Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Herald Language Issue - What is it REALLY about?

Ideas are far more powerful than guns.
We don't allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?
Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party.

-Joseph Stalin

Late last 2007 after the Bersih Rally, (before the March 8 elections was announced), a controversy was created by the KDN/ Home Ministry of the one and only infamous Hamid Albar - the "Allah" issue with The Catholic Herald". [Read "Abdullah flip-flops Again" on Jeff Ooi's Screenshots , Malaysia Catholic paper may close in "Allah" row , and Monopoly on words —Farish A Noor]

Now, they (the HM of Hamid Albar) spin it to appear as if there is a hidden agenda to proselytize to Muslims by banning the Malay pages in the newsletter.
One might like to ask if it is as we are told it is - Is this really the issue?

I definitely don't think so.
It seems to me that there is more that meets the eye in this matter..... it's about the power to control the dissemination of information, and creating the perception of conflict, regardless of color or creed- although the Catholic Church was the scapegoat in this case.

Apparently, they only just realized after all these years, that Allah is used by Malay-speaking Christians in worship for decades, and moved to "patent" the Arab word for use by only Muslims!! The suddenly feel that the use of Malay in Christian publication could "weaken the faith of Muslims"!! Strange as it may sound, there have been many conversions to Islam (for various reasons) from Christianity, and there has yet to be any evidence that the Muslims are any less faithful to Islam, over the last century.

As if the idiocy of it all wasn't enough to make the Malaysian Govt the laughing stock of the world, they (the Home Ministry) then decides to prevent The Herald from publishing in Bahasa Malaysia - the National Language!!!
This they do, either in total ignorance of the Federal Constitution, or with some other diabolical plan in place- for the greater agenda of controlling publications in Bahasa Malaysia available to the general public.
With an erudite Attorney General to help them, the former appers to be an unlike possibility. Therefore, it appears to me to be the latter - simply so that the non-Malays/ Muslims will be faced with linguistic barriers when they attempt to communicate with Malay Muslims.

Considering their lethargy when it comes to improving education standards in Malaysia, it appears to me that they wish to keep the Malay electorate in the dark about many things, while painting "others" as the enemy - in line with sectarian and divisive politics. The ideologues who wish to control society are seeking sectarian flashpoints, so that the Malay/Muslim will feel threatened and start looking for ghosts under the bed.
They want distrust. They want suspicion. They want a seige mindset.
They want Fear!!

Many don't seem to understand that this isn't just about the catholic church or the herald per se, although it is the "flashpoint" - it is about your fundamental constitutional right they wish to take away, and set a precedent for future judgements.
Don't get misled by the issues they try to use, so as to set a precedent towards robbing you of your right to publish in any language you please.

Although I do not agree with the usage of "Allah" in Biblical literature, it is a known fact that that is the word which has been used in Malay Christian literature to denote "God", as opposed to "Lord" (or vice versa - I'm uncertain). In Mandarin/Tamil/Malayalam/Hindi/ Russian and what not, they have different words to illustrate the same "idea"/message.
Hence it is a word in Malay christian literature, long before DBP or any of us came into being, under Umno rule.

The point here is if they have the Constitutional Right to call their God what they wish, as they wish, and in whatever language they wish - even if it is Tom, Dick or Harry that they wish to use. Period.

It isn't the question of whether it is right or wrong thing in their religion, but rather, whether they have the constitutional right to practice their religion as they please, without infringing on the rights of others.
Last I read the constitution, their (the religious bodies) opinion is in accordance to the Federal Constitution, and the "little napoleans'" attempts to interfere in the affairs of their affairs, isn't.
The very fact that the Govt has backed down, and attempts at this subversion failed, is enough proof of this fact.

Don't be swayed by any other argument, as it would set a precedent on the politicians' ability to control your right to publish in any language you so desire, and would then snowball into further persecution and control of publications in various forms.

That's the whole simple issue - all other arguments are nothing more than diversions, in attempts at subverting the Federal Constitution and creating social conflict.
That brings us to the motives of those who intend to politicize this issue.
It is only when they create this apparent possibility of conflict that they can bring the people to surrender their rights to the politicians.
It is how all emergency laws are brought into existence - by playing up imaginary fears in the minds of the electorate.
It is how this whole "war on terror" concept has been sold to the world.
It is how ISA was sold to the Parliament.
It is how Malaysians gave up their rights ......
It is how they hope the citizens buy from them, the rope for the noose with which they will be hung.

Should Malaysians not realize the real issues that are at stake behind all the charade that the politicians and ideologues put up, they will unwittingly be giving up more and more of their rights to politicians who are bent on exploiting the citizenry. Should go on the day will come when the people will have no right left to speak of.
That will be the day when we will demand that tyrannical rule, so as to justify the need for social order. It will be a sad day for Malaysia when we "need" tyrants/ dictators to maintain social order - just as the USSR needed Stalin, Yugoslavia needed Tito, just as the Afghans needed for Taliban......

Like I said in my earlier post, it isn't too unlikely that in Malaysia, it may take the form of a Theocracy of an Islamic state - once there is enough division and chaos in place, to exercise the tyranny of the "majority", ruled by a minority "wise guys".
Let's hope and pray that Malaysian will wake up soon enough to prevent this.


"Who are the oppressors but the Nobility and Gentry; and who are oppressed,
if not the Yeoman, the Farmer, the Tradesman and the Labourer?
... your slavery is their liberty, your poverty is their prosperity;
yea, in brief, your honouring of them, dishonoureth the commonality...
Unlord those that are lorded by you."

- Ranter Laurence Clarkson, 1647 (p. 81), The Many-Headed Hydra