by Singa Terhormat
In the annals of history, one encounters outstanding personalities who come along and invigorate and lead their people to stand up for justice and truth in the face of daunting oppression and in the process many of them have had to pay with their loss of freedom or even their lives. Of more recent memory we have Aquino, Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
These are no ordinary people. Where the vast majority of Mankind will be cowed into submission through threats and bullying, or induced into ‘falling in line’ through various other subtle means, these people hold steadfast to their beliefs no matter what the consequences may be.
In our own midst we have Anwar Ibrahim, a man villified and abused by some and glorified and idolised by others. His mark on this nation and the varying emotions he invokes in others is like no other we have witnessed.
From being within the cusp of the pinnacle of power to being reduced to sharing quarters with rapists and thieves, he has led and leads no ordinary life.
He has repeatedly been humiliated, abused and incarcerated, but his dedication to his cause remains steadfast.
Many credit him with being the ‘glue’ that holds fast disparate groups coming together to oppose forces of oppression and striving for a better tomorrow. Others see him as an opportunist obsessed with desire for power. Like him or hate him, he has impacted upon the lives of Malaysians as few others have.
On the foreign ‘front’, many see him as the one to lead Malaysia forward to a more democratic, responsible and transparent Government. Back home he has been called a foreign agent ready to sell his country to foreign interests. He has had to face various sexual charges in Court, been physically assaulted, his family subjected to embarrassment and having many friends turn foe. Truly, perhaps, it has been said that ‘a prophet is not without honour but in his own country’.
He had opportunities to turn his back on and abandon the causes he led and save himself. True to the examples of Aquino, Mandela and Suu Kyi, he chose instead to face political persecution and incarceration as opposed to a life of comfort and luxury. Whether we agree with his politics or not, his personal courage is without question and to be admired. His political future may now be in doubt. What is not is the legacy that he will leave behind to all Malaysians, the mantle of which is now being ably undertaken by his family members.
Anwar, we all owe you.