BERSIH (10-11)Many Faces

Posted: November 15, 2007 in Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, human rights, Justice, Malaysia, Society

As many have given their personal account both descriptive and extremely elaborate accounts of what went down during the 10-11 rally, I shan’t indulge in writing further on the happenings at the rally. Since, I do not have the luxury to write when I please anymore, I shall give an account of how I feel the matter has been played out by the state and its functionaries rather carelessly or dare I say stupidly.

What was the Bersih Rally all about? Today I received a note from a friend on her account of why she walked the walk on 10 November 2007. It was not just touching and inspiring but empowering to read her commitment and persistence towards the attainment of a better future for our country. It wasn’t a game to fish in votes, it wasn’t a ploy to cause distress in the country, it wasn’t a path to disrespect anyone, it wasn’t an avenue for opposition political parties to have a field day but it was the day for the rakyat to voice out their grievances over matters that mattered most to them. If you would take the time to read reports from both mainstream media and alternative sources of media both national and international you would be shocked to see the large discrepancies that exist between both reports. You’d be shocked at how an item of news can be twisted and misrepresented. You’d probably wonder like I did on what would have happened if it wasn’t for the it would be possible to spread the news about..

Let’s just look at how the Bersih Rally has been represented and how it has been viewed at by numerous parties. Why not look at the news items via television. If you look at the news items from RTM,NTV7 and TV3- mainstream media and then compare it with and AL-Jazeera English channel you’d be so amazed at the ability to manipulate the same news. Although major differences do exist between NTV7 and RTM, TV3 the news still fails to paint a clear picture of what really went down on 10-11. The mainstream media especially RTM and TV3 painted the rally as an illegal gathering that was deemed on causing distress and was contained by the police, it even had the gaul to add on footages of riots not originating from the actual 10-11 gathering to paint a bleak picture of the gathering. I wouldn’t blame an innocent viewer who didn’t know better ( as in having no knowledge of what Bersih was and access to alternative media) to view the gathering as a nuisance, cause for distress, direct violation against the rule of law and sign of instability. For the way it was painted showed the 10-11 rally as nothing but chaos and trouble for people of Malaysia that would send signals to the rakyat to be very wary of such gathering and too be very afraid as such occurrences could disrupt the peaceful environment that is Malaysia. It also ensured the public that it was vital to use water cannons and tear gas due to the stubbornness and aggressiveness of the protesters. I don’t think its necessary for me to analyze the print media as it hardly holds any difference in reporting as compared to its sister at broadcast media….

Despite such portrayals by the mainstream media, the facts were that the rally was indeed carried out peacefully from the beginning till the end and it could be considered as a glorious victory for the Bersih organizers that not only managed to maintain a peaceful march/protest but also not stray away from its main course of handing the memorandum. Although numbers reported in the mainstream fell short of the actual total of people gathered for the rally, at the end of the day it didn’t really matter as 10-11 had proved its mettle… It had gone out with a plan and had successfully executed it despite tear gas and water cannons that proved to be a great obstacle towards the peaceful marchers/protesters. But what is truly depressing about the government of Malaysia is the inability to accept the grievances of the people. Instead they seeked to twist and use what ever angle they could to make 10-11 an illegal gathering that caused chaos and panic to the country. Although at the end of the day all Bersih wanted to do was to fight for freer and fairer elections.

What I do not understand is what is the government so worried about??? Why won’t a government allow its citizens the right to ask for freer and fairer elections unless they are afraid of the outcomes of such an initiative…. Sharizat commented on the rally saying it wasn’t our culture, Nazri said that it was “pondan” way out and wasn’t necessary as we are a democratic country, PM said that there has never been a peaceful rally/gathering…but if truth is on your side why worry so much?Why couldn’t they let it take its course if indeed they were on the right side….but is that the case?

What’s so wrong about demanding free and fairer elections? Isn’t that what makes a country democratic? What is the point of having democracy just for name sake when indeed we do not practice the tenets of what democracy is all about…what it stands for… But instead on focusing on why the gathering had occurred in the first place, the state prefers to emphasis that it did not get a permit to have the rally ( what do you expect when everything is under the control of the state-it is obvious that dissenting views are not going to be giving a permit to have free reign of their beliefs/standings). So since they did not have a permit, well whatever they did, however they did it..was they say..But how can you create change if you are not willing to go against the grain? When suppression exist to the level it does especially in Malaysia, you have no choice but to make some wise decisions in creating that avenue for change….if such actions were not taken then they would still be people like Hilter ruling governments in this world (although some of us would agree that Hitler protege still exists in this day and age!)

Besides that, the state and its functionaries also enjoy using this rally as a platform to punish all those who oppose them the latest fad is the threats to bring in parents that brought or allowed their children to take part in the rally as they were being irresponsible. What nonsense is that?Sometimes the Malaysian police really irks me, they are unable to catch or apprehend Nurin’s killer so they come up with possible rules to catch so call irresponsible parents and now they have found yet another outlet to channel the frustrations of their inability to do their job……this time by arresting parents whom are teaching their children a lesson in democracy, teaching them to stand up for what they belief it…..which i believe deserves an applaud as many youngsters these days couldn’t be bothered….(but perhaps that is what the state wants, more ignorant youngsters…those afraid to speak up..those churned out like robots!)

W ell, I wonder when Malaysia will grow up. When will the government realize that the people want change and will fight till the get it… One way or another…the government better wise up and listen to their people or risk losing their people’s faith in them and when that happens there is no telling what will follow. For now, I think BN’s ignorance of the significance of 10-11 will bring a huge blow when election season draws near…Some people are hanging on a thin thread for BN, somehow hoping that they will be some change, praying that somehow BN will come through for them. But some of us know that their tactics will no longer be as concrete as it was before as now times have change and so has the dissemination of’s much easier to catch errors and put them out for the world to see..there is no more hiding for BN or any other political parties. Come clean or lose the faith of your voters. For me…..BN has already lost my faith in them… many more?

  1. moo_t says:

    Believe me, there is still many frogs in the cold boiling water know little about their fates. They even claim the warm up water soothing. First rural folks will soon hit by inflation, next will follow by civil servants and “de-facto” postal votes arm forces.

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