History is replete with accounts of great men and women who have given their lives, their liberty, their homes, their families in pursuit of a cause that served the greater good of their fellow human beings.
Aung San Suu Kyi.
Their actions bear testimony to their conviction to stand by and defend their ideals, at great personal cost.
Our own history books may one day record the efforts of so many brave Malaysians who give, and who have given, of themselves for the greater good of this nation and her people.
Today, I want to speak of two who, in my view, are deserving of our fullest respect for their readiness to go beyond mere talk and have stepped out of their comfort zone to be part of our struggle to restore democracy in our land.
Last Monday, 20th May, Hata Wahari, a former senior journalist with Utusan and one time president of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and who was sacked in 2011 for being critical of the newspaper, staged a one-man protest outside the Utusan HQ. Malaysiakini and the Sundaily have the story HERE and HERE.
“Look at their worsening editorial policy and (lack of) journalistic ethics, along with overly racist headlines. No action is taken on the editors and reporters. What is happening is very saddening. The media should be protecting the rakyat,” , Malaysiakini reports Hata as saying.
The Sun reports Hata as saying that he will, “continue protesting every year until there is a change in the paper’s direction towards upholding principles of ethical journalism” . And this, despite the abuse he was subjected to by ex-colleagues, including having mee hoon thrown at him.
What lesson do I draw from Hata’s solo activism of 3 days ago?
Each of us, fully convicted, can, by ourselves, be a force and agent of the change that we want to see, if we are prepared to go beyond the talk, not wait for the seeming strength of numbers, and walk that talk.
Later this morning, it is reported that he will be charged at the KL Sessions court under the Sedition Act for his speech on 13th May.
He will, no doubt claim trial and I expect that he will be allowed to and will post bail pending the trial.
He will, today and tomorrow, catch up on sleep and much needed rest but, guess what?
I expect he will show up this Saturday, 5pm at the Amcorp Mall
Yes, the same thing for which he will be charged today.
Conviction in the truth of all that he said, an unwillingness to compromise on that truth, or to be cowered into fearing a bullying authority bereft of any legitimacy.
We have all heard Adam’s now infamous speech.
Does not every word he uttered sound of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Are we not, like Adam, similarly convicted to see democracy and all it means and stands for restored to our people?
If so, what stops us from stepping out to speak the truth, as he has?
What sets us apart from Adam?
A sense of helplessness, perhaps, coupled with fear?
I’m at chapter 2 now, and I would like to share a few interesting and, in my view, telling excerpts from the book.
“…it is tediously restated that the current status quo is immutable and, certainly, incapable of improvement. We are encouraged to believe that no one has the power to change it. Thus paralysed, we are frozen into inaction. This paralysis of thought is the greatest obstacle to overcome. Defeat it, and everything becomes possible”,
“…the fear must be overcome – fear of one another, fear of ridicule or failure and, perhaps, most inadmissible of all, fear of our own considerable power, as yet unleashed. It is this fear that authority plays upon, indeed relies upon.,,We have been silenced by the pervasive belief that there is no better system than the current one of profit-driven capitalism and representative democracy, when in fact our democracy has been hijacked by those with the largest profits. We have been intimidated by the bullying repetition that the status quo represents the summit of human progress to date, when in its inequality, its carelessness for our planet and its inhumanity to our fellow humans, in many ways it represents the worst. Our silence permits this outrage to continue, and profound injustice to be perpetuated. And it is this silence that must now be broken…”
These next 3 days, you can do two things to start overcoming any little fears you might have that keep holding you back from being true to your own convictions.
And you won’t be alone.
First, if time permits, join us at the Jalan Duta courts later this morning to show solidarity with Adam.
Second, make time to join us at Amcorp Mall this Saturday and be a part of our struggle for democracy.
Again, wear black.