us in a very precarious position, for not only are we dealing with guilt, but now we are dealing with the fear of being “found out.” When we add fear to our feelings of guilt we are adding apprehension to the remorse we are struggling to conceal. Just as a blackmailer is never satisfied, so the one who lives in fear with guilt ends up blackmailing his or her own heart to pay the mind.
But the heart is never consoled, for the mind is never sufficiently paid.
Guilt that is concealed seldom stops with the one who harbors that hurt. Sooner or later that pain of fear and guilt is spread to others, particularly to those closest to us. “Victimless” crimes are an illusion, for deceit is a monster that needs constant feeding. It would be foolish for us to think that we can deal with guilt by somehow covering it up. The moment that we cover our guilt we escalate the tension in our lives by adding the dimension of fear. We may then become people who seem okay on the outside, but inside we are struggling to maintain the facade.
Many used this same ploy with Jesus in his day. They would throw one question after another in order to hide the real struggle beneath them all. He says to those who have tried to cover over their guilt, “Woe to you...for you clean the outside of your cup, but inside the cup is full of turmoil...First clean the inside of the cup so that the outside may become clean as well.” Here Jesus refers to the heart as a cup. What you pour forth will show the condition of your heart, even if the “outside” looks clean.
Carried to a different level, this same tendency underlies all our national preoccupation with one social or economic crisis after another. No one seems willing to admit that at the heart of our malady is a mangled spirituality.
Let us go to God with our “cup full of turmoil,” so that we may not live in fear, but in hope.