Posted: 07 Jun 2013 02:52 AM PDT
When Hamlet bemoans "the oppressor's wrong…, the law's delay, the insolence of office", it is a classic case of art imitating life. Except that in our present condition, the powers that be are seeing it fit that life should imitate art.
So, as last week's events have shown, in re-arresting Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar, and Haris Ibrahim just four days after they were freed by the court, the police plainly displayed 'the insolence of office' and showed utter contempt to the magistrate who had ordered their release.
Prosecuting them as well as other activists and opposition leaders for activities linked to the "Blackout 505" rallies therefore adds to 'the oppressor's wrong' and nails the lie on Najib's 'reform agenda' so proudly proclaimed not just to the nation but the world at large.
The custodial murders of Kugan, Dhamendran and others speak for themselves in the brutality and horror of the crimes and the audacity of those responsible for the initial cover-up, notwithstanding that some of the killers are finally charged.
Deporting Nurul Izzah from Sabah as if she were a common felon and placing Lim Kit Siang, Ambiga and me on the persona non grata list are yet other instances of the shameless abuse of power. That the bar was subsequently lifted is immaterial because the damage had already been done since she could not be there in time to celebrate a major cultural event with the people of Sabah.
They may claim some 'technical right' to arrest prior to charging suspects, power to interrogate, unfettered power for the Attorney General to prosecute whom he so wishes or some legal provision which allows the powers that be to bar citizens from entering Sabah. But when such a right or power is exercised without regard for human dignity, what more for the sanctity of life, it is not rule of law but tyranny and oppression. More profoundly, these acts and many more that have been committed have demonstrated the chilling and insidious consequences of the arrogance of power.
Under what circumstances are we that a mere presumed legal right can be used to justify dumping innocent people in the lockup to spend the night just to make life easy for the police to have them charged before a court of law?
Some will say this is making a mountain out of a mole-hill. But is it? To my mind, this liberty is inalienable and no words suffice to describe its import to the dignity of the person.
King Lear may tell Cordelia: "Come, let’s away to prison; We two alone will sing like birds in the cage" but that's on a mystical level. And at that stage, Lear's already insane. You may get used to the damp wall and the hard bed or even the stale bread but as long as your mind is clear, your spirit will never come to terms with the deprivation of your liberty.
In making the needless arrests, and then using the Sedition Act after having promised the nation it would be repealed, Najib Razak has ridden rough-shod over the urgings of the people – of lawmakers, civil society leaders and other community leaders – and have now in one fell stroke sealed the wall of alienation with the people. He's also proven once again that he is not an honorable man.
That is why the prosecution of P. Uthayakumar for sedition – as well as the others – is significant in showing up the farcical nature of Najib's government. That the reality never matches the rhetoric; that the promises are left on the wayside; and that when unchecked the 'oppressor's wrong' can multiply many fold, eroding the foundation of our fundamental rights and tearing the fabric of our dignity as free citizens in a sovereign nation.
No doubt by refusing to continue with his defence, Uthayakumar had chosen to take the moral high ground for the cause he believes in and this has landed him a jail sentence far in excess of the supposed 'crime'. But it needn't have gone that far had the Attorney General used his prerogative to issue a nolle prosequi, that is, to discontinue the trial.
But all roads to accountability must lead to the man who wants to be Prime Minister. Indeed, "the oppressor's wrong…, the law's delay, the insolence of office", are symptoms of a deep-seated systemic breakdown of the institution of governance.
So, let me remind not just Najib but Mahathir, Daim, the oppressors, and their co-conspirators, the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Slowly indeed the wheel of karma turns around its axis but those who commit wrongs and injustice will sooner or later be brought to account.
The brazen show of arrogance is matched only by the bias in the handling of real mischief makers, the hate mongers and racist provocateurs. The failure to take action against these criminals speaks one thing and one thing only: that this country has two sets of laws, one favouring UMNO and its cronies and another against law abiding citizens whose only 'crime' is to fight for their rights, for justice and for a legitimate government through free and fair elections.
Make no mistake. This arrogance of power will backfire. It will not succeed in dampening the spirit of the people. They can jail us, deport us, intimidate and even humiliate us, but the courage and the will of the people shall never be defeated. That's because real power resides in the people. As Malcolm X once said, power in defence of freedom and if I might add, of justice and of our dignity, "is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression."
Posted: 06 Jun 2013 11:26 PM PDT
8 JUN 2013 — SABTU
3.00pm – 6.00pm : Perhimpunan Blackout 5-0-5 di Dewan Hakka, Sandakan (Pantai Timur)
8.00pm – 12.00pm : Perhimpunan Blackout 5-0-5 di Kg Ramayah, Penampang
PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
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